How to Get Into O.K.P.B.

This speakeasy is perfect for an indulgent drink — but where IS it?!

Booth at O.K.P.B. Photo by Hannah Berman.

O.K.P.B. (3165 Mt. Pleasant Street NW) is a thoroughly kooky speakeasy. It has quite the mysterious aura: with an impenetrable logo and popular stickers that pop up around DC more often than you’d expect, O.K.P.B.’s presence in this city is felt, but not seen.

The street outside this establishment is always quiet, and gives away no hint of the glowing, bustling bar hidden up on the second floor. To get in this speakeasy, you need to peer through open doorways up and down Mt. Pleasant St until you locate an inner black door marked with a red lightning bolt. Next to the door, there’s a doorbell. Ring it and a polite gentleman in a pink tie will make his way slowly down the stairs to greet you and usher you in.

O.K.P.B. is small in a way that very few places in DC manage to be: with only about six tables and ten barstools, the space is already filled. My friend and I were too late to snag a table and got seated instead at the “standing corner,” leaning against a radiator topped with poker chips and an eerie mid-century statue of a young blond boy.

Sticker wall and drinks at O.K.P.B. Photos by Hannah Berman.

The whole bar is graced with character-filled bric-a-brac, from said freaky statue to a blue stapler that pops up in various zany places from time to time. It was clearly decorated by a group of people with a sense of humor: everything is just a little bit old and off in a way that feels charmingly goofy, like the hand mirrors that are hung close enough together to approximate a bathroom mirror. Monkeys adorn the wallpaper and hang from the light fixtures. In true speakeasy style, the bathrooms are located behind fake bookcases.

The more I explore O.K.P.B.’s online presence, the more it makes me giggle, too. The friends who founded the speakeasy label the name of their bar a “meaningless initialism.” Their website’s footer just says “All hail Dan, may Dan be with you;” every Instagram photo they post is accompanied by the hashtag #ihatemyfriends and #dan.

Tables and bar at O.K.P.B. Photo by Hannah Berman.

Who is Dan, you may ask? Well, he’s the man behind the bar, according to the girl who took me here. (Not that she’s necessarily an expert — it’s hard to get to know this strange little place!) As we entered, she whispered to me, “That bartender is a legend. He doesn’t speak to anyone, he just has a reputation. And he makes drinks that are out of this world.”

This brings me to the drinks, of course. I ordered a Snow White, a drink made with lime, piña, and egg white. Not necessarily a natural combination — but oh my God, if alcohol tasted like this all the time, I’d be drunk constantly. The foam alone was so good that it took all I had not to order another. Good luck catching the Snow White again, though. The drinks on offer change daily, written on a tiny notepad in fancy script — just another one of O.K.P.B.’s many goofy pretensions.

I loved my drink, and I love O.K.P.B. for the way in which it manages to be both cagey and earnest all at once. At the end of the day, despite the air of mystery surrounding it, O.K.P.B. is simply a classy speakeasy run by veterans of the DC bar scene that happen to be really close friends. Now that I know how to find my way into the bar, my next step is finding my way into their friend group — I want to #hatemyfriends, too!

Read more musings at Do Not Disturb, Hannah is Eating, or subscribe to get the newsletter delivered to your inbox here.

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