Thursday, September 29, 2016

New bar alert! Union Drinkery from A&D folks now open on Georgia

Good news: Union Drinkery, from the folks behind A&D in Shaw and Small Fry on Georgia, has opened. A friend stopped by their soft opening yesterday and they've also been tweeting about it. The address is 3216 Georgia, next to Small Fry.

They have happy hour from 5-8pm and food from Small Fry until 9, which is pretty tasty stuff -- BBQ, scotch eggs, burgers and the like. Check out the menu here.

We heard earlier from the owner that they won't have a particular theme, just a no frills neighborhood joint like A&D. They're open until 1 am and there's also a back patio.

Photos via Bill M.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What's the best pharmacy in the area?

I recently got a reader question that stumped me -- what pharmacy in the area would you recommend or not recommend? Any favorites or definitely-avoids?
I have a complicated medical situation and I need a competent pharmacy but am having trouble finding one between CVS, Giant, etc
I've mostly used the CVS at 14th and Irving, which has mostly been fine -- once they were out of something even though they texted me they had it, but thankfully it wasn't a big deal. I filled it from the Target pharmacy, which is coincidentally also a CVS.

Columbia Heights is the third most popular neighborhood for Airbnb in the city

This is interesting -- the City Paper reports that our area is one of the most popular places for Airbnb stays in the city. The service, which lets people rent out their places to others, wrote that the city had over 125,000 bookings this summer, and Columbia Heights was the third most-popular area of the city, behind the Hill and H Street.

It makes sense -- there's a lot to do in our area and not many hotels. You're near the Metro, buses and Bikeshare and it's walkable to cool areas like U Street and Shaw, and there are lots of housing -- single family houses, apartments, condos and some carriage houses. (Ironically, the City Paper article was written by the guy who wrote the article saying that Columbia Heights is terrible and bad and dangerous and on the decline. All the visitors and folks renting their places may disagree.)

Airbnb has also been expanding how they operate lately, doing things like hiring city guides who help people who want to host, enlisting "superhosts" who, for a fee, handle all the details for renting your place, and organizing tours where hosts visit local businesses so that they can get to know and recommend places for guests to go and also offer some coupons.

There are also various taxes and permits you're supposed to get and pay if you rent your place out on Airbnb in DC, but it's not clear how common compliance or enforcement actually is. UrbanTurf had an article on what you need to do rent legally on Airbnb, but it was written in 2014 so the rules may be different.

  • Capitol Hill—over 14,000
  • Near Northeast/H Street Corridor—6,700
  • Columbia Heights—6,700
  • Logan Circle—5,600
  • Dupont Circle—5,200
  • Shaw—5,100
  • Adams Morgan—4,700
  • U Street Corridor—4,300
  • Bloomingdale—3,850
  • Petworth—3,350
Photo by cjt71081

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Columbia Heights Initiative happy hour Wednesday at El Tio, Cool Runnings movie on Friday

The folks at the Columbia Heights Initiative are having a busy week: today (Wednesday) is their monthly happy hour, this time at El Tio Grill on 14th north of Irving from 5-9 pm. Attendees get discounted tickets to GALA Theatre's The Last Quixote too. Might be a nice way to meet some neighbors and the folks behind all their events.

And speaking of events, this Friday the 23rd they're showing Cool Runnings, the Jamaican bobsled movie at the Tubman School field. The movie starts around dark, about 7:30 pm. I went to their screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark a couple of weeks ago and it was really fun -- a mix of families, friends and kids.

They'll be selling concessions to support future movie nights and they're always accepting donations or folks who want to volunteers. If you're interested in volunteering contact Meghan Pazmino at There's also a Facebook RSVP.

Here's more about CHI:
The Columbia Heights Initiative is a local 501(c )(3) non-profit, whose mission is to enrich the quality of life in our community by creating local events where residents and visitors can connect and celebrate our neighborhood. Our organization strives to promote values of diversity, service, character, compassion, and unity in Columbia Heights.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Whither Tipsy Peacock? Wine bar long planned for 2915 Georgia Ave has liquor license but no updates

I realized I haven't written about this before, but a few readers have emailed me intermittently asking about the Tipsy Peacock, a wine bar planned for the basement of 2915 Georgia, next door to Bravo Bar.

