Judging Restaurants/Bars – Zeba (reader request)

“Dear PoP,

I stopped by last night and have got to say I was shocked. Outdoor patio. Downstairs basement bar with TVs (great neighborhood bar feel). Small dance floor on the second floor (something Columbia Heights has been lacking) and a big deck with another bar on the upper level.

I highly recommend you swing by (a great happy hour from 4-8… try the cucumber and basil margarita).”

Zeba opened up at 3423 14th St, NW in late June. Their Web site says:

“Featuring four separate areas – a front patio, a main bar, a dancefloor, and an outdoor deck – Zeba is a perfect place for a happy hour or late-night dancing to the hottest DJs.

Our cocktails are crafted with fresh fruit and house-blended purees and juices. On tap we feature a wide selection of microbrews that will satisfy the most demanding connoisseur. The drinks are complemented by our food menu which is simple but has already gained recognition among the patrons. Chicken kabob is marinated in our special blend of spices and is the best in Columbia Heights. Our pizza is made from scratch using only the freshest ingredients with a wide variety of toppings.

As our weekly events we feature FAB TUESDAYS with HANDEHOCH at the decks and exclusive drink specials, and Serbian Sundays when the hottest people in DC come and get ready for the busy week ahead.”

You can see their menus here.

Any other fans?

34 Comment

  • Agreed. This place is a solid addition to the neighborhood A pleasant place to gather a group that has good (and reasonably priced) food and drink. A commendable job of walking the “quality without being pretentious” line… it’s one that many others haven’t quite figured out.

  • Can’t wait to check it out! I walk by every day and their drink specials always look like they are great. (step above the Getaway for sure, no offense)

  • Serbian Sundays are so much better than Somalian Sundays.

  • For those that have been, what would the vibe be like if I took my 4 year old there to grab some food early in the evening – say 6:30. Doable or totally inappropriate?

    • Totally doable. As long as it’s early enough, there’s no reason why you can’t take your kid. The vibe is laid back and I’m sure the owners could use the business.

    • Definitely doable. It’s quiet and laid back post-work… I’d head upstairs to the deck for a nice spot for food with the little guy (or girl).

  • Boring menu, B- on the taps. Looks like more of a place for 20-somethings to get loaded than for the rest of us to eat. I’ll pass.

    • I’m a 20-something and I’ll take it!

    • Totally agreed, the menu is boring.

      Fortunately, I judge my menus by how the food tastes, not by how interesting a read it is. The food is good… I’d be interested to know if you actually tried the food or just read online and started hating.

      As for the B- on the taps, they are a neighborhood bar that has 6 non-crap beers on tap… the Lagunitas, Bells and Allagash being three outstanding choices. If you want more selection, head to Meridian Pint for great beers, but not much of a “neighborhood bar” feel. I’d rather drink very good beers on a deck outside than great beers in a basement.

      It would also be nice to hear some expansion on the “looks like more of a place for 20-somethings to get loaded.” The two times I’ve been there it’s been a mix of post work groups and families. So far no signs of people getting “loaded,” but I haven’t been there late night on a Friday or Saturday.

    • @KenyonDweller: you sound like a lot of fun.

    • That’s a very solid small beer draft list

  • This place is becoming one of my fav. local spots. The pizza is awesome, and the food at Serbian sunday was very good. The bartenders are really friendly, and the space is conducive to meeting some of your neighbors. I am a fan.

    I’d say that its an ok spot to bring your 4 year old. The place has a very laid back vibe and is not full of roudy drinkers.

  • “Join us every Sunday, when we discuss how much we loathe Bosniaks.”

  • Bells and Alagash on tap sounds good to me. Which Bells and which Alagash?

  • Oh wow, I must go check it out.

    I hope they add some greenery out there. It would make it more inviting.

  • I stopped here a few weeks ago for some late night drinks and was pretty impressed. it’s four very distinct spots in one bar! you’ve got a sidewalk cafe, a dive bar, a sweaty dance floor, and an enclosed patio out back, all fairly separate from each other.

    and they dc brau + jameson for $6 all night long (on a saturday night!). cannot beat that, I’ll be back.

  • Love this place — great for happy hour — good pizza for half price, good beer and drink selection. Hits all the right spots for a good neighborhood bar.

  • Went with a friend a few weekends ago, and it was awesome. Pizza was great, pineapple mojitos on special, and the waitress gave us free tastings of all the beers on tap (unprompted). It was mostly empty, though, for the 3ish hours we were in there. I know it’s still early, but I’m kinda concerned. I spoke with the bartender about how to distinguish themselves in the community, and I suggested a $5 open bar night with dancing, a la DC9’s Friday night Liberation Dance party. I hope they run with it.

  • They have a great happy hour, and i loved our waitress. She was so friendly and made sure we knew all the happy hour deals, which had some delicious mixed drinks for $4-$5!! cannot beat that. it was pretty empty when i went (3 weeks after opening), i hope business picks up it would be a shame for a good spot like this to go to waste

  • I checked it out opening week and wasn’t impressed with the service… I’m definitely going back though to see if they’ve straightened out their opening jitters. It’s a nice looking space, but if I want pizza, I’ll hit Red Rocks.

    Since someone brought up the Getaway, I’d pick that place over Zeba. Getaway’s service is great, but the food is pretty weak.

  • It has great space to gather folks for happy hour, which runs until 8 with some pretty good deals. I like the treehouse-style upstairs back bar especially.

  • The chicken kabob was stellar. Well worth the $12.

  • Bear

    Ate there a couple weeks ago and sat in the main bar area b/c it was raining out. Food was good, but the vibe inside was a little odd. It was empty–maybe 3 other customers in the whole place, and they were playing club music really loud at like 7 PM. It made it a little hard to just have a chill meal with a couple drinks. I will try again when the patio is open in hopes that it will be a little more laid back.

  • I’m a thirty-something and I’ll be there tonight to give it a try. Maybe chicken kabob?
    Will KenyonDweller be there?

  • I am happy to see a new local business that people like. As to how to attract more people, (1) they need to work on the atmosphere inside. Right now the vibe is, well, kind of a blank — not much of anything in the way of decor, theme, anything of visual interest, I mean, you can be low key / cheap and still be interesting and have an enjoyable atmosphere (see The Raven or Red Derby or former Hitching Post), this place is kind of the suburban office park of bars right now (a problem shared with The Getaway) and (2) promotion. It is not all that visible / prominent and I fear not many people have any idea it is there. Need to be a little more creative / aggressive with Facebook and online presence, making a name for themselves, etc. I hope they will build on a good foundation and make themselves more of a destination.

  • This is my favourite local bar. The owner, manager, and bartenders are incredibly friendly and always open to suggestions on improvement for the bar. The happy hour specials are fantastic, as the drinks are strong and still cheap ($4!). They’ll be starting a brunch menu on Sundays in September, and look for a bunch of exciting new drinks that they’ve tested on us regulars (I recommend the Celery Sour – unique and delicious!)
    The location and the space are both fantastic. The crowd is full of age variety – I’m 24 but ran into my mid-30s neighbours here.

Comments are closed.