Lou’s City Bar Opens This Thursday in Columbia Heights

Back in mid-Feb. we took a very early look at Lou’s City Bar, the sports bar, coming to 1400 Irving St, NW (just west of 14th Street.) I was able to stop by on Sunday to snap some updated photos (finishing touches were still taking place.) While you’ll see a couple of soft openings this week the official opening is this Thursday. And while I’ll share lots of photos (including the menu) after the jump I just wanted to point out two very cool things:

First, every Wed. will be half priced draft beers on all drafts.

Second, there are tons of booths! I’m a huge fan.

Now that you can see the space will all the tvs and furniture – what are your initial thoughts?

More photos as well as menu after the jump.


Regular Menu:

135 Comment

  • The TVs look somewhat small for a bar whose main attraction is sports. We need the requisite jumbotron 70 inch powerhouse.

  • This looks great. The place looks like somewhere I’d like to hang out and the food sounds good and has incredibly reasonable prices for DC. I can’t wait till it opens.

  • Looking forward to March Madness and football Sundays at Lou’s!

  • Looks good – glad to see there are specials! Wednesday from 3-7 looks like it will be a good time in the neighborhood.

    The food looks reasonably priced, too, compared to the Heights, etc.

    Welcome to the neighborhood!

  • Not a very good beer lineup, based on the picture. Dogfish Head 60 Minute is the only good beer on there.

  • I agree with Jason. I was looking forward to what could be a great sports bar… but the TVs look like the one in my house, and there aren’t nearly enough of them.

  • take away the liquor license and the tv’s, and it looks astonishingly similar to the Ihop directly across the street.

  • The place LOOKS great!

    But disappointed in the beer and food menu. Nice prices, but in a neighborhood like Columbia Heights you need to diversify you beer selection to at least a few tasty options, and add more than just ONE veg option!

  • Terrible taps and it looks like a bright, bland airport bar. Pass.

    Seriously, who serves Killians in the middle of an urban hipster neighborhood in 2011?? Hilarious

    • Maybe a place that doesn’t want to appeal to certain tastes?

    • err, maybe you’re being a little optimistic to call it an “urban hipster neighborhood”? Have you SEEN the crowd at Meridian Pint on Saturday nights?

      • i have yet to see a “hipster neighborhood” in dc.

        maaaaaybe mt pleasant in the 80’s-90’s.
        but come on folks, lets be real.

  • Finally a sports bar in Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant. I hope it’s a great place and does good business.

  • The ceiling is nice, but overall it looks cold and sterile. Perhaps that will change with people actually being there, but it’s a horrible menu, I won’t be going.

    • I beg to differ – it is plain old sports bar food at very reasonable prices. You can go get your organic fusion tapas somewhere else. I’ll take a burger for under $10 and wash it down with a $3 drink special. Prices like this make me feel like I’m back in Tallahassee (although, for those prices I’d be eating at one of the more upscale sports bars…)

      • http://www.redderby.com/eats

        Hamburger & Fries ~~ $8
        with cheese: American, Cheddar, Swiss or Boursin $9
        ½ price on Monday Night

        Natty Boh $2

        • Hold the phone. You’re complaining about this new place not having adequate beer selection and you’re suggesting getting natty boh?

          As a Marylander, I applaud your selection. However, the glaring hypocrisy is far too much. I mean, Natty Boh is better than the beers on tap at this place? Since when? Let me guess, you also think PBR is “edgy”…

          • Kev got buuuurned!

          • Wrong. Cheap beer is fine. Bud Light is fine – I plan on drinking about 400 of them this summer at Nats Park. PBR is – of course – not edgy. Neither is Natty Boh or Schlitz – they’re just cheap and cold. I love having budget options at the low end of a beer list. At The Red Derby you can have a really cheap can of beer – or you can have a $6 can of Oskar Blues Ten Fiddy. Or a Wittekerke. Or a Tecate. Or a Strongbow tall boy. It’s called a range – which this new place doesn’t seem to have other than a fine variance of 90s corporate faux-beer.

            I do applaud your attempts to be contrarian.

          • And I was only answering fl’s question about getting a burger for under $10 and a beer for under $3.

          • You guys missed his point entirely. He’s NOT saying N Boh is all that.

          • No, I get the point. All bars should have a beer list that you find suitably diverse and displaying the same opinion of what makes a good beer list as you.

            I get it. I just disagree. When I go to a sports bar, I want to pound a few beers – preferably from a pitcher (maybe even a plastic cup if I’m feeling really crazy), watch some sports, and have a burger or wings (or crab cakes if I’m going to splurge). I like a wide range of beers, but I can appreciate a place that only has the generic bar beer list – that will allow me, and everyone else there, to not have to think about what beer to get – its predictable and I can focus on socializing, watching the game, and drinking.

