By Amy McKeever
Three months and a refurbishment after Toledo Lounge changed ownership, the Adams Morgan bar is finally ready to get back in business. Now under the ownership of the Black Squirrel’s Amy Bowman and Scott Auslander of Ventnor Sports Cafe, the Toledo Lounge reopens tonight. A tipster says the bar underwent a deep clean and had its hardwood floors redone, but that most of the Ohio-themed decor remains in place. Rumor has it that the menu has been upgraded, too, and will incorporate nods to other Toledos — you know, like Spain. 5-19-11
By Fritz Hahn
The Washington Post
Last night, the red neon Toledo Lounge sign lit up for the first time since February.
The occasion was the first peek at the “new” Toledo Lounge, which Amy Bowman and Scott Auslander purchased earlier this year. First verdict: The place looks and feels better than it has in years, without losing the low-key charm that made it one of Adams Morgan’s best neighborhood bars.
“I really liked Toledo Lounge,” Bowman says. “In fact, it was one of the first places I went when I moved to D.C. back in 1996.” So when owners Mary and Stephanie Abbajay decided to sell their 17-year-old bar, Bowman and partner Scott Auslander — the owner of the nearby Ventnor Sports Cafe — decided they’d like to take over the place that they loved. “We wanted to bring it back to its old glory,” Bowman says. “The place has such good energy.”
They redid the floors, exposed the brick walls, and redecorated with a similar sort of Americana kitsch (a giant Mobil Pegasus sign hangs across from the bar). But the long tables, the cool little mezzanine area and that spacious sidewalk patio are as comfortable as ever.
The non-internet jukebox remains one of the best around, running the gamut from the American songbook (Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra) to Johnny Cash, Fugazi and the Cure. As a bonus, it’s now free to operate . (Just don’t expect to hear your songs anytime soon.)
One major improvement: The bar now has Ohio beers to go with the Ohio theme. There are two taps dedicated to Cleveland’s Great Lakes brewing company, and bottles from Akron’s award-winning Hoppin’ Frog brewery. Because it’s “an old-school neighborhood bar,” Bowman says, the beers range from Lowenbrau and Schlitz up to costlier Belgian and German imports. 5-20-11
BEST JUKEBOX BARS in D.C.
Experience the taste of European beers and lagers without leaving D.C. The Toledo Lounge aspires to combine the history, culture and cuisine of Old World Toledo, Spain, with the culture and traditions of Toledo, Ohio. The lounge features dive bar-decor, traditional American bar foods and a wide selection of imported beer. Enjoy happy hour and food specials, awesome jukebox tunes and an outdoor patio. 1-5-12