- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2005

If all you want to do some evening is sit down and unwind, there are plenty of places to do just that in the District, from cutting-edge martini bars to down-home watering holes, with or without music.

One bright spot, metaphorically at least, is the Chi-Cha Lounge in the District’s up-and-coming U Street corridor. At the Chi-Cha Lounge, overstuffed couches vie with the long bar as the place to end a day. Patrons enjoy Latin bites and may venture to taste chi-cha, the lounge’s signature drink, made with a mysterious blend of alcohol and tropical fruits. There’s music four nights a week for the mix of locals, regulars and out-of-towners. (1624 U St. NW, 202/234-8400)

Over on Capitol Hill, Tapatinis, a nouveau martini bar, has staked out a place along Barracks Row, a diverse strip of nightspots and eateries next to the Marine Barracks on Eighth Street. Owner Jordan Cappolla offers a parade of more than 20 martinis, including Starbucks coffee and watermelon varieties along with the classic vodka or gin. And there are plenty of tapas — Spanish-style appetizers — to go along with the drinks. (711 Eighth St. SE, 202/546-8272)

If you’re looking for the more mundane, like a beer, look no further than the Brickskeller, a Dupont Circle institution. Of course, in the nation’s capital, even the mundane can become exotic. The Brickskeller features beer from around the world at reasonable prices. It even has earned a mention in the Guinness World Records book for holding the record for the most varieties of commercially available beers. (1523 22nd St. NW, 202/293-1885)

Looking for a band? Check out the 9:30 Club. It’s been home to some of the more alternative music staples for more than 20 years, including Erasure and the Cowboy Junkies. (815 V St. NW, 202/393-0930)

If the blues is more your speed, Madam’s Organ, in the eclectic Adams Morgan neighborhood, offers a mix of acoustic and electric performers. (2461 18th St. NW, 202/667-5370)

Folkies can find a home at Ireland’s Four Provinces. (3412 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202/244-0860)

Feeling romantic? Then try a carriage ride. Carriages of the Capitol will take you along downtown D.C.’s darkened streets. (301/407-0007, https:// carriagesofthecapital.com)

Want to see the city at its best? Try the top of the Hotel Washington. The Sky Terrace has been drawing visitors and locals alike for decades. Light food and cocktails are available, but the real star is the breathtaking view of the town. (15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, 202/638-1594)

Want to forget where you are? Try a Nationals game. Unlike Camden Yards or Fenway Park, the RFK roofline doesn’t allow baseball fans to see over it to the city beyond. The District’s baseball fans are so new to the game that they are excited and well-behaved. Most are just plain friendly. In fact, they’re as likely to cheer on the efforts of the grounds crew as lustily as they do the exploits of Brad Wilkerson or Jose Guillen. (2400 E. Capitol St. SE, https://washington.nationals.mlb.com)

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