Friday, July 19, 2019

Columbia Heights residents get $500 to renovate their homes

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Heat emergency: City pools open til 9 pm, shelters and cooling centers open

It's hot out there. Super hot. The city declared a heat emergency yesterday, which means that pools will stay open later, and there will be cooling centers and shelters open as well, all through Sunday.

In our area, that means Banneker Pool on Georgia Ave is open until 9pm Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (they're closed Thursdays) and Upshur Pool at Upshur & Arkansas is also open until 9pm every day (they're closed Mondays.)

There's a full map of cooling centers and shelters here, as well as spray parks for kids.

ABC7 has more info, and to see the city's full plan here.

Flower shop She Loves Me open at 808 Upshur Street NW

This is neat: there's a newish flower shop, She Loves Me, on Upshur Street, where you can stop in to get a bouquet, subscribe to a monthly flower service, or get flowers for your wedding or event. It opened in a former shoe repair shop, and is next door to the new location of Lemon Collective, a coworking and art space which has classes and events.

Here's more from She Loves Me. Sounds cool! Always nice to see more retail in our area.
She Loves Me is a flower shop of wonders in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC, founded by Holley Simmons and run by a team of strong women. We offer flowers by the stem and custom-built bouquets using buds from our favorite local growers; we also carry a wild collection of botanical-based goods for your home and body. She Loves Me offers a subscription flower service for those who love having fresh blooms delivered right to their doorstep every month; sometimes we even send love notes to our subscribers! 
Within our space we encourage exploration and asking questions. Our mission is to provide unique blossoms and, in the process, spread enthusiasm and appreciation for the world around us. 
The She Loves Me team also offers monthly botanical-themed workshops ranging from dried wreath-making to Plant Parenthood 101 in their coworking space next door, The Lemon Collective. We offer our classes off-site as well, making them the perfect party treat for your next birthday, wedding event, or night in!

Photos by Megan Graham

Monday, July 15, 2019

First look at Hook Hall, beer garden, cafe and event space opening Thursday, July 18 in Kraken Axes space

A few weeks ago we learned at the new spot coming to the Kraken Axes space at 3400 Georgia Avenue NW is called Hook Hall and would be a big beer garden, indoor bar and event space. I was able to visit last week and talk with owner Anna Valero and also learn more about the space. It's opening on Thursday, July 18, and I'm pretty excited.

The space, if you recall from Kraken Axes day, is very large, both inside and out. Valero, who also owns Kraken Axes at its new location downtown as well as local event firm Drink the District, has a lot of plans. Originally, the building was a Peoples Drug (now CVS), then Murry's grocery store, an indoor mushroom farm, then finally Kraken.

Normally Hook Hall will be a cafe during the day with Vigilante Coffee, though it will only be open in the evenings to start. It will transition into a bar in the evening, with both indoor and outdoor bars and 32 taps overall.

They don't have a kitchen but will have pastries and such, and Valero says she plans to have a food truck at times outside as well as having rotating food vendors -- for example the types of places you might see at food halls or food incubators. There are TVs and wifi, plus a separate front patio that also opens up on the main indoor bar, kind of like Pearl Dive on 14th Street. She thought it might also serve as a walk up coffee bar during the day, which sounds great.

They also plan to hold various events and festivals there, including classes from Sweat DC, yoga, regular events and things of that nature. It can also be used for neighborhood meetings and various classes, such as Drink the District cocktail or beer events, tastings, classes, cooking demos and so on. In the long term Valero hopes to add a commercial kitchen outside in a shipping container.

Outside, Valero aims for an upscale beer garden with a big bar, a synthetic lawn and 10 reservable covered cabanas for 12-15 people each. Pets will be allowed outside too. It's catty-corner from the Midlands, another beer garden, but considering how crowded that place is I'm sure it will do fine.

The space has five rentable areas for events, which you can also combine (you can see a floor plan below.) There will be large movable dividers so events can be separate or even happen during regular working hours. I can picture wedding receptions, cocktail hours, meet-up events, and so on. She also plans to have smaller spaces for work meetings and such too. For events, there are teams that can help with furniture, security, valet parking, A/V and so on, with room for 700 people inside and 675 outside.

The space looks nice inside, with the original brick exposed and what Valero called industrial nautical  -- hence the name, Hook Hall. There are copper pipes from the former District Distilling on U Street, plus touches like murals, anchors and metal chandeliers. She says she was partially inspired by Houston Hall, a pretty awesome beer hall in New York. They've also added some big roll up doors to let in more natural light as well as a big mural wall that can also be used for projecting movies onto.

The bathrooms are very nice and quite large, able to accommodate a lot of people. I definitely appreciate that, it stinks to wait in bar bathroom lines. That should be good for big events too.

I'm pretty excited to check it out. Here are some photos from last week (so still not quite set up.)

