The Oxford Tavern on Connecticut Avenue NW is a nondescript joint -- not quite a dive, but not exactly a clean, well-lighted place, to quote Mr. Hemingway. You'll find a genial mix of collars at the Oxford -- from administrators to maintenance men, even some writerly types -- and most nights there's a live band impossibly backed into the corner near the door, grinding out gutbucket blues. The only beer on tap is Miller.
The Oxford Tavern has been a neighborhood institution in Cleveland Park since 1933. Of course, nobody calls it the Oxford. They call it "the Zoo Bar." It's at 3000 Connecticut. The National Zoo is across the street at 3001.
The zoo has always been good to the bar and vice versa. But like everything else in this city, that once-beautiful relationship has been screwed up by grandstanding politicians. To say that the Zoo Bar has been "feeling the impact" of the federal shutdown is the kind of charming understatement we'll leave to the A section. The bar is in its worst depression since maybe the Depression. At the Zoo Bar, lost revenues are measured by the mugful.
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