Photos: Natalia Kolenko

Behind The Bar: March 2018

Drinking with friends at a nearby bar is always a good way to kick back, but sometimes it’s fun to liven up your night with some good,
old-school games. But these are not just any games – these are the games of your childhood, especially you 80s and 90s kids. So grab your friends, order an Old Fashioned and play everything from a giant Pac Man to Mario Bros. at one of these game-filled spots.

Franklin Hall 8

Hillary Jackson
Assistant General Manager, Franklin Hall

On Tap: What’s it like having Franklin Hall inside the historic Manhattan Laundry building?
Hillary Jackson: It’s actually kind of neat. One of our bartenders attended the charter school that used to be here. We also have several people born and raised in the city that are on staff now that remember when the building was a school. It’s come full circle in a way.

OT: Why did you decide to offer so many different kinds of board games?
HJ: People love to come and play games, and it’s like a more affordable Dave & Buster’s. And it’s super casual and keeps things fun. My favorite old-school game we have is a Simon. When I saw we were bringing that out, I got very excited.

OT: What gives Franklin Hall that nostalgic feel?
HJ: All the artwork; [it’s] kind of like the Benjamin Franklin and American beer hall theme. You’ve got all these amazing beers [and] you’ve got Ben Franklin everywhere, and the bar has really made a claim on that theme.

OT: How did you settle on such a beer-heavy menu?
HJ: We were going with an American take on the German beer hall, and we serve only domestic and local beers. Right now, beer is one of those things that people are looking for. That’s the new trend and what people are getting excited about – all these local and domestic brews.

Franklin Hall 5

Hillary’s Pick
Sweet vermouth
Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Bourbon

Franklin Hall: 1348 Florida Ave. NW, DC;

[Pictured above]

Kat Basile
Bar Manager, The G.O.A.T.

On Tap: What inspired The G.O.A.T.’s inclusion of a huge Pac Man and other arcade games?
Kat Basile: The owners wanted to do a sports bar with a bunch of games, so they brought in games that they thought would spark people’s interest because no one else around here really has that. It also gives the bar an interactive feel, so you don’t have to just sit at the bar all night.

OT: What about the bar will transport people back to their childhoods?
KB: One nostalgic thing is what they’ve done with the stairs. On every single landing, they have a different sort of greatest-of-all-time team and their championship seasons like the Yankees, the Steelers and the Celtics.

OT: What makes The G.O.A.T. unique?
KB: The people who run it. They are very enthusiastic about their jobs; they’re very much team players. They want to be a part of something that is great, and so they came here.

OT: What do you think is the best nostalgic drink to have while playing old-school arcade games?
KB: A lot of people who come in here have been going for beer, but we do have a play on a Manhattan. It’s called The 24, named after Michael Jordan, [and] has infused Ezra Brooks bourbon, chamomile and honey. And a lot of the drinks are inspired by some of the greatest-of-all-time, old-school athletes.

The GOAT 28

Kat’s Pick
The Cavalier
Smoked applewood
Orange and honey syrups
Exotico Reposado Tequila
Chili lime and sea salt rim
House-infused red chili pepper syrup

The G.O.A.T.: 3028 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA;

Jackie Lees 16

Jason Crafton
Co-owner, Jackie Lee’s

On Tap: Jackie Lee’s is housed in the renovated Brightwood Park space, and you’ve kept a lot of the old space’s style. Why keep it old school?
Jason Crafton: If you look at the front of the building, the sconces above the sign are art deco-like, and we tried to reflect that on the inside. The bars we like are old school, and we came from working at Red Derby, so that kind of shows where our spirit is. We hope we’re paying homage to the old Jackie Lee’s.

OT: Why did you decide to add an old Nintendo Entertainment System to the bar?
JC: That was [co-owner] Nick [Schieber’s] idea. He thought it would be fun [on] slower nights for people to play around with. People dig it. They come in and it’s like nostalgia, and to actually be able to play games like Duck Hunt makes them jazzed. And it’s a conversation starter.

OT: What makes Jackie Lee’s different from other bars, aside from the Nintendo?
JC: We have that old-world mentality of focusing on making the customer welcome and happy over the product. It’s more about you coming in and having a good time and [this] becoming your regular spot than having the newest, coolest beer or the fanciest cocktail. We like the idea of the bar being part of the community.

OT: Jackie Lee’s menu pretty much sticks to classic cocktails. Why is that?
JC: They’re classics for a reason. They’ve been around a long time because they’re good. They’re also simple, which we like, because it allows us to talk with our regulars and not just keep our heads down behind the bar mixing drinks.

Jackie Lees 14

Jason’s Pick
New Old School Ol’ Fashioned
Overholt rye
Simple syrup

Jackie Lee’s: 116 Kennedy St. NW, DC;


Natalia Kolenko

Natalia is a George Mason University alum who studied Journalism and Environmental Science and Politics. She combines her background in news reporting with her love for music, art, and culture to write pieces on a variety of topics. Addicted to travel, X-files, and concerts.