Friday, August 1, 2014

Wonderland turns 10: tenth anniversary party this Sunday, starting at 4 pm

Wow, it's been 10 years since the Wonderland Ballroom, our neighborhood's first new watering hole, opened. The spot replaced Nob Hill, a gay bar catering to African Americans, and evolved from a sparsely populated, locals-only relaxing spot to a popular dance bar on weekends -- but it's still a lot of fun on weekdays (and when you want to get sweaty and dance on weekends.)

The food, which was originally just hot dogs for dinner and make your own waffles and bottomless bacon baskets for brunch, has also improved significantly, with tasty sandwiches and a full brunch menu. They've added all manner of events like Monday night trivia, comedy shows, bands and dance nights.

The owners, Matt and Rose, also bought Temperance Hall, renaming it the Looking Glass Lounge, which was later bought by staff. And Matt keeps acquiring old signs from defunct local businesses, (DCCD, Kung Food, etc.) keeping the insides interesting, while stickers and funny graffiti continuously cover the bathroom walls.

There were even windows upstairs in the early days. I don't even remember that!


It's been a fun ride, and I've seen a lot of crazy stuff there: a guy in an inflatable penis costume walking in on a random weekday (which was treated like no big deal by everyone else there,) to contestants in the National Air Guitar Championship at the 9:30 Club coming in after their contest and jamming on the bar, to all manner of smaller shenanigans: breakdancers upstairs, couples coming out of bathrooms together, and so on. Halloween is often a wild time (I was there a few years ago in full yeti costume, dancing like crazy, and wasn't the only person looking hilarious) and most other holidays are bonkers too. When it snows, people rush over once the official call goes out that work is closed the next day. One of my good buddies even met his wife there. In short, Wonderland is all of ours, and it's a lot of fun.

And this Sunday, they're celebrating that big anniversary, with happy hour deals starting at 4 pm. I'll be there, celebrating another 10 years.

Do you have any good memories from the 10 years of Wonderland? Leave them in the comments.

4 comments:

Sara H said...

Wow, I can't believe it's been there 10 years! I remember when they opened.

chrisharmen123@gmail.com said...

Congratulations, love the decor

Newtonian said...

No doubt Wonderland is great, but let's also take a moment to remember it's predecessor at that location, Nob Hill. When it closed in '04 it was DC's oldest gay bar http://distcurm.blogspot.com/2010/09/dont-forget-local-history.html

Andrew W said...

Thanks for the link, I agree. I mentioned Nob Hill in the first line of the post and have mentioned it before a bit too http://newcolumbiaheights.blogspot.com/search?q=Nob+hill&m=1