Marvin

Bar / Beer Garden / Lounge / Restaurant
Marvin Built as an homage to singer Marvin Gaye, who grew up nearby and took soul-searching trips to Belgium in the 1980s, Marvin combines the soulful elements of its namesake with some unique Belgian overtones. Washington, DC United States 38.917314 -77.031583
4.25 8
Marvin - Bar | Beer Garden | Lounge | Restaurant in Washington, DC.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Built as an homage to singer Marvin Gaye, who grew up nearby and took soul-searching trips to Belgium in the 1980s, Marvin combines the soulful elements of its namesake with some unique Belgian overtones. A wall-sized... ... read full review

  • Metro:

    Green, Yellow Lines: U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo

  • Phone:

    202-797-7171

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    Bar/Lounge: M–Th 5:30pm–2am, F–Sa 5:30pm–3am, Su 11am–2am
    Bistro: M–Th, Su 5:30–11pm, F–Sa 5:30pm–midnight, Su 10:30am–3:30pm

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Marvin Review

The Scene

Built as an homage to singer Marvin Gaye, who grew up nearby and took soul-searching trips to Belgium in the 1980s, Marvin combines the soulful elements of its namesake with some unique Belgian overtones.

Built as an homage to singer Marvin Gaye, who grew up nearby and took soul-searching trips to Belgium in the 1980s, Marvin combines the soulful elements of its namesake with some unique Belgian overtones.

A wall-sized mural of the singer casts a watchful eye over the local bohemian types chowing down on fried chicken with waffles or shrimp and grits, highlighted by the warm glow of retro open-bulb lighting.

The small bar in the dining area usually fills up on weekends as young hipsters flock in to peruse the thirty-odd beer options or munch on moules-frites, while young professionals mingle by the street-side window waiting for a table.

After a good meal, patrons head upstairs to a lounge decked out in historic Motown photos, where hip artists and musicians move to an eclectic mix of old-school, hip-hop, and R&B spun by guest DJs.

Sweaty partiers looking for a break from the grooves can try finagling a spot at the lantern-lit bar or make their way to the heated rooftop beer garden for a brew and a bite to eat.

Although the dining room and beer garden may be laid back earlier in the evening, it doesn’t take much for Marvin to become a standing-room-only joint perfect for getting it on.

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Tip from Jonah:

Unlike most venues in DC, Marvin’s still allows smoking in the outdoor areas, so head to the rooftop at your discretion.

  • Crowd

    Mature upscale crowd in the bistro, urbanites, local musicians, and artists in the lounge and rooftop, 20s to 40s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Various compilations of R&B, hip-hop, and jazz, many put together by Thievery Corporation's Eric Hilton. Guest DJs nightly in the upstairs lounge.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Southern soul food with a Belgian twist, including shrimp with creamy grits, goat cheese croquettes with fig vinaigrette, Belgian moules-frites, and country fried chicken with waffles.

    Beer and wine list features over thirty Belgian ales and blondes, and wines from organic and sustainable vintners. Street parking.

  • Prices

    Brunch $6–$12, appetizers $7–$12, entrées $14–$28. Beer $6–$10 wine $8–$13/glass or $28–$310/bottle, cocktails $6–$11.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Cool casual: jeans, t-shirts, anything from Urban Outfitters or Free People. Dress code: no shorts or flip-flops.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    The vibe changes depending on the DJ, but Wednesdays through Saturdays are usually a sure bet for a packed dance floor.

  • Close By

    The Gibson (2009 14th Street NW) is another Eric Hilton lounge right next door, with intricate signature cocktails and a more intimate setting.

Marvin User Reviews

Average rating:
Poshness for the Prince
Michael W. Aug 9, 2013
The Prince of Motown never looked so good. Named after Marvin Gaye, arguably the greatest soul singer of the twentieth century, this night spot is a fitting tribute to all that he was and the good times his music inspires. The first floor is dedicated to a modestly-sized bistro serving modestly-sized entrees at not so modest prices. Give them credit for an ambitious and well-executed menu, just don't show up hungry. The herb-crusted flounder was well seasoned and aptly complemented by a very creamy succotash, but there's no hiding the disappointment one feels at finding his or her flounder serving outsized by a McDonald's filet of fish sandwich. Upstairs, the experience expands into a funky space reincarnation with a surprisingly vibrant roof bar and the kind of lounge space that makes you feel like you must have made it in the music business. The lounge offer intimate arrays of half-booth seating along the sides and a DJ powered dance floor that gets going with the same energy as the party "I Want You" album cover. Strangers become friends to the sounds of Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & the Gang, and of course, the Master Mr. Gaye. If you like a little retro in your relaxation, this is just the spot to make one feel cooler and hipper than any of us really are.
For The DC Professional with Hipster Tendencies
Crystal M. Apr 26, 2013
While neighboring Adams Morgan may be considered the Party Center of Washington, DC, the U Street Corridor provides a version for folks who are still young enough to have a good time, but old enough to be annoyed by under aged drinkers. Marvin is a perfect fit for the artists, professionals and late night happy hour seekers who want to take a load off with friends and make new ones. Downstairs, the restaurant has dinner priced around 25 bucks per plate, but upstairs is where you work off those chicken and waffles. There's a room where a DJ typically spins old school hip hop and techno for people who are looking for a sweaty, underground basement type feel, and a bar/patio for folks who need some breathing room and fresh air. Out on the patio you might hear a Vampire Weekend track you'd forgotten about bleeding into a classic Michael Jackson hit. Some might call this venue hipster, but the customers, often dressed as if they just left the office, will calm the anti-hipster in anyone. So on Saturday, if you're looking for a good meal and a good time, I recommend Marvin. But then on Monday, if you're bummed the weekend is over, stop by around 8 after work and for a few hours, you'll forget you have TPS reports to turn in, bright and early on Tuesday morning.
DC's Best Summer Bar
Rebecca H. Apr 12, 2013
Marvin's is a great DC bar no matter what the season, but in the summer it hits its peak. The upstairs patio/lounge has a laid back vibe and is more spacious than other DC rooftops--you can actually breathe! (Heat lamps make it a great spot in Spring or Fall too!) The DJs are consistently awesome and the staff is efficient and friendly. The crowd is a mix of young professionals, hipsters and everything in between. Monday nights are fun and you'll run into service industry staff from DC's other hot spots, weekends you'll need a dinner reservation and for Sunday brunch you must get the chicken and waffles!
Try the Fried Chicken and Waffles
Jimmy D. Aug 10, 2012
I know it sounds weird but the fried chicken and waffles at Marvin is terrific. Went there for New years 2010 and rang it in with that dish. Great way to kick off the new year. DJ's are consistently good here as well as the mixed drinks. Head up to the outdoor patio for a nice al fresco lounge if the humidity and heat aren't brutal. Marvin is right next to The Gibson which is also a terrific spot for cocktails. Great one two punch.
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