The Brixton

901 U Street
Washington, DC  20001
The Brixton on Urbanspoon

The marketing machine for the Brixton has been going hot and heavy for about two weeks now, touting the Brixton's rooftop as an ideal place to hang out for the Fourth of July.  I still get reeled in by slick superlatives and shiny, new objects so I went to meet up with  a buddy at the Brixton for some drinks, food and maybe some fireworks for the Fourth.  I say maybe because my friend has a dog who's afraid of loud noises so he warned me that he may need to leave on the early side to calm his dog down.  F*ck you Thunder.  Yeah, if you haven't seen TED or the trailer to TED, you should.  Now.

When you drive up there, the first thing you notice is that 9th and U isn't exactly a cluster of bars and restaurants.  There's Nellie's across the street, which I'm told is a gay sports bar (who knew?), and that's about it in the general vicinity.  Well, at least, that's all I could see.  It's really close to other parts of the city that have been slowly getting gentrified so maybe this is the next wave of blocks that will get the same treatment.  The good part about this, though, is that I parked right beside the place.

Banger on a Bun
I couldn't help but be impressed by Brixton's itself.  First of all, it's massive.  There are three floors worth of bar and each floor is a little bit different stylistically.  The first floor looks like a traditional English pub with a long bar top and rows of spirits along the walls.  There's the prerequisite polished brass everywhere and even in the daylight, the floor was relatively dark.  The second floor reminded me of a cross between a hunting lodge and a smoking club.  It had a more modest bar, stuffed animals adorned the walls and the room was littered with tables, couches, and plush chairs.  The roof top consisted of two bars with a tall veranda covering about half the space.  There were stools everywhere and the it would have reminded me of being on a turn-of-the-century rooftop in London....if course, I had ever been on a turn-of-the century rooftop in London.

Brixton Burger
I don't know if it was because it was July Fourth or if the place had only been open for four days but it was still only serving a limited food and drink menu.  I only mention this not because I was disappointed since we weren't really there for the food but that I saw some menu items that I probably want to go back to and try.  We did end up getting burgers and dogs since it was the fourth after all.  Um, or what they called a Brixton Burger and a Banger on a Bun.  I didn't try the Banger but the burger left me a bit wanting.  There was a big piece of bacon on top which is always great bu the burger was a little on the dry side and could have used a tad more seasoning.  The fries were a bit too overdone but hey, new place, busy holiday, I think we can live with the food the way it was.

My feeling though is the place was built more for the atmosphere than the food and it definitely had that in spades.  The crowd was lively, festive (okay, so it was Independence Day), and really friendly.   I didn't know what a jumper, romper or maxi-dress was until the Fourth (they're forms of outfits for girls), but I sure did get the proper explanation from this girl who was wearing a maxi dress (quite well I might add and if you're reading this, send me an e-mail!).  Yeah, I'm not sure how we got to where we got but a) it was a cute girl b) in a nice dress so c) I'll talk about just anything.  She was also pretty intent on explaining what a clutch was to me.  Hey, like I said, anything.
We had a prime spot to watch the fireworks with a view of the Washington Monument in the distance but unfortunately we had to go for the sake of my buddy's dog.  We thought we could slide out of the city quickly before the traffic got really snarled up.  We zipped through downtown DC pretty quickly with everyone hankering down for a spot to watch the fireworks but as we were about to get to the Roosevelt bridge, just in front of the Kennedy Center, and into Northern Virginia, traffic came to a standstill.  Apparently, they shut down all bridge traffic when fireworks are going on and we were bridge traffic.   This was actually a piece of good fortune since our vantage point was really close to the Washington Monument so we had a great view of the fireworks and as soon as they ended, we were already on the road and would be able to beat out all the traffic out of the city.  Oh, and there was this guy (see pic) in front of us car surfing who would provide constant entertainment.

The Brixton certainly delivers what it promised.  It's big, brash and has a really great vibe to it. It's still relatively new and will require some patience.  The food still seems like a bit of a work in progress and I certainly wouldn't call this place a casual neighborhood bar.  But,  a look at the full menu shows a ton of promise and there are plenty of neighborhood bars across the city.  However, if you're looking for a hip, casual place to have drinks with hundreds of your soon-to-be best friends, then the Brixton is what you're looking for.


  1. The view and food looks great. The addition of those roof anchors made it safer to dine near the edge of the building.

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