D.C.-area nightlife, events and dining

Nightwatch

Futuristic Lotus Blossoms on K St. NW

Patrons, from left, Jide Onakoya, Cristina Blanco and Kim Smith party at Lotus Lounge, where the music is constant and the decor mixes Asian influences and ultramodern touches.
Patrons, from left, Jide Onakoya, Cristina Blanco and Kim Smith party at Lotus Lounge, where the music is constant and the decor mixes Asian influences and ultramodern touches. (Photos By Jay Premack For The Washington Post)

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By Fritz Hahn
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, October 12, 2007

Eventually, there comes a time when everyone gets tired of going to nightclubs. It's more of a process than an epiphany. You get sick of dealing with lines and crowds on the dance floor. You start realizing your body can't bounce back as quickly the next day.

No one is immune. Not even club owners.

Michael Romeo made his mark on the Washington scene with Insomnia, an industrial-style warehouse space next to what was then MCI Center that brought in such big-name trance DJs as Armin van Buuren and Ferry Corsten. When Insomnia closed, he opened Fur, a vast megaclub in a former warehouse in Northeast Washington that's home to Buzz.

But as Romeo enters his mid-30s, he says he's tired of big clubs and would rather head for "places where I can hang out with my friends." Instead of seeking out a new destination, Romeo decided to open his own -- two, actually, across the street from each other in the 1400 block of K Street NW.

The first, Lotus Lounge, opened a few months ago; the "biker bar"-themed Tattoo should be ready in a few weeks.

Lotus is something of a study in contrasts. As you descend into the basement-level space, you hear water trickling down a 14-foot wall covered with smooth stones. The open staircase floats above a small pond adorned with a couple of lotus blossoms. A small Buddha statue greets you at the bottom, and another rests on the marble-covered sushi bar, where chefs prepare rolls and sashimi. (The kitchen is helmed by Will Fung, formerly of Sushi-Ko.) The rest of Lotus, though, mixes an Asian-inspired upscale lounge with a futuristic look straight out of "Star Wars." Large concentric diamonds serve as doors between the sushi bar and the main bar. One wall glows with thousands of high-tech lights, sometimes a fiery red resembling a starship's afterburner, sometimes a cool blue.

Sleek banquettes and low tables wrap along the wall, used for reservations and bottle service only after 9, and the cozy, womb-like Lotus Room in the back features deep red walls and a DJ booth. There's music at all times, though it's sometimes A LITTLE TOO LOUD for conversations early in the night.

Lotus offers a nice, if somewhat slow, happy hour until 7:30 Tuesday through Friday, with $5 beers, $7 house martinis and $5 sushi rolls. The best time to experience the lounge, though, is late at night, when it fills with beautiful people. Women dance on tables, bartenders mix mojitos and sake-based cocktails, and people groove to the DJ's mix of house, hip-hop, electro and the odd rock song. Cooling mist blasts from the ceiling as the lights pulse, and people throw their hands in the air.

One warning, though: This is not a cheap night out.

To make the most of a trip to Lotus, you're going to have to give your name and e-mail address to one of the club's cast of promoters -- Mad Power Unit ( http://www.madpowerunit.com) on Tuesdays, Absolute Addiction ( http://www.absoluteaddiction.com) on Wednesdays, JetSet Mafia ( http://www.jetsetmafia.com) on Thursdays, Soulstice Events ( http://www.soulsticedc.com) on Fridays -- to get on the free guest list. Without an RSVP, you'll hear as the guy in front of me did one Saturday, "If your name's not on the guest list, there's a $20 cover."

Once inside, the house martinis are $14, and a Grey Goose or Belvedere martini is $12. And although the bartenders can be hit-or-miss, the staff and the drink list have improved in recent months.

Reserving a table means spending at least $500 with up to 10 people in the main room or $1,200 for up to 15 in the exclusive Lotus Room. You can rationalize the cost if you can round up 10 friends, because a bottle of Belvedere is $275, Maker's Mark rings up at $250 and 25 two-ounce shots of Patron Silver are $350.

Lotus Lounge 1420 K St. NW; 202-289-4222 Vibe: A futuristic lounge and sushi bar offers a party atmosphere and pricey cocktails for a crowd that can't wait to see and be seen. Lotus Lounge 1420 K St. NW; 202-289-4222 Vibe: A futuristic lounge and sushi bar offers a party atmosphere and pricey cocktails for a crowd that can't wait to see and be seen.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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