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The Fox & Hounds
My friends love the Fox & Hounds' dirt-cheap happy hour ($3 mixed drinks), and they love this jukebox, which skews toward the indie side of indie rock -- Guided by Voices, Pavement, the Silver Jews, Neutral Milk Hotel -- with nods to founding fathers like the Heartbreakers, the Modern Lovers and the Velvet Underground. There's plenty of funky party music (Curtis Mayfield, Parliament) and '70s classics (Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Queen). Don't miss the staff's homemade compilations featuring the "greatest hits" of Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, Johnny Cash and, for those in a metal frame of mind, "Cheese Rock."
1533 17th St. NW; 202-232-6307.
Laughing Lizard Lounge
By the time you've climbed the carpeted steps and inhaled the fresh aroma of stale beer, you know you're in a dive. Drinks are cheap, the bartenders are cheery, and the college-friendly jukebox blasts Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and the Dave Matthews Band. The Who, Pearl Jam and Kid Rock are other obvious favorites, though you'll get some Modest Mouse and Weezer in there, too. Skip to the rear of the Lizard's jukebox, though, and you'll find an interesting collection of reggae, including Jimmy Cliff, Eek-A-Mouse and Peter Tosh, alongside the standard Bob Marley.
1324 King St., Alexandria, 703-548-2582.
Hipster favorites Iron & Wine, Wilco and the Arcade Fire might be expected at this low-lit Adams Morgan bar, but other choices range from Dexter Gordon's "Our Man in Paris" to My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless" by way of Blackalicious, Theolonious Monk and Ted Leo. Pharmacy's eclectic jukebox also devotes space to local artists: Meredith Bragg and the Terminals, (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope, Brandon Butler, the Apes, Phaser, Hoover -- even Chuck Brown's double-disc hits set. Owner Kristaps Kreslins's heritage is represented by several discs of Latvian punk and rock.
2337 18th St. NW, 202-483-1200.
Quarry House Tavern
A rock-solid jukebox that provides the perfect soundtrack for settling in around a table with friends, Quarry House's old-school model is strong on classic country, classic rock and early rock-and-roll -- a natural fit for a neighborhood tavern that's been around since Prohibition. You'll find greatest-hits sets from Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Jr., plus albums by the Eagles, the Doobie Brothers, the Band, the Beatles, the Stones, the Doors. Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Big Joe Turner and Big Mama Thornton shake, rattle and roll. Locals Eva Cassidy and the Seldom Scene put in an appearance, as do Emmylou Harris, Stevie Ray Vaughan and John Lee Hooker. The gem here is Ray Charles's "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music." I usually find myself spinning at least one track every time I stop in.
8401 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, 301-587-9406.
Forget about the prominent Internet jukebox in Temperance Hall's classy-looking main room. Instead, go downstairs to the smaller basement bar, where another juke features 100 CDs "curated" by manager Dan Searing. Having toured in indie-rock bands Glo-Worm and the Saturday People as well as deejayed at the Eighteenth Street Lounge, Searing makes well-informed choices ranging from early ska and reggae to '70s soul and English post-punk. He's even added a few discs of gospel recordings from the 1920s and '30s -- "period music," he says, for the Jazz Age-themed Petworth tavern.
3634 Georgia Ave. NW, 202-722-7669.
A seriously underrated jukebox at a seriously underrated neighborhood saloon, Townhouse Tavern has a selection that isn't the most eclectic or all-encompassing in town, but there's gotta be something on here for even the most discerning fan to like: the Beastie Boys, Fugazi, the Streets, Ted Leo, the Replacements, TV on the Radio, Dead Boys, Weezer. Fans of British new wave can pick from the Damned, Elvis Costello, the Jam or the Buzzcocks. Don't miss the homemade mix CDs and the, uh, "live" Radiohead album.
1637 R St. NW, 202-234-5747.
The Wonderland Ballroom
Like the record collection of your favorite music-obsessed friend, this is a jukebox that has a little something of everything, touching on country, alternative, hip-hop, Latin, indie rock, funk, oldies and jazz. If you want a place where you can hear P-Funk, Belle and Sebastian, and Buena Vista Social Club back-to-back before trading another of your hard-earned dollars for the White Stripes, the Smiths and Dr. Dre, Wonderland is the place.
1101 Kenyon St. NW, 202-232-5263.