PoP first posted about it in 2014, and in April of that year they asked for a liquor license. A year later, PoP reported that they said they're looking at Summer 2015 to open, which obviously is long since passed.

Their Facebook page hasn't been updated since March 2014 and their website has virtually no information on it.

I was curious so I reached out to the owner, Donna Colaco, and she said "We are still working on the process of getting everything set up and will let you know as soon as we have any updates." She declined to elaborate further about plans or delays.

Doing a little sleuthing, it appears they still have a liquor license as of August of this year though, so maybe things are moving.

They got a construction permits in May and October 2014 and a gas and plumbing permit in Oct. 2015. Also in 2015 they had an inspection for "Compliance/Housing/Infestation" that says "case accepted," which I think means there was a violation -- but that might be for upstairs rather than the basement where Tipsy Peacock is going, it's hard to tell. The commercial inspections were all approved, the last in May 2015. That's the last I can find from the city's permit website.

I wish I had more information.

According to their license, they plan to have a back patio and seating for 50, but probably more like 35 according to the Short Articles About Long Meetings blog.

Will update if I hear anything.

New Park View people mural near Georgia and Lamont

Today I was walking down Georgia past Small Fry and spotted a cool mural a couple of doors up from the Small Fry bbq joint and the coming Union Drinkery bar from the A&D folks.

The mural, by Kate Zaremba and Rose Jaffe, depicts business owners in Park View and was commissioned by the Zuckermans, who own the building and others on Georgia.

Zaremba is also part of the Lemon Bowl art collective at 3015 Georgia Ave NW. Pretty cool!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Midlands Beer Garden on Georgia "much closer," now hiring

I've been excited about the Midlands, the new beer garden coming to 3333 Georgia Avenue NW from the folks behind Kangaroo Boxing Club. They've had some permit delays, which is sadly common, but look to be pretty close now. There's a sign on the fence saying they're hiring and also posted a job application online -- and when I emailed asking how it was going, they responded simply "much closer!"

That's a good sign. Last we heard, they had removed old concrete and getting electrical installed, and it really does look like they are pretty close. It's too bad they missed most of summer, but I'm excited for some outdoor beer. Plus, what's better than an outdoor Oktoberfest?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fall Fun Fest coming to Old Soldiers Home Oct. 2: music, food kids' games, tours, bourbon tasting and beer, car show, more!

This sounds fun: the Friends of the Soldiers Home have announced their annual Fall Fun Fest on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home (just east of Rock Creek Church Road), and it will be Sunday, October 2.

There are events for families, kids and adults, including music, food, games, antique cars and military medical vehicles, a bourbon tasting, beer, a bake sale and a lot more. Events go from 9am-5pm and gates open at 7am if you want to explore.

Check out the flyer for more. Sounds awesome!

And here's more about the Friends of the Soldiers Home:
Mission Statement
Friends of the Soldiers Home is a 501 (c)(3) organization serving to strengthen the bond between the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington and the surrounding community. Through service, education and engagement, Friends of the Soldiers Home connects citizens and veterans in a relationship that recognizes the sacrifice of military service and enhances quality of life for veteran and citizen alike.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Did you know the Old Soldiers Home has a golf course? The Dept. of Defense may do away with it

This is interesting -- the Post has an article over the fight about the golf course at the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH), also known as the Old Soldiers Home, just east of our area.

The home has a golf course that isn't public, but does have a relatively low membership price of $700 a year -- much less than most country clubs in the area.

The Department of Defense, which runs the AFRH, says the course is too expensive to maintain and an AFRH official told club members they need to raise $250,000 to make sure the 2017 golf season will still happen.

Members of the course like its diversity and relaxed attitude, with members of all races and backgrounds. The course, which dates from the 1930s, is used by veterans, residents of the home and other people around the area.

