Actually, think of it like this: If Russia House was a group project in high school, it'd probably earn about a B- or so. However, I'm not the type to let a few asshat underachieving students bring down the grades of those who happen to be more intellectually gifted (yes, it's called a grudge), so allow me to recognize the A students.
Russia House has quite a few things going for it, not least of which is the some 90+ vodkas it offers up in a moody, candle-lit setting (romantical!). The cocktails there are also pretty tight (albeit slightly pricey for DC at around $10+, which I suppose makes it more like Moscow, the most expensive city in the world, where cocktails can be found for over $25). And if the vodka drinks aren't invitation enough for you non-alcoholics out there (are you out there?), maybe this will entice you: Russian techno blares from the speakers!
Huh-WHAT?! You aren't into Russian techno??? OK, neither am I -- well, at least not the specific kind favored by Russia House. And come to think of it, if Russia House were indeed located in Moscow, you can bet that I'd sure as hell never go there, but, look, we're in DC and beggars can't be choosers. (Yes, that's right. I've discovered that the key to living happily in DC is simply to lower your standards.)
So, taking "DC standards" into account, I'd give Russia House an A for beverage selection, an A- for atmosphere (it'd have received an A had the music been less, well, this) and an A for service.
However, what brought the whole grade down was the crowd (a solid D). Unlike real Russian clubs whose patrons often range from, um, this to, uh, this, Russia House's customers fell into a much drabber category, lacking the edge that makes Moscow clubs -- from the retardulous to the gnarly -- so fascinating. In other words, the crowd, which at least featured some authentic Eastern Bloc expats, was pretty middle-of-the-road (read: boring -- save, of course, for the people with whom I went. Duh.).
But, hey, since I'm apparently looking on the
bright less dim side of things today, I'll end with telling you that indeed I will return to Russia House even if I know there's no chance of running into this.* (That guy's shit is tight.)
*Thanks, by the way, to Moscow Doesn't Believe In Tears for keeping us all updated on what we're missing in Moscow after dark.
1800 Connecticut Ave., NW
Metro: Dupont Circle