Town Hall


Editorial Review

Beat the polo set to this patio

By Fritz Hahn
Friday, Apr. 27, 2012

Sure, Memorial Day is still a month away. Sure, evening temperatures have been in the 40s this week. But we were teased with a lovely, warm spring - and the real warm weather is coming.

When it's finally linen office-wear time, you'll want to make a beeline for Glover Park, where Town Hall has just thrown down the gauntlet in the very unofficial Best New Outdoor Space of 2012 competition.

Back in January, the six-year-old Town Hall left its original digs on Wisconsin Avenue to move one block north into the building that previously housed the Blue Ridge and Busara restaurants.

The relocation effectively tripled Town Hall's size: bigger dining room, bigger kitchen, bigger bar area. And then there's the large courtyard patio, which Blue Ridge's owners never seemed to make the best use of.

Town Hall's owners have filled it with umbrella-shaded tables, added greenery and strung fairy lights overhead. They added a full bar (under a roofed area) and rails where standing-room crowds can rest their drinks at night, once the tables and chairs have been taken away after dinner.

Note that although there are no beer taps outside, the bottle menu, which ranges from Miller Lite to Dogfish Head and Bell's, is identical to what you'd get inside. You're just paying for a bottle instead of a pint.

It doesn't end at the patio. I'm a huge fan of the deck outside the second-floor bar, with west-facing Adirondack chairs that make it easy to while away an afternoon sipping a Darker and Stormier (rum, ginger beer and ginger liqueur) or Twenty Three Forty, which blends organic cucumber vodka, watermelon chunks, mint and ginger beer. (All house cocktails are $11.) There are two caveats: The deck has only about 20 seats, and it closes at midnight to avoid annoying the neighbors. The main patio is open until last call.

This isn't to ignore the interior of Town Hall. The airy downstairs bar sports high round tables and plenty of room to stand, while the upstairs has been converted from a warren of little rooms to a spacious lounge area: leather couches, flat-screen TVs, a pool table and enough real estate to powwow with groups of friends, whether you want seats in a corner or stools at the bar. (Most awkward spot to sit: a couch in the middle of a hallway. But it is fun for people-watching.) The crowd is, as you'd expect, Glover Parkian - lots of polo shirts and pastels and boat shoes on both sexes.

The patio has already become a popular spot for weekend brunch. There are above-average waffles, huevos rancheros and spicy Bloody Marys that come with a choice of vodka or tequila. And as temperatures become more consistent, the owners are talking about crab feasts and other themed parties.

I'm not sure we can wait much longer for that.