Feb 9, 2024 - Business

D.C.'s newest booze cruise: Whitlow's on Water

A tiki boat covered in brown thatched roof with a colorful "Whitlow's on the Water" decal

Whitlow's booze barge. Photo courtesy of Whitlow's on Water

Popular neighborhood watering hole Whitlow's is casting off this spring with Sea Suite Cruises, partnering on a 50-foot tiki barge that'll go from Georgetown Harbor to Navy Yard.

Why it matters: D.C.'s boating scene is booming with new charters and rentals, but this Clarendon-born cruise is something new altogether: welcome to broating.

Catch up fast: If you've been 21-35 in D.C. you probably know Whitlow's. The tavern has bar-hopped locations since the end of World War II. First downtown, then Whitlow's on Wilson in Clarendon, and most recently a new U Street home base.

  • Sea Suite Cruises founders Jack Walten and Jack Maher — aka "The Jacks" — were "on Wilson" regulars in their early 20s (not that long ago) and met owner Jon Williams. They brought him into their fleet, which now includes 13 party boats and pedal pubs between D.C. and Richmond.

What's happening: Whitlow's on Water will launch on Clarendon-bro-Christmas (aka St. Patrick's Day, March 17). The 48-passenger vessel is equipped with a U-shaped bar, tiki-top for shade, two TVs, "party lighting," a sound system and, most importantly, a bathroom for when the seltzies kick in.

Details: The boat will be available for private charter as well as more wallet-friendly shared group options or individual tickets (the latter starts at $40). Public cruises are up to two hours. All include a captain, bartender, and crew.

  • The alcohol license is pending, but tiki boats are typically loaded with beer, wine, seltzers, and spirits for mixing tropical drinks, plus light snacks.
  • Passengers can bring food, too. And on certain cruises, there's a free welcome Nooner.
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