As one member explained it:
“It’s not a snooty facility. I’m African American, and it’s extremely diverse, a place where you can forget about color,” said Ed Galiber, a psychologist who lives in Northwest Washington. “It’s a speak-easy for regular people to play golf, an affordable small-community course that’s welcoming to the immediate community surrounding it."
The DoD runs 215 golf courses, according to the Post, but the one at the AFRH is the only one that they pay for directly: the rest are paid for by members and by the income generated by the courses and their facilities.

To me, a big issue is the lack of publicity about the course. I'm no golfer, but a few friends are and they've never heard of the course. I knew there was a course there but didn't know other people could play if they joined -- I figured it was just for the residents.

And if you golf a lot, $700 is a steal compared to fees you'd pay at other courses. It seems to me that if DoD or AFRH did some press about the course, they could attract a lot more members and make more money. The course also doesn't have a restaurant, bar or pro shop, which normally generate a lot of revenue at other clubs.

The club members started a fundraising page which is up to $3,600, and the story also got some press from places like

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Midlands Beer Garden on Georgia making progress

The Midlands, the beer garden from the Kangaroo Boxing Club folks coming to 3301 Georgia Avenue, has taken longer than expected to open but is still coming. The owners sent an email to PoP the other days saying they're working to get it open, and each time I've walked past I've seen more work being done. They had some permit delays and are now working furiously.

For example, on Sept. 1 they posted on Facebook about removing 15,000 pounds of concrete rubble, joking "Whoever said bar-ownership isn't glorious is wrong. Wait, autocorrect. Right. They were right."

They also updated their sign, a riff on the Game of Thrones catch phrase above. I'm very excited for the spot, and look forward to it opening. Outdoor Oktoberfest sounds good to me!

Here's their message to PoP, in response to a previous post complaining about them not opening:
“To our concerned neighbors and fellow beer & sandwich aficionados. We’re still here, alive and kicking. Investors haven’t dropped out, DCRA isn’t trying to put us in a corner and we didn’t open up the 7th circle of hell when we cut through the concrete to install all new plumbing. Btw, cutting open a concrete slab 6″ thick to dig another 6′ down isn’t something that happens overnight. Or in two weeks. It’s hard work folks. Due to some unfortunate hiccups in the permitting and building process we are way behind schedule (as you all know), but fret not! For we are back on track and building away! We don’t want to jinx ourselves by giving an opening timeline, but we are very comfortable with the progress we are now making. Please join our Facebook page for all the most recent information. Such as photos of us emptying 15,000 lbs of concrete rubble at the dump. Exciting stuff. AND if you see us out there sweating away feel free to stop and ask what’s up! If we have time we will even try to give you a little tour.

Take care and we will see you all very soon!

Robin, Trent, Tony & Peyton”

Friday, September 9, 2016

Park View Block Party and potluck this Saturday

Here's a fun event for Park View residents: the Park View United Neighborhood Coalition, a local neighborhood group, is organizing their annual block party on Saturday from 2-6pm on Manor Place, a small street between Park Place and Warder Street east of Georgia Avenue.

There will be food (a potluck!), games, music from a DJ, a bounce house for the kids. Neighbors will have grills out that you can use, or feel free to bring a dish to share.

Sounds like a nice event to meet your neighbors!

If you'd like to volunteer to help out, email

Tchoup's has tons going on: brunch, happy hours, $1 beers, food deals, trivia Tuesdays, outdoor movies, football on TV

Tchoup's Market, the New Orleans spot that replaced Alfie's at Georgia and Lamont, is getting serious about being a neighborhood bar -- they've launched brunch, takeout, and a ton of happy hours, events and specials throughout the week. And the food is delicious.

They now have takeout for their whole menu from 5-10pm Sunday-Wednesday as well as weekend brunch -- see the menu from last week below.

And they have some awesome happy hour deals for Monday-Friday: early happy hour at the bar from 5-7pm with $1 beers (!), $5 patio punch and $5 drafts; and a late happy hour from 9pm to close: $3 Bud, Rolling Rock and High Life, $5 drafts, $6 rails, $6 wine and $5 bartender's choice shots.