          • Then don’t you find it a little puzzling that they don’t have a single light beer on tap? I don’t need a beer menu to be creative – I’m just wondering why this one makes no sense from a marketing standpoint.

          • I’d say Rolling Rock counts. But I agree, I’m surprised they don’t have any of the other typical “sports bar” taps like Budweiser/Bud Lite, Miller Lite, Yuengling, etc.

          • i love natty bo.

  • There are 10 beers on tap! How many do you need?

  • I think it looks great! Can’t wait to stop in.

  • I know I am a horrible, petty person for this comment, but reading that menu with all the random, inconsistent capitalization and punctuation hurts my eyes.

    • Actually, reading that menu made me fall asleep.

    • it’s not petty, it’s smart. I was thinking after looking at the logo that it’s a shame these places will hire a professional architect, but they probably either do the graphic design themselves in MS Paint or hire a cheap, crappy freelancer. design is how you present your business to your patrons, and it does matter.

      • It’s petty in the spectrum of things.

        • sure, in the spectrum of suffering in the world it is, but in the spectrum of this entire post it’s not.

          • I know just don’t get me started on Dan’s logo, or Millie and Al’s… wait did they close? Must have been the logo!

      • Well said. Thank you. Details matter. When I see those kinds of really sloppy mistakes on a menu, I wonder what their quality control is elsewhere, like the kitchen.

      • I’m a bit of a grammar nazi stickler, and the menu bugs me too. I’d expect this inconsistency at the corner papusa place where English isn’t the primary language of the menu, staff, or clientele. But surprising here. I’m entertained by the invention of the one-worded “Marketprice.”

        • And I am amused by your misspelling of “pupusa.” Seriously DC, it’s a neighborhood restaurant, not the State Department. They’re allowed to misspell things on the menu.

  • LN
    I need at least one beer that is good. There are a number of passable beers on their tap list, but nothing good. As someone above said, in that neighborhood you need an interesting beer menu.

    Based on the mediocre menu and beer list, I don’t have high hopes. It is almost as if someone stole the franchise instructions for a chain bar that is suppose to be located in the suburbs.

    I actually think the TVs are fine. I don’t think you need a massive TV because I would rather have a good view of a smaller TV then a poor view of a big one. The trick is you need lots of TVs and they look like they have done a decent job of that so everyone has a good view of a TV.

  • I would say it looks like an airport bar, but I have seriously seen airport bars with more flair and character. I will have to judge it purely by how good they do their wings.

  • there thursday!!!

  • Another ultra-sterile, conservative DC joint in CH. Reminds me of the Heights, but with even less character.

  • It looks like the lobby bar in a Holiday Inn. I was no huge fan of Commonwealth but this is not a win.

  • this will be a great place to catch a drink after a long day at bed, bath and beyond.

    • …and home depot. a pretty nice little saturday, but i don’t know if we’ll have enough time.

    • That is perhaps the funniest post I have ever seen. You hit the nail right on the head…you and whoever described this place as looking like an airport bar. This place is pretty shocking to the eye – sort of like the big box stores right across the street.

      I wish them well, but methinks they are doomed.

  • I heard the bar will have 4 rotating beers along with the ten everyday beers. Hopefully this will relieve some of the ridiculous whining. Why does every restaurant in this neighborhood need to cater to the hipster crowd?

    Looking forward to watching soccer and college basketball in CH. Finally.

    • You can already watch college basketball and soccer at both Tonic and Meridian Pint, as well as RedRocks. I’m not sure what niche this bar fills, but I hope it can execute the menu and service successfully at a lower price point than Commonwealth (which will be tricky, given how high the rents are in that location). Otherwise, why go there?

      • When does meridian pint show soccer?

        • They have a package through Direct TV–they show whatever matches are requested and then some. It’s on every weekend when I go in for brunch. Plus they showed World Cup games after they first opened. I suppose if you’d never asked, you would think that this is the only soccer-friendly bar in the area. They also tweet and post on facebook asking for requests for upcoming sports matches to be shown.

          • Every weekend? I go to brunch all the time and have never seen the TVs on. I guess I should check it out. Seems strange not to advertise if you have the soccer package, since it is a special package and bars that usually have it advertise it heavily. Thanks for informing me.

  • Agree with TheHeySay — the veggie option (not even optionS) is pretty sad. I mean, I get that it’s a sports bar so perhaps it’s not really catering to the vegetarian set, but jeez. I’m not looking for tempeh wings and tofu dogs, but would it bee too hard to have an “all burgers can be made with veggie burger” option?

