Ever since the Loading Dock closed last year, The Square in Georgetown has lacked a good place to go and have a relaxed drink. Now, in a different style, the Landmark Tavern has occupied the second floor of the Old Masonic building that formerly housed Romeo’s Italian restaurant. It is a quiet blues/jazz bar, owned by Joe and Bobbye Dowda.
When I stopped in, Mr. Dowda was tending the bar and was happy enough to talk with a new patron.
“This is sort of my retirement gig, and I wanted a place that, if I was going to go somewhere, I would want to go. We have people playing most nights, but even if you’re sitting right next to the band, you can still have a normal conversation.”
I went in on a Thursday afternoon, and Mr. Dowda and I talked about scotch, and although the tavern has not been there long, the people there were already acting like it was the old neighborhood bar; a place to relax after work with friends, with about five people coming and going at around 4 o’clock, all seeming to know one another. Although the two are separate businesses, Landmark works with Amante’s, which occupies the first floor, and Landmark offers a small but diverse menu of Amante’s food, as well as coffee from Georgetown roaster Coyote Moon.
The prices are somewhat high, but fair for the quality of fare. The tavern is a member’s only club, but there are no dues, and anyone is welcome as a member, or as a guest of a member. Lineups for the week start out with Martini’s and Manicures, aimed more at the female crowd, and a jazz pianist. Tuesday is Amateur Showcase, where new bands can audition to perform. Blues and Jazz outfits fill out the week, including Sounds of Lux, a trio that plays New Orleans style jazz on Fridays, and Rachel Roma, who sings blues on Saturday.
“We are a club of like-minded individuals who enjoy good wine, good music, and a relaxed social environment,” Dowda said. “We are looking forward to this whole journey which I’ve professionally prepared for these past 25 years.”
Landmark Tavern is a non-profit organization, which donates any profits to a charity, based on the suggestions of members. For fairly priced drinks and food, Landmark is a pleasant place within walking distance of campus, for those times when nothing could possibly seem better than just being off campus.