Why I Love DC: Paul

Oh DC, how I’ve loved keeping you my little secret. But unfortunately, it couldn’t last. The odd weekend rendezvous was fun, but it’s time to get serious. It’s no secret anymore, I do love you. For a long time DC was my secret little weekend getaway. Hop on a train, bus, plane, anything to get me away from sleepy Rhode Island for a few days. Of course, there was a girl too. That didn’t last but I fell in love with DC, at least. Or more specifically, the drinks.

I’ve always been fascinated with spirits and cocktails. The culture, the camaraderie, the artistry, I’m completely intoxicated with it. Cocktails are the language that I speak and I learned to speak it in DC. We have an incredibly talented food scene in Providence and I’ll fiercely defend my home turf to the end, but I’ve got to hand it to DC, it’s my favorite place to get a drink in this country. No surprise really, The Gibson was the first cocktail bar I had ever been to. I would’ve sold my soul after a few bitter slings under that sultry low light. No surprise then that after that night my top priority was to move to DC and tend bar.

The rest is a short story. Tidy up a few tiny details: finish college, say goodbye to all my friends, family, and beloved co workers, jaunt around Europe a bit, try to make a name for myself on the competition circuit, and then it was straight to DC. And oh my, that’s when things got interesting.

In the short, short (emphasis on short!) time I’ve been here, I am in awe of how quickly this city has opened up to me and how eagerly I’ve let it swallow me whole. I went from dreaming of working in the city to actually getting to work with some of the most experienced and talented people in Industry. Including a former manager of–you guessed it–The Gibson. Now, every night I get to live out my wildest fantasies, mixing up drinks from the deepest, most personal parts of my imagination. Not to mention being the center of the party every night (everybody loves the guy with the booze, am I right?).

But it’s not all about drinks. Even to an unapologetic boozehound like me, there’s more to DC than that. I love that strangers say hello to me as we pass on the sidewalk; that would never happen in New England (we’re a sour bunch, but we’re good people). I love that even though the US capitol is visible from just around the corner of my house, I still live in a “quiet” part of town. I love the small town feel that cushions the weight of an international city. DC is a weird, wild, funky place. As much as I love it, I don’t think I understand it one bit. And that makes me love it just a bit more.

All We Love DC authors share their experiences of the city in our Why I Love DC features.

Paul Allen

While having only recently relocated to DC, Paul has been a long time fan of DC’s cocktail culture. In his short career he has tended bar for GQ, Bombay Sapphire, Campari, and Nikka Whisky in London. Currently you can find him behind the stick at Firefly. When not working, he’s likely vociferously advocating for the DC Craft Bartender’s Guild or trying to brew the perfect cup of tea. Though he misses his native Rhode Island’s beaches and beautiful fall weather, Paul is proud to live, work, and–most importantly–drink in DC.


Comments are closed.