Tiber Creek Pub in Washington's Bellevue Hotel is caught in a charming wrinkle in time: As you enter the lobby, white marble floors and gleaming brass bring to mind places that are no more.
The pub area was a reading room when the Bellevue opened in 1928. Today, the dimly lit room is very much like an English pub, with oak posts and wrought-iron light fixtures. Things are just worn-in enough to avoid being cute. There's table seating for 195 plus a small wrought-iron balcony.
The real Tiber Creek, long since imprisoned underground, actually runs past the pub doors, but the best thing flowing there today is draft beer, served in half-yards.
Tom West and Jeanne Bowers, styling themselves as the "Images," play oldies from "Are You Going to Scarborough Fair" to "In the Mood," and take requests. But basically they're doing background music, trying to please regulars and out-of-towners of all ages and tastes. The room has a dance floor, too.
Two years ago there was a jazz band at Tiber Creek that played less-familiar sets and added to this spot's attraction -- as though the room tried to be cute and missed, making the result genuinely funny.
Tiber Creek Pub is far enough off the beaten track that you can count on a parking place, a table and unharried service, just like the old days.
The half-yards (24 ounces) are $2.95 for domestic beer, $3.95 for imported. Dinner is basic fare: hamburgers, deli sandwiches, chicken and steak, from $3.85 to $7.95. The kitchen's open till 10. TIBER CREEK PUB -- In the Bellevue Hotel, 15 E Street NW, 638-0900.