So, I don’t get out much. But the last couple weekends, I’ve been able to venture out and enjoy some of what D.C. has to offer. I tried out two new places that I’ve never been before — not because I’m an explorative visionary but because that’s where my friends took me. Either way, I recommend both venues for a good time:

Smith Commons

Up until a couple of years ago, H St. NE was nothing to write home about…unless you were a journalist writing a news story about urban decay or crime. However, the neighborhood has always been filled by great residents who take pride in and love their community. With revitalization efforts, the feel of the community is now matched by looks. Although many residents complain that gentrification is pushing them out of their neighborhood, and their concerns are valid, businesses like Smith Commons has brought jobs, capital and vibrant life to the H St. Corridor.

Smith Commons blends the restaurant, bar and club scene with warmth and class. The staff is friendly and has a camaraderie with their regulars. One bartender even noted that while he’d seen my friend, Carmen, once before — I was a first-timer. The drinks come at a reasonable price, especially since they are as tasty as they are potent. The crowd is mixed — expect to see all colors and hear a varied genres of music within a half-hour’s time. The first floor is definitely about dining and chatting. Once you head up the steps, the chatting continues but you will have to talk louder because the music is in full effect.

I wouldn’t say this is the place to go if you want to work up a sweat and back it up all night, but the vibe is unique in that everyone is clearly flowing with the music in an obvious way that doesn’t include too many moves being busted. As a foodie, I am ashamed to say that I didn’t order any food because I had already eaten. But I did scan all the tables around me and every dish I saw looked yummy. No worries, I will be back to partake and an update shall follow!

Tuscana West

During the day and on most evenings, Tuscana West is a romantico ristorante italiano. On Saturday nights, however, it’s apparently a poppin’ nightclub. Now, most of the clubs I go to are in the general area of Tuscana West (I St./McPherson Square) but I’d never heard of this place until an hour before I walked through the doors. I didn’t know what to expect. My unfamiliarity automatically led me to presume lameness. As soon as I crossed the threshold, however, I was pleasantly surprised.

The club is spacious with a few bars and ample dance room. VIP tables are available and the decor can be described as colorful, modern chic with a hint of romance. Like Smith Commons, the crowd is mixed but I heard all the current hip-hop hits thanks to DJ Quicksilva. If you aren’t from the D.C. area, let me acquaint you with this deejay — he’s hot. He has a radio show. He was a Pepsi deejay. He can mix. He gets the party going. The end. So I danced and danced and danced. And drank and drank and drank. All that being said, I will be going back to take in more details and see if my first experience was a fluke or if this really is a go-to for a great time.

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