Grim's, the Newest Bar on Capitol Hill, Is a Very Complicated Place
Grim's is a "social networking beer hall." It is also "steampunk." Grim's says this on its website; it also says it is "the newest 'it' bar." Whether "it" or not "it"—the mind reels before you even set foot in the place—Grim's is the newest bar on Capitol Hill. It's in the space where Grey Gallery & Lounge used to be, brought to you by the Po Dog/Auto Battery people. Po Dog is an upscale hot-doggery, and Auto Battery is an auto-repair-shop-themed sports bar. These people want to complicate your world.
Last Thursday night around 7:30, Grim's was packed to the exposed wooden beams; everyone had a name tag. Something called Mashable was happening. Messages originating from the iPhones of those in the room were being broadcast on a screen; the long wooden communal tables were littered with flyers for things like nology (apparently a proper noun, seeking to help you "Build Your Social Brand in 30 Days"). The room had been carpet bombed with bags of popchips™. Capital letters had fled the scene.
Where Grey Gallery had a relatively simple interior, what could be seen of Grim's during the Mashable betrayed a full-scale Quinn's/Smith–style installation. One wall had been upholstered in a coat of weathered wood; another had a fresh layer of "worn" fleur-de-lis wallpaper; to another, a bunch of antique-looking door hardware had been affixed. I made my way to the bar (which has old-timey post-office-box doors and library- type drawers underneath it), where I put on the abandoned name tag of someone named, improbably, Timm, and ordered a Drink of the Night—vodka, lime, ginger beer. It came, ineluctably, in a mason jar.
People continued to Mashable all around. A seat at one of the long communal tables was found (a seat that swung out from under the table on an old-timey metal arm-apparatus). A big glossy poster taped to a nearby rusted-metal wall showed a gleaming new platinum-colored Cadillac and read "TWEET YOUR WAY TO A NEW CAR!"A passing Mashable man was asked, "What is this event?" "It's mostly marketing people," he said. "Only a few content people." He glanced with a modicum of subtlety at my name tag. "I'm Timm," I said. "Very nice to meet you."
A waiter was flagged down, and an herbed leek and Asiago grilled cheese was ordered. It cost $6.95 and turned out to be very good—the leeks melting into the melty cheese, the bread perfectly toasted and not too greasy. Also quite good: a French dip. (The menu, unlike the place, is uncomplicated: sandwiches, snacks.) Despite a puckeringly vinegary side salad, I was a content person. The Mashable dispersed.