Church & State was practically a perfect bar. It was moody. The drinks, some named after the Seven Deadly Sins, were spot on. It had a confessional booth for spilling secrets with friends instead of priests. It even paid tribute to musicians no longer with us.
But owner Erik Holzherr decided it was time for a change at his H Street NE bar, so he scrapped broody drink den in favor of what he calls a “sexy nerd bar.”
Idle Hands, the replacement bar, opens tonight at 6 p.m. with a free shot for all patrons. This is how the bar describes itself on Facebook, as initially reported by Frozen Tropics.
DCs freshest interactive bar for drinkers with a gaming problem. Located above Atlas Arcade, IH is like the older brother that always shows up in that sweet, tricked-out Camaro trying to impress that rocker girl with the big hair. Too cool for most arcades, he prefers games of real skill. Our unique neon-church décor is like none other in DC and is the perfect 90s cocoon while you imbibe in our selection of high-end craft beers, wine and unique cutting-edge original cocktails — nothing is copied here.Idle Hands keeps the edge sharp on H street with games like giant connect 4, drunken twister with strangers, and confessions with twisted “priests”. Feeling like a Boss? Reserve a spot for four on our V.I.P. “Casting Couch”. The game has begun…
Holzherr tells City Paper the Twister game is a mat that unfurls, and yes, he hopes you play the game of intimate gymnastics with strangers. “Hopefully we won’t have any lawsuits,” he says.
Then there’s the “casting couch.” At Idle Hands, the term refers to an area with leather sofas that four guests can pay to reserve for one hour to play video games while sipping discounted drinks or bottles of Champagne. “We did that to be fun,” Holzherr says, referring to the term casting couch. The sleazy porno trope is something the country’s biggest actors’ union is fighting to eliminate.
“The whole concept was to make it less formal than Church & State,” Holzherr says. “It’s like Atlas Arcade‘s older brother. A little more chill with higher-end beer and wine. When Atlas gets insane on weekends with 20-year-olds, you can run upstairs, grab a board game, and chill with friends.”
Holzherr also owns Atlas Arcade and Wisdom.
Update on 6/19: Holzherr issued a statement on local blog, The Hill is Home. The following is an excerpt about the “casting couch.”
First, let me start with a clear apology. I apologize to those in the community and those online who were offended by some of the language in our initial marketing campaign. As a son, brother, and uncle to the most important women in my life, I treat all my female staff and patrons with the utmost respect–as if they were my mother, sisters, or niece. I require all my staff to do the same. I am truly mortified that our description has been perceived as supporting someone like Harvey Weinstein. The “casting couch” was the now-changed name of a couch in the bar where you can “cast” dice for board games or play retro four-player video games. It was clear to me at the soft opening that the play on words was not well received. Therefore, this language was immediately removed before our opening. We again apologize for any offense caused.
Idle Hands, 1236 H St. NE; facebook.com/dcidlehands/
Photo by Rachael on Flickr