Toyland sits on the less-buzzy end of H Street, but this bright, attractive neighborhood bar -- decorated in a jet-age '60s style, with an ice-blue counter and sparkly silver stools -- is worth walking a few blocks for. True to the name, stacks of games sit on the bar: Monopoly, Connect Four, Uno, Jenga, even Operation. Just watch out -- even if you have dinner reservations somewhere nearby, it's easy to lose track of time when you're playing a competitive game of Fact or Crap and Boggle is within arm's reach. But wait, there's more: "Mad Men" viewing parties, game nights with Jenga tournaments, and even '80s movies. (A recent Wednesday-night trio was "Fame," "Flashdance" and "Footloose.")
The cocktail list rewards exploration. The Urban Bourbon Sidecar, which pairs sweet Bulleit bourbon with honey-agave water and lemon juice, is a smart twist on a classic refresher, while the gingery Long Tall Suzie gets a kick from gin, Pimm's and bitters. The draft beer selection is slim, but with Flying Dog and Bear Republic among the bottle choices, you won't notice. With the right friends and a roomy window seat, it's easy to stay all night.
-- Fritz Hahn (Aug. 27, 2010)