Judging Bars – Recessions

Recessions is located downstairs at 1823 L Street, NW. Recessions is one of these places that sometimes falls below people’s radar but those who know it absolutely love it. And I just learned they have karaoke. Anyone ever eat here? You can see the full menu here. Any fans in general?

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  • The Saturday night Goth night is a hilarious detour to make if you enjoy buckling over in laughter.

  • This place always reminds me of a frat house basement.

  • The food is decent given the cheap hh prices. Wouldn’t pay full price for it though.

    Friday karaoke is loads of fun though

  • Cheap beer, nice service. What’s not to like?

    Okay, there is definitely a basement vibe to it, but it’s fun. The food is better than average pub food as well.

  • I certainly don’t hang out at Recessions all the time, but I’ve found myself here with a group of friends about once a month for the last few years, king kong beers in hand. It’s loud, rowdy, cheap, unpretentious and the food is only good if you’re already hammered. And that’s what’s awesome about the place. It’s perfect for those nights when you just want to party with some friends, and have your money go a hell of a lot further than it would anywhere else in this town. It’s like a throwback to any cheap roadhouse saloon found all over the south or midwest near college campuses. And the staff are all super friendly, and the crowds are surprisingly diverse, when one would assume it would be full of frat dudes from GW.

    Also, I was there about a month ago and Wolf Blitzer was hanging out, watching people do Karaoke…very random.

    • Don’t quite agree that it is a throwback to a roadhouse saloon, but the rest of your description is pretty spot on. It’s a fun, cheap place to go to on ocassion.

    • I completely disagree that “the staff are all super friendly.” On my first and only time going to Recessions I had quiet the interaction with the Takes-His-Job-Too-Seriously Bouncer (I’m sure you have seen him: combat boots, sunglasses (both at night and inside), high-top face, black OJ-esque gloves, and green shirt buttoned all the way to the top).
      While talking with friends I set my drink down on the edge of the pool table when this guy practically came running over yelling at me to move my drink from HIS pool table and that if he had to tell me one more time that he would “physically remove me from the bar.” I apologized and said that I hadn’t seen any signs forbidding this and also informed him that this was only the first time he had told me to remove the drink from the table and his tone was therefore unnecessary. He began to argue with me that he had told me “multiple” times before which was a load of crap and began to scream at me to leave “his” club. Which I did and I have NO intention of going back.
      I completely understand the job of a bounce/club security is to maintain a safe environment and ensure that all patrons abide by the establishments rules (I have worked as an event coordinator in just about every club in DC) but this guys reaction and handling of the situation was both unnecessary and unprofessional.
      “Super friendly?” I think not. HUGE PRICKS with a hard-on for their job? I think so.

      • Why in the hell did you need a sign to tell you that you shouldn’t put drinks on a pool table? Doesn’t a rudimentary understanding of physics inform you of that?

        Handing out promotional flyers outside of a club probably doesn’t qualify you as an “event coordinator.”

        Gothic Arsenio Hall indeed takes his job seriously, but so long as you don’t do anything stupid you probably shouldn’t have an issue. Kazi and the rest of the bar staff are the friendlies bartenders I’ve ever encountered. He will remember your name years later and always have a cold kong waiting for you.

  • Great place for happy hour. Used to work right nearby and went on a regular basis. I miss that place.

  • Was just talking about this place with friends! The collective agreement “We should go here again soon.”

  • I salute Recessions for chugging along in their location and always providing a friendly atmosphere when I feel like lifting one of the heaviest glasses of beer in town. There prices have increased a bit over the years (as have everyone’s), but they are still one of the BEST happy hours in the city (price-wise). And the owners and bartenders are fantastic. It’s also the best bar to hit for any of the monthly debaucherous Dupont bar crawls (like Halloween, or NYE). They also used to have a great DJ there sometimes, on Wednesdays.

  • this place is right across the street from my office, and my co-workers and I go there for happy hours all the time. Love it! Better in the winter, though, since it’s underground.

  • Intern pick-up bar 🙂

  • Not into Recessions. It’s in a deep, deep basement and always jam-packed. If you like swilling beers with a bunch of frat boys and girls, then this place is for you.

