Bistrot Lepic's wine bar is one of my favorite D.C. date destinations - cozy and candlelit with a great wine list. But it got even better when Wednesdays and then Mondays became jazz nights, with a series of groups setting up in a corner every week.
It's a ready-made happy-hour date: Show up between 5:30 and 7 p.m. to get 50 percent off all wines by the glass. (There are usually 15 or 16 French pours, plus two champagnes, ranging from $8 to $14.) Just as the specials end, the show begins: Depending on the week, it could be the driving violin-and-guitar rhythms of the Hot Club of D.C., lush ballads and standards sung by Lena Seikaly or the swinging Latin-style jazz of Veronneau.
What never changes, though, is bartender Ted Putala, who's always happy to recommend a fruity new Cotes du Ventoux or pour a small taste of a featured Cotes du Rhone Blanc.
The only warning: The room is small, and if you show up much after 7:30 you may find yourself standing at the bar and waiting for something to open up.
-- Fritz Hahn (Feb. 18, 2011)