Friday, May 29, 2015

EatsPlace, restaurant pop-uppery on Georgia, now operating a bar: Drinkubator (with bar food)

EatsPlace, the venue for restaurant pop-ups at 3607 Georgia Ave NW, has been the home of numerous restaurant pop-ups: guest chefs and residencies for a few days or a few weeks at a time.

It's been pretty popular, and they recently opened a new venue: Drinkubator, a bar program with bar food cooked in the EatsPlace kitchen. They have classic cocktails, red and white wine, and a variety of craft beers: draft, bottles and cans. There's also a shot and beer deal for $8. See below for the menu.

They also have pretty interesting food: "both savory and sweet shave ice, tasty vermicelli noodle soup, sesame chili squid, toasted baguette, wok roasted peanuts and artisanal choco-pie: marshmallow sandwiched between sponge cake."

Sounds like a neat spot. They're open 5pm-midnight from Mon-Thurs and 5pm-2am Friday and Saturday, with a TBA Sunday brunch.




Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fundraiser for Not Your District PAC, fighting for DC voting rights (and against those who try to take them away) today at Local 16

The Not Your District PAC, a new political action committee that aims to support Representative and Senators who believe in equal rights for DC (and oppose those who don't) is holding a happy hour tonight at Local 16. The organization is also running a fundraising campaign online.

The effort was spurred by actions such as Maryland's Rep. Andy Harris, who has repeatedly tried (and mostly succeeded) to block DC laws like the legalization of marijuana -- in that case, DC voters overwhelmingly approved the referendum. Other Members of Congress have blocked DC laws in the past about abortions, birth control, needle exchanges and forced the city to spend its money in other ways -- money that was raised locally through taxes. It's absurd and offensive, that other Members of Congress can block local laws while the residents of those places pay taxes but have no vote in Congress.

There was also a boycott started of Harris's district, which includes Ocean City, Maryland. Others started a campaign to not allow him in DC businesses.
Here's more about tonight's happy hour:


On behalf of the entire Not Your District PAC team, I would like to invite you to join us for happy hour tomorrow evening at Local 16. We have a reserved space on the roof deck with 10% of the proceeds being donated to help defend D.C.'s right to home rule. Come out to meet the team and hear more about our plans for the 2016 election season. 
Event details:
What: Not Your District PAC Benefit Happy HourWhen: Thursday, May 28; 6:00 PM to 10:00 PMWhere: Roof Deck of Local 16; 1602 U St., NWClosest Metro station: U Street 
Local 16 is offering our guests happy hour food and drink specials until 10 pm.Suggested donation: $20
RSVP HERE 

Pop-up residential going in at 14th and Meridian


Looks like another residential project is coming to 14th north of DCUSA: I've written about three coming near 14th and Spring Road, and now a smaller one is coming to 3441 14th Street NW, just south of Meridian Place NW.

Formerly the DC Kool convenience store and a barber shop, the developers have taken off the brick false front (probably a good thing) and have added two stories to the top of the building. As pop-ups go, that's not enormous, but it remains to be seen how it will look when it's finished.

The permit issued this year says it will be a four-story building plus cellar with a total of five residential units. The building was sold a year ago for $1.3 million.

What do you think? To me, doesn't seem to be an egregious pop-up (yet) and some residential on this area could be a good thing.

Here's the before picture from Google Maps.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Urban Land Institute wants to hear what Millenials think about DC


While the term "Millenial" isn't getting the best press lately, the idea of asking young people what they think about Washington, DC is a good one. The Urban Land Institute, a research group that studies cities and urban planning, is holding an online survey about how millenials, who they define as people betweent he ages of 20 and 37, think about the Washington, DC area -- and as there are a lot of those folks in Columbia Heights, it's worth checking out.

The idea is to see what young people prefer, what they don't like, and so on. (I wonder if millenials like being called millenials, what with all the baggage that term comes with?)

Sounds like a good opportunity to have your voice heard if you are between those ages (though to me that range a little broad for millenials.)
Millenial’s Future Choices – ULI Washington is Trying to Understand Preferences

Please click Here to take an important survey about Millenials in the city in the future.

ULI Washington’s District Council is conducting an opinion survey about living in the Washington, DC area and its older suburbs, trying to understand the factors that will shape whether young adults stay in an urban neighborhood 3+ years from now or move elsewhere. ULI is looking for Millennials ages 20-37 who live in the District of Columbia or in the suburbs inside the Beltway. Respondents can be single or married, with or without children, homeowners or renters, as long as they meet the age and location criteria for participation.