  • Looks good to me. Not every bar has to have a gimmick. Nor does it have to have craft beers with quirky names.

    This is a bar, with food and beer. what is there not to like?

  • This looks great, but not nearly crappy, esoteric, or overpriced enough to be hipster-friendly. The service might even be friendly- the horror!

  • Their burger patty is already famous! Good going, considering its not even open yet!

  • Also disappointed with the tap selection. I didn’t even know they still made Killian’s. Blech.

    • Also, it is not about catering to “hipsters” with beer selection. Many, MANY people enjoy craft beer these days. They only have one – Dogfish Head. Sierra Nevada would be a stretch.

      Also, those are arguably their two best beers and very similar styles. I would love to see a porter and some other varieties thrown in there.

  • Wow, from the comments you’d think this place was like McDonald’s with beer. I think it looks fine. If you want something a little fancier go to Meridian Pint. This place looks like it’s trying for the more “casual” niche. Not every bar can be everything to everyone.

  • Yes. Very bright. Obviously b/c of set up. Sure it will be MUCH more cozy when they finally open. I will be there for the 60 Minute IPA, for sure! Hope the wings are good, too.

  • Please open early on weekends for football matches. Please?

    / sick of having to trek to Lucky or Fado just to be surrounded by loud Arsenal/Liverpool fans.

    • I think its called soccer. I mean, since you’re so intent on calling it a name that isnt native to this country, why dont you just call it chuggu? Thats what its called in Korea. Unless you’re from a country that calls it football, just call it soccer. It just sounds silly and intentionally obtuse to call it football. No one believes you’re british. But yeah, its cool that you’ve been there.

    • + 1 on the “call it soccer.” This comment confused me at first b/c I was like, “… is 1pm early?”

  • Disappointed that the only vegetarian option is a portabella sandwich, hopefully that will change with time, but I think this is a decent addition to the neighborhood.

  • This blog’s level of jackassery never fails to dissapoint me.

    A bar that’s brightly painted and doesn’t have a beer list created by monastic Belgian hermits: the horror!

    • Here’s the thing though – it’s as if they tried to create an interesting beer list but just did so poorly – completely misunderstanding the market. I’d probably be more interested if they just had cheap Bud/Bud Light/High Life than dull as dishwater Peroni/Killians/Blue Moon. It’s neither high brow nor beer snobby – it smacks of not knowing what they’re doing or giving what a couple big distributors gave them at a cut rate.

      Also, I never understand this “it’s just an average sports bar” logic. Why on earth can’t they serve interesting beers and show games? And why do places aspire to be “average” – and this is nowhere near the average for the part of NW they reside in anyway. Places like Churchkey, Big Hunt, Meridian Pint, Paradiso(s), etc serve all that high fallutin micro-beer hipster stuff and they’re packed to the gills. Ever seen a big crowd at The Green Turtle in Verizon Center unless it’s 15 minutes before Caps face-off?

      • maybe they dont care if people who want craft beers come to their bar?

      • This comment perfectly sums up what I am feeling. The tap list is just confusing. Among these beers, Sam Adams, Harps, Smithwicks, Blue Moon, Peroni, Killians, Sierra Nevada, Rolling Rock, I just don’t see any real differentiation. What I mean is I don’t think there are that many people in the world who would be really happy with a Peroni but wouldn’t be happy with a Smithwicks. I don’t think you really need more than 3 or 4 of those beers.

        That being said, MoMo’s didn’t have good beer, but I went there and really liked it for sporting events. If they run some good deals during the NCAA tournament, I will check it out. I am just concerned that they might not understand their market.

        • I love how the comment below says DC is turning into a beer savvy town, yet you are arguing that Peroni is a perfectly fine substitute for someone who likes Smithwicks. Peroni, by the way, is an Italian pale lager. Smithwicks is an Irish pale ale. COMPLETELY different beers.

          • I am not saying Peroni is a subsitute for Smithwicks, I am saying the type of person who would be really happy that a bar has Peroni likely would be happy drinking any of the beers on that list. Thus you could reduce that list of 10 beers to 3 or 4 without making anyone unhappy.

        • and Momo’s went out of business.

      • +1 Took the words outta my mouth.

        FWIW Green Turtle is pretty bad. I was about to send back the soup I got there recently (first time I’ve done that in many years), but decided it wouldn’t be worth having a conversation with a manager — just more hassle. I left it uneaten. Perfect example of lowest common denominator sports bar.

        DC is turning into a beer savy town. Restaurantuers should be mindful of that.

