At this time of year, you’re going to be hounded by Resolution Zealots. Make this the year you stop procrastinating! Resolve to get healthy! Cut those credit cards and stick to a budget!
Sure, it all sounds good. But by the time March rolls around, we bet those new workout clothes will have been chucked into the back of your closet and that fancy calendar you bought in an effort to be on time for appointments and to remember your mom’s birthday will sit strangely empty.
So this year, why bother making resolutions? Ignore those killjoys who tell you to become a fitter/happier/more productive person and feel free to wallow in your flaws and vices. (We like you just the way you are!) Enjoy that occasional cigar. Say yes to dessert. Tell your boss you have a 3 p.m. doctor’s appointment and head straight to happy hour.
Here’s to a more fun and less serious you in 2015.
Don’t bother to . . . snuff out your cigar
Everyone knows that smoking kills and you’d be healthier if you quit. But that said, some people just love the flavor of a good cigar and the pleasurable sensations that smoking brings. If you crave a stogie and a nice cocktail, there are bars where you can light up without drawing disapproving looks or running afoul of the area’s strict indoor smoking bans.
Jack Rose’s rooftop bar welcomes smokers, with cigars hand-rolled by Washington’s W. Curtis Draper Tobacconist and more bourbons and whiskies than anywhere else in Washington. (Be warned, though, that smokers jostle for space with non-smokers on the popular deck.)
Shelly’s Back Room is the go-to spot downtown, a bar with a fairly basic drink menu, great “Campfire” wings (roasted, not fried) and a long list of Scotch to complement the serious cigar menu. It’s a suit-and-tie kind of place, located across from the National Press Club and a few blocks from the White House, and is best experienced at happy hour.
Alexandria’s 219 Restaurant offers cigars in its comfortable New Orleans Room, where blues bands perform Tuesday through Saturday. (There’s a $5 cover charge on weekend nights.) The Civil Cigar Lounge in Friendship Heights goes beyond the usual cigar bar atmosphere with flat-screen televisions and Sunday football specials, as well as comfortable leather couches and armchairs.
Don’t bother to . . . lose weight or eat healthfully
It takes a lot of willpower to keep that healthful-eating resolution beyond February, when Valentine’s Day chocolate beckons. So we’ll save you the time and effort and Weight Watchers membership dues right now: Your futile attempts at the paleo lifestyle are not going to cut it.
Human diets evolved to accommodate bread. And dairy. And, consequently, the Lil’ Petey, downtown sub shop Bub & Pop’s football-size sandwich of prosciutto, capicola, genoa salami, pepperoni, brisket, provolone, fried mozzarella sticks, fried chicken, potato chips, hoagie relish, arugula, tomato and fried eggs on a loaf of bread. If one person can eat all that, plus the potato chips and anything else that falls onto the plate, in 15 minutes or less, the $50 sandwich is free. (Three of us couldn’t even do it together.)
But when that sandwich is gone, it’s gone. That’s not the case for a number of spots around town that keep the food coming in perpetuity with all-you-can-eat deals. Richard Sandoval’s restaurants have carved out a niche in this area, with Ambar, Masa 14, El Centro, Zengo and Toro Toro all offering bottomless brunches for less than $40 a person. Toro Toro also has a $79 all-you-can-eat dinner, with unlimited small plates and meats from the rodizio grill. Too highfalutin for you? Try all-you-can-eat AND drink seats at a Washington Capitals game. The $79 “clubhouse package” gets you a mezzanine ticket plus a buffet that runs through the second intermission.
Don’t bother to . . . exercise more
While everyone else is signing up for gym memberships, embrace your inner sloth. Purchasing a “premium plus” ticket at the new iPic movie theater in North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose development means you won’t have to leave the comfort of your micro-suede reclining seat if you want food — you can place your order on a touchscreen and have it delivered.
There are plenty of cushy spots where you can park yourself for an evening when all you’d like to do is sit, sup and people-watch. Grab a seat on one of the many couches on the top floor of Dupont Circle’s Mari Vanna while you work your way through its hearty Russian menu. For a quieter scene, settle into a cozy club chair or the rounded banquette at the Empress Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental. Sip a cocktail while you enjoy the garden view.
Getting to a restaurant or movie theater, though, wastes precious calories. Conserve your energy stores by ordering in. Apps such as Caviar and OrderAhead remove all of the traditional barriers to procuring food — pesky things like looking up a menu and actually interacting with another human being. And restaurants that use the apps will appeal to all of your resolution-foregoing tastes: We got Taylor pork roll burgers from Pop’s SeaBar delivered. Other restaurants that participate with one of the aforementioned services include Taqueria Nacional, KoChix, Shake Shack, Astro Doughnuts and Fast Gourmet, so you can have the chivito you crave couriered to you.
— B.K. and M.J.
Don’t bother to . . . improve your people skills
Some people can make friends anywhere. Fifteen minutes after settling onto a bar stool, they know the names, home towns and drink preferences of the bartender and the folks around them.
