Banana Cafe & Piano Bar

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500 8th Street Southeast, Washington, DC, USA - (202) 543-5906

Banana Cafe & Piano Bar Washington Reviews

alexindc alexindc
41 reviews
Cuban tapas and a great happy hour (for DC) Mar 30, 2011
It was a cold rainy evening when we wandered into Banana Cafe, lured in by the calling of happy hour margaritas.

Banana Cafe's upstairs piano bar is set up to look like a cabana. A thatched "roof" hangs over the bar, and there's plenty of natural light thanks to the skylight in the middle of the room. Wonderfully, they have reserved a slot at the bar for walk-up service, since there is no table service. It not only allows multiple people at the same table to easily have their own tabs, but also saves the trouble of waiting for one server in a crowded bar, or crowding around bar stools that are already occupied, trying desperately to get the bartenders attention. If it gets crowded, a line forms, and there's ORDER!

As for the house margaritas, we weren't too impressed. I mean for $3 in DC, the price was right, but they just weren't that strong. A little too sweet for our tastes. But, that's the risk you take when the bar has already pre-made the mix and draws it out of a huge container.

A few of us graduated to the $3.75 Jose Cuervo, which are made to order. Mine were all excellent, especially the second, which the bartender graciously loaded with tequila (and I LOVE my tequila). Another member of our party didn't have the same luck. Maybe I just looked like a better tipper?

The highlight of the tapas menu was far and away the empanadas. Served with three on a plate, one with sausage, one with shrimp and another with chicken. They were not too heavy on the cheese, and all had their own unique sauce that paired excellently with the associated meat.

Final verdict on Banana Cafe's happy hour? Make those house margaritas with a little more kick and a little less sweet, and we're sold for life.
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