    • I humbly apologize on behalf of everyone here for deigning to have opinions. Our bad.

      This might be a OK bar, but I think you’d want it to be more than OK. This is an opportunity to express desired changes to make it, you know, good or awesome even. Why settle?

  • +1 Yea, yea!

    Let’s really sock it to a new small independent business. Is this how some of you feel like men? Screw you Lou. What we need here is some anonymous corporate chain like SUBWAY.

    And the logo… again? This is not a cupcakery nor a papery; it’s a sports bar. This is exactly the type of logo one would expect to see on a pint glass.

    Let’s just scrutinize all the local business logos. How could this new businessman not prioritize hiring a designer? Maybe because he prioritized hiring about 10 other people? At least he’s not selling cereal.

    The logos are soooo much better in NEW YORK.

    • SusanRH

      it’s a sports bar, people want to go have a pitcher of beer and watch games. It doesn’t have to have the best beer in the world to fulfill their mission. I would be okay if they put Miller Lite or something on the menu too, I mean we have plenty of highbrow beer options in the neighbourhood. Also, their website says they will have 24 taps, we are only seeing 10 of them here, give the bar a chance.

    • “The logos are soooo much better in NEW YORK.”

      you feeling okay, buddy?

    • Imagine if they actually had bottles of beer in the coolers behind the bars, too. How swag would that be? Only in NY is such a thing possible, though. Maybe they can charge $4 for hipster Lire bottles while lamesauce sucks down his lame $3 Peroni. Lame lame lame. Go sports. It should be a 24-hour vefan Andy Warhol exhibit.

  • Yeah, this place sucks.

    I mean, I bet I can’t even get a guy to give me a recommendation on pairing my eggplant fries and fig/prosciutto pizza with a 28% ABV original Belgian brew, never released here (Japanese import only) while watching the Giants of New York grapple with the Packers of Green Bay in an attempt to be the first side to kick an oblong ball made of pigskin through a big “H”.

  • 312 on draft. NICE!

    • Is that the phone-shaped tap? Chicago, right?
      I’ll give it a shot on your recommendation.

      • It’s pretty crappy. Some of Goose Island’s other beers are great (Bourbon County, Sofie, Dominique) but 312 tastes like Blue Moon.

  • seems like we have a bunch of successful bar owners in here with a record to prove it….oh wait, no just a bunch of jokers here to criticize a place they have never been to and not put one ounce of sweat in to opening in their neighborhood to service them….give the place a chance, it takes a lot to open a restaurant/bar..like everything else in life, there is a trial and error process that will need to happen before it hits stride..

  • WELCOME LOUS! I think this is a perfect ‘Sports Bar’ menu and as long as the burgers are good we will be there often.

  • Looks pretty nice to me.
    Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I’m not sure what all the complaining is about. There is a difference between a sports bar and a bar that has a couple of TVs where a particular sporting event may or may not be on. I don’t know of any true sports bars in DC that have an extensive, all-encompassing beer menu. (If you do, please share the name and location.) I do know of a number of bars that have extensive beer menus and happen to have a few TVs where you might be able to catch whatever game you want to watch.
    It’s a trade off. If you want your choice of 60 beers and are willing to take a chance that your favorite sporting event will be on one of the handful of TVs at Meridian Pint, go there; if you are willing to make do with a choice of 10 serviceable beers with 11 TVs, go to this place.

    • This is well stated. Also, for others above – good call on the 24 taps. That is double what we have seen, so I am sure there will be a few other craft options. I think DC Brau will be in here. I am sure there will also be some Miller Lite action as all of these beers are distributed locally by MillerCoors.

      I actually look forward to this place. If the Wings are good it will be enough for me to become a regular.

      Also, although I may be lamenting the tap choices in the photo, I am a man who always has some cans of High Life in the fridge. It goes really well with Wings and burgers. Or any time it is cold, for that matter. Just sayin’, variety is the spice of life.

    • RFD in Penn Quarter? They’re beer menu is pretty decent. (they have all of 30 taps)

  • I’m looking forward to Thursday!
    I dropped by the bar last week & chatted with the manager about the lack of veggie options. Apparently they are going to have a rotating veggie entree & veggie burger in addition to the VG sandwich.

  • I think it’s way more peculiar that they don’t have any cheap domestics on tap as a sports bar than the fact that a dogfish head product is the only microbrew.

  • crossing my fingers for great wings….

  • You guys really hurt my feelings and in spite, i’m not opening up my bar! See you in Toledo!

  • Very excited. We need more of this in Columbia Heights.

