The Codmother

Bar / Pub / Restaurant
The Codmother Owned by the same guys behind Tabaq Bistro – U Street's trendy rooftop tapas joint – The Codmother takes patrons in an entirely different direction, down into a basement haunt that's all about punk and beer-battered fish... Washington, DC United States 38.916882 -77.030992
3.4 6
The Codmother - Bar | Pub | Restaurant in Washington, DC.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Owned by the same guys behind Tabaq Bistro – U Street’s trendy rooftop tapas joint – The Codmother takes patrons in an entirely different direction, down into a basement haunt that’s all about punk and beer-battered fish... ... read full review

  • Metro:

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

  • Phone:

    202-265-0709

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–Th, Su 4pm–1:30am, F–Sa 4pm–2:30am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth The Codmother Review

The Scene

Owned by the same guys behind Tabaq Bistro – U Street's trendy rooftop tapas joint – The Codmother takes patrons in an entirely different direction, down into a basement haunt that's all about punk and beer-battered fish...

Owned by the same guys behind Tabaq Bistro – U Street’s trendy rooftop tapas joint – The Codmother takes patrons in an entirely different direction, down into a basement haunt that’s all about punk and beer-battered fish.

Exposed brick speckled with graffiti and drawings of rock icons like Sid Vicious keep the feeling divey, while old framed British newspaper clippings, soft-white lamps, and mounted medieval armory create the atmosphere of a genuine London watering hole.

Young professionals who probably blew the roof off their garage in high school are lured down by the sounds of The Clash or Gogol Bordello that billow up the stairs, while everyone else from chatty skater types to relaxed older locals gathers around small wooden tables with plates of deep-fried Oreos and deeper-fried cod.

Bottles of imported English beers are plentiful behind the small bar, and though the tap list is fairly small, rowdy barhoppers who crush U Street every weekend can snag a PBR and whiskey combo if the Guinness isn’t cutting it.

A massive chalkboard toward the back entices bathroom-goers to draw a picture or drunkenly scribble a joke as they wait in line, but once back at their tables everyone must decide whether it’s time for a Snickers bar – deep-fried of course.

Just as grandmothers are known for spoiling their grandchildren rotten, The Codmother – with its oddly harmonious mix of pub and punk – spoils its patrons rotten too: Johnny Rotten.

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Tip from Jonah:

Don’t bother asking for wine. Punks don’t drink wine.

  • Crowd

    Young professionals, skaters, punk rockers, pub lovers, and barhoppers, mid-20s to late 30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Bartenders play punk rock, hard rock, and oldies. One TV. Giant chalkboard available for patrons to draw, write, or simply mark their territory.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Selection of British pub grub, seafood, and desserts, including fish and chips, mussels, and deep-fried Oreos and Snickers. Happy Hour M–F 5–8pm.

  • Prices

    Appetizers $5–$7, entrées $8–$10, desserts $4. Beer $3–$7, cocktails $4–$8.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes: collared shirts, jeans, plaid shirts, simple dresses, skate shoes, band t-shirts.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Earlier in the week for a mellow crowd of pub and punk fans, or Fridays and Saturdays to join the young and rowdy U Street throngs.

  • Close By

    Solly’s U Street Tavern (1942 11th Street NW) boasts a similar vibe that treads the line between laid-back dive and rowdy, drink-till-you-puke weekend hangout.

The Codmother User Reviews

Average rating:
Not your mother's bar...
Chantel H. Jun 4, 2013
You might not even notice the entrance tucked away under the stairs leading to the business upstairs, but you don't want to miss the fish and chips that are the Codmother's crowning glory. There's a limited bar, but friendly bar tenders that make you believe they'll remember your name the next time you come. They frequently have shows for local comedians and have the best fish and chips [and I'm saying this as someone who typically doesn't like fried fish] to coat the stomach before a night of drinking or as a pit stop between other venues. It's gritty and small; a true hole-in-the-wall, but the chalked up walls with random jokes and people leaving their mark on the place will make you want to be a part of it all and make it a regular stop. Don't go with expectations of grandeur; instead go with plans of a standing room only, local dive bar that's as authentic to DC as the street it's located on.
Never mind the bollocks, here’s The Codmother
Mark H. Apr 2, 2013
Punk’s not dead, and neither is the dive bar in Washington D.C. Gritty and raw, The Codmother sticks out like a sore thumb in a city that prides itself on professionalism and class. Though it scorns both, this U Street dive’s overall experience ensures it’s a thumb pointing way, way up. For starters, few other District bars capture such wild energy so often. Stepping inside’s like attending a basement gig in a WWII-era bunker. It’s cramped but cozy, and the limited floor space guarantees random shenanigans. Much like the best mosh pits, it’s a place that has visitors bumping into unexpected, crazy encounters every night. The Codmother’s clientele is thus an eclectic mix of punks, hipsters, grizzled locals and sloshed bar hoppers stumbling in. With so much diversity bumping elbows, the bar’s secret lies in its unifying theme to “eat, drink and be merry.” Patrons here do just that – as often and outrageously as possible. Going overboard is easy given The Codmother’s dirt cheap fare. The bar, for example, stocks a solid range of British, Irish and Yankee swill for roughly $5 or less a brew. Cocktails aren’t much worse, and the staff loves pouring free whiskey shots for customers even if they were. Long story short, it’s a venue for liver workouts today, rough mornings tomorrow. If that sounds unhealthy, it is. The Codmother doesn’t care. Virtually all of its food is equally inexpensive and fried in Yuengling beer batter. The menu mainly features deliciously unwholesome seafood including fish and chips, mussels and shrimp. Gloriously greasy, any option’s a treat for caloric deep-sea diving. If that’s not enough, there’s also fried Oreos or Snickers for dessert. The Codmother’s crowning achievement is how it mixes these offerings with true counter-culture vibes. The décor is a hodge-podge of raunchy jokes, old British news clippings and punk memorabilia. A chalkboard near the bathrooms, meanwhile, has made the whole bar a free-for-all of drawings and shout-outs that constantly evolves. No visit is exactly the same, and it’s this unpredictability which makes The Codmother one of D.C.’s best bars.
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