In addition, there are daily specials too:

Mondays: half priced burgers and Monday Night Football

Tuesdays: Trivia starting Sept. 27

Wednesday: half priced wine and outdoor movies starting Sept. 14.

Thursday is prime rib night: "a big ass cut of Prime Rib Roast w/ weekly side, cider spiced horseradish sauce, beef jus and cress salad for just $21!"

Saturday and Sunday: brunch including biscuits and gravy, breakfast poboy, and more starting at noon. $20 beer buckets from noon to 4pm, college and NFL games on TV.

Here's the brunch menu from last week:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Outdoor movie nights starting this Friday! Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Cool Runnings

This sounds awesome: the Columbia Heights Initiative has organized a series of outdoor moving nights at Tubman School's field, starting this Friday with Raiders of the Lost Ark, the original Indiana Jones movie.

The next week (the 16th) it'll be the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, followed by Jamaican bobsled movie Cool Runnings on the 23rd, and a to-be-determined movie based on student voting for the 30th.

The gates open at 6 and the movie will go on at sunset, generally around 7:30. And it's free!

New distillery, bar and restaurant opens at 14th and U: District Distilling Co.

Yesterday I was walking down U Street and spotted a new distillery, District Distilling Company at 1414 U Street NW, where Coppin's Organic restaurant used to be. I popped in and explored a bit: they have a distillery with tours on the first floor and a bar and restaurant upstairs.

They're currently making (and soon bottling) vodka, rum and gin, and they believe it's the first rum distilled in the city in 200 years. They're also blending whiskey (as it takes a while to distill and age whiskey) and will be bottling whiskey at some point in the future.

The folks at the desk downstairs said they were the first place to take advantage of the city's new liquor license that allows distilling and serving on the premises (as in, a bar and tasting area rather than just samples.)

Tours are offered every day and cost $10, but you get $10 off a bottle if you take a tour.

The space itself is really nice, dark wood paneling and stone, and according to their website it's seasonal American fare, like grilled rockfish, steak, scallops and such. They're only open for dinner starting at 4 or 5pm depending on the day, plus and late night food until 1am, but will be doing weekend brunch sometime soon. The chef, Justin Bittner, previously worked at Bar Pilar, which has pretty tasty grub. One of the owners is Said Haddad, who is also involved with Saint Ex and Bar Pilar. Eater and the City Paper have a bit more about the owners and such.

Looks like an interesting spot. Here's a few photos I snapped from the street too:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

More praise for Bad Saint: Zagat names it one of the hottest restaurants in the world

Bad Saint, the Filipino spot on 11th Street, was recently named the second best new restaurant in the US by Bon Appetit, and now there's more plaudits: Zagat has put it on their list of the 12 hottest restaurants in the world. Not too shabby.

The list also includes places in France, Copenhagen, Singapore, Madrid and Tokyo, and Bad Saint is one of the six in the US.

The article mentions the restaurant's small size and line to get in and recommends "grabbing a drink at one of the many worthy bars and restaurants nearby on 11th Street NW" for the wait. 

Maybe someone should tell the City Paper.

Image from their Facebook page

Little Coco's, Italian spot from El Chucho folks on 14th Street, opens Thursday!

Good news for Italian food lovers, fans of El Chucho and folks in northern Columbia Heights: Little Coco's, the long-awaited Italian version of the popular El Chucho, is opening tomorrow, Sept. 8. The other day some folks posted about a soft opening, and now it's official. They're located at 3907 14th Street NW, just north of Randolph in the old Rib Pit Lounge space.

The spot, from the team that also runs Quarry House in Silver Spring and Bar Charley on 18th, will have pizzas, pasta dishes, salads and Italian snacks, cheeses, cured meats like salami,  as well as reasonably priced cocktails, beers and wines.

