EVER NOTICE how less inhibited out-of- towners are? Remember how you acted on your last vacation? For one thing, they dance right away.
Now the people who dance at The View Lounge in the Key Bridge Marriott may also hail from Northern Virginia, and maybe even straggle in from Maryland, but they still dance right away, to the first notes sung by Rachel Sumner.
The Rachel Sumner Trio plays there Tuesday through Saturday nights. A middle-of-the- road group, its sound is non-demanding for tourists and others who've been on their feet all day and just want to sit and admire the View.
"It's a romantic atmosphere," says Sumner, who speaks with a late-night deejay voice. Weekends, she says, the lounge draws "the kissing type of crowd, you know?"
That kissing and dancing go together well is demonstrated by one couple, seen first jitterbugging fluently, almost like contortionists after apparent years of practice, and seen later nuzzling and hand-over-handing in the same style on a sofa, after apparent years of practice. Their sofa is not facing the View.
If you can draw your eyes away from the woman whose high heels are clicking on the dance floor, you can look up the Potomac River past the Three Sisters, over to Georgetown, then around to Key Bridge, which, if you've arrived at sunset, is speckled with the last joggers of the day. Later, a brassy sound coming from the keyboard vibrates in tune with rows of headlights skimming the GW Parkway below. In the distance, the red-eyed Cathedral lights.
But this is 2 rms riv vu -- the other room being The View Restaurant, which offers a worthwhile prix fixe five-course meal for $25.95 that may include shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and French pastry. And the way coffee is served afterward could spoil one permanently: An endless cup of regular or brewed decaf comes with a tray of cinnamon, lemon, whipped cream and chocolate chips. The View here looks toward Key Bridge and often includes the underbellies of airplanes.
After that, you can go wasting away again in "Margaritaville" -- a standard performed by Sumner's trio in The View Lounge. For some reason, the most requested tune is "New York, New York," with "Gloria" and "Physical" getting the silver and bronze.
Only occasionally will someone hand Sumner a cocktail napkin with the name of a song written on it that the group doesn't know -- a request for some obscure country-western ballad, or this oldie: "If I Told You You Had a Beautiful Body, Would You Hold it Against Me?"
"They love the 'Evita' number, 'Don't Cry for Me Argentina,' " says Sumner. They even dance to it. "Well, they try to," she says.
THE VIEW LOUNGE -- At the Key Bridge Marriott, 1401 Lee Highway, Arlington. 524-6400.