The survey is totally confidential. Responses will be collected and tabulated by Qualtrics, a respected survey research firm. You will not be identified in any way. This is a "survey of the willing," and the more opinions we gather from owners and renters in your age group, the better. Please share your views; this will take only 15 minutes of your time. Please pass the survey on to your friends or colleagues!

Awesome Dominican band outside DCUSA this weekend


This Sunday I was running some errands at DCUSA and spotted a great little band sitting outside the main entrance. Consisting of an accordion player, drummer and guy with a metal thing kind of like a washboard, they had some Dominican flags and played for a long time. I watched for probably 10-15 minutes, went to DSW, and they were still playing when I came back out maybe an hour later.

They were great, with really impressive play from all three musicians, who were all blazing fast. At times they had a pretty sizable crowd -- shoppers, passersby, construction workers and such, plus some folks danced. I did wish more folks watching would have tossed them a dollar or two though, they were working pretty hard.

It was a cool thing to see -- I love seeing street musicians, especially awesome ones like these guys. I hope they come back. Anybody else see them?

I also took an admittedly not very good video -- the accordion doesn't come through very well, but he was pretty amazing.



Friday, May 22, 2015

Checking out Colony Club, new coffee shop and bar on Georgia Ave: cool spot


A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the opening of Colony Club, the new coffee shop and bar at 3118 Georgia Ave NW, near Irving, and last weekend I got a chance to check it out -- it's a really neat spot.

Co-owner Max Zuckerman showed me around a told me a lot about the spot, whic has a maximum capacity of 49. For one, it's really nicely done: the interior is clean and modern with a lot of nice woodworking from a company out of Jessup, Maryland: cabinets, tables, the bar and more are all really beautiful. There's an area with some seats and tables in the front, then the bar, then a more loungey area with a coffee table and a few more tables. One of the neat features at the couch area is a collection of coffee table books on soccer, food and other topics.

Upstairs, there's a tournament-style ping pong table and some places to sit and set your drinks. That looks like somewhere I will spend a lot of time (but sadly I forgot to take a picture.) There's also a lot of cool retro posters: art exhibits, World Cups, and such.


There's also a patio area in the back which they are still working on, but which will seat 20 people.

Zuckerman's background is in real estate, he worked for his family's company, but the Zuckermans have a lot of history in this part of town: they used to own a flower shop in Petworth called Dave Zuckerman's Colony Flowers, which was named for the Colony Theater at Georgia and Farragut Street NW.  That building still exists, though not as a theater (much like the York Theater across from the Looking Glass Lounge, which is now the Fishermen of Men Church.) It's an interesting reminder of how many movie theaters used to be in DC -- the Tivoli at Park and 14th being one of them.

Max explained that a lot of places around there were named after the theater, like the still-open Colony Liquors and others.


As for the split between coffee shop and bar, Max said every day they'll be the coffee shop until 5 pm, and then after will start serving alcohol -- except Sundays, when they close at 5. He explained that they'll see how this goes, since they are new. When I was there on Sunday around 4, there were a lot of folks enjoying coffee, reading and working on their laptops and such, and my friends who joined us were surprised they didn't have beer then. 

The coffee comes from Ceremony Coffee Roasters, a local roaster, and was quite tasty. In addition to coffee drinks in the coffee shop portion, they have pastries, quiche and yogurt, and interesting soft drinks like seltzer on tap.

Then as for booze, they have beer, wine and hard liquor, the idea being to have small batches for each of those -- some interesting wines and spirits that are tasty but reasonably-priced. I didn't recognize most of the spirits they had, for example. Zuckerman said they planned to have one of each type (bourbon, gin, etc.) and would serve mostly neat, on the rocks or with the aforementioned seltzer.


There's a handful of good beers on draft for $7, like Allagash White, Centennial IPA, Brewer's Art from Maryland and Founders Porter, plus cans (the Porkslap is $3, a great deal) and also larger format bottles of nice German and Belgian beers. In addition, there's the "cellar" beers, which are bigger, fancier bottles.

They have a happy hour too until 7 pm, with drafts dropping to $5. 

There's no kitchen, but along with the coffee shop bites, they have bar snacks like charcuterie meats and cheeses, almonds, olives, pickels and such, and tinned seafood. I asked Max about this as it was new to me: he explained that it's common in places like Spain and France to have them at bars, and unlike American canned seafood, the idea is to have high quality fish in interesting, nicely designed tins. I forget the exact prices but they were around $10-$15.


Another interesting feature is that they will offer annual memberships, which will include deals on beer and wine, free unlimited coffee, and other freebies, for $250. He said the idea was kind of like the memberships at Bedrock Billiards, where regulars who come in a lot can join and get deals. I think it makes sense if you plan to go a lot.

