I have been defending the right of DC residents to live, work and play over the border in Maryland for some time now. Discriminating based solely on location seems so petty. Yes, petty! If we want to explore new things, we must look in new places, yes? Yes! That is all I will say, but the next time I hear “oh, that’s not in DC?“, with the rising tone on DC pitched in incredulous judgement, I have an eyebrow raise for you.
Now that we have that out of the way, I can share with you the news that I have finally been to Jackie’s Sidebar in Silver Spring, and that it is just as amazing as all the reviews have made it out to be. In another post, I referenced the new “slow drink” movement as a place where the drinks are more important than you are. This can mean that you wait a little longer for your drink to be served up in a perfectly chilled martini glass or set aflame, but you, who are there for the drinks yourself, are happy to wait.
As you do, soak up the decor as it continues your transformation from DC-hustle-bustle to Silver Spring neighborhood haunt. The long and narrow space is broken up into spaces: pool table, seating, standing. I suppose I didn’t realize how pretentious other bars are until I compared them with Sidebar. The people flitting around the bar seem to know each other, but in a way that invites newcomers. The range of ages was also striking. It would be very difficult to feel out of place at Sidebar, no matter how misunderstood you are.
But the drinks are the main attraction. I was unaware that my Sazerac (rye, sugar, bitters and absinthe) was poured by Gordon Banks himself, he of the cap and vest combo, the mixologist extraordinaire, beverage director of the original yet classic menu at Sidebar. Other fan favorites are the Tricia On Her Knees (lavender infused gin, raw blue agave nectar, fresh lemon juice) and the Blood and Guts (Scotch, ginger liqueur, sweet vermouth, and fresh orange juice–a twist on the 20’s classic Blood and Soda). There are bubbly cocktails and classics as well as the imaginative swigs of perfection from Banks. All the drinks hover around $10, making you feel smart and classy all at once.
Sidebar is a 10 minute walk from the Silver Spring Metro, at Sligo and Georgia.
Update: WaPo‘s sad use of media to try to follow up my ringing endorsement of Gordon Bank’s genius at Sidebar: See Slide 5 and 6.