Considering the vast range of the DC-Metro area I explore with my kids, it’s kind of funny how close to home I tend to stay on kid-free nights out with friends. That’s probably a testament to how great my neighborhood is for an evening on the town — and how infrequent those occasions seem to be these days. But I do enjoy eating, drinking, and being merry beyond my nearby haunts; sometimes it just takes an extra something to get me there.
That’s exactly what brought my friends and me to National Harbor on a recent Friday evening. The folks there invited me to enjoy a night out to share my experience with the KFDC community. And after a great a time there over the summer with the kids, I was excited to see what a visit sans children would be like. Packed with dining and entertainment options, plus located right on the water, it was bound to be a good time.
We caught an Uber taxi from DC to National Harbor, then began our evening at the Walrus Oyster & Ale House — and this was a fantastic place to start. The drinks and food were delicious, the staff extremely friendly and attentive, and the whole place had a fun, relaxed vibe. We devoured starters including oysters, deviled steak and eggs, tuna tartare, and mussels then went on to consume entire entrees of scallops, crab cakes, and lobster mac ‘n cheese. It was all accompanied by tasty cocktails and a nice bottle of wine.
After dinner, we headed to Bobby McKey’s, where a reservation was set up for us. I hadn’t been to a dueling piano bar since my early 20’s, so was interested to see if I’d find it fun now.
The verdict: So much fun! So, maybe singing drunkenly along to nostalgic tunes being played on piano by guys making lewd jokes isn’t what I’d opt to do every weekend, but on this occasion, it was a blast. Those guys are pretty talented (they know, like, every classic song!) and funny (after several drinks, anyway), plus it was fun to recall lyrics to old tunes (..he’s just a poor boy from a poor family spare him his life from this monstrosity…) and dance and let loose. We didn’t even mind what my friend Jody called the Gatorade margaritas, so you know it had to be fun.
We closed out the place along with many other dueling piano-goers, then got another Uber taxi for the ride back to Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, it was rainy that night, so we didn’t get to take advantage of the riverfront location, but a walk on the boardwalk or drinks by the water would probably be great on a nice night. No complaints from any of us, though — the food, drinks, and entertainment were thoroughly fun, and we all had the hangovers Saturday morning to prove it. :-/
Ready for a night out at National Harbor? Here are some details to help you plan:
* The Walrus Oyster and Ale House is located at 152 Waterfront Street in National Harbor. Hours are Monday – Saturday 11am – 11pm for food and the bar is open until midnight, Sunday 10 am – 10 pm (brunch served 10am to 3pm). Even though this was a grown-up night out, the restaurant is family-friendly with plenty of dishes that would appeal to kids, plus young diners are welcome to watch the oyster shucking.
* Bobby McKey’s is located at 172 Fleet Street in National Harbor. Hours are Monday – Thursday 6pm – 12am, Friday & Saturday 5pm – 2am. Be sure to check the calendar for special events or specials. (FYI: They occasionally have kids shows during the day on weekends.)
* Keep in mind you can make this a date night or an evening out with a big group.
* Read about more restaurants and entertainment at National Harbor on the website.