I took a bunch of photos, look below for more. 








Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pretty funny: Mayor Bowser "CONDOS" stickers


Last night at the Columbia Heights Metro, I spotted a funny sticker on the wood construction fence: it's Mayor Muriel Bowser's face with the word CONDOS.

Doing a little research, I found that the stickers are the work of local punk band Jack on Fire, who have songs about gentrification and development, like "Burn down the Brixton" about the huge bar on U Street.

The City Paper wrote a bit about the stickers: bandmembers say it is in reponse to Bowser killing plans for a new contemporary art museum in the Franklin School building downtown, which is beautiful and historic but has been empty for years.

Bowser administration staff said the museum had missed fundraising deadlines, while the organizers of the museum (which would also include a Jose Andres restaurant) and former DC government officials said that's not correct: there were no deadlines. They said the deadlines would only be announced when the City Council approved the project, which hasn't happened for unknown reasons. The developers of the museum also said they never heard from the mayoral staff about fundraising. The city then immediately issued a new request for proposals after canceling the contract for the museum.

To me, that sounds like Bowser never wanted the museum to happen, which was approved under Mayor Gray. Many critics were not happy with her decision. The proposals received so far include offices, a technology center, a Georgetown University arts classroo, and a hotel.

Always neat to see political art around. The sticker reminds me of other stickers like "Andre the Giant has a posse" and is kind of a funny commentary on the mayor of our fair city, and the city's love of condos. Of course, that's not unique to Bowser, the previous mayors also governed over a lot of new condo buildings in the city.

Radio Shack closing June 30, big 60% off sale now


Today I stopped by the Radio Shack in DCUSA to see what they had, and learned they were closing June 30th -- before we heard they were closing as part of a company-wide bankruptcy, just not when. The store had partially been cleaned out already of most of the bigger items, so I wonder what's going to be left come the end of June.

That said, there's a 60% off sale for what's left, which depending on what you are looking for, is an awesome deal. For example, I picked up 24 batteries for about $10 when they normally would have been more than $20, and they have similar deals for all their usual items: cell phone cases, headphones, cords and wires for stereos, computers, and phones, and a lot more. If you're looking for electronics, accessories or whatnot, get there soon, there may not be much left.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Puff Daddy gets NSFW on 14th Street ad


One of the nice things about the otherwise not-nice empty buildings along 14th Street is that there's a lot of plywood for posters. Sometimes the posters are interesting, sometimes funny, but this one is just strange. It's an advertisement for P. Diddy's new perfume, 3AM. I assumed it was an album, but no -- a unisex fragrance.

The ads, are apparently also causing a stir elsewhere with videos that include him having sex. Yes, that's a great way to sell perfume, by showing Puffy doing it.

Maybe he liked Kanye West's video for Bound 2, where he gets it on with Kim Kardashian on a motorocycle, that he had to get in on the act himself. (Instead of linking to that, here's Seth Rogen and James Franco's parody.)

The 14th Street ads are also fairly risque, with a woman taking off Puffy's shirt and another of him covering a woman's breast with his arm.

I mean, he is a bad boy for life.

The only question I have, however, is where is Ma$e?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Electric car charging station at 14th and U, others at 13th and Kenyon, Mt. Pleasant


Today I noticed something neat: an electric Smart car getting charged at a station right outside the Reeves Center at 14th and U. There are a few dedicated parking spots there for electric vehicles, which is a pretty neat thing.

According to Plugshare, a site that has a map for electric vehicle chargers, there are also two around 13th and Kenyon and one in Mt. Pleasant maintained by local residents, which is also a cool thing.

Nice to see some support for alternative vehicles in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Update on Little Coco's, the Italian spot from El Chucho folks: looking at fall opening


A few months ago, we heard about the plans for Little Coco's, an Italian restaurant from the folks behind El Chucho on 11th Street, plus Jackie's, Sidecar Sidebar and the Quarry House in Silver Spring. It's planned for the old Rib Pit Lounge spot at 14th and Randolph, and I am pretty excited, as El Chucho is awesome.

They were originally hoping for a spring opening, but timelines for restaurants in DC are often nebulous due to permits, plans and such, but things are moving. I just talked to Jackie Greenbaum, the co-owner, and here's what she had to say:
Well our plans are before the permit board for about a month now. Our architect tells us plan approval can take anywhere from one to 5 months, so we're just waiting. Construction will take a couple of months, so we're looking at an opening date in the fall--early or late fall, depending. That's pretty much it!
They described the place previously as an Italian version of El Chucho, with antipasti, pizza, homemade pasta and other Italian entrees, plus frozen drinks like negronis, shaved ice in warmer months, and affordable drinks like wine and Italian beer. Some potential pizza flavors included oolive-oil poached tuna and artichokes, snails and garlic, and butternut squash with pear and taleggio, a type of Italian cheese.

