Were you one of those kids that had to be dragged away from the skeeball machine at Chuck E. Cheese so that "other kids can have a turn too"? If yes, and if you're missing out on those little wooden balls and that catchy tune the machine plays once you insert your quarters, might I suggest you check out Rocket Bar.
Rocket Bar is more like a kid's dream basement with booze than a classy upscale establishment. It is dark, it smells kind of funny, and your feet are pretty much guaranteed to stick to the floor. This is a good place to wear your commuter shoes because you might not be so thrilled when you return home with an unidentifiable sticky substance all over your new Pradas. As the kids (and my dad) like to quip, "I'm just saying..."
They don't serve food but you can bring in your own or order California Tortilla from a window at the bar. If you're going to go with the chain Mexican food option, do yourself a favor and grab Chipotle from across the street instead.
If you don't want to drop 50 cents to play on one of the two skeeball machines, then you can play pool or shuffleboard or darts. My mom always told me never to trust a person who doesn't like skeeball, so this might be a good test for your date.
Because skeeball is so awesome, it has been popping up at other DC establishments such as H Street Country Club and Iron Horse Tap Room. I've yet to test drive the lanes there but I'm interested to see how the vibe compares to Rocket Bar.
Some days you just don't want to do fancy and Rocket Bar is there for you on those days.
Second Thoughts from B
Have you noticed that J likes skeeball? She's like a moth to a flame, if moths paid for their attraction with quarters.
But for those of you who may not share J's obsession, Rocket Bar may still have something to offer. Whether you go there for any of the other table games or just for the beer, the vibe is the same. This is a relaxed, fun-loving crowd looking to unwind, which is a nice change from many of the DC happy hours that require an inch-thick stack of business cards for networking. Clearly, J and I would rather be - as much as our jobs allow - the kind of people with pockets full of quarters instead... game on!