|Bathroom Graffiti at Ivy and Coney|
I had read about this bar being a dive, but that description is too polite. This place is a complete dump. As Stevie Wonder states in an “autographed” photo hanging on the bar’s wall, “Even I can see this bar is a shithole.” However, for this Michigan expat who craves Coney dogs and an unpretentious Midwestern bar feel, it is a wonderful shithole...just like the shitholes back home.
My wife and I visited the bar on the Sunday night before President’s Day. The bar is pretty much unfindable unless you are looking for it and have the exact address. Even with the address, we drove by twice before I stopped the car, got out, and tried the disheveled door of what appeared to be an abandoned storefront.
|The front door|
|The sign that I needed|
|Harry Caray: Holy Cow!|
Photos of famous and infamous Chicagoans and Detroiters line the walls, like Kwame Kilpatrick, Rod Blagojevich, multiple sports figures, and Kid Rock. Random sports memorabilia from the two cities’ teams also line the walls. The highlight for this Tigers fan is the giant mural of the great Sparky Anderson that is on the wall across from the bar. A smaller room to the left of the bar and past the the restrooms (which are entertaining on their own for the Detroit and Chicago-related graffiti) has sofas, more memorabilia on the walls, and another television.
Michiganders will be happy to know that they serve Faygo (which is a rare find out East) and Vernors (two famous Michigan pops...don't call them sodas). As for beer, Detroit is represented by Stroh’s and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, while Chicago is represented by Old Style and Goose Island 312. They also serve a limited selection of “booze.” Regular customers also can rent one of the liquor lockers behind the bar and store their favorite alcohol. Do not expect the bartenders to serve fancy mixed drinks…although they did make a very mean (read: lots of alcohol) gin and Vernors for my wife.
|The liquid in the glass is 90% gin|
With the first round of drinks, I ordered a Coney Dog. The Coney was delicious and authentic, but it did not overflow with chili like the Coneys at Lafayette Coney Island in Detroit. It was not the best Coney I have had, but it was good enough to order a second. However, my wife convinced me to get a Chicago Dog to be fair. The Chicago Dog was very good as well, and the hot peppers were extremely hot and juicy…do not touch your eyes after eating this dog. In the end, I thought the Coney Dog was better, but I am biased. However, I did overhear a patron, who was not from either city, tell the bartender that the Coney Dog was better, so I guess that scientific survey decides the matter. Detroit wins...again!The only thing that could make this place better would be pitchers of beer like we have back in the Midwest, but which are extremely rare in the D.C. area. I also would love if they were open during the day for people who want a quick and cheap lunch.
|Just like home|
I would highly recommend this place to Detroiters and Chicagoans who miss home and anyone who does not need a pretentious velvet rope bar scene and just wants to sit down, drink a few beers or some booze, and watch a baseball or hockey game.
Ivy and Coney
1537 7th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
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