Napoleon: the bar, the DJ, the man, the legend


The sign twinkled down at me from the wall behind the DJ booth. “Be fabulous,” it urged. Three years ago, naive and new to DC, I had no idea that this sign would one day have intense meaning for me. I was crammed into the itty-bitty dance floor of a bar, unsure of my status in the social pecking order of the city, deafened by the music, and overwhelmed by my options for beverages (college trains you into thinking that someone will just walk up to you and hand you a Natty Lite – it does not prepare you for being in a real bar).

Fast forward three years, and I’m back in front of the same sign. No longer intimidated and unsure, I’m standing jauntily at the bar, ordering my go-to drink (vodka soda with lime, in case you were curious), ready to get back onto the dance floor and join my fabulous friends – often GENK and co. Possibly earlier that evening I harangued the DJ to light up the “Be Fabulous” sign – if it’s not lit, I take personal offense. Once it’s lit and I’m also… well, I guess “lit” would apply here, too… it’s non-stop dancing to the best DJ in DC and his mix of pop and dance music from the 80s, 90s, 2000s, and right now. In other words, it’s bliss.

If you know me at all, you know the bar I’m talking about. Napoleon. Its status has gone from a dancing option, to a fun place to take out of town guests, to an almost cult-like obsession/addiction that must be satisfied at least every 4 weeks. GENK girls and coworkers will attest: I am always clamoring to go.

At the risk of sounding a little off my rocker here, I think there’s a reason that I gravitate toward this particular bar. Yes, I’m a bit of a Francophile, so the fleur-de-lis gold wallpaper and ornate chandeliers appeal to me, but it’s not just that. And the music is almost exactly to my personal taste, and that’s a big part of it. But it’s not just the music either. The real reason I love Napoleon is because it represents my coming-of-age in DC. It represents my journey from a timid, recent college grad to a confident young woman…blah, blah, blah…

Who am I kidding? I gravitate toward Napoleon because of the bartender.

I have named him… Fabio. See picture.


Okay oh god wait, that’s not the Fabio vibe I was going for. Let’s try again.

Zac Efron


Napoleon’s bartender is hotter than Zac Efron by far, but it’s the closest image that I can source on my work computer without violating my company’s internet policy while also still conveying the smoky hot, sexy, aura that this bartender exudes. That’s why I’ve nicknamed him Fabio. Napoleon is still a fun bar whether Fabio is there or not. But it’s definitely bliss when he is there, serving up vodka sodas like any other bartender in his black v-neck, accepting the 40% tips that are thrown upon him and staring across the dance floor with his deep brown eyes. Sigh.

Can we go? Now? Is it Saturday night yet?

When I first went to Napoleon three years ago as an awkward, recent college grad, there were a lot of things I didn’t know. This time, I am serious when I say that I’ve grown and learned more about myself in the past three years than I ever have before. I’ve learned about how I am fabulous in my own little ways, and even more about how truly fabulous my friends are. And about Nelly’s “Hot in Here.” But most importantly, I’ve learned that some bartenders are just really, really, really, really hot.

See you there Saturday 🙂 Be fabulous.

3 thoughts on “Napoleon: the bar, the DJ, the man, the legend

  1. Pingback: Quick hits: Ethiopian and Brunch | arlington darling

  2. Pingback: Partying and the Bechdel Test | arlington darling

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