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Eater names Call Your Mother one of the best new restaurants in the country

Well, the line at Call Your Mother may be getting longer soon. The "Jew-ish" bagel spot at 3301 Georgia Ave NW, was just named one of the country's 16 best new restaurants by Eater. They highlight the quality bagels, "offbeat" items like the challah cheesesteak, and the Argentine touches from chef Daniela Moreira. They also do an occasional supper club.

CYM is the only DC-area spot on the list, joining others from New York, LA, Philly, Chicago and other big cities, plus a few smaller spots like Newport, KY. Previous list included other local spots, such as last year with Maydan on Florida Ave NW, Himitsu in 2017, Pineapple & Pearls in 2016, and Maketto in 2015.

It's nice to see restaurants in our area get noticed. Bad Saint has also been recognized all over the place, such as being the #2 best new restaurant in the country in 2016 according to Bon Appetit.

Photo by anokarina

Monday, July 8, 2019

Georgia Ave changes: Marrakech Moroccan restaurant closed after 2 months, Mr. Braxton bar coming, Tsehay Ethiopian now open

Lots happening on Georgia Avenue -- Marrakech, a Moroccan restaurant formerly on P Street in Dupont, opened at 3632 Georgia Avenue a couple of months ago without much fanfare, and now they're gone. The replacement has permits in the windows, which will be Mr. Braxton Bar and Restaurant.

And next door at 3630 Georgia, Tsehay Ethiopian Bar and Restaurant is also open. I walked by the other day and it smelled great. If you recall, this place had some strange permits a while ago for restaurant, beauty shop and skating rink. I am guessing someone just picked the wrong code. Tsehay has great reviews on Yelp so far. They're open for lunch and dinner.

Mr. Braxton next door is coming to the seemingly cursed space at 3632 Georgia, pictured above. That space was formerly Blue Banana, Park View Patio, Walter's Sports Bar, and finally Marrakech. One of the problems before was that they didn't have a full kitchen, and Park View DC reports that Marrakech added one, so that's good for Mr. Braxton.

Washingtonian has an article about Mr. Braxton, here's how they describe it:
The newest addition to Park View, Mr. Braxton, will have a little bit of everything: Burgers. Paella. Taco Tuesdays. After it’s up and running in early June, you’ll be able to drink CBD cocktails and enjoy the occasional live music in a lounge area, or head out to the colorful, greenery-covered back patio for a local brew.
They also mention watermelon soup, rack of lamb, tacos, mussels and more. The name comes from owners Shannon Cunningham and Booker Parchment's son. Cunningham formerly was manager of Brick Lane in Dupont, and Parchment is a businessman.

Marrakech was a mysterious one to me -- it never really looked open and they never responded to me reaching out about their business. You'd think they'd want to get some press. They opened with what seemed to be a temporary permit, then disappeared as quickly. I emailed them today and they said they moved to Eastern Market.

Hopefully these new spots succeed!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

6th Annual Kennedy Street Festival is Saturday

It's not Columbia Heights, but if you want to go up to Petworth, the 6th Annual Kennedy Street Fest is happening on Saturday from noon to 4pm. The street has been bustling of late, with new bars and restaurants like the Anxo cidery and awesome neighborhood bars Jackie Lee's and Moreland's Tavern.

The fest sounds like a lot of fun, with arts and crafts, vendors and food, music and events for kids and adults, plus a big raffle and more. And a water balloon fight! The event is free and runs Kennedy Street from 3rd to 8th Streets NW. There is more information here, and you can also buy raffle tickets.

The Kennedy Street Festival is Back!

The 6th Annual Kennedy Street Festival is happening on June 22nd from 12-4pm in parking lots and in front of businesses along the the 300-800 blocks of Kennedy Street NW, with hubs of activity at 716, 608 & 308 Kennedy Street NW.

Started in 2014 by the Kennedy Street Development Corporation, this annual celebration brings recognition to vibrant small business community located on Kennedy Street.
This year's event will feature over 40 local makers, artisans and community-based organizations as well as four hours of performances by local musicians! Activities for children, including face painting, music and over-sized games will be available all day. We also look forward to hosting our annual raffle (tickets can be purchased in advance online), a pop up art gallery, a photo booth, and the annual water balloon fight!


Kennedy Street NW is well serviced by public transit (bus stops and offers plentiful bike parking. Free two hour street parking is available on Kennedy Street, as well as the all adjacent side-streets. Ride-sharing services also service our community and provide another option for guests.

We anticipate that parking will be limited the day of the festival. Festival attendees are encouraged to walk to the festival or take public transit if possible.

