Quick Sips: Duke’s Grocery

I (Tess) studied abroad in England, so it’s safe to say I’ve been searching for a decent Pimms Cup on this side of the pond ever since. As most Washingtonians know, Duke’s is a classic DC staple. It’s well-known, well-liked, and all for good reason.  The food is good, the drinks are spot-on and the service is great, A friend and I stopped by Duke’s recently for happy hour and I think I may have finally found my perfect Pimms in America.

One thing I love about Duke’s right off the bat is the every day 12-7 happy hour. I really respect a joint that has drink and food specials for several hours a day, every day. The deals are pretty good and you can get everything from a red wine to a gin and tonic for about $5 while enjoying the almost-hipster indoor bar, or enjoying the outdoor picnic tables.

That day, we decided to sit outside. If you’ve been in D.C. lately you know the weather has been miserable, but hey – who doesn’t like drinking outside? We were quickly seated but we got lucky. Typically, there is usually a bit of a wait time and Duke’s can fill up fast, especially around Happy Hour. We went on Saturday around 6:30pm though, and the crowds didn’t start arriving until 7pm or so. If you’re planing on going after work, have a friend (the one who gets out earliest) save you a seat outside, or at least put your name on the wait list.
 After we were seated, a happy and attentive waiter stopped by and took our drink orders. I opted for the Pimms Cup (which came with a mini-cucumber sliver) and my friend got a classic Moscow Mule. Clearly we’re fans of ginger beer. Like I said earlier in the review, this is one of the best Pimms Cups I’ve had since leaving England and I would highly suggest checking out Duke’s if you like English fare and cocktails. As an avid gin drinker, it was great to see so many options for gin-based cocktails instead of the normal 1 or 2.
Originally, we planned on just getting drinks and then heading out to start our night. But…then we saw other people’s food and well, one thing lead to another and we ordered. I opted for the classic truffle mac and cheese, while my dinner partner opted for some avocado toast.
Now, I am an avid mac’and’cheese (emphasis on cheese) fan and was delighted by the pure, crazy amount of cheese presented to me, with truffle oil no less. While it was definitely more of a “treat” for dinner, I’d highly suggest it if you need a pick me up or a dish to split with a friend. The avocado toast must have been so amazing because before I could even ask for a bite, it was gone.
Overall, I really enjoyed Duke’s. This was my first time eating there (but have been before and loved the drinks), as we usually only stop by for drinks but this meal convinced me that I need to go back and check out some more of the dishes, or even brunch! E is a big fan of the place since she lives close-by so definitely stay tuned for a full review in June!