Captain Gregory’s is a Sweet Hole in the Wall

It was sometime back when I mentioned Captain Gregory’s and my intension to visit this sweet hole in the wall speakeasy sometime soon. Well, we finally had the chance over July 4th weekend. We decided to drop by the Saturday the week before but it was booked and we got on the waiting list. After an hour @ 10pm and rain pending, we cancelled when they texted us. Instead, we made reservations for the following Saturday.

There is a $25 / person minimum on Friday and Saturday nights. We had no problem meeting this and then some, with just 2 drinks, it’s easy to do.

Captain Gregorys Front Room Seating on Art Is Everywhere

Front room seating

We went early for the first seating at 6 pm, when our cocktail hour usually starts. This was a good idea, as we could also get some appetizers and start the evening early. We had a chance to view the Sugar Shack — the doughnut shop — where Captain Gregory’s exists, located behind a secret wall.

Disco doughnuts at Captain Gregorys on AIE

Love these doughnuts and crafty decor. One is even a disco doughnut.

Hole in the wall entrance at Captain Gregorys on AIE

It’s a hole in the wall entrance. The flag is the “doorbell”

We sat right at the bar, far left side, as seen in their website homepage photo. This was the perfect placement to watch the bartenders command their craft. This is about as big as the place is. Seats 24 with two rooms and around the bar. The ambience is just right with low lighting and the great range of music sets the vibe. Thursdays happens to be bring your own vinyl night, which we’ll have to try.

Captain Gregorys Speakeasy on Art Is Everywhere

Sam Brooks was our bartender extraordinaire. However, if you forget anyone’s name their chalkboard sign says just call them “Captain.” Sam, our cocktail captain, really knows what he’s doing. I started with his Sudden Downpour in Manila an unusual pairing with Banana and red miso infused bourbon and burnt sugar with Angostura bitters. Peter started with (13th Street Cocktail) with Rittenhouse Rye, homemade sweet vermouth, Yellow Chartreuse, Frenet Branca, Angostura, and Applewood Smoked — served room temperature. This takes a special palette to enjoy but reminds me somewhat of a Last Word.  Both were wonderful with flavors that I would have never thought to use together.

Sudden Downpour in Manila cocktail on Art Is Everywhere

Sudden Downpour in Manila cocktail

Unfortunately, the menu on their website is not current, and after another 3 drinks, I don’t remember all the details for the remaining ones.

Captain Gregorys Cocktails sample menu on Art is Everywhere

There were too many tempting cocktails to try but I decided to put Sam to the test with a custom Vieux Carré and a Cardamaro Sour, because afterall, we were there because of Tyler’s suggestion from when we experienced Magnolia’s, with his same custom cocktail creation. Sam’s was good but Tyler’s seemed better, however the Captain’s had more, so toss up…

Specially concocted Cardamarro Sour at Magnolia's_Art Is Everywhere

Specially concocted Cardamaro Sour at Magnolia’s

Peter liked his 13th Street Cocktail so much that he had another; whereas, I wanted to try different drinks.  My final concoction was the homemade daiquiri with singed anise. This important detail added taste through smell every time you took a sip and exemplified the true art to making a cocktail terrific.

We enjoyed a wonderful cheese board and because there is a 2 hour limit, which is a good cutoff time, we had a couple of doughnuts to enjoy on our walk home, which fortunately, is nearby. Luckily for us.

Homemade Daiquiri with singed anise on Art Is Everywhere

Homemade Daiquiri with singed anise

We’ll be back of course but may have to make reservations way in advance as the place may have lost its secret status with this recent bit of great press they’ve experienced. Otherwise, you’d never guess such a sweet spot exits in this unassuming doughnut shop.

Sugar Shack in Alexandria on Art Is Everywhere

Unassuming Sugar Shack entrance right on Route 1 highway in Old Town Alexandria, VA

Dallas Daily News – Seven Places to Toast the Art of Drinking in Alexandria, VA

Southern Living – The Sweet Life of Alexandria, VA

In A DC Minute – 5 Places to Get Cocktails in Alexandria

DC Refined – 8 Cocktail Bars that Command More Attention

Washingtonian – Captain Gregory’s Speakeasy is Serving Doughnut Sliders and Sundaes

 

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A Month of Celebrations

This has been quite a month of celebrations, so much so that I haven’t had a lot of time to document but here it goes — in bullet formation.

January – a Birthday is always great when it happens to land on a long holiday weekend, as my husband’s does with Martin Luther King Day. We took advantage when taking our son back to UVA for his final semester. We had recently discovered a new place, where we’ll be staying in May, and decided to test it out by staying over a night before heading back to DC. What a great decision! Shenandoah Crossing, in Gordonsville is a part of the BlueGreen Resorts and lives up to its promise of high style glamping. Although we stayed in the lodge during this cold, winter visit, we’ll be staying in a yurt and a 3-bedroom cabin with extended family later this spring.

BlueGreen Shenandoah Crossing Lodge_Art Is Everywhere

Shenandoah Crossing Lodge

Shenandoah Crossing room decor_Art Is Everywhere

Clever way to display framed pictures in the room

Shenandoah Crossing Lodge Restaurant_Art Is Everywhere

The Lodge Restaurant

Shenandoah Crossing Yurt_Art Is Everywhere

Shenandoah Crossing Yurt

February – Valentine’s Day is one that we don’t usually celebrate but this time it fell on a Sunday and luckily Monday was a holiday — Presidents’ Day. Yippie, we could actually enjoy the Wine Bars with the wine pairing I had planned in advance because this day didn’t fall on a work / week day or break our vow to give up drinking during Lent, which we sacrifice — except for the weekends.