  • This is by far one of my three favorite bars in the city. In the metro area, really. Low key, great bartenders and cheep beers, and the ambiance of your grandparent’s basement that you used to sneak beers in with your middle school friends. Also, they have photo hunt (and, theoretically, Big Buck Hunter).

    The only problem I have is that I often end up staying far too late. If that’s a problem.

    The chicken tenders are also somehow pretty much the best I’ve ever had.

    • +1. Recessions is great.

    • kiki

      “Ambiance of your grandparent’s basement.” Yup. That about sums it up.

      I love this place, it’s sort of creepy and their king kong beers are always worth the trip.

  • Does anyone remember Charing Cross, from M Street in Georgetown? What a dive but the owners were the best. If Recessions hasn’t changed hands, then the owner is Kazi formerly of the Charing Cross. He would remember your name if he was introduced to you even once. Haven’t been to Recessions in years but I would go just to hang out with Kazi and his crew.

  • If Recessions was a really drunk girl, who was slightly overweight, and a terrible dancer, I would defiantly take her home for a romping. I would of course never call her back. I would think about accepting her facebook request and for sure call her late nights walking home from the bar.

  • I LOVE this place. The staff are so nice and the wings are the best in town. Add to this cheap beer and it’s in the district and it’s as close to heaven as any subterranean, windowless cave can be. The Gyros are good as well.

  • One of the best bars I have ever been to in DC. The Staff is kind and they remember you every-time you come in there. The shady decor makes the bar that much better. Its easy to tie one on, stagger to the #42 bus to bring you back to Columbia Heights or Adams Morgan for more drinks.

  • My favorite bar in DC, hands down. Best tap beer deal in town (German Hofbräuhaus-sized mugs for
    4 bucks) and cool-retro-70’s lounge-timewarp feel, and a Buck Hunter machine. Need I say more.

  • I love Recessions on Friday nights for Karaoke. It resembles a VFW Hall that smells like propane — and I love that for some reason.

  • Imagine it’s the 1970’s and your playboy frat buddy just decided to open up a bar in his basement. That pretty much sums up the decor. But behind the velvet walls and the spartan entrance lies a bar that I have come to love. This is the closest to “Cheers” that you can get in DC, except that the owner and management are actually friendly rather than snarky a-holes. Go there a few times, make sure you say hi to Qazi, and they will treat you like one of their own.

    The happy hour specials are so cheap that you’d swear they were cutting the beer with urine (they aren’t). The chicken tenders are superior to any poultry-based meal I’ve ever had in this town, and are cheap enough that you can shove them in your mouth by the fistful. They’re the main reason I’m overweight.

    The crowd is usually diverse, so be careful bringing your friend from Ballston.

    Everyone is happy at Recessions, because there is no reason to be otherwise. Everything is cheap, everything is good, the bartenders are friendly, and nobody cares where you went to grad school.

    Anecdote: I once got really plastered at Karaoke night and, while trying to impress a girl, sprawled myself out on a pool table in the middle of her game and refused to move. Instead of kicking me out like most bars, one of the staff gently coaxed me off the pool table, sat me down, brought me a complimentary glass of water and babysat me until I was coherent enough to order more chicken tenders.

  • Recession is the ‘Cheers’ of DC. You gotta love their King Kong beers, and one of the best happy hours on the planet. It was the fist bar I fell in love with, back when they were still on K. Street NW.

    Over the years, they have aged like a fine wine. The frat boys may come and go, but the regulars are a blast to hang out with. As for the karaoke – I was never a fan until I started singing there. The audience cheers you on, and by the end of the night….its one big family!

  • Been there once.

    Recessions was one of the only places you could get a seat after the Obama inauguration. Got there and it was completely empty of staff and customers. 30-40 inauguration buddies trickled in over 20 minutes. The manager must have forgotten to lock the place, as he FREAKED when he returned to find a mass of people sitting in there.

    So low key and Cheers-y that they leave the door open for you. This is the 2nd closest bar to my workplace (first being Black Rooster–meh). It’s hard to pass up Mackeys, but I must check this place out again–esp Friday.

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