-Patrick’s Pet Care Community Stage- 
(608 Kennedy Street NW)

12:20 PM Sara Ghebrimichael
1:00 PM Remarks from Mayor Bowser, Councilmember Todd
& Uptown Main Street Chairman of the Board
1:30 PM DMV 910
2:30 PM Robert Ax & On the One Band
3:20 PM The JoGo Project
4:00 PM Raffle Announcement
4:10 PM Water Balloon Fight

-Vassar Broermann Group Community Stage-
(716 Kennedy Street NW)

12:00 PM New Sewell Music Conservatory
12:45 PM Fusion Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps
1:15 PM DJ Zach Pleasant
3:00 PM New Sewell Music Conservatory
3:35 PM Salvatore Gonzalez

-Andrene’s Soul Food & Caribbean Cafe-
(308 Kennedy Street NW)

12:00 - 4:00 PM Drummers, Dancers, Raffle & DJ


This year we’ve partnered with local businesses and artists to present special activities throughout our corridor. From photo booths to pop up art installations, we invite you to #WalkUptown and discover something new!

Pop Up Art Gallery (515 Kennedy Street NW)
(sponsored by Walmart Supercenter on Georgia Avenue)

Photo Booth (608 Kennedy Street NW Entrance)
(sponsored by Horton’s Funeral Home)

Raffle (608 Kennedy Street NW - Site #1)

Mobile T-Shirt Printing (608 Kennedy Street NW - Site #1)
(sponsored by Mayor Muriel Bowser)

Terrarium Making (703 Kennedy Street NW)

(504 Kennedy Street NW)

At our Kids Activity Area, we’ll have fun for all ages. Stop by to get your face painted, make a special craft or meet with our two vendors (National Center for Children & Families & Breathing Space DC).

12:00 - 4:00 PM
Facepainting, Crafts & Coloring Sheets
(sponsored by Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Palmer & Blandi’s CLC)

1:30 PM Kids Yoga Demo
(sponsored by Breathing Space DC)

3:00 - 4:00 PM Magic Show & Balloon Animals
(sponsored by the National Center for Children & Families)

Raffle tickets for unique business experiences and discounts at local restaurants can be purchased in advance through Eventbrite ( for our annual festival raffle. Tickets are 1 for $5; 3 for $10 or 7 for $20. All proceeds help support the work of Uptown Main Street and are directly reinvested into our programming.

- Yoga Heights 5-Class Pass ($85 value)
- Cheesemonster Studio gift card ($25 value)
- Andrene's Soul Food & Caribbean Cafe gift card ($25 value)
- HR Records gift card ($50 value)
- L'Enfant Flowers gift card ($30 value)
- BBQ Bus Smokehouse gift card ($25 value)
- Loyalty Books gift card ($25 value)
- Uptown Main Street Taste of Uptown Passes ($80 value)
- Kennedy Street Poster from Victory Dance Creative ($20 value)
- Jackie Lee's gift card ($20 value)
- Lost Sock Roasters Coffee + Mug ($20 value)
- Lighthouse Yoga Class Pass ($25 value)
- Moreland's Tavern gift card ($25 value)
- Kennedy Counseling Collective 50 minute self-care consultation ($80 value)
- Capitol Bikeshare 1 Year Membership ($85 value)
- Tranquil Treasures Styling Session ($75 value)
- Tranquil Treasurers Weekender Tote ($75 value)
- Lost and Found Bar gift card ($25 value)
- Free State Bar gift card ($25 value)
- Craft Beer Gift Basket ($25 value)
- ANXO Cider gift card ($50 value)
- 2 Tickets to a DC Sporting Event ($75 value)
- T-Shirt & 2 Pint Glasses from DC Brau ($30 value)
*Please note that attendees must visit the welcome tent at the 608 Kennedy Street lot to pick up your tickets but prizes may be claimed after the event! Be sure to add your contact information to your raffle ticket!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Meridian Pint to be replaced by Malaysian restaurant Makan from Maketto chef

That was quick! Meridian Pint at 11th and Park, which unexpectedly closed several weeks ago, will be replaced by Makan, a Malaysian restaurant from former Maketto and Spoken English chef de cuisine James Wozniuk, who Zagat profiled a bit ago.

DCist has the story, they're aiming for late summer, and Wozniuk is partnering with Kendrick Wu on the restaurant. They add that the restaurant will use Mid-Atlantic ingredients.

I don't see any permits there yet, but I did see a transfer of the liquor license from the Pint to Makan.

Once I hear more I'll let you know. They're at 3400 11th Street NW.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Kraken Axes will replaced by Hook Hall: coffee shop, beer garden & venue; no more axes?

If you recall, axe-throwing bar Kraken Axes at 3400 Georgia Ave NW closed a few months ago for renovation. The owners had a lot of ideas for the space, including a big outdoor patio/beer garden, whiskey library and more. Now we have some details from their website, which is now calling the space Hook Hall. It sounds pretty great and I hear it may be open in the summer, so relatively soon.

They're planning it be an event space you can rent, a coffee shop during the daytime and a beer garden and bar. I've also heard there won't be axe throwing any more. However, you can get your axe fix at their new location, 