Monday Favorites: Pearl Dive & Black Jack, Presidential Debates, and Cuba!

Oysters, Cocktails, and Bocce – Oh Yes! 

Erica and I got a sneak peak at Logan Circle’s hottest new restaurant and bar, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black Jack, on Saturday during their Pre-Opening Charity Cocktail Party and I’m going to cut straight to the chase, the place is absolutely fantastic.  Conveniently located on 14th Street on the corner of Corcoran, the downstairs oyster bar (Pearl Dive) is the perfect combination of light, beachy, and chic.  Upstairs, Black Jack boasts a red & black themed haven of exposed brick and cowboy-chic décor, setting the stage for a few of their fabulously prepared cocktails with friends, or a potentially long night of drinking and playing Bocce.  Yes, Black Jack has a separate room for playing Bocce and it’s equipped with two rows of stadium seating.  If this doesn’t scream “Guys Night Out,” I don’t know what does.

The charity event (proceeds went to the Children’s National Medical Center), featured the food of famed Black Restaurant Group chefs Jeff & Barbara Black, who are opening Pearl Dive & Black Jack as the sixth restaurant in their group of already established Washington favorites.  With over 2,000 oysters used for this pre-opening charity party, there was definitely no shortage of awesome food.  Our favorites: the Bacon Wrapped Oysters (which brought a whole new meaning to the phrase “ BWB – Better with Bacon”), delicious crab cakes, to-die-for spicy gumbo, and roasted shrimp flatbreads!

The restaurant and lounge/bar begins its soft opening late this week.  I HIGHLY suggest you get there while the whether is still nice and enjoy some oysters (and other delicious seafood) on their outward facing patio bar.  Bottoms Up!

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace's outward facing bar looks right out into the 14 Street Corridor. Photo by Andrew Lightman, Courtesy of Black Restaurant Group.

Upstairs, Bocce at Black Jack. Photo by Andrew Lightman, Courtesy of Black Restaurant Group.

Debates made Tolerable

As our political system slowly inches its way to Congress with a two-drink minimum, downtown hot spots Ardeo+Bardeo and 701 Restaurant are hosting a “Debate Happy Hour” all evening long at their bars with the TVs tuned to tonight’s Presidential Candidates Debate.  From 4 p.m. to 10:30 pm, 701 will be offering $6 wines, while Ardeo+Bardeo will be offering $2 off wines and $6 Stellas from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.  We all know there is really no other way to tolerate these debates, so drink up!

The Bar at 701 Restaurant. Photo courtesy of 701 Restaurant.

As Close to Cuba As You Can Legally Get

Alright, so maybe you’ll be closer if you hop a flight to Miami, but short of a vaca, Cuba Libre is your best option for getting a true taste of Cuban cuisine.  And with Chef Guillermo Pernot’s 15 Tastes of Cuba menu, you can try an array of 15 Cuban dishes for an easy $39/person. Cuba Libre’s beverage team is also recommending pairings showcasing 15 “toasts” to ‘enhance the tropical flavors of each dish.’  The 15 Tastes of Cuba menu will be available Sunday through Thursday during dinner service. Now all you need is a good Cuban Cigar.

Havana Ceviche Misto. Photo courtesy of Cuba Libre.

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