We came for the skeeball, and had to come back for the skeeball. In the end, there was skeeball, and that’s what counts.
The Barking Dog (4723 Elm, Bethesda) is known for its hot dogs (maybe?), and its skeeball league, and its sort of comfortable grunginess. A league isn’t our thing, but Mrs. Me has been agitating for a skeeball outing for some time, so finally we visited BD in hopes of a tasty food-and-skeeball adventure. The $1-off various drinks-and-apps happy hour special is solid, as are the nachos; the dogs are good, based on a single, unadventurous sample of the Down Home Dog (onions, cheese, lettuce, tomato). Okay beer selection, big menu, food seems better than I remember from my last visit several years ago.
The skeeball is upstairs next to the dance floor — go on up, said the friendly bartender — but it turns out the upstairs doesn’t open up until 8pm. We were there at around 7:30 I think, no earlier than 7:00; the lights were all on upstairs, the air conditioning was on, several employees were up there…nevertheless, they wouldn’t let us play skeeball. Highly lame! Off we went, still happy from the hour but suddenly less so.
I wanted to boycott but Mrs. Me insisted on a return trip so, even more recently, we went back to BD and successfully skeeballed for a while, and also watched, amused, as a few dozen birthday partiers danced (a bit) and milled about (a lot) and drank (a LOT) and listened to the music (good mix of alt-rock but OH MY GOD LOUD) (or maybe I am just old? too true). So in the end the skeeballing was good, though for me it gets old kind of quick. BD is solid enough overall. I think I would rank restaurants at Elm/Woodmont: (1) Jaleo (2) Taylor Gourmet (beware Flash) (3) Barking Dog (4) American Tap Room. Overall nice collection for one intersection, and that’s not to mention Mussel Bar next door to ATR, which I haven’t yet tried and isn’t technically at the intersection, but close enough and I hear great things. Ranking subject to change at any time (on any given day TG could easily be #1).