There will be about 70 seats split between inside and outside.

I'm excited!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Funny sidewalk carving: Cuddlebear and Santa loves Tina



I'm a sucker for funny things people carve into the sidewalk: the waffle-eating dinosaur, punk rock lyrics, and so on.  And the other day I spotted a couple of funny ones: "Santa loves Tina" with a heart near 13th and Spring, and "Cuddlebear" which I think was around 14th and Irving (I should have written it down.)

I'm glad for Tina, and hopefully she gets lots of presents. I get the feeling Cuddlebear is related to the dinosaur one too, it's the same style of drawing and general wackiness.

Good stuff, Columbia Heights neighbors. Keep it up!


Monday, May 11, 2015

Looking Glass, DC Reynolds to collaborate on new sports bar, Walter's, in old Park View Patio location!


This sounds awesome! The folks at the Looking Glass Lounge and DC Reynolds are going to jointly renovate and run a new sports bar in the space between them, at the old Park View Patio space.

They're calling it Walter's, as in Walter Johnson, the hall of fame Washington Senators pitcher from the early 1900s. I'm excited.

The spot at 3632 Georgia Ave NW was previously the Blue Banana and Park View Patio, neither of which lasted very long. Blue Banana was a sports bar (named, oddly, for the bar in Pretty Woman) and Park View Patio was sort of everything and nothing.

It was kind of a sports bar, but DJs would come in and they'd play over the sports, and there were always random events like a party or happy hour for some group. They talked about bringing in food trucks to provide food, but only did that one time. They also had the Milk Cult breakfast taco pop-up for a few months, which was awesome, but then they moved on.

They did have a huge, nice patio, however, but the space really lacked ambiance, charm, or anything that made you want to stick around and come back. My theory is it was because it was owned by folks not familiar with our area or a laid-back bar vibe, as they ran fancier, clubby spots downtown -- the Post actually predicted this culture clash back in 2013.

According to the Park View DC blog, Walter's will have more and better food than the previous occupants. They're still working out the menu, but ideas include wings, seven-layer dip, BBQ pork and brisket sandwiches, brats, and more.

This seems like a good move for a lot of reasons. For one, the area could definitely use a sports bar. The staffs of the two places are often sharing good-natured sports smack talking back and forth on Twitter, and both obviously know how to run good bars with good food and good atmosphere. I spoke to the Looking Glass folks last night and they were excited about it.

And amusingly, Johnson is cited on Wikipedia as famous for his good nature and spirit of friendly competition -- sounds like the relationship between Looking Glass and DC Reynolds.

DC Reynolds has a free shot when Bryce Harper hits a homer deal


The other day I was enjoying the nice weather at DC Reynolds and noticed a new deal: they're offering a free shot of Powers whiskey to anyone wearing Nats gear when Bryce Harper hits a homer. And considering #34 has hit 6 homers in 3 games last week, you have a decent chance these days.

So wear your Nats hat (or Nats socks or something) next time you're at DC Reynolds!

DC Reynolds is at 3628 Georgia Ave NW.

Friday, May 8, 2015

These giant numbers on a condo at 14th and Spring are really ugly


Longtime readers of this blog may know that I talk about fonts sometimes: in particular, when the city put up some ugly new street signs with a variety of typefaces and sizes on them (they looked horrible.)

And something just caught my eye: this condo building at 14th and Spring Rd NW has some giant address numbers on it, probably five feet tall, and they look really bad.

I guess it's good to try something new with your building, but these look like the address numbers you buy for a buck at the hardware store -- the cheapest ones they have. If you're going to put huge numbers on an otherwise fine looking building, which are presumably pretty expensive, why not get attractive or modern-looking ones?

There are certainly bigger things to complain about, but then again, what's life without little annoyances?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Free flan, flowers for moms on Mother's Day at Pollo Campero


Mother's Day is coming up, and hopefully you have something planned! 

Pollo Campero, the Latin American chicken spot on the Civic Plaza, is getting into the spirit, giving away free flan and a flower for mothers on Mother's Day. (Plus their chicken is pretty awesome.)

Sounds nice! Here's their press release.
Pollo Campero, the Authentic Latin Chicken restaurant, will celebrate Mother’s Day by treating mom to free dessert and flowers. All mothers who visit participating Pollo Campero restaurants on Sunday, May 10 will receive a FREE flan and a fresh flower. Campero’s flan is freshly-baked vanilla custard topped with deliciously-sweet caramelized sugar. 
WHEN: Sunday, May 10, 2015
Visit campero.com/locations for restaurant hours

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

DC public pools open Saturday, May 23rd!