They've been posting with some pizza varieties on Facebook and they sound pretty excellent: Tallegio cheese, prosciutto, pears, b├ęchamel sauce; Asparagus, ricotta, quail egg, black summer truffle; Eggplant, cherry tomato, anchovy, smoked mozzarella, ramp pesto and more.

They'll also have coffee and pastries in the morning, something sorely needed in that area.

They have a layout similar to El Chucho with a patio, an open second floor and a bar inside with 90 seats on the first floor, 58 on the second and 32 in the patio.

Check out below for more pizza shots, plus an in-progress interior view.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Petworth Fashion Fest this Saturday on Upshur Street: clothing, accessories, crafts, food, music, etc.

This sounds fun: Willow and Fia's Fabulous Finds on Upshur Street have organized the first Petworth Fashion Fest this Saturday from 11am-4pm on the 800 block of Upshur. The fest has new and vintage clothing, accessories and a lot more.

Willow is a cool boutique, gift and home shop I've written about before and Fia's is a vintage and secondhand shop.

Here's the press release:

Washington, DC – September 6, 2016Willow DC (843 Upshur St. NW) and Fia’s Fabulous Finds (806 Upshur St. NW) will be hosting the 1st Annual Petworth Fashion Fest on Saturday, September 10, from 11am to 4pm on the 800 Block of Upshur St. NW. There will be live performances from local DJs and over 35 vendors with vintage and new clothing, accessories, handmade crafts, food and coffee. Timber Pizza Co., The Twisted Horn, and Slim’s Diner will be open for brunch that Saturday for the festival.

Willow DC and Fia’s Fabulous Finds have been champions of bringing the Petworth community together through fashion since 2011. The two Petworth-based boutiques are members of the Petworth Business Association, the group responsible for organizing the decade old Annual Upshur Street Art and Craft Fair, and have collaborated in the past, hosting fashion shows and shopping parties. Fia’s also independently hosted a vintage and secondhand pop-up downtown in 2013.

"Supporting local designers and makers is an important part of being a community business. Willow and Fia's both feature local artists and makers in store. With the Fashion Fest we hope to highlight interesting people that are just getting started in the industry." says Julie Wineinger owner of Willow.

The Petworth Fashion Fest will bring a variety of local vendors and small businesses together in one convenient spot, where DC fashion lovers can shop with ease.

Petworth Fashion Fest
800 Block of Upshur St NW
Date: Saturday, September 10th
Time: 11:00am-4:00pm

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Fast casual sausage restaurant HalfSmoke coming to Florida and Georgia

This sounds pretty cool: HalfSmoke, a fast casual sausage restaurant, is opening soon at the northeast corner of Florida and Georgia. That space has been a lot of things but never for very long: I can remember it being a pharmacy, Popeye's, art shop, someone's campaign headquarters -- but mostly vacant.

The Washington Post has the pretty interesting story: Andre McClain, a 29-year old entrepreneur is opening it based on data he's gathered and time he spent working at various restaurants to learn the craft better. The building is owned Douglas Development, who the Post says was initially opposed to not having a chain in the space, as that is a lot easier and more of a sure thing (usually -- just ask Ruby Tuesday at 14th and Monroe.) However, McClain was able to convince them, as well as longtime DC restauranteur Bob Kinkead of Kinkead's restaurant and other spots.

The spot will have a laid back vibe, which the Post said is aimed at local college students and professionals in the area, and will also have beer, wine and cocktails, and a wide range of sausages cooked on a wood-fired grill:
He plans to offer a sausage for everyone, including duck, rabbit and vegan options from family-owned farms, that will come made-to-order atop a bun, salad, flatbread or rice bowl. Also on the menu: Fun, in the shape of tater tots, milkshakes, funnel cakes and cotton candy.
It will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the plan is that a sausage and beer will run about $15. Sounds pretty awesome to me. The article was published 10 days and said he's aiming at opening "sometime this month," so presumably pretty soon.

The Post article talks a lot about McClain's entrepreneurial streak, including running successful shoe and party photo businesses in high school and college. The Washingtonian has a bit more, including this rendering of the inside: