Millie & Al’s will sling its last Jell-O shots on April 7. The Adams Morgan institution is closing after 53 years of business—and love connections. The bar has apparently sparked enough romances that it sells T-shirts that read “I met your mother at Millie & Al’s.”
And so we tracked down some couples who met, went on a first date, or shared a first kiss at the bar. Here are their stories in their own words. (Got another Millie & Al’s love story? Email us with the details and a photo.)
Norm and Susan Linsky
First date: March, 1978
“Oh what a night. Some first dates end with getting lucky. Others end with a good night smooch. Once in a blue moon they even end with a proposal. Ours ended… differently.
A few days after being introduced by a mutual friend, we met at Millie’s. The pizza was so damn good, the beer so damn cold. First date was going great!
Then it hit me. Nausea—waves and waves of nausea, followed by gut-crunching indigestion, reflux, belching, then loud—REALLY loud and very public—heaving and heaving. First in the restaurant, then in the bathroom, finally spilling out (literally) onto 18th Street. Then the first, romantic sweet words I croaked to my future beloved: ‘Susan, please God: Tums, Rolaids, Maalox, anything. NOW!!!’
In fairness to Millie’s, it wasn’t their fault. Sloppy pizza and I never went well together. But the best part is that sometimes nausea works: March 2016 is our 36th wedding anniversary and our 38th ‘first dry heave’ anniversary (you always remember your first). Maybe we’ll go back on Millie’s closing day for another bout—just for old time’s sake. RIP Millie & Al’s and thank you!”
Liz and Scott Stankus
First meeting: Dec. 28, 2004
“Having just flown back from visiting family in California, Liz was gearing up for a quiet night in. Eventually succumbing to peer pressure, she walked the four blocks to Millie and Al’s to meet up with friends. Meanwhile, newly single Scott was at the bar with a fraternity brother—one who happened to be roommates with Liz’s college buddy. Needless to say, the rest is history. After dancing to ’90s hip-hop and consuming too many jello shots, they stayed until last call. Seeing the sparks fly, Scott gets pushed out of the cab to walk Liz home. They were married in October 2010 and are still living happily in the D.C. area.”
Beth and Dominic Ambrosio
First sloppy kiss: Aug. 2004
“Our co-ed soccer team (Spicy Walruses for life!) spent many a Wednesday night at Millie’s for $1 pint night. This picture is from the Wednesday night my future husband and I drunkenly made out for the first time right next to the jukebox. That was back when you could still smoke in there! Since then, we’ve moved across the country twice, gotten married, and added two dogs and two kids to the family. We love Millie’s so much we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary there. RIP Millie’s. Thanks for all the good times!”
Dan and Kim Richards
First picture: Feb. 2006
“We didn’t meet there (that happened at another former beloved Adams Morgan bar, The Reef), but this was our first picture together and probably first public outing with friends. We’ve returned to DC area after a 5-year stint in New York, now with 6 years of marriage under our belt and two kids.”
Clare Berke and Michael Sigrist
First meeting: Sept. 2006
“On Labor Day weekend 2006, my now-husband, Michael, and I had both recently moved to DC. We found ourselves in Adams Morgan at 5 p.m., drinking 25 cent Miller High Lifes at Asylum with our respective friend groups. My roommates and I merged with his college friends around 8 p.m. at The Real Original Jumbo Slice, where my husband offered to share his pizza with me. After some bantering, my husband’s friends invited my roommates and I across the street for shots — $1 jello shots, that is, at Millie and Al’s. We kept up the bar-hopping all night, and the next day, Michael called and asked me on a date. We married in 2010 and have a one year old son.”
Tina and Doug Gibson
First date: July 7, 1982
“It was our first real date, but Doug and I had known each other through work for a couple of years. We were sharing our evening with my cousin, who was celebrating her birthday that night. The three of us ended up at some point at Millie & Al’s and when Doug went to use the men’s room, my cousin asked me, ‘Wow! Where did you find this great guy’ She was horrified to find out it was our first date and that she was along, but the three of us were having a great time (a sign to me that he was a good guy).
When we were leaving Millie & Al’s, we realized it had begun pouring rain while we were there. The car was parked a couple of blocks away. To my surprise, Doug stopped a man who was walking into the bar and grabbed his umbrella, saying, ‘Do you mind if I borrow this? I’ll bring it right back!’ as he ran out the door to get the car.
As my cousin and I stood there, I realized that such a grand gesture was rare and I knew right then that he was The One. That was 34 years ago and we’re still very happily married. But the best part? Not once since then has he done such a crazy thing. Thank goodness he was brave that night or maybe things might have been different. I like to think it was the ‘million owls’ that led him to make such a bold move.
We returned a couple of years ago to have a beer at the bar. We’re both sad to see Millie & Al’s go.”