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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Bar Belle: Bokum Cafe

The last week of classes. For some of you bound for early graduation later this month, it’s not just the last week of the semester, but of your GW career. You all will be missed. But just because it’s the last week of the school year doesn’t mean you have to go to the same old restaurants and bars.

This week, I had the pleasure of attending both without ever venturing back into the cold D.C. air.

Bokum Caf?, a West African Restaurant in Adams Morgan, is a true find. Located right across the street from Tryst and Madams Organ, and next to The Reef, you won’t see the usual GW crowd at this bar.

It’s open at 4 p.m. for dinner every night, and if you get there early enough you won’t be carded at the door. My crew arrived for an awesome West African feast (think Caribbean/Latin American, not Ethiopian or Moroccan), complete with a $17 bottle of wine.

Midway through dinner (about 9 p.m.), the tables around us began magically disappearing and the restaurant had transformed into a standing-room only bar. The crowd here was mostly blacks and Brazilians.

By the time we stood up, an amazing reggae band had taken the small stage at the front of the bar and jammed for the rest of the night. Since the band was more than just decent, we stuck around and helped ourselves to $4 bottles of Red Stripe. Bokum also boasts Guinness, Corona, Zambezi, Heineken, Sam Adams and the usual Bud and Bud Light.

If the cool D.C. night air has you craving a more tropical place, let one of Bokum’s specialty cocktails take you away. Try the Agege Slammer, “a sweet and refreshing drink made of tropical fruit juice, rum, triple sec and grenadine.” Or, the “Mango Lane,” which is Mango juice, rum, tequila, triple sec and grenadine. Specialty drinks come in at about $8.50.

The decent prices and no cover charge (and live music every night of the week) make Bokum an especially popular destination. After 10 p.m. expect to be carded at the door, and if you plan to dance, I also recommend bringing earplugs.

The only room to groove in the bar was right in front of the band. While normally this is my true stomping ground, the acoustics for the entire bar are provided by massive speakers at the front of the bar. This means it’s really loud up front.

The feeling of the bar comes primarily from the diverse crowd and excellent beats, but the d?cor is complete with batik prints and deep red colors, which made me feel like I was very far from home. So if you want to be transported to the beaches of Mauritania, Senegal’s capital city of Dakar or the mountains of Guinea, but you just can’t afford the flight, head up 18th Street to the Bokum Caf?.

For more information about Bokum Caf? visit its Web site at

Bar Belle Rating:

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