I expect a lot of things when I go out in our nation's capitol. Bizarre snobbery in the afternoon isn't one of them. Yet, there I was last week standing in the W Hotel's lobby at 2pm, waiting almost 10 minutes before the downstairs hostess at the hotel's POV Lounge was able to invite me into an elevator to go upstairs for my reserved table at the rooftop bar/cafe.
OK. Maybe it was a small space and they need to have some guests leave before others could arrive?
Hmmm...One step onto the lounge terrace and it was clear that there were several tables available. Besides, 2pm on a Friday isn't exactly prime time.
Waiting for my drinking and nibbling companion, I started to peruse the menu. The waitress approached and I asked if I could have a glass of wine.
The answer: No. Could I have an Old-Fashioned? Again, no.
What in the world was going on?!?!
The answer: DC Restaurant Week.
Apparently, the POV Lounge's staff had decided that guests could only order their pre-set Restaurant Week lunch menu, which included a small selection of "first course" vodka and rum cocktails. They may have handed me a regular menu alongside the Restaurant Week bill of fare, but nothing from its pages or the bar list would be available and no substitutions could be made.
My compadre Clio arrived and was stunned by the news. She had made the reservation a week ago on OpenTable and there was no mention made about these restrictions. No one had called her to confirm with a heads-up. Even the hostess downstairs had been remiss in letting us know about the menu constraints.
The POV's view may have been breathtaking. but neither one of us wanted to order a full three course lunch. In addition, we weren't inclined to pay for cocktails we didn't want to drink. (And, c'mon, can a list of cocktails serve as the only first course offerings on a menu? I love a libation, but this was a little outlandish.)
Within seconds we were on the elevator hitting the down button. About to exit onto 15th Street, a manager ran after us to submit apologies and his card.
Nice touch, but we still ambled over to the Willard Hotel next door for the drink of our choice and a bite or two at the illustrious Round Robin Bar.
And you know what? With all of the Round Robin's celebrated history of serving up drinks to powerful politicos and literary greats like Walt Whitman and Mark Twain, there was nary a bit of snobbery in the place.
View-shmew. Get me another Old-Fashioned!