Rosemary and I recently spent a few days in our capital city and explored some of the great bars and cigar shops during our visit. It is a great city for both of these pleasures. We stayed at the Mayflower Hotel and after checking into our room, we grabbed a quick lunch at the Edgar restaurant and started our day of exploring.
Casa De Montecristo 1730 L St NW Washington, DC 20036
The first stop was at Casa de Montecristo by JR Cigars just around the corner from the Mayflower at 1730 L Street NW. At least, they are there for a few months before they move to a new building about two blocks away also on L Street. They are growing and the new location will be about three times larger with a bar and expanded smoking areas that include private rooms for events and their cigar club and outdoor smoking areas when the weather permits. This location is very good. They have a huge selection of cigars and a very friendly staff and clientele that makes you feel welcome. I spent some time talking with Arthur Price who made several recommendations on cigars I had not tried before. He mentioned that they usually bring out a bottle of Bourbon on Friday nights and the patrons smoke cigars and enjoy the whiskey. I was pleased to hear that their favorite Bourbon for these occasions is Four Roses Yellow Label. I had a Montecristo and Rosemary a My Father as we sat and talked with Arthur between his duties of helping customers. This was the first of several trips here during the visit.
Jack Rose Dining Saloon 2007 18th St NW Washington, DC 20009
We spent the afternoon at the National Gallery of Art, Then off to Jack Rose Dining Saloon. We met Howie Stoops there for dinner. It had been too long since I’d gotten together with Howie so we arranged for him to meet us for dinner and drinks. Rosemary and arrived there early since she had never been there before and needed to experience sitting at the bar with a drink. I ordered an Old Fashioned made with Michter’s Sour Mash and she had a Manhattan made with a Russell’s reserve rye barrel selection from Jack Rose. She was hoping that they would have the Michter’s Barrel proof rye but they were out of all expressions of Michter’s rye and this is what the bartender suggested as a good substitute. Both cocktails were well made and very tasty. Next I ordered an Old Taylor Bottled-in-Bond from 1968 neat and shared that with her since we emptied the bottle. Howie arrived and we moved to our table for dinner. Howie had a Kentucky Peerless Rye, Rosemary had a Michter’s 10yo Bourbon and I had an Old Grand Dad Bonded. It was a great way to end our first day in Washington D.C.
Curtis Draper Tobacconist 699 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
The next day we went to the National Portrait Gallery and had lunch at the historic Old Ebbit Grill at 675 15th Street NW. They are famed for their oysters and Rosemary started with a tray of six oysters of varied types. We had Manhattans with Michter’s rye that were very well made and went well with lunch. Following lunch we went W. Curtis Draper, just across G Street from the Old Ebbit Grill. Another great cigar shop. This shop is a TAA shop and they have the Nat Sherman Pan Americana in several expressions. We each picked a different expression of the Pan Americana and settled in for a smoke. The staff once again was very friendly and knowledgeable. The other smokers were equally friendly but their smoking chairs are spread out through the store making group conversations harder. Still it was a great time and we left with some cigars we don’t find in Louisville.
We ended the day with a trip to the Round Robin Bar in the Historic Willard Hotel. This is the hotel where President Grant would go to at night to play cards in the lobby. People knew he would do this and come to the lobby to promote their causes and that is where the term “lobbyist” comes from. We each ordered a Manhattan made with Michter’s rye. By this time we had decided to get the same whiskey in the Manhattan when possible to decide who made that best Manhattan of the places we visited. This was an excellent Manhattan and we later decided it was the best that we had on the trip. In fact we each ordered a second one. The bar itself is small and well, round. This means there is not much back bar space but they still had a decent selection of whiskey. There was plenty of conversation amongst the patrons we felt welcome to join in the conversation. I highly recommend a visit this historic hotel if you are in the city.
Our third morning was spent apart as Rosemary had a commitment she had to go to so I went back to JR’s and treated myself to a Padron 1964 Anniversary series. About noon we went to Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown, 1264 Wisconsin Avenue NW. Another historic pub with booth’s named for famous people who ate there. Our booth was the Madeleine Albright booth but other booths are named for people like J.F.K and George W. Bush. There is even the booth where John Kennedy proposed to Jacqueline. The food and the Manhattans were very good. We spent the rest of the day visiting the historic sites of Washington and the day ended with dinner of burger and fries at Shake Shack. We spent the following day at George Washington’s Mount Vernon visiting with Steve Bashore, which you can read about here.
Our trip to Washington D.C. was a good one. There are plenty of other museums, bars and cigar stores on our list to visit the next time we return to the city. For those that love Bourbon and cigars, this is a city that you should visit.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller and Maggie Kimberl