TURNING ON: I always wanted to be on TV. My friend and show producer Eric Seltzer does amazing work, so he said "Why don't we use my talents and your talents to do something?" We were like, "Well what are we good at? We're good at drinking, partying, going out and having fun!" So we started doing a cable access show in Montgomery County in 2002 about the club scene in D.C., and we were thinking "Wayne's World." My day job is in advertising sales for Clear Channel. If I took the route of doing the show as my career, it would be tough. I probably would be living in my parents' place.
TUNING IN: "Late Nite With Erik Haase" (www.lnite.com) can be seen at 2:30 a.m. every Saturday on WB50. It started about two years ago. We try to reach the crowd of people that are awake and coming home from the bars. It's more than just "Hey, this is a great place," or "this has great food" because I think people would fall asleep. We talk about whether a bar is a good first date place, or if it is good for Valentine's Day. The show is also about what happens in the bars -- situations that girls or guys go through -- such as "beer goggling," which is when you have too many drinks and you meet a girl and the next day you think, "What have I done?"
MAKING THE SCENE: I was raised in D.C., and my first experience going to local bars was -- sad as it is -- at about 16 years old. No joke. There was a place called the Dome back in the day. They weren't real strict at the door, let's put it that way. But I really didn't start going to the places I go to now until I graduated college. When you're younger, you don't have money, so you're just going where there's 99-cent drafts.
FIRST CALL: In terms of drink specials, it's best to go out early. Almost every bar or nightclub in downtown Washington has specials between 5 and 11 p.m. Vida in midtown always has great specials, and when the weather's nice it's a great place to go because of its outdoor patio. In Adams Morgan, if you walk around that whole area on Columbia Pike, almost every place has specials -- like Saki (they also have awesome sushi), Anzu and Chief Ike's Mambo Room.
HOT SPOTS: I'd say the hottest place for me for the longest time has been Spank -- it has the best-looking crowd and, to my tastes, the best music. There's a new place called K Street, and the owners have done a real good job and put a lot of money into it. You never ever hear D.C. mentioned with the big party towns around the country because it's a government town, very conservative. I'm not in that conservative crowd personally, but I would say an old, faithful spot that people still go to for happy hour and for some good food is Old Ebbitt Grill.
AROUND TOWN: The best bar in Montgomery County would be Caddies on Cordell or Willie & Reed's in Bethesda. Bethesda is more of a place where you can go out with your jeans on and a T-shirt. In Virginia, there's the Clarendon Ballroom -- they've got a lot of awesome bands; it's a real cool place. On Thursday night, it's got a real nice upscale professional crowd.
STAR POWER: We've had celebrities on our show, like Motley Crue. I just interviewed Shawn Springs, the Redskins cornerback. Hip-hop artist Mya has been on. Tommy Davidson was on when he was at the Improv. We find out who is coming into town and we'll go do an event where they're at. And Joe Millionaire was on -- talk about a has-been! But we had him when he was hot. When I was doing the cable access show, I'd go out and not one person would say anything. Now when I go out, I probably get two people a night that are like, "You're Erik Haase! From that show!"
As told to Tony Sclafani
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