Thanks to the foodie revolution, DC denizens now have the option to frequent a “cocktail parlour.” Wisdom would never have been able to get away with that extra “u” only a few years ago.
But they do, and I’m happy to allow for that and much more. But there’s nothing to gripe about at Wisdom. Rather, the entire experience (except perhaps paying the check) is thoroughly delightful and exotic.
Southeast of Eastern Market on Pennsylvania, Wisdom abuts the Potomac Ave metro station. Walking past a few sports bars and paint stores, you might think you got your directions wrong. Then you see the neon “Lounge” sign and walk in.
The interior is what a chic European dungeon must feel like: mysterious and secure. There are overstuffed antique couches to sink into, as well as alcoves set into the wall. Draw the curtains if you dare.
The cocktails are the main attraction of course. The drink menu is respectful in the way people can be when they know they’re right and just don’t care what anyone else says. The Manhattan is a “respectful evolution” of the classic, while the Sazerac is perfection itself, “no offence, Mr. Peychaud, but I prefer our version.” My all time favorite cocktail is found here, the Captain Jack (Green) Sparrow, made with absinthe and coconut rum. Normally, I wouldn’t go for something so possibly terrible, but here, all doubts vanish in the face of masterful mixing.
If you are interested in improving your hand at making cocktails, Wisdom offers classes in a specific drink in upcoming weeks. February 22 features a rickey and collins class at Wisdom as well as at sister bar Church and State on H Street. If you only have eyes for martinis, wait until March 8 and Church and State or until March 15 at both. Classes start at 7:30 and run $30-35.
Or just go in and sit for a spell. There’s something for everyone; Wisdom offers outstanding beer and wine selections. Food is served in small plates and designed by the Argonaut on H Street.And don’t forget, this place has Milky Way-infused vodka. They’re serious. And delicious!