I actually heard the sad news about Richard on the National Mall. staring at the Capitol.

Washington 1
Long and dull 5 hour trip
DC 2
Spotless D.C. (White House apart)

I did like the capital (as opposed to the Capitol); it felt a bit like someone had taken the best bits of Newcastle and plonked them in Milton Keynes. Great museums, sumptuous parks, cheap Chinese food, murky beer in small bars, drunk Geordies.

I guarantee NO-ONE has made that analogy about D.C. before.

Efficient Tyneside style metro

We had the pleasure of company from US Dave’s cousin on our visit. Jan arrived at our hotel lobby in Pentagon City with a smile and a portfolio of maps and advice like “WALK” and “DON’T EAT THE CHEESE”.

Our tour took in the tourist highlights that may look vaguely familiar.

Future Brunning & Price
Future home of Joe Biden

A few blocks north of the White House you get the trendy young professional strip, a bit like Jericho in Oxford without the ancient pubs.


The family banquet at Chinatown Express was London quality.  Matt couldn’t finish it.

Sadly we didn’t get a doggy bag

I drank to Richard in Church Key, the RateBeer favourite.


Church Key is no Spoons. Narrow, dimly lit, a row of seats for diners along the wall and a row of seats at the bar for drinkers.

A posh Port St Beer House
More bar flies.  Oh, it’s me

A veritable Coldwell of a beer menu, with oddly UK leanings.

Oh !

Yes, Lees Harvest Ale. My nemesis (look it up on this blog).

The exemplary barman kept plying me with beer and iced water, I kept plying him with dollars which apparently is how staff get paid in the States.

US murk, UK cask

You’d want to know they were playing “Heartland Rock” and Style Council, Weller and Costello, and that I was commiserating with an Arsenal fan from Swindon on his way to see “soccer”.

Sometimes it just makes sense to get p****d.

It made less sense to finish the, er, afternoon in the US Sport Br called Champps in the Pentagon Shopping Centre. The extra “p” is a long service award, apparently.


Perhaps it was the Heinz ketchup bottle that swung it for me, but I sort of loved sitting at the bar next to real Americans with their screaming baby at the bar (honest).

Actually, it WAS as close as the US got to Wetherspoons, albeit at $7.75 + tax + tip a nearly pint of Ballast Point Sculpin.

I know you’re jealous.




14 thoughts on “DROWNING SORROWS IN D.C.

      1. I don’t know much about the Staffordshire one and have no plans to visit it again.
        We might all be agreed that the Tyneside one is the proper Newcastle. For many months my diary had me staying there and Berwick in September but that might not happen.


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