Holy Cow – Tonic and Last Exit Close in Mt. Pleasant

by Prince Of Petworth June 2, 2014 at 6:38 pm 62 Comments

3155 Mt. Pleasant St, NW

Daggers continue to fall in Mt. Pleasant. Thanks to @kkbb138 for letting us know about Tonic’s abrupt closure in Mt. Pleasant. From their facebook page:

“To our wonderful patrons:

After ten great years, Tonic of Mt Pleasant (and Last Exit) has closed.

Thank you for all your support over the years.

Please join us at Tonic at Quigley’s located at 2036 g street NW”

  • Timmy

    This is a punch in the gut.

  • CoHi Chick

    What happened? I loved this place!

  • OldHouseLover

    Um, WHAT?!

  • Anonymous

    Holy cow is right. I loved that place (Tonic) years ago.

  • Swaggy T

    Good Riddance! Serves them right for removing the Pittsburgh sandwich from their menu.

    • Bnon

      And the fried chicken – I can’t believe they never put it back on the full menu.

  • cbc

    First Adam Express and now this? Noooo.

    Trendy restaurateurs, don’t go to Union Market or H Street. You need to come HERE.

    • Anonymous

      I thought that the Adam Express closure was a false alarm.

      Unfortunately, no one seemed to ever be in Tonic or Last Exit. This was probably inevitable, albeit a big loss for a street that doesn’t really have that many great options.

        • Mt. Pleasant Matt

          Adam Express has already been leased to a new operator… The space is being cleaned right now (which it really, really needed) and it should reopen in just a few weeks… it will be run by a very skilled operator with a handful of other Asian restaurants in the area. It will have a similar (but somewhat broader menu). The new (as of yet unnamed place) will be a very nice addition to the street. As for Tonic — the restaurant is being put up for sale… a new operator will be in place very soon.

  • tj

    I live just around the corner. Hopefully something good will open up in their place. I’d like to see (and patronize) more quality places like Radius and Beau Thai.

  • Alex

    Not surprised. Overpriced for very mediocre fare and reviews.

    • AtlasCesar

      Unfortunately, I agree. During the 1.5 years I lived MtP, I only went twice. Didn’t dislike it… just never really had a reason to go there.

    • Anonymous

      Though it was way better than the other Tonic location.

    • recon::decon

      Like all of 14th street.

  • Crud. Last Exit never worked, and Tonic was a bar, not a restaurant – but it was a pretty good bar. There’s so little that’s decent on that strip (and by “decent,” I don’t mean “gentrified” – my #1 is Don Jaime’s) that it’s a big loss. It was also a solid World Cup bar in 2010.

    • vivamarx

      Marx Cafe is a super solid World Cup bar. It’s a solid bar to go see soccer in general, World Cup or not.

      • I confess, I’ve always hated that place. Perhaps irrationally.

        • Anonymous

          +1. Not sure what about it rubs me the wrong way.

          • ArtieFufkin

            You know who else Marx rubbed the wrong way…?

        • Anonymous

          I used to feel the same way but I’ve given it a second chance and like it much more than I used to. Food is okay but I stick to apps generally and the bar vibe is pretty cool.

      • Bnon

        I really wanted Last Exit to be good. In the early stages of its inception, it was well executed.

        But the last four or five times I’ve gone, it’s not lived up to what it used to be. Bartenders who ruin Negronis? Pass.

        • Anonymous

          I asked for a Bourbon Rickey last time and was asked “what in that”

      • AB

        I’ve stopped going there…I’ve gotten food poisoning there too many times. It’s fine to have a drink there but the food can’t be trusted.

  • SeventhStreet

    I used to love Tonic, then a couple years ago I heard it was turning into a sports bar – I never went back and never even thought about it again…

  • Anonymous

    My friends and I were regulars at Last Exit and liked it for the fact that on almost any given evening we could go there and practically have the place to ourselves, save for a few people sitting at the bar. We’re all sad to see our bar close so abruptly but I’ll admit that the quality of cocktails went down starting more than a year ago when some of the more knowledgeable bartenders left. I even had to tell the nice but not so skilled new bartenders where to look for the recipes of what used to be staple cocktails at the bar.

    Anyways, Last Exit will be missed. Tonic on the other hand…

    • redzuny

      Totally agree about Last Exit. Tonic’s food was meh but it was always a great place to go watch a game, and the Wednesday Trivia was always a blast.

  • Soozles

    Oh no! This was for 10 years our second kitchen. Tater tots and Patrice, the bartender. Just a nice place to hang with your neighbors and grab a beer while watching the game. Heck, we practically raised our kids here. Tonic will be missed!

  • MPinDC

    I’m sad to see them go – they’ve been a part of the community for many years. Wishing all the staff well in whatever comes next.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree wholeheartedly with your characterization of the owners of Tonic (Jeremy and Bernie) and of their landlord Greg. And, I respect the fact that you have a very different viewpoint.

    • Anonymous

      The recent changes (higher prices, less options, and table clothes to name a few) are not what the neighborhood wants. We don’t want fancier, we want to feel welcome, relaxed, and familiar. Tonic is a great neighborhood bar to hang out in and get a quality meal and a nice beer at a good price. Trivia night was our favorite.

      • MtPer

        Actually, I would like at least one fancier option. It would be nice to not have to leave the neighborhood for a date night that does not include thai food. But, yes, some decent casual spots are also sorely needed.

        • Dnagirl

          YES. another beau thai-like place (sushi, italian, bistro maybe?!) would be fantastic.

      • Anonymous

        Please don’t presume you speak for what “the neighborhood” wants — you don’t.

