Despite that rocky beginning, Mike bought into my season ticket package the very next year and in the ten plus seasons since, I've seen more basketball games with him than anyone else and there's nobody I'd rather watch hoops with. For five of those years, from September 2005 to September 2010, we both worked in D.C.'s West End, either at the same firm or different firms. But unlike now that we both work in Arlington, when we can actually go home from work and change or eat before games, during those years there was always some time to kill and/or a quest for food between quitting time (anywhere from 4:30 p.m. on) and game time (almost always 7 p.m.).
We tried a lot of places to call home for the dead time between work and tip off but the one place we eventually settled on as our regular watering and dining hole was The Black Rooster over on L Street NW between 19th and 20th Streets. The bar and wait staff (Helen, Chris and Sarah most especially) at the Rooster always made us feel at home and over those five years we logged a lot of time there, whether it was before games, for work happy hours or even to hide and confide in my best friend when it felt like my whole life was falling apart. That last one's overly sappy I know, but it's true. And my life went on and got way better, by the way.
We don't hang out at the Rooster much any more but we try to get over there once or twice or even three times a year. This past Monday, before the Wizards' undermanned victory over the Memphis Grizzlies behind John Wall's career high 47, we made some time to grab a beer or three and a sandwich. Every time I go back, I wish we still worked over at Lafayette Center so we could go more regularly. They always have some great beers on tap for me (and Bud Light for Mike) and the grilled cheese sandwiches on Texas toast (with bacon and tomato for me; plain for Mike) are still the grilled cheeses we love the best. We don't even look at the menu any more.
The Rooster almost closed once (in fact, I think they did actually close their doors due to a rent dispute with their landlord) but I'm glad they are still open even if we don't spend as much time there as I'd like any more. In this world of impermanence, it's comforting to know there are places like this out there. As long as I'm a Wizards season ticket holder, I'll always make time to go back a couple of times a year until I can convince my company to move downtown again. Long live the Rooster!
|D.C.'s best grilled cheese? Maybe.|