I'm part of a group of 7 old college buddies (we all went to Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, in the mid-'90s) who meet annually for a ritual we call Mens' Night. We're scattered - I'm in England, some of us are on the West Coast or Chicago, a few are left in the Baltimore/Washington area - but we make a point of meeting once a year for this hallowed eve.
On Mens' Night we get dolled up, go to a steakhouse, drink good whisky, enjoy a big vintage Bordeaux, and eat large pieces of red meat; later we retire to a bar or club, sip on port and smoke Habana Montecristo #2's (if I can get a hold of 'em), and talk about girls.... Politically incorrect? Yes, absolutely. And we're proud of it.
We began the tradition at Ruth's Chris, in Baltimore. We moved on to the Capitol Grille in Washington for a few years (it never disappointed but eventually it was time to move on), and then tried (and were disappointed by) Smith and Wollensky's last year. This year will be the last Mens' Night to take place in Washington for a while, and I'd like to make sure we don't go wrong with our choice of steakhouse.
I'd like to shy away from the Big Chains (Ruth's Chris, Mortons, S&W etc.). I was never much impressed by the Prime Rib in Baltiomre, but maybe the one in DC is different. I've heard some good things about the Palm and am leaning towards going there, but still don't know much about it. We're looking for good food (of course), a good wine list, and a classy atmosphere that is very Washington. When we go to Chicago, we'll eat at the original Morton's or at Eli's - they're truly Chicago places. Likewise, we would like to find a place that oozes Washington-ness. I'll always remember taking a girlfriend to Le Lion d'Or, then one of DC's most highly vaunted restaurants, in 1996 and being awed by the very Washington-ness of all the Congressmen with their 20-year-old blonde aides.... ;-) So....Any ideas? Recommendations?
(I wanted to go somewhere like the DC L'espinasse or the Willard Room, but I'm not sure that the wallets of all the guys would stand up to the battering they'd get when the bill comes.)
The other question - slightly off-topic, I'll admit - is this: Does anybody have any favorite hotel bars in Washington? We'll be having Mens' Night on a Sunday night and would like to find a quiet, elegant place to chat after dinner. I'd happily do the groundwork myself but for the fact that I'm a few thousand miles away....
Thanks for your suggestions!