The first time I went into Solly’s I had a couple of beers and the bartender asked me if I’d like a glass of Power’s Irish Whiskey. At that moment I knew I had found a new bar to add to my favorites. Solly’s is also one of the few bars in town where there are zero pretensions. It is a true neighborhood bar. It resides in a very popular neighborhood at the corner of 11th and U. Last Friday I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Solly’s namesake – John “Solly” Solomon.
Solly, 39, can look quite intimidating at first glance but when you sit down and talk with him he could not be nicer. He grew up in Colorado but has lived in DC for 21 years. He moved to the U Street area 10 years ago and lives right around the corner from his tavern. It is amazing what we take for granted in this particular area – Solly remarked how monumental it was when the 7 Eleven opened up on U Street. When I walk by the 7 Eleven today I find it hard to believe that it hasn’t always been there.
Prior to opening up the bar Solly worked at the Old Dominion Brewing Company in Ashburn where he did almost everything “from brewing beer to being the general manager of the brew pub.” He was able to snag this great spot at 11th and U when the previous owner of U-Turn was looking to move back to Ethiopia. Solly was able to purchase the business which already had a tavern license. Solly describes his bar as “a neighborhood bar, a place where anyone would feel comfortable.” While there are tvs around the bar to watch sporting events there are intentionally only two downstairs so they don’t overwhelm conversation. Continues after the jump.
I asked Solly when he decided to get the popular video game Big Buck Hunter. He told me that he and a few buddies used to go to another bar every Tuesday until one night they drank 52 highlifes and realized it may be more economical if he got the game for his own establishment. I can attest, it is a very addictive game! For those new to the area I should mention that Solly’s Tavern has been around since October 2006.
In addition to Big Buck Hunter, Solly’s features costume karaoke the second and fourth Wed. of every month and trivia the first and third Wed. of every month. While they have cut back on the live music you can still catch some shows on some Thursdays and Sundays.
You’ll also notice some rugby paraphernalia around the bar. John has been affiliated with the Washington Irish Rugby Club for 21 years and is currently an assistant coach and sponsor.
You’ll also spot a phenomenal painting of Elvis.
I asked Solly what were his future plans. He responded, “What I’d really like is for my wife and I to retire with this place, we also have no intention of moving out of our house (around the corner), the location is so awesome.”
I couldn’t agree more. And the location is even more awesome with the addition of this great neighborhood bar.