The first time I went to the Red Derby (at 14th and Spring in Columbia Heights), I walked past it a few times before realizing that the place has no name out front, just a red derby outline painted over the door.
This was my first clue that Red Derby does things a little differently. For instance, they only take cash. They only serve beer in cans. The staff is not really your server, rather they are your friends who grab you a beer on their way back past the table.
In the popular nook next to the bar, you can usually find a movie projected silently. My favorites have been Harold and Maude and some Elvis musical. Nothing like some gyrating hips to put you in the mood for a shot and a beer for $5.
There are board games like Apples to Apples and Jenga. Depending on how long you’ve been there, you may choose to participate in dirty Jenga, which means following the instructions written on the Jenga blocks.
The best day at the Red Derby is Monday. Firstly, Mondays generally suck and it’s nice to have something to look forward to after work. Secondly, that something is half-priced burgers and margaritas–joy! The array of beer is impressive and the only in cans thing is fun. I’ve seen people go into raptures after finding a foreign beer on the menu for under $6.
There are many other specials–all the more reason to come back again and again!
Four and a half stars.