Tag Archives: Wine country

Nick’s Nightclub Provides the Rare Opportunity to Boot-Scoot Boogie in DC

You might say country music is omnipresent these days, with modern country bands winning Grammys, topping singles charts, and going platinum.  And although country is traditionally southern, something about the pervasiveness of horses, wide open spaces, and loneliness in the lyrics make me think of the West.

Which is why I was more than thrilled to discover the only country music bar in our North-South border city:  Nick’s Nightclub in Alexandria, or “DC’s Premier Live Country Menu” as it calls itself.  Indeed I believe that this is the only country-themed bar in the area, and as near as I can tell the only one that even has a country night.  This seems odd in a city so close to and influenced by vast Virginia horse country and Appalachia bluegrass territory, and yet I’m not the only one asking the question, “Is Washington A Country Music Town?”  This 2007 Washington Post inquiry discovered that DC’s country radio station receives only 3-4% of the market share of listeners even though the average in America is 12%.

I won’t begin to speculate on the lack of country-ness in our city, but I will tell you that Nick’s offers an haven for those of you seeking a little Billy Ray Cyrus in your night out.  Nick’s is best enjoyed on the dance floor, where line dancers and two-steppers come out in full force, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.  Line dances lessons are offered on Tuesdays (free) and Fridays and Saturdays ($5), and live country bands perform on the weekends.  If swing is your thing, stop by on a Wednesday for lessons and some big band music.

My own line dance lesson was taught by Marcia and was successful!  We learned 3 dances and put them to music in just under an hour, and were able to practice on the dance floor throughout the night (if you go, be aware of the etiquette that line dancers keep to the center while couples twirl around the outside).  If you are not there with a date, be prepared for many gentlemen to ask you to dance!  Nick’s also has a full bar and surprisingly large and cheap menu.   And, apparently, a cowboys-in-their-undies contest—what self-respecting country bar wouldn’t?!

My favorite part of Nick’s is its truly non-Washington crowd.  According to servers and employees who I talked with, most patrons come from Virginia, some as far as an hour away.  You’ll see old-timers with the two-step perfected, dashing young men in Carhartt overalls, and prize belt buckles galore.  What you won’t see are suits, $8 pints, and White House staffers.

All in all, Nick’s offers a good time for those of us dealing with a bit of country music whistfulnesss, and for those seeking a one-of-a-kind night out.  You’ll have to go more than once to experience all it has to offer!

To get there:  642 South Pickett Street, Alexandria, VA 22304.  (703) 751-8900.  15-minute walk from the Van Dorn Metro stop. Cover charge on weekends (ladies free ‘til 9).

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(Leesburg) Virginia is for Lovers

(Guest post by Sarah Cunningham).

Last Monday my fiance and I played hookie and took a day trip to lovely (Historic) Leesburg in still lovelier Loudoun County.  I’m not sure what exactly I expected, but I definitely had not foreseen the magnitude of charm that we encountered.

Only 45 minutes west of the city, Historic Leesburg feels hours away.  Driving in, I felt I had arrived in a quaint, sea-side town, circa 1870.  The main street, East Market Street, was dotted with souvenir shops, many of them bearing the British flag (perhaps a remnant from the Revolutionary War??), selling hand-made crafts and sweet treats.  Restaurants bore slogans such as “18th century cuisine served here!” on their hand-painted, wooden signs.  (Of course there was also the China King and the new Mexican restaurant, but they both managed to completely fit in–and smell delicious!)  Bakeries boasted beautiful hand-made treasures covered in pastel frostings, and afternoon teas seemed the norm.

Really, it was quite an idyllic day in Leesburg.  After window shopping along Market Street, we hopped back in the car and found a lovely green space– Ida Lee Park & Recreation Center–where we set up shop.  We uncorked our wine, brought our sandwiches, and laid out the lemon bars.  The sun was perfect that day, and we took our time munching through our meal and sipping through our wine.  Because it was a Monday, we shared the park with only ourselves, a peaceful pause in our otherwise fast-paced District lives.

On the way home, we scooted down Market Street once again, taking in the quaint calm of this charming little down, and then scooted onto the highway–back to home, sure we would be back to Historic Leesburg again quite soon.

For anyone who wants to take a day-trip to lovely Leesburg, you can get there quite easily in the car and through public transit.

For drivers:

Take 495 South

Take Exit 45 A, and merge onto VA 267 W, towards Dulles Airport

Take Exit 1 A, which will put you on US 15

Take US 15 BUS Exit Towards Leesburg (you’re almost done!)

Turn right at US BUS 15 N/S King Street

Turn right at E. Market Street–You made it!

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Filed under Daytripper, Occasional Feature