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Lush Life: D.C.’s Latest Lounge is More Legit Than You Think

By Whitewall

January 10, 2013

Last month, right before the holidays, saw the opening of Heist, Washington D.C.’s newest lounge located in DuPont Circle. Established by D.C. nightlife royalty Charles Koch, Patrick Osuna, and Timothy Sheldon, and designed by architect Brian Swanson (whose resume includes boutiques for Cartier and YSL), Heist promises “grandeur, fun, and light-hearted delinquency.”

It also promises exclusivity. We were there on opening night and received a bit of Art Basel Miami Beach Le Baron treatment as we tried to enter. “Just a moment, sir,” said the bouncer, preventing us from entering. We explained we were with the publicist who was wrangling a group of New York City journalists. “No problem,” he retorted (not exactly an apology), as he opened the velvet rope, never making eye contact.

Heist definitely plays on an illicit speakeasy style. If it weren’t for the velvet rope setup and security detail, no one would ever know this place exists. Guests enter through an unmarked, non-descript door, and then descend a dark stairway before accessing the main room, which is decorated in bronze and gold, and embellished with ornamental niches and vitrines. The brass topped bar is designed with a bullet riddled effect – above which is an illuminated ceiling of multi-faceted crystals. Their signature design element, however, is the DJ booth, complete with a 24-karat gold buffalo skull and an invitation-only VIP booth.

The last time we were in D.C was probably in 1989 on a forced-fun school trip. The experience left a bad taste in our mouth, so we didn’t have high expectations for Heist. The minute we entered the main room, we knew we miscalculated–this was going to be a serious party. We wanted to start dancing immediately, but the group was ushered past the bar and dance floor to the bottle service area. Soon those scantily clad hot club girls arrived at our table with oversized bottles of Belvedere stuffed with bright sparklers. Vodka brings out the devil in us, so we ordered “Robert The Bruce,” (a cocktail of Glenmorangie Scotch Whiskey, yellow Chartreuse, and green tea; served with a single 2” ice ball and garnished with lemon peel) designed by Desmond Reilly and Kristopher Carr of Keystone Hospitality (formerly GOLDBAR, NYC and Mondrian Hotel, NYC).

With the bottles popped, our “Robert The Bruce” in hand, we could relax and enjoy the musical stylings of The Captains of Industry’s StoneRokk and Graham Funke. These guys are certified party rockers. Every song was on 100 percent with them playing a mix of contemporary top 40 and 60s – 80s classics. We nearly jumped out of our seat when they played a Baltimore Club remix of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” But that wasn’t the only gem of the night. Other top mash-ups include Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” with A Taste of Honey’s “Boogie Oogie Oogie” and The Police’s “I Don’t Want To Lose Your Love,” with Three 6 Mafia’s monster hit, “Stay Fly.” Yet, despite all the great music, there was very little dancing. Most everyone were content people-watching and bottle-popping when they should have been body popping.

Heist is located at 1802 Jefferson Place NW, Washington, D.C.

A Taste of HoneyAretha FranklinArt Basel Miami BeachBelvedereBrian SwansonCharles KochDallas Art FairDesmond ReillyGlenmorangie Scotch WhiskeyGOLDBARGraham FunkeHeistKeystone HospitalityKristopher CarrLe BaronMondrian HotelPatrick OsunaStoneRokkTaio CruzThe Captains of IndustryThe PoliceThree 6 MafiaTimothy Sheldon


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