  • I hope this place isn’t overrun with out of town sports fans. It’s in DC so DC sports (Skins, Nats, Caps, Wiz, Georgetown, UMD, GW, etc.) should be have priority. I hate it when sports fans from other cities have an easier time finding places to watch their teams here in DC than in their hometowns. Also Dogfish is strong and I might drink the Harp.

    • I’m sorry, but that’s just not something the bar has any control over. If there were enough demand for a place to watch a Redskins game on TV at a bar on Sundays, then all the bars would be showing the Redskins and the out of town fans would have to stay home and get the NFL package to watch their teams. But that’s not the way things are, so the bars will show the Steelers/Ravens/Jets/Bears/Packers ore whoever else their customers actually care about.

  • A sports bar half a block from the Metro that serves Dogfish Head, Sam Adams, wings, and steamed mussels, with a $3 happy hour till 7?!?


  • They have Miller and Bud in bottles for those complaining about the lack of domestic light beers.

  • Hey All,
    I just started working as a server at Lou’s. Read some comments about the beers and lighting and wanted to clarify.
    1. We will have 16 taps, so you are only seeing half the picture in the above image. I believe 6 to 8 will be rotating so there will be some diversity. Some good additions that you can’t see there are the Goose Island 312 and the Victory Ale. Also we have a decent bottle selections (25+), that if you want good beer you will have to pause over. Includes: Magic Hat #9, Omegang Abbey Ale, Brooklyn Pennant Ale, Rouge Dead Guy…ect. Yeah some of my favorite craft beers are not there, but don’t dismiss us yet on the beer count.
    2. Lighting will be lower than in the photos, and we have added much to the decor since the photos were taken. I recommend stopping in to see what it looks like in person.
    3. The TV are in my opinion adequately sized and we have sports packs for baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, and maybe more. If you want to watch a game you will be able to do it here.
    Thats all. The managers are really into taking feedback right now- let them know about any suggestions you may have when you are there.
    Hope to see you guys Thursday!

  • This place looks like a mediocre sports bar with mediocre food. Half price beers on wednesdays, I’ll take it…Something a lot better could have gone into this space, but at least its not Panda Express! Quit complaining,

    • So you haven’t even been there yet and you’ve decided it’s “mediocre”, Dave?

      Nice. You’ll serve as Exhibit A.

      This snarkfest thread has so many asshats (see Exhibit A) I don’t even know where to begin.

      Lou’s is clearly not designed for hipster wannabes, and by the way, Columbia Heights isn’t remotely edgy anymore (see IHOP, Ruby Tuesday, and Bed, Bath & Beyond, etc.). This is a mainstream sports bar with decent prices and lots of TVs for the very mainstream CH crowd, which is what the vast majority of new residents from the last 3-4 years are. And that’s fine.

      Get over yourselves.

  • I was there last night, good atmosphere and solid beer selection. Even with the rain storm, the bar was packed. Nice job, looking forward to more beers at Lou’s.

  • I am sincerely excited about this place and can’t wait to give it a shot. Thank you, Cord, for your post … it actually made me a little less salty for having wasted so much time reading all of these nonsense, whiny posts. I guess I haven’t lived in CH long enough to have such strong opinions. I’m just happy to have a sports bar a few blocks away!

  • I was there over the weekend and had a great time? I’m looking forward to St. Patty’s day and the outside beer garden.

  • I’ve now been there twice to watch NCAA games and figured I’d share my thoughts here. On the good side: tons of well-situated TV’s and seating, sufficient beer variety / quality, reasonable price, great place to watch a game, the space is very nice, and the servers were nice.

    On the negative: the food is just terrible. We tried a variety of things, including several wing varieties, calimari, various other items, and none of it was good. The menu itself was a bit odd — how about some nachos? And who is really gonna order a steak there? I’d rather they just stick to a few affordable basics that they do really well — it shouldn’t be that hard to make great wings or great nachos or really good burgers. None of that happens at Lou’s, yet. and it makes me worry for the former Commonwealth place, which I thought had really good food, far superior to what I tried at Lou’s.

    If even just the wings were good, I would have been happy, but neither sauces nor meat was in any way appetizing. A shame …

    In sum, I hope to go to Lou’s a lot during football season, but so far, I’ve found nothing remotely appetizing there. If they improve the food, I think they will thrive, but if not, they will be in BIG trouble druing the LONG summer months between basketball and football seasons … I am keeping fingers crossed that now that that the initial rush is nearly over, they will focus on honing the menu.

  • Oh, and for an example of simple, affordable, but really solid / tasty bar food, I recommend the Union Pub by Union Station. If Lou’s just had their buffalo chicken tenders, spinach artichoke dip, steak salad, burgers, and other solid bar food like that, I would be a happy man.

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