Birthday extravaganza
March 22, 2010 4:33 PM   Subscribe

Restaurant recommendations in D.C. that are loose on IDs.

A friend is looking for restaurants that are relatively loose on carding. He/she is planning a 20th birthday party, and ages range from 20-23, which sucks for those who have not quite hit the big 2-1. Looking for a place that is fun, loud, crowded, relatively cheap for a large-ish group where carding isn't a big issue. I know, I know, this is the nation's capital and things are a little more strict, blah blah blah but they're out there.
Bonus points for near Dupont/Georgetown, although Adams Morgan and U-Street neighborhoods will do the trick.
Extra bonus points if the restaurant resembles China Wine in NYC. Or those wonderfully sketchy BYOB places with the Christmas lights on the ceiling.
posted by anonymous to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you looking for a place that will let minors in or a place that will let minors drink? One is pretty easy to find and one is illegal.
posted by youcancallmeal at 4:46 PM on March 22, 2010

Well I won't get any bonus points for this, but I have to throw out a recommendation for The Quarry House in downtown Silver Spring. It's a dirty divey dive bar with a neighborhood vibe and a huge beer list. The food is fantastic and it tends to get pretty packed Thursday-Saturday nights. Sometimes they have psychobilly/punk bands playing, but if not they have an awesome jukebox. They will card you if you order a drink, but other than that it's a great place to hang out and have some beers until 2am if you have some underagers in your group.

Lauriol Plaza in Adams Morgan-ish/Dupont-ish has a pretty crowded, loud vibe with great margs and mediocore (but affordable) tex-mex, but veers more to a yuppie sort of crowd and wouldn't fulfill your "wonderfully sketchy" requirement. Though it is one of those restaurants that may as well be a bar and doesn't card at the door, but again, they will probably card you if you order a drink.

I don't know if you're looking for places like this or places that are likely to not card your under-21 friends if they try to order booze. The latter you'll be hard pressed to find and I can't really help you, especially in Dupont/Georgetown/Adams Morgan which are hotbeds for college students. Fines in DC for serving minors are pretty insane from what I hear, so they're strict.
posted by windbox at 4:52 PM on March 22, 2010

I think if anyone were to actually answer your question with a functional answer, that restaurant would quickly tighten up.
posted by chrisbucks at 4:55 PM on March 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Seconding chrisbucks, and I'll add that carding is usually highly variable. I've been carded many times at Lauriol Plaza.

Base your choice of restaurant on one that would be fun whether or not the whole group could get OMG super trashed!
posted by sallybrown at 4:59 PM on March 22, 2010

If D.C. is anything like the college city I live in, you won't find any bars that will serve minors that aren't skeezy as hell or in an unsafe part of town. You're better off finding a place that has a bar so the older kids can drink, but allows all ages, or 18+ in. There should be plenty of places, even bars, that allow all ages or 18+ in but also serve booze to 21+.

Also, I think if you're asking about how to break the law, that's against guidelines, but your question is kind of vague.
posted by ishotjr at 5:03 PM on March 22, 2010

FWIW, my answer to this would be the Red Room at the Black Cat. There's food next door at Food for Thought, it's divey but not unsafe and they card at the door but let all ages in.
posted by youcancallmeal at 5:09 PM on March 22, 2010

I should add that I only suggested QH and Lauriol because they both have a loud, semi-rowdy fun bar atmosphere and minors will be allowed in to hang out because they are also restaurants and don't card people at the door. They are not places to try and order a drink as a minor.

Also I should mention the Black Cat as a great 18+ place especially if they're having a DJ/Dance night that evening, though don't even think about trying to cross them with fake IDs, sneaking friends drinks, etc or they will mega-ban you for life. Seriously, they don't screw around.
posted by windbox at 5:12 PM on March 22, 2010

Upton tavern is notoriously lax on id's. Not sure how restauranty it is...
posted by Hurst at 5:19 PM on March 22, 2010

I admittedly look young, but I got carded everywhere in DC and I was at least 23 or 24 at the time. And I've definitely been carded at the Black Cat and Lauriol Plaza. DC is crawling with underage college students and interns. You can certainly go to any restaurant, but don't count on getting served alcohol. Places get shut down for serving underage kids, so most bars in DC error on the side of carding everyone. A lot have those machines to test if the id is real too.

I think there might be a couple 18+ clubs.

If you are looking for a fun, semi-bar like environment (but not where the underage will get served) I would get for the Brickskellar or Lauriol Plaza. Both are also restaurants, so everyone can hang out and those that are old enough can drink, but I can pretty much guarantee both will card if you order alcohol.
posted by whoaali at 5:19 PM on March 22, 2010

Looking for a place that is fun, loud, crowded, relatively cheap for a large-ish group where carding isn't a big issue.

Someone's apartment. Why risk ruining the evening by getting half your party excluded or kicked out?
posted by ish__ at 5:22 PM on March 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

"I think if anyone were to actually answer your question with a functional answer, that restaurant would quickly tighten up."


Also, I hate to be a downer, but please don't encourage your friend to do this. Seconding the suggestion to just find an 18+ place where those who are 21+ can individually order their own drinks (and get carded at the time of ordering.) Whatever your friend does, tell them NOT to order drinks and share with minors. You could get your server fired. I've been out to places several times in the DC area and elsewhere, where someone forgets their ID (they were of legal age), and takes a sip of someone's delicious drink, and gets a damn serious warning from the server - catch it again, and we're all out of there. It might sound lame - what's a few sips? A few months or a year or until someone turns 21? And it might be lame, but it could cost someone their job, for just doing their job. I hope your friend has a fantastically fun night out, but his/her birthday doesn't supersede this.
posted by raztaj at 5:24 PM on March 22, 2010

The days of finding places to drink that won't card you in DC are pretty much long-gone, especially if you look young.

Well, even if you don't look young...I got carded at The Big Hunt on Saturday night. I turn 40 this year.

So, umm, yeah. Go with one of the all-ages suggestions above.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 6:04 PM on March 22, 2010

I went to college in DC. Parties were regularly thrown at Eat First in Chinatown (right near Legal Seafood-- can't recall the exact address. You can rent out the upper floor of the joint and I think they even supply karaoke. I was also not carded at Ghana Cafe in Adams morgan, but that may have been because I was a musician there.
posted by The White Hat at 6:24 PM on March 22, 2010

Oh yeah, this was like 2005-2008, YMMV.
posted by The White Hat at 6:24 PM on March 22, 2010

Don't be a dick. Drink at home.
posted by ged at 6:36 PM on March 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Someone's apartment.

Don't be a dick. Drink at home.

throw a party. drink all you want & let people crash there. It's safe, less expensive, no driving involved, and it's actually more fun because you can control the music, the lighting, the vibe, ect. Next year she can bar hop til her hearts content. Be the rational one who ensures everyone has a good time and throw a goshdarn party at yer place.
posted by archivist at 6:44 PM on March 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

In my long-age interning days, we got around this by having the of-age group members order a pitcher and then portioning it out amongst the wider group. This really only worked if the place was crowded and dark. Other people carried flasks. Agreed with other commenters here, though, that it's better to just throw a party at someone's place.
posted by amber_dale at 7:59 PM on March 22, 2010

This obsession with "being served" is rather pointless, and the booze doesn't taste any better for it.

Throw a party at home. And pull the blinds, just in case.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:32 PM on March 22, 2010

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