Hank’s Oyster Bar Renovation = Space at Bar, Short Wait for Dinner

If you’ve ever seen the groups of people milling about on the sidewalk at the corner of 17th and Q Streets, then you’ve seen the line for Hank’s Oyster Bar. I’d only braved the line a handful of times, usually opting to go there at an off time or on a long weekend when it wouldn’t be as crowded. But now it looks like Hank’s has solved my wait problem – by buying the space next door and essentially doubling the space for the small, but popular restaurant.

At 9 pm on a Saturday night – nice enough to sit outside – we were told it would be a 15 minute wait. Very acceptable. We sat at the bar, munched on goldfish crackers and sipped our drinks. Mine, the Getaway (fresh grapefruit juice, homemade cinnamon/clove syrup and vodka), tasted like a grapefruit slushy, delicious and refreshing, the kind of drink that could get away from you, if you weren’t careful. Sadly, G’s dirty martini tasted mostly of olive juice, too olive-y even for these two very dirty fans.

We sat at the main bar, but there were several to chose from, including an upstairs lounge and a bar/lounge in the back on the first floor. There was a good crowd and nice energy, but it wasn’t so crowded and loud you couldn’t chat – a good balance.

For dinner, we sat in the original restaurant, but everything had been redone and looked just fresher..

We started dinner with a dozen oysters on the half shell, which were delicious. But here’s where I fail (again). For me, oysters are like cheese. I love cheese, but I can recall only a few, so I can rarely replicate a great cheese plate. I’m getting better though … Of the oysters, I loved the briny Blue Points and the small Washington state ones … not so much the gritty one I had from Virginia, although I liked the other one.  There’s no way I’ll remember the names …

Of course, Hank’s does a late night oyster happy hour, so maybe that’s the best way to learn about oysters and develop a list of favorites. Looks like a food goal for the Fall …

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