Downtown, The Features

Fire Under Willard & W Hotels, Evacuations, Street Closures

Huge smoke cloud in the distance in front of the Willard Hotel in DC
Photo courtesy Frank Gruber,

The fire has been extinguished, but you should expect street closures in the area around the Willard and W hotels overnight.

An underground transformer caught fire under 14th & F Streets NW, causing evacuations of the Willard Hotel, the W Hotel near the White House and Treasury Department. The Secret Service has closed 15th Street. As you might expect, power is also out in the area. Avoid it altogether if you can. Continue reading

The Features, We Love Drinks

Tea Time!

Tea Time at home
Tea time at home
by Corinne Whiting

A few years back, a loveably zany Irish friend of mine lugged tea bags with her from her Drogheda cupboards to the communal hostel kitchens of Buenos Aires, Rio, La Paz and Cusco. I’ll admit that I didn’t really get it. (“If only I had brown bread right now too,” she’d sigh dreamily, nearby mate drinkers looking on curiously as she downed cup after cup of her smuggled vice.) To say that Edel is a tea enthusiast is an understatement.

I didn’t understand her tea passion…that is, until I moved east to windswept Scotland, where a steaming cuppa is sometimes the only sure way to chase the chill from one’s bones. There I also learned to appreciate the soothing and intimate ritual of gathering with friends over a shared refreshment that requires time—time to steep, to cool, to sip, to savor, to merely pause and take it all in.

Coffee culture seems the more visible beverage addiction in most US cities (DC included), while the army of tea devotees tend to fly under the radar. But I suspect they’re out there. So where can a tea lover get a fix here? The options include spots pretentious and proper, casual and cozy, and those somewhere in between.

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Downtown, Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: Round Robin

Round Robin Bar

"Round Robin Bar" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr

Let’s say you need to get drinks with colleagues after work, or have incoming relatives or friends who aren’t particularly interested in the “real” Washington but rather want the “politico” version (and this last problem may be really relevant in a few days). I don’t think you can go wrong in those instances with the Willard Hotel’s Round Robin bar.

Even if you don’t actually see a Washington “insider,” the traditional dark wood and green walls fairly ooze influence. Beaten down leather banquettes, little pub tables, and that famous round bar in the center – all in a small nook off the side of the Willard’s opulent lobby. You even get a bowl of nuts to snack on, gratis.  

I know! – it’s like that soft cashmere sweater you reach for to make you feel cosy and cared for – it may have some unsightly moth holes, and you wouldn’t wear it out on a hot date, but you still snuggle up with it sometimes.
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