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Froggy Bottom Pub

Submitted by on February 28, 2010 – 12:52 PMOne Comment
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2142 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC

Hours of Operation: Mon. – Fri. 7:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Sat. 5:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Best time to visit: Any night

Prepare to take a step back into collegiate life. Although detached from any actual campus, the Froggy Bottom Pub feels like a renovated dorm-basement bar. Whether that is a good or a bad thing is strictly subjective.
Named for the Foggy Bottom section of DC in which it resides, this odd little place is conspicuous on massive Pennsylvania Avenue. Inside, the feeling is of, if not a college campus, then at least a small side street.
Upstairs they serve all manner of food: pizza, pasta, steak, salad, sandwiches, and appetizers galore. It’s a fine place to sit and stuff yourself, and the beer comes by the pint glass. But it feels like a restaurant – not a pub.
Downstairs offers the bar/poolroom experience – but, alas, the beer is served in plastic cups. The staff will grab real glasses from upstairs on request, although there isn’t all that much to fill them with. The usual suspects from the big brewers, plus Yuengling. There is also the “Froggy Bottom Pub Lager,” which is surprisingly good – a little darker than the Yuengling, and not lacking in flavor. (It is, in fact, also the product of a major brewery. Ignore this fact – play the game and call it the House Brew, and you’ll enjoy it.)
The rec-room area fills up as the evening presses on, with young people (are they students, or interns?) seizing booths and lining up for pool. The pool table takes a fair chunk of the space, but only late and on weekends, when the crowds swell, does this become inconvenient.
It’s a patient, sociable crowd, usually groups of friends meeting up after class or work. Representatives flock around the bar and receive the sacrament for their respective tables in a small sea of semi-chaos, as if the beer were about to run out. Whoever’s behind the bar is likely to be extremely agreeable, even while multi-tasking like a mother squid.
“Happy hour” specials last all night long. They vary night by night, but cheap pitchers or (plastic) pints fly out from behind the bar at an alarming rate. Froggy fans don’t seem to view the place as a great bar or restaurant – nor a bad one. It is more an experience, an attitude, a sort of throwback to stealthy underage drinking parties, revisited now without the need for fake IDs.

On that level, one can forgive the limited selection and the plastic cups – particularly since the pizza’s so good. Looking for a great bar or a fancy spot for dinner, Froggy Bottom will likely disappoint. Looking for some good chow and basement-chic, you may learn to love it.

Pros: Collegiate atmosphere; good food

Cons: Collegiate atmosphere; limited selection; plastic cups

Rating: 2.5 out of 5