But some of us don’t want to be forced into false joviality with the stranger next to us. We want to be left alone with our iPhones to fiddle with our fantasy teams or catch up on our friends’ Facebook feeds. And we want to do it without draining our phones’ temperamental batteries.
One of the better nightlife trends of 2014 — or most antisocial, depending on your point of view — featured bars opening with outlets conveniently located at tables or next to bar stools. John Andrade, who opened the beer-focused Brookland Pint in August, says his bartenders at Meridian Pint were getting tired of customers asking whether they could charge their phones behind the bar, so he made sure that his new place had USB ports in the dining room and outlets at the main bar. (Just BYO charger, okay?) There’s free WiFi, too.
At Lyman’s Tavern in Petworth, the ratio of chargers to barstools is almost 1 to 1, making it easy to hang out for a few hours while enjoying beers and baskets of free Sriracha-butter popcorn. Need to give your thumbs a break? A half-dozen pinball machines provide an opportunity to spend your hard-earned quarters. If someone tries to chat with you, tell them you’re too busy concentrating on the multiball round of Twister to talk right now.
Don’t bother to . . . improve your financial budgeting
Cutting up your credit cards? Sacrilege! Hold on to one — or, perhaps three or four — for this budget-busting weekend.
Start with the $250 tasting menu at José Andrés’s Minibar. (And be sure to take advantage of the $200 beverage pairing.)
When your meal’s over, hop into your prearranged limo for the 2
Sleep in as late as you want. Take your time, because the Tea Cellar at the nearby Park Hyatt doesn’t open until 2:30 p.m. Order a pot of the 1985 Emperor’s Masterpiece tea, which goes for $300. No, it’s not steeped with hundred dollar bills. Rather, as the menu dramatically tells you, this pu-erh variety was hand-carried out of China. Only seven kilos were produced, and you, my friend, are now a member of an exclusive club.
Don’t bother to . . . stop procrastinating
Why not wait until next year to address your procrastination problem? It’s not like it’s going anywhere! And why would it, when there are so many ways to accommodate your habit of waiting til the last minute?
Take dining, for example. It used to be that you had to get a reservation to get into Washington’s top restaurants. But then a little place called Rose’s Luxury came along, and suddenly, it became fashionable to wait in line for dinner. Did you forget an anniversary? Pretend you planned it that way all along, and if you time it right, you’ll still end up having one of the best meals in town. If you line up too late and there are no seats until 10:30 p.m. — or at all — we’ve found Urbana, Casa Luca and Perry’s to be reliably good restaurants where you can find an OpenTable reservation for 7:30 p.m. on a Friday if you search at, say, 7 p.m. that same Friday.
Theater accommodates procrastination, too. While we can’t help you score tickets to the Tony Award-winning musicals that pass through the Kennedy Center each year, there’s more to the local theater scene. On the Web site Ticketplace (www.ticketplace.org), you often can find half-price same-day tickets to shows at Theater J, Round House Theatre and even the National Symphony Orchestra (naturally, super-popular shows that are likely to sell out at full price will not make the list). Some tickets cost less than the price of a movie. Not only will you get away with procrastinating, you also will actually be rewarded for doing so. Ticketplace — D.C.’s best enabler.
Don’t bother to . . . get a better job
A little ambition is certainly a good thing. But in this job market? Think carefully. You’re better off with the predictability of a steady paycheck, especially if you’ve got experience and tenure. Having to impress a new team of co-workers with your knowledge and buckled-down work ethic? Forget that: It’s so much better to work in the kind of place where the boss won’t look twice if you slip out a little early for happy hour on Friday afternoon or if you sneak into the office a little late on Wednesday morning because you were out until the wee hours the night before.
Clarendon’s Liberty Tavern does its part to get weekends off to the best possible start, with happy hour beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday. Put that client call off until Monday to make time for half-price wine and $5 margaritas. On Wednesdays, Lou’s City Bar in Columbia Heights kicks off happy hour at 11:30 a.m., with beers selling for half-price until last call. ($3 Yuenglings and $4 Dogfish Head are worth a long “working lunch,” no?) Downtown, Mackey’s Public House hosts happy hour beginning at noon on weekdays, with $3.50 Miller Lite and Coors Light and $4.75 mixed drinks and house wines through 7 p.m.
Most people get their barhopping fix on weekends, but it’s much more fun to go out earlier in the week, when the vibe is relaxed and clubs are less crowded. Heist’s weekly Industry Tuesdays features familiar turntablists, such as DJ Phlipz, Harry Hotter and Spinser Tracy, without the lines you’d expect on a Saturday night. Malian musician Cheick Hamala Diabate, a master griot and performer of the ngoni, appears every Tuesday for a free show at Bossa in Adams Morgan, where he’s joined by a rotating cast of African musicians, singers and dancers.
If you’d rather perform, the Rock ‘n Twang Live Band Karaoke on Wednesdays at Hill Country in Penn Quarter offers some of the best entertainment in town, with audience members belting out tunes by Johnny Cash, Carrie Underwood and even the Violent Femmes, backed by a live band. It’s worth the sleep you’ll miss.