The weather is getting warmer, which means I start to wish the pool were open. And thankfully, they will be soon: the summer season starts Saturday, May 23rd!

The pools, which include the Banneker Pool at 2500 Georgia Avenue NW and the Upshur Pool at 4300 Arkansas Ave NW, will first be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 pm, then starting June 20th, will be open on the regular summer schedule.

For Banneker, that means Monday-Wednesday & Friday from 1 pm to 8 pm, closed Thursday, then, Saturday & Sunday noon to 6 pm. There's also morning lap stop from 8-10am on Mon, Tues, Wed & Fri.

At Upshur, the schedule is a bit different: closed Mondays, open Tuesday-Friday 1pm-8pm, and Saturday and Sunday noon to 6 pm.

The pools are free if you're a city resident, which you can prove with a DC driver's license, DC college ID, or utility or phone bill with a DC address. Here's the city's site for the pool locations and the full "aquatic facilities" site.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cinco de Mayo deals today at the Red Derby


Today is Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday, and the 'Derb is getting into the act, with $2 tequila pops, a $5 Dos Hombres special (a Tecate beer and tequila shot) and half-price tacos. Sounds like a good deal to me!

Cinco de Mayo is often billed as Mexican Independence Day, which is not actually true -- it commemorates a victory over the French in Puebla in 1862. It's actually not a huge deal in Mexico apparently, but hey, I like parties.


Monday, May 4, 2015

A happy ending for an abandoned building: developers rehab, finish 1483 Newton apartments


If you've followed this blog for a while, you may recall the saga of 1483 Newton Street NW. The building was abandoned for years amidst a dispute among heirs of the building's owner, making it an eyesore and a magnet for crime, trash and more. There were reports of people hiding stolen merchandise there, loitering, squatting and more.

The building was slated for demolition, which would be a shame, as it was a potentially beautiful early 20th century building -- just look at its seven nice-looking neighbors, all developed by Harry Wardman, one of the most influential and famous real estate developers in the city, who did a lot of building in the early 1900s. Then finally, in 2012, it was bought by UIP, a developer. They since worked to rehabilitate it, as it was in terrible condition.

And now it's finished, with 38 apartments, about half of which are leased. It's great to see an abandoned building in our area put back to productive use. That means more residents in our area, more available housing, more taxes for the city, and fewer places that could be used for crime.

Here's their press release.

Washington, DC, (May 4, 2015)  – Urban Investment Partners (UIP) has completed a two-year gut renovation of a formerly vacant apartment building originally developed by iconic Washington, DC real estate entrepreneur Harry Wardman in Columbia Heights. Isabella now offers 38 modern apartments that are now 50 percent leased.

When acquired by UIP in December 2012, the building at 1483 Newton Street, NW had been vacant for more than two decades and had been condemned by the DC Condemnation Board. It was one of the last blighted, vacant multifamily properties in Columbia Heights. “This was the most run-down building we have ever purchased, with holes in the roof, collapsing floors, and a failing fa├žade,” said UIP Principal Steve Schwat. “It’s a joy to see the restoration of this classic structure, and the apartment homes are nothing less than spectacular. This is what we love to do.”

UIP General Contracting, Inc. (UIPGC) performed the $4.2 million renovation; Bonstra Haresign was the architect of record. UIP Property Management Inc. (UIPPM) has taken over management of day-to-day operations. For leasing information, call: 202.885.9785, visit www.1483newton.com.

Isabella is one of the “Seven Sisters” – seven identical buildings between Newton Street and Meridian Place NW, all developed by Wardman and designed by architect Albert H. Beers in the early 20thcentury. UIPGC recently renovated the exterior and common areas of another one of the Seven Sisters: the 24-unit 1489 Newton Street Cooperative located next door to Isabella.

Isabella’s newly designed apartments feature such up-to-date  amenities as Nest learning thermostats, LG washer/dryers, USB charging outlets, open kitchens with islands, balconies, patios, granite counters, tiled kitchen backsplashes, and more. Fourth floor apartments have special flooring and other unique finishes.

The UIP family of companies owns and manages more than 3,000 apartments in Washington, DC and Maryland and has renovated and restored more than 20 downtown apartment buildings over the last eight years. UIP’s primary focus includes working with tenants in Washington and helping them exercise their TOPA (Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act) rights.  UIP is also active in entitling land, new development, and acquiring residential assets in the close-in Washington, DC suburbs. For more information, visit www.uipllc.comand www.uippm.com.