Wednesday, January 9, 2008


A few weekends ago some friends and I went out for drinks at Marvin’s. For those of you that haven’t yet been to there it’s a Marvin Gaye themed restaurant/bar brought to by the Thievery Corporation (the same guys that own 18th Street Lounge). The idea of a Marvin Gaye themed spot seemed kind of corny to me, but I still wanted to see what all the hype was about.

On entering the place there was nothing Marvin Gaye-ish that stood out. It also was missing one key element; soul. Marvin’s has got to be the most soul-less spot in DC. Starbucks has more soul than this place. From the door man, who was wearing huge Run DMC looking glasses, white tennis shoes and an ill-fitting business suit, to the tragically hip crowd of people smoking out on the patio, there was nothing authentic about it. The Belgium inspired menu didn’t help either. Was Marvin Gaye’s mom from Belgium? Did he get locked up there? I just didn't understand what the connection was. So, I did my research, turns out around 1981 Marvin Gaye moved to a small town in Belgium called Ostend. While there he cleaned himself up, got off of drugs and started boxing. He stayed in Ostend for less than two years. This is why Marvin’s restaurant/lounge serves Belgium food and beer. Make any sense to you? Because, it doesn’t make any to me, why would you build an establishment inspired by a prolific entertainer who is known all over the globe for creating soul driven baby-making music and the theme be based on a very lonely short part of his life in a washed up beach town in Belgium.

The crowd, if you dare call it that, was a mix of ex-cool kids and buppies varying in ages between 20-40. By the end of the night, everyone was crowded around the bar; night club style which I totally understood considering the drinks will put hair on your chest. But, that was the only reason to stay. Yeah, there was a DJ and he was good. But, honestly, the place was just too small and filled with to many pretentious wanna-be’s to really get into the music that he was spinning. Considering the scene at 18th street lounge I should have been prepared for that type of thing. Maybe I was putting to much stake in the many rumors that I heard about this place. In its short life span Marvin’s has acquired quite a reputation for housing the “movers, shakers and beautiful people in DC.” And, yes someone actually said those words to me that’s why I put them in quotations. Needless to say, I didn’t see those people there.

Don’t take my word for it though, go check it out and judge for yourself; just get there early because this place has the potential to get packed.

FYI: Dinner entrees will cost you on average around $20. Beers will run you between 7-10 bucks. There is no cover charge or dress code, but I do suspect on nights that there is a line (and I have seen lines at Marvin's) they will get choosey about who they let in, so if you are not feeling especially "hip" that day, avoid the line.