Non-Brunch Cocktails at Lyon Hall

The capital of brunch in Northern Virginia (IMHO), Lyon Hall is a wonderfully adorned spot with a convivial vibe and some nice drinks.

Ambiance: ****

Decor: ****

Service: ****

Cocktails: ***1/2

Overall Rating: 4

Lyon Hall is one of my favorite brunch places in the world.  When I was engaged in some hard-core marathon training, it was the highlight of my week to stroll into the very chic surroundings fresh off a 13 mile run (humble brag) and CARBOLOAD.  The bread, fries, and croissants flowed my friend, flowed.

Since I stopped with the 13 mile runs, I don’t get to the Hall as much, which is sad.  Yesterday, however, I decided to stroll over to my old haunt to see how their cocktails were.  It was a pre-holiday holiday in Clarendon and the weather was nice, so the bar was pretty empty.  A perfect setting for one of my disciplined marches through a cocktail list.

I started with the “Generals Tea“.  I’m a sucker for ice tea-based cocktails, but this was a bit boring.  Refreshing, but boring.  I also found it a little overly sweet, although the full-bodied lemon taste was nice.  But the tea/liquor/lemon mix just didn’t kill it.

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Next was the beautifully named “Passage to India” made of Broker’s London Dry Gin, Strong Tonic, Cucumber, and Lime.  I thought this would be a pretty standard gin and cucumber cool sipper but something about this drink really made it stand out — it was the highlight of the session. It brought a unique taste that cut really well throughout, a great mouthfeel, and delivers the refreshing sensation I was hoping to get from the General’s Tea.

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The “Blaze of Glory” was next, and the drink solves the age old question – can you liquify fire?  The friendly bartender gave me a warning when I bought this drink by suggesting that lots of folks who get this drink “can’t handle it.”  Oh reeeeeeeally, well I’ll show you!  This was one of the hotter drinks I’ve had — it’s not great but it’s a good exposition for mezcal.  I loved the burn and enjoyed the ride, even though it was overwhelming.  Glad I got the warning from the bartender, as this drink is not for everybody!

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I was desperate to put the fire out so I went with the “Northside Sling” to end my pleasant afternoon at Lyon Hall — it was a very nicely presented tropic mix with Grapefruit vodka.  I thought it would be a sugar fest but appearances can be deceiving, as it was well-balanced with a nice pink flourish at the end.  Overall it was a great time at Lyon Hall — service was great and they’re taking some chances with their drink.  Oh and I got a bread basket without asking.  So get over there!

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