Thursday, August 12, 2010

And I asked Henry, my bartending friend, if I should bother dating unfamous men

I think I loathe the new W.

I used to like the rooftop of the Hotel Washington. The food was mediocre, but it was such a nice place to have drinks and hang out. It was friendly and low key with a beautiful view.

And now, now it's all Very Important and Extremely Annoying.

You walk towards the elevator and a beautiful skinny woman dressed in black asks where you're going and you tell her and then it is all, "Oh, do you have a reservation? No? Well, you could go up to the standing room only section."

"Uh, OK."

"The beautiful skinny woman in black - no, not her, the other beautiful skinny woman in black - will take you up in the elevator. And then you can go out onto the roof and feel inadequate."

So we did this. Three friends and I, all in cute outfits with good shoes - because it was a DATE! With each other! Because, yay! We are moms, and we go out pretty much never. Happy hour! With other people taking care of our kids! Let's try the W!

So it's not like we were under-dressed. Or like any of us are provincial.

I think it's just the W.

Although I don't remember being made to feel like I was just so lucky to be there at other Ws.

So we went to the roof. On a hot as balls day. The balls hotness I cannot blame on the W.

The irritating pretentiousness, though? Definitely.

We arrived about 5:30. Which is when we were told that we could stand. We figured it would be super crowded.

There were about 10 people up there. With a jillion empty tables and chairs, all with reserved signs on them. It wasn't like you were jostling for the standing room.

You were just, well, standing.

The bartender was nice, and he said it's that they get reserved for dinner, so they have to put the signs up early. But we could sit until someone with reservations arrived for their table.

Just at that point, though, two bar stools opened up. We took them.

I learned then and there it was better to stand. Because that way the sweat could run all the way down your legs. Rather than pooling in your butt crack.

It was that kind of hot. And I am that kind of charming.

So we decided, we're here, the view is great, we'll have one glass of wine, and then we go inside or elsewhere.

I'd have been amenable to going inside until they decided it was time to take away our stools.


The guy said, "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask for your stools."

And then he took them away! Everybody stand now!

At which point we decided it was time to head elsewhere.

I think that if I ever want to feel inadequate while I drink, I'm just going to stay home with a Vogue magazine and a bottle of wine. At least it'll be air conditioned, and nobody's taking my chair away.


  1. i hate hate hate the new W. My parents loved the old Sky Terrace at the old Hotel Washington. when they came into town recently they wanted to go back and we had a similar experience as you, and we were also getting pressured to order lots more than we wanted.

    many skinny girls in black, or foreign lanky-yet-built men in black, rearranging tables, twigs in vases, ottomans, and stools multiple times to form every increasingly smaller circles of "cool spaces for cooler people". the atmosphere was so unwelcoming and pervasively "you're not worth being here"

  2. This makes me sad. And annoyed. Seriously - they TOOK YOUR CHAIR?!??!

    This warrants a strongly-worded letter to their manager and some Important Company Official, with cc's to Tom Sietsema (who will undoubtedly pan the mediocre food) and the Going Out Gurus.


  3. Sheesh. That's ridiculous! I've had similar awful experiences at the W in Seattle.

    P.S. I'll be in DC in late October visiting family and celebrating my birthday. What are some of your favorite spots for grabbing a drink, lunch, dinner, etc? I've been to DC many times but am always looking for new places to go.

  4. That's ridiculous. And I agree with you. I can feel inadequate in much more comfortable conditions.

  5. That use to be my late-night "impress the ladies" closer spot - low-key, singular view, and pretty damn romantic. I went back as the "W" and as you said it is ruined, ruined, ruined... We made reservations for 5 and several hundred dollars later we ended up just going to the great D.C. dive Hotel Harrington for drinks... Thank god I am not single.

  6. I don't understand why the stools had to be taken away. did they make the place look unpretty or something after a certain time???

  7. Oh, Lisa, you're lucky to even know me. And I'm a sucker for your lucky, pretty face.

    Yes. I'm still here being lurky. I just wanted to let you know that you just succeeded in getting music stuck in my head, which NEVER happens to me.

  8. lustyreader - That is exactly how it is! Exactly! You are so right. Dreadful. I miss the old Hotel Washington.

    Dagny - I don't know why. It was chair-take-away time. It wasn't just us. Time for standing. I suppose so we're all the luckier to even BE there?

    Stevie - Grr. I usually like Ws, but this was so annoying!

    And I am a terrible person to ask. I barely go out anymore, and I never know anywhere new. We wound up at Ceiba last night, which I like very much - but it's not new. I like the beer selection and the food (and the fish tanks!) at the Reef and also at the Black Squirrel - both in Adams Morgan. I always love drinks at the Tabard - particularly on cold evenings. I want to have drinks on the roof of Donovan House - but I suppose the lure of a pool is much less in October.

    Restaurant Refugee would be a good one to ask.

    Lisa - Exactly. Why pay so much to feel bad about yourself?

    Tony - It was such a good date spot. And then you could walk down by the White House and monuments holding hands. The "closer spot" makes me laugh, I have to say. Does everyone have one?

  9. P - I don't know, I really don't. It wasn't remotely crowded.

    Alex - Oh, HI! Hi hi hi! I'm so happy to hear from you! Many exclamation points all around!

  10. the fuck? did you ask why they were taking away your stools? did the guy at least looked ashamed to be taking your stools? (ps: I keep thinking of the poop form of stools instead of the sitting form of stools. it's making this story even funnier. sorry.)

  11. Wow, pretentious while showing an utter lack of class - that's what W sounds like. I can't believe they took your stools. I picture an awesome scenario with you refusing to get off of your stool and being carried out by either the skinny women in black or the chic bartender - maybe even on the stool! hahaha! What'd ya think? Then you could be like the Slater guy - you know the flight attendant who took the quick way off the plane? Making a statement for all of us with cute shoes who just want to have a nice drink in a great place with friends. Whew....on a tangent there. Anyway....I'd send a letter if I were you.

    Hillary - the word stools is doing the same thing to me, haha!

    Oh ugh, how unf*kingbelievably ill mannered!

    My niece is getting married in D.C. this fall. Dozens of us will be congregating here and there during the weekend. Nobody in my family is impressed with a boring ol' snooty-tude. Thanks for the heads up, I'll spread the word.

  13. The Minneapolis W is the same. Except almost worse, because it's in the midwest and people are trying SO HARD to be cool and coastal.

    Who takes barstools? WTFingF?

  14. The taking of the bar stools has to be the worst. I hope there was a lot of but crack sweat all over them.

  15. Ok but thats bizzare taking away your seating. WTF is with that?.Not that we are a violent lot here, but if you tried that out here you be as liking to get smacked around the ear with said bar stool, or called a complete plonker and told to piss off and find your own barstool. hehe

  16. I cannot wait for them to read this online & offer you their sincerest apologies & a gift card. Of course, that would entail them being the least concerned with customer service, which they don't appear to be. Let's see if they last long...

  17. Ha! Sorry, not funny I guess but very well told! I always have an urge to let off a big ol fart in places like that. That'll show them! I have that song on the brain now. Could be worse I guess. Could be 'Old Macdonald had a Farm'

  18. Every Friday night, the hottest crowd in DC is on my front stoop with their dogs, drinking Miller Lites out of a can. I can't offer you a stool, but I can offer you a step.

  19. And we wear black, too, only it's covered in piles and piles of dog hair. Tres chic.

  20. the hells? i hate them...
    this is NOT that kind of town..

  21. I wish I could relate. Yesterday, I spent the better part of the morning in an After-hours place in the bronx (yes, it really is always 5 o'clock somewhere)with our fellow boys in blue so I don't know from rooftop gardens, reservations, etc... But they sound like a bunch a pretentious pricks & I'd sooner have a drink with hobos then that bunch!

    The Best Revenge is to start telling folks to Stay Away & communicating that to the company management. If they want Empty Seats that much, let them have it! Luckily, for all my DC peeps, there are other cool places to go!

  22. They took your stool.

    So, so wrong.

  23. 'Rude, snotty, entitled...' if I had a dollar for everytime someone came into the Ebbitt after experiencing that atmosphere at the W, I could open my OWN rooftop bar.

    I say to the W staff-- Keep it up! It's putting more money into my nice, hospitable pocket on a daily basis!

  24. hahaha last time I was there, me and some friends were standing to the end by a "reserved" table in the area where you can best take a photo in front of the monument. Two of my friends were in town visiting for a gala, and in their tuxes, and the rest of us were meeting up with them there for a drink.
    No tables for us either.
    And then... Then! Then they roped us in. No kidding we were just standing there and they started rearranging tables and such again, and they put up ropes and ROPED US IN in a fancy little corner area (where we were technically not allowed to be?)...
    Better yet, they roped 2 of our party out. One of whom was wearing a nice tux, so it wasn't for lack of fanciness.
    We took charge and let a bunch of tourists in fanny packs come in and take photos and take over the seats... just for fun.


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