        • Anonymous

          Meant as reply to Anonymous @8:41 am

  • Torrey

    Good riddance. I used to work at the foggy bottom location, and their food handling practices were foul. Lots of it was frozen (especially the tots – they were Oreida!) decent bar, but way overpriced.

    I’m sure something betters gonna pop up here!

    • Anonymous

      Whaaaa1?! You mean the tater tots weren’t handmade fresh each day? Those bastards. Serves them right!

      • Soozles

        Oreida are the best!

  • Paul Tagliabue

    I went to Tonic over 30-40 times for the ease of location and would watch Redskins games here. I went every Thursday for the late night happy hour to get some cheap (not that great) eats. The past few years the food has gone downhill and the prices up. Recently new investors bought into the business and that is why there were less TV’s upstairs, white tablecloths, and pricey food (they really seemed to have no idea what they were doing) This was a sports bar and should have stayed that way. I wouldn’t be surprised if the newer investors (this was a couple/few months ago) are just revamping everything into a different business.

  • Anonymous

    But they had the best happy. Where else can you get a great burger, tots, and 2 draft beers for under $20?

    I can’t believe it. Hopefully its just a change of ownership as someone hinted.

    • Scion, for one.

      • Also, Black Jack.

        • recon::decon

          if I never have to go to Black Jack again it will be too soon. F that place.

        • Anonymous

          No no no no no. Scion has half-priced burgers on Tuesday only and their beers are $4-5 even at happy hour prices (and that’s not even a full pint). Black Jack pretty much the same story. Most nights at either place two beers and a burger would run you $30-40 including tip.

          Tonic you get two pints of Bell’s Two-Hearted and a decent burger (with tots!) and you are out the door for $18 including a 25% tip. It was a great deal.

          • Black Jack has a HH burger for $7 and their drafts are $3 during HH. If you’re spending $40 you’re doing it wrong.

    • Also The Heights.

      • Anonymous

        Also changed for the worse less than a year ago

        • Rich

          You can’t expect much from an Eatwell.

  • LivingonMtP

    Tonic was fabulous for the first five years of their existence. the last five, sadly, their food went steadily downhill. i figured they only made it because people liked to continue to go there and drink.

  • eatonlongjohns

    When Tonic found me, I needed it the most. In life it is rarely wise to drink your sorrows away but sometimes that is what life dials up for us and boy did Tonic ever deliver. Jameson on the rocks please! Thank you. Half price burgers for happy hour, tots, Tuesday night 50 cent tacos, Friday raffle… sign me up. I laughed there, I sighed there but never did I cry in despair there. Tonic was, for me, a safe haven. A place where you could drink until your heart’s content. I stumbled inside of Tonic on a cold rainy evening seven year ago. It was a cute waitress that caught my eye but it was the Jameson that kept me coming back, well that and Patrice as well as all of the other folks I met while enjoying the place I called my second home.

    You will be missed. All of you.

  • brookland_rez

    I’ve never quite understood why that strip in Mt Pleasant doesn’t develop more. On both sides you have houses pushing $1 million. Sure there’s also a large number of apartments. But it seems like that area’s income supports better establishments in the neighborhood. I have a good friend that lives in Mt Pleasant. He has said there’s a lot of NIMBY’s there that oppose new commercial development. Is this true?

    • Anonymous

      Not true. The tide is turning and commercial development is now welcome. People do have a prefernce for “neighborhood” vice “destination” places.

    • Anon

      I don’t know if a lot is the right term, but there are a few (historically in the Neighborhood Association and the ANC) who have been incredibly vocal — often against the wishes of the residents. In fact, there was a graduate thesis not too long ago that found that ANC 1D was particularly dismissive of residents’ input. I don’t know what the makeup of the ANC is these days, though. I do know that the live music ban is gone.

    • Anonymous

      NIMBYs. They have fought hard to keep development out of Mt.P, which is why it will likely always severely lack in the nightlight/dining department.

      • Anonymous Inglesider

        Your information is pretty outdated. The ANC has changed to where the biggest opposition is no longer serving on it, and the source of the neighborhood opposition hasn’t lived in MtP in 6 or 7 years. Most MtP residents welcome new business, as Beau Thai, Flying Fish, Each Peach, etc. can probably attest. In my opinion, the source of resistance comes from the longtime building owners, who own their buildings free & clear and and don’t really care about being competitive with rents — their big paydays is when they sell, not when they rent.

        • Anonymous

          And it would hurt their sales price if the neighborhood were more awesomer?

          • Anonymous Inglesider

            Well, they’ve shown — repeatedly — they don’t really care about how awesome the neighborhood is. Not when they keep renting to dry cleaners, nail spas, etc. after the residents have been pretty vocal about what kind of businesses they’d love the opportunity to support. And it ain’t another nail salon, I can tell you that.

  • TropicBird

    Lots of good memories from Mt. P Tonic and Bar Below, had a few friends fall in love hanging out there, anybody remember the spaghetti bolognese? Actually I have some good memories from the Tonic in Foggy Bottom as well. It’s not the venue, it’s the company.

  • MtP Gal

    No. Nooooooooooo!

  • Stavros

    Too bad, I have good memories of Tonic, happy hour mostly. Went all the time when I lived in Mt. P, but never once after I moved. Decent food, decent beers, decent prices, decent hang: when you live around the corner that’s all you really need out of a place. Was particularly well-served by the smoking ban, that place used to be a cigarette nightmare.

  • anonymous

    I wish Last Exit was staying but Tonic was awful; bad food, bad mixed drinks, and lousy service. Good riddance.


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