Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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SGA Senate adds two positions to executive cabinet
By Molly St. Clair, Assistant News Editor • July 12, 2024
Officials to begin HVAC, roof repairs this weekend
By Jenna Lee, Assistant News Editor • July 12, 2024

Bar Belle: Off campus and under the sea

The Reef

Where: 2446 18th St., NW
Cover: No
Carded: Yes, by an exceptionally friendly bouncer
Happy Hour: Every day from 5 to 7 p.m. $1 off all drafts, wine, liquor
Bar bells:

Our Bar Belle roams around D.C. reviewing bars as she sees fit – if she can see straight after visiting them.

Looking to break my weekday routine, and in an attempt to avoid McFadden’s on the first Tuesday back from break, a friend and I ventured off campus to the popular weekend neighborhood, Adams Morgan. We were rewarded by discovering a local favorite bar and restaurant, The Reef.

After trudging through what was virtually an 18th Street ghost town, we found this cozy haven in the midst of other nearly empty bars. With no line or other guests at the door, the bouncer readily assured us that it would pick up later in the night.

We immediately surpassed the forlorn-looking ground level, which was jungle-themed and surely packed on weekends, and went upstairs. Even there, the population was by no means up to weekend “AdMo” standards, but it was clear the bar is a choice destination for the dozens of regulars dotting the floor.

Michelle Rattinger | Senior Photo Editor
The Reef features aquariums as its unusual bar decor.

On the second of three levels, a spacious area around a central bar featuring several fish tanks greeted us. The place deserves credit for its creative intentions, and as a closet “Finding Nemo” fanatic, drinking in the company of a real-life Dory was a delightful surprise. Tuesday is karaoke night on this level, but either we didn’t stay long enough for the fun or there were not any souls brave – or drunk – enough to sing.

Continue upstairs and you’ll find that the rooftop is the main attraction. Finding this a more open and inviting environment, we grabbed a seat at the bar next to a group of 20-somethings. With the abundance of other tables, some occupied by couples on dates, the rooftop is potentially perfect for getting to know someone better over drinks.

The three bartenders were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about the beer selection. You can taste any of the drafts before you order, but instead of choosing just one, order a mix like the Belgian Sunrise.

Michelle Rattinger | Senior Photo Editor
Fried Squid ($8) is a favorite appetizer, one, which
like most menu options, is made from organic, local ingredients.

At $8 a pint, the Belgian-style beer offers the fruity undertone of Allagash White layered on top of a denser Kasteel Framboise, a raspberry-flavored Belgian ale.

If you’re yearning for something stronger, there’s a full bar selection, and – for us – a bartender willing to mix up something tasty. She wasn’t stingy about the liquor in the juicy rum punch ($7) – one of the tastiest and strongest drinks I have ever had. By the time we happily sauntered out of the bar, my two drinks had managed, against all odds and usual standards, to give me a nice buzz.

Satisfied with great drinks and a chill vibe, I made a mental note to come back with close friends, and to check it out on weekends. Had we been there earlier, I would have been tempted also to try a dish off the organic menu, despite the high food price tags. There are movie-night Mondays, karaoke Tuesdays and trivia Wednesdays, but probably never a full crowd apart from the usual Friday and Saturday nights.

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