Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Wonderland Ballroom

Columbia Heights like U St. is an up and coming area which has seen a rapid transformation over the past couple of years. The Wonderland Ballroom which opened it's doors in 2004 has carved it's niche as one of the most popular neighborhood bars in this area.

Located just blocks from the metro station this local dive bar entertains it's patrons with a lush beer garden as well as a two floor bar. The second level is primarily used as a quasi dance floor but can be rented out for private events.

Their interior is reminiscent of blue collar watering hole. With a pac man machine that serves as a table and walls covered with quirky signs this is a dive bar at it's best. They also have a fabulous beer selection as well as some of the best bar food I have had in this town.

My first visit came over a year ago when I went with a couple of local friends. When I first walked in and saw a sign at the front of the bar which said "DRINK ME" in bold black letters as well as the pink delirium elephant I knew this bar would be solid. Their beer menu is part hipster part European enthusiast which should excite any beer lover.

We decided to go because we heard that their second floor was a good place to hear solid tunes and drink good beer. The solid mixes along with the great atmosphere and beer selection left us all fairly pleased with this establishment.

(Fried Pickles)

My second time round was with two high school friends. We decided to go around 8 P.M. on a Saturday to sample their food which looked fairly interesting. The weather was cold out so we did not have the pleasure of eating out on the beer garden. Instead we were lucky enough to find a booth in the corner so we parked ourselves there and ordered a round of beers and some traditional bar food. We started off by ordering fried pickles which are a favorite of mine, we also ordered a platter of nachos to share among the group.

The pickles were the best I have had in this city and the nachos were also very good. The pickles came in large slices which to me are better than the small pieces you usually get, the batter was also old fashioned and extra crispy. The nachos were full of flavor and they did not skimp on any of the ingredients. Both dishes went great with my PBR and delirium tremens.

(The Kilimanjaro Club)

Next I ordered the Kilimanjaro club which is as daunting as the mountain it's named after. This mountain of a sandwich (get it) is pilled high with chicken breast, lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and a fried egg! I was slightly intimidated when it came out but the appetite I packed was up for the challenge. My other friend ordered a footlong chili cheese dog which he seemed to enjoy.

We all left feeling the weight of the gargantuan meal that we had just had. In fact I was forced to go home and succumb to the food coma that arose after completely devouring my sandwich. We all ended up paying about $20 bucks each ($60 total) for all that food and a couple of beers which in DC is a great deal.

(Footlong Chili Cheese Dog)

All of us enjoyed the food and have vowed to come again. I have since gone twice to have a couple of classic beers, I really enjoy their shot and a beer special which is being adopted by several local dive bars. My food experience was great, especially for bar food and the service was on par. The crowds were great but it does tend to get packed because this is a very popular bar.

If you are a resident of Columbia Heights then you do not need my stamp of approval on this place because you already know it is great. But for those who have yet to go this is a must try. If I resided in this neighborhood it would most likely be my go to bar.

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