Karaoking with the Russians at Mari Vanna

By Punch Pulse Correspondent Niki Clark

The cocktail lounge on the third floor of Dupont Circle’s newest Russian eatery, Mari Vanna is interesting, to say the least. I checked it out on Wednesday for the launch of their weekly KGB (Karaoke in Grandma’s Basement) series. While not in a basement, we did walk past several older Russian folks on the stairway up, just validating my suspicion that this was as authentic as it gets.

Pamela's Punch KGB

Past the first two floors, where both Russians and non-Russians alike were dining on borscht, blinis (thin pancakes) and beef stroganoff, I was greeted by a hulkish figure dressed as official KGB. He took our John Hancock and our fingerprints, handed us a shot of Russian Standard Vodka and made us swear to secrecy. Then we entered a modern and pulsing lounge, where the music was good, the drinks were even better and the guests were ready to party.

Pamela's Punch KGB

Pamela's Punch KGB

Lucky for you, it’s not just Mother Russia Loyalists that can join in; KGB is a weekly Wednesday-night bash. It took a bit warming up for the crowd to jump fully into the karaoke part of the evening, but once one of the Russian hosts showed the Americans how it was done, the wall came down and it was on.

So check it out. After all, everything old (world) is new again.

KGB starts at 9 pm on Wednesdays. Mari Vanna is located at 1141 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20036. For KGB table reservations, please call 202.783.7777 or visit the Mari Vanna website at http://www.marivanna.ru/washington/.

About Niki McMillan:
Punch Pulse Correspondent Niki McMillan is a part time photographer; full time Red Crosser and 24/7 big sister to fellow puncher Lindsey. She loves travel, puppy kisses (especially from her own, ichabob) and invites to bourbon-orientated events.
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