You know that feeling you get when you think you know someone, then they do something completely inappropriate and unthinkable? They kick a kitten or steal your favorite T-shirt and say it’s theirs? You know?
That’s the way I feel about Toyland. I was recently there, hoping beyond hope that some shimmer of the Toyland of last year would shine through the terrible changes that have come down since January. Please, I said to myself, don’t suck. We were so good there for a while. Please, don’t make me wrong about you.
But it’s too late! I walk in and immediately feel the chill of not being wanted. Gone are the plush curtains and feel-good Motown wafting through the air. Gone is the friendly bartender, quick to stir up a refreshing cocktail recommended just for me. I look for the nearest drink if only to pass the time I need to spend there during this misinformed work happy hour.
Do you have any drink specials? I ask hopefully, remembering the old $5 happy hour list of inventive cocktails served in vintage glass tumblers. Uhh, yeah, we have the New Amsterdam, the irritatingly aloof bartender answers. He proceeds to make one for me, a fruity bourbon cocktail served up with a cherry, and then charges me $10.
Sooooo, this isn’t a drink special then? I inquire, feeling my hopes deflate like air out of a helium balloon. No, that’s a specialty cocktail, the invenerate jerk answers. OK, tricked and overcharged is not what happy hour is about. Happy hour is about celebrating the end of a long workday, not about paying for punishment and emotional distress.
Where did our love go, Toyland? Why go changing?
But people, that Toyland is gone, and we need to accept it. The Toyland we want isn’t coming back, and the Toyland we have is so awful (disconnected service, ridiculous prices, slapdash atmosphere and website) that your best bet is to just keep walking. If you want to be overcharged and get a good cocktail, go to Church and State or Fruit Bat. If you want atmosphere, go to Sticky Rice or Biergarten Haus. If you want a deal and a chill vibe, go to the Argonaut.
But do not go to Toyland.
UPDATE: Toyland has recently been sold and will reopen mid-summer
with a new concept as a “gourmet burger joint” with a fluctuating pricing system for drinks. Can we keep hope alive? I’m not optimistic.
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Toyland is reopening as a burger joint and evidently will be run by semi-literate jerkoffs. The owner just called the Atlas District, and I shit you not, “a dive neighborhood”. Do I really want to frequent a place that thinks of its neighbors that way? Em, no thanks BigBoardDC.