Finally made it to the Petworth Citizen and Reading Room! This place has been on my list for a while. It’s basically two separate bars in one space. The main room is an old-timey like bar with a pretty decent (I’ll get to that soon), with the reading room next door. Petworth Citizen opens at 5 pm and has happy hour until 7 pm when the Reading Room opens. My friend and I got there right around 5:30 for the cheap drinks and nibbles and also so we could grab a seat in the Reading Room.
All of the happy hour drinks were $5 and the bits ranged from $3-$6. Not bad! I decided to try the punch which was a cucumber/jalapeno gimlet and my friend had the Moscow mule. We also started with onion rings.
The gimlet was my favorite. It was light and crisp with a spicy finish at the end. We had time for one more round before the Reading Room opened, so I had another gimlet and my friend had a Manhattan.
It was pretty decent, but I’ve realized over time, I’ve become a little picky with my Manhattan’s. By now it was 7 pm so we joined another group who was standing by the door to the Reading Room and grabbed a chair. I had no idea the room was going to be this small! We were lucky to get there when we did because the room filled quickly.
Our server informed us that the bar also doubles as a lending library. If you see a book you like, you can take it home and bring it back the next time you come, or bring a different book to add to the shelves. I really like how the books were arranged by color. I do the same thing with my bookshelves at home.
Every weekend, the bartender selects an author and creates cocktails based on that author’s writings. This weekend, it was Toni Morrison. We started with Jazz and Tar Baby.
There was a flavor explosion with both, but I think my favorite was Jazz. I realized that I only like adult beverages with coconut in a pina colada or margarita. We finally order dinner and shared the catfish with cheese grits.
The fried catfish was good! The batter was light and crisp. The cheese grits were cooked more like polenta than the southern style that I grew up with, but there were very tasty. I didn’t star eating grits until I was an adult, and I can only eat them with cheese, or bacon. Preferably both. It was pretty great, but we were still hungry. So we ordered chili cheese fries. All I can say is that you can never go wrong with fries.
We decided to finish off the night with a warm toddy called Beloved with bourbon, chamomile-lemongrass-mint tea and honey.
It reminded me of homemade elixirs my grandma would make to quiet my cough when I was sick. Back then it was given to me by teaspoon, but as an adult, I have an entire cup!