I had picked up the Wine Bars from Fleurir and what a wonderful pairing it was. I never knew chocolate could make wine taste so much better and vise versa. I’ve already given these as a first year anniversary present to my son and his wife as well as good friend who shares the same birth month, but I had never tried them myself.

Fleurir Wine Bars_Art Is Everywhere

Fleurir Wine Bars – photo by Hannah Hudson

The only problem to the way the evening ended was pretty humorous, actually. Peter normally cooks melt-in-your-mouth steaks. For some reason, the ones we got from Whole Foods maybe had more fat than normal? Not sure but when flash pan-frying, they created so much smoke that the fire alarm went off. It wouldn’t have been a problem normally but since we’ve “upgraded” to a digital phone service, the alarm folks couldn’t get through the home phone to reach us as the alarm had hijacked the phone system with blasted warnings, “FIRE ALARM, leave the premises immediately!!” Well, the fire truck made it to our house before we could alert ADT to stop them — can only go through their 1-800 number. OK, as if this wasn’t embarrassing enough on a street with close-knit neighbors. The fire alarm went off again and guess what, yep, the fire truck paid us another visit. Crap! Lesson learned, we changed the phone alert pathway and at least we didn’t get charged. At this point, more wine and chocolate pairing was the best plan.

February – a Birthday is always great when it starts with a Friday. Actually my celebration started a few days before, on Wednesday, when we went to listen to Big Sam’s Funk Nation at Gypsy Sally’s. What fun!! I always get excited when I see bands from my hometown playing. This big brass New Orleans band with the lead singer, Big Sam Williams, gives a jiving, “urban funk” performance that just gets you up off your feet. He’s the former trombonist for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The 8 Ohms Band started the set and gave a great foot-stomping performance and certainly prepped the crowd for Big Sam, who came out and played a song before intermission.

8 Ohms Band_Art Is Everywhere

8 Ohms Band

8 Ohms 2_Art Is Everywhere 8 Ohms 3_Art Is Everywhere

Sams Big Funk Nation_Art Is EverywhereOn Friday, my real birthday, my good friend Liza had these gorgeous flowers delivered. My other good girlfriend, Marty, delivered her famous individual size coffee cake. Soooo nice! Sometimes, I get so busy, I forget my birthday. This wasn’t a big year and still people remembered.

Beautiful Birthday Flowers_Art Is Everywhere

These look so lovely with the portrait that was retrieved from my Aunt Katherine’s painting stash.

Relatives sent cards and my wonderful in-laws really surprised me with with beautiful vintage style, mother-of-pearl handle, double-blade, Congress Muskrat, pocket knife from A.G. Russell. There will be all sorts of uses for this beyond what I might know. I just have to remember to remove it before traveling on a plane.

A.G. Russell Pocket Knife_Art Is EverywhereWe topped off the evening with a fun night of pool at No. 9 Lounge (above the Majestic Lounge) at Evening Star Cafe. This is a somewhat hidden spot upstairs for pool, beer, meeting new pool buddies, listening to cool tunes and eating scrumptious food. I loved my cream of cauliflower soup with raisins. I need to get that recipe!

No 9 Lounge Evening Star Cafe_Art Is Everywhere

Unfortunately I couldn’t find a recent picture with the pool table in the far back (via Biz Bash)

Afterwards, we saw 13 Hours at the movie theater, which we rarely do these days but this is big screen worthy, as is The Revenant, The Martian and the latest Star Wars, all of which we’ve bucked up to see on the big screen. The movie tempered the mood but was well worth seeing. In fact, if everyone saw it, they would certainly question those publicly conveyed chain of events and the government’s role in them. Makes you think, if only….!

A Leap Year Anniversary — that comes every 4 years, gives us two times to celebrate in one year. This is our 7th special anniversary and we celebrated it at Magnolia’s On King, a relatively new Southern style restaurant that gets it right. We started out with the appetizers I love to have each time I’ve gone, stuffed dates with blue cheese and wrapped with bacon. Mouth-watering good! I’m using for our Easter Brunch! I had the best meal. Evidently, we lucked out because our celebratory night was on Monday — Gumbo Night. Wow! Excellent! A larger meal than Peter’s and just the right amount of spice.

Magnolias Stuffed Dates_Art Is EverywhereThe best part was heading upstairs to the Palm Lounge. It reminds me so much of New Orleans with the exposed brick wall, deep red walls brightened by firelight and rattan ceiling fans that I’ll go back to see in action when it gets warmer out. Tyler, the welcoming and talented bearded bartender, was willing to create a drink of our choice as long as he had the base to work with. We asked him about amaros and he said he was really liking Caramaro right now. Well, it’s one of my favorites so I asked him to please make a drink with it. This is the divine delicacy that he crafted with 1/2 oz gin (that I normally don’t drink), topped with egg white (Ramos Gin Fizz style) and a spritz of Angostura bitters.

Specially concocted Cardamarro Sour at Magnolia's_Art Is Everywhere

Specially concocted Cardamaro Sour at Magnolia’s

I can’t think of a better way to end the month, except, we may continue the celebration. We learned from our friendly bartender about Captain Gregory’s, a new (but not so) secret speakeasy to try, “a hole in the wall” inside the Sugar Shack Doughnut (hole) Shop, of all places. Looking forward to continuing new discoveries into March… 😉

Hint - Capture the Flag_Captain Gregory's_ Art Is Everywhere

Hint – Capture the Flag