Turn Up: Sign of the Whale

So it’s Fat Tuesday and I feel like I’m obligated to celebrate, despite being hundreds of miles from the Gulf Coast, where some of the better celebrations take place. Because it was already late in the evening, I couldn’t take my own advice from Celebrate Mardi Gras 2013 in Washington, DC and go to one of the day-to-night parties. But a friend had won a happy hour at Sign of the Whale the same evening, so I figured I’d join him.

What does it mean to “win” a happy hour? Good question. Sign of the Whale in Dupont Circle does these free weekly giveaways where you put your name in a pot, and if selected, you get free drinks for a night. And if you get 6 friends to come with you (or 7, this seems to vary) you get a free $50 tab for another night. Not a bad deal and I think more and more Dupont bars are picking up on this.

I’ll tell you why I really like this place. It’s your typical gastro pub, but its got tons of tables and seating, so you’re not competing for seats as much as some other bars (trust me, there’s still competition, though). There’s also an upstairs that can get pretty crowded at times, but if you’ve got a big group and you get here early enough, you can ha

ve it all to yourself. Also, one of my favorite bartenders in the city is up there. Just tell him the liquor you want and what you want it to taste like, and he’ll whip you up a cocktail that will have you back for more, frequently! Also, the “whale pails” here can’t be missed.

What is a “whale pail”, you ask? It is a bucket of mixed liquors and 50 straws. There’s 20 fluid ounces + of multi-liquid courage here, but also ton of ice

#pailed

#pailed

, so just prepare for that. I’m usually not a fan of vodka, but if it comes with my preferred rum, I won’t say no to it. (Quick tangent, but we should all do away with drinking vodka. It has never once made me feel okay that I drank it.) On a previous Tuesday night, we decided to shotgun these in a fit of “turnupedness”. It was a great night. Not such a great morning after, but a

n awesome night! I hope you come here and get “#pailed” too, as we coined it.

The food is good as well. I am a huge fan of the nachos. They put everything you need over housemade tortilla chips, even refried yummy beans. But if you decid

e to eat from the menu, I’m requiring you to order your food early before the crowd is too large and try to order from a table if you can, as opposed to the bar. The food is not

t

he

same once it gets too late. And try the mozzarella sticks and boneless wings if you’re a bar foodie like me. It’s not great for you, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t taste good going down.

The music is okay here. It gets kind of cloogy as to what kind of bar they’re trying to be, but there’s nothing wrong with musical diversity. This place is big on Holidays, so its a good choice if you have inklings to celebrate random Holidays like President’s Day or Veteran’s Day. Now, if only they could’ve gotten the Hurricane recipe right!

Score: Level 3 Turn Up

Level 1 – It’s like a retirement village in here.
Level 2 – We’ve progressed to a cocktail party with no open bar.
Level 3 – The bar is now open, but there’s only beer and wine.
Level 4 – Even going to sleep in Paris and waking up in Tokyo isn’t better than this!
Level 5 – It’s the Hangover. Part IV. In Abu Dhabi. Pour it up, pour it up.

Sign of the Whale on Urbanspoon

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Written by Marrissa P.

Marrissa P.

Marrissa moved to Paris from the US with 3 suitcases in January 2010 to study international business at the American Business School.

She is passionate about travel and is the host of a travel show webseries, Taste and See. She enjoys travel writing and can often be found borrowing books from the public library on the subject. In her spare time, she is co-authoring a graphic novel and volunteering for an international economic development organization.

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