It will all seem very familiar: the lines at the bar, the nonstop guzzling bottled macrobrews, the '80s-through-early-'90s soundtrack (think Digital Underground, Men Without Hats or the Human League), the attempted hookups in progress across the floor. But it's not Lulu's, the Dome, Rumors or any of the other M Street watering holes, it's the new Mister Days outpost across the Potomac.
To bargoers used to the more low-key atmosphere at Whitlows or even Clarendon Grill across the street -- not to mention Blue & Gold Brewery, the previous tenant at this spot -- Mister Days is bound to be a bit of a shock. It's crowded, rude and loud. Very loud. I had to crouch underneath the bar to take a call; the sad part is, nobody found it that odd. The bar staff on a Saturday is completely underwhelmed, so if you don't order aggressively you can expect to stay sober.
Which would be the wrong way to check out the scene. Prices are not great and the service, once you get past the cheerful bouncer pitching new random questions for every arrival ("Which would win in a dogfight, the Millennium Falcon or the original Starship Enterprise?"), is curt at best; but the collective madness is kinda fun. Pretend you're in Dewey, or back in college, and enjoy what people of a certain age will call, in their drunker moments, a "target-rich environment." If the noise and the crowds get too annoying, there's always the option of retreating to the upper floor to watch the action on the screens or on the floor below.
-- Rob Pegoraro