John Clark, known as Curly, with another Tune Inn employee behind the bar.
The ice and glasses are clinking once again at the Tune Inn Restaurant after a devastating fire forced it to close for business for four months of fire-related repairs.
“Everybody in here calls me Curly, it’s just a nickname I’ve had for a few years... actually I’m bald, it's kind of a joke," says Curly, whose real name is John Clark. He's worked at the Tune Inn for nine years. “Everybody’s friendly, everybody knows everybody -- if you come here more than once, you’re part of the family."
Family indeed: Tune Inn patrons collected $40,000 so workers who depended on tips, such as Curly, could survive the four month closure.
Since 1947, the Tune Inn has been a rare Capitol Hill watering hole where political animals of all stripes, such as Mike Bassett, have peacefully coexisted while quenching their thirst.
“It’s a place where everyone comes to be happy forget about politics and leave it at the door; that’s why we all come here," says Bassett. "She’s a Democrat, I'm a Republican, and we just come here to enjoy life."
Think of it as a gastronomic Switzerland. Just not as boring, with great cheeseburgers and ice cold draft beer.