I figured it would be a nice change to take a day or two off of the complaining and just give some observations about some spots I visited on the trip to Philadelphia and DC.
This is from the perspective of an engineer in his early 20's. So, if you are reading this as part of a plan for a trip there with your kids and family, be mindful of the perspective.
There's a nice bar in Philadelphia called National Mechanics. It has some weird stuff on the wall, but it's a nice spot. We were there in the mid afternoon on a Saturday, and it wasn't too busy. It has a very interesting selection of beers, including one called "Hoptimus Prime," which is one of the "hoppiest" beers I have ever had, but it was still pretty good. The other one I liked was the Flying Fish. The bartender was a nice Irish woman in her mid 40's.
As far as DC goes, we went to a couple decent bars. But, on the bus trip back, I was told by a local (a girl in her mid 20's from the DC area who is a grad student at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn) that there are a lot of good spots around the Adams Morgan stop on the DC Metro. The two spots that we liked were Biddy Mulligan's at Dupont Circle and The 51st State around Foggy Bottom. Mulligan's had a bit of an older crowd, but the beer selection was really good and the food was decent. The wait was rather long for the food, though. The 51st State had some interesting local and imported brews, including a dandy red ale called Maudite by Unibroue. The food was not so great, though. Stop in for a beer or two and look at some of the posters on the wall. They had a nice Sinn Fein one.
Just a couple little bits that might be considered advice:
- DC involves a lot of walking. A lot of walking. If the Metro is closed, like at 1:30AM on a Sunday/Monday, get a cab. We walked almost three miles from Dupont Circle back to our hotel. Not fun. I still have blisters. You will do enough walking around the Mall.
- See the monuments at night. They're really great to see then with the lighting and the crowds are limited. There aren't any kids around then. One of the strangest sights was when we saw all the bats flying around the Washington Monument. It's also a bit cooler at night, which makes for a nicer time.
On a side note, I watched Fantastic Four 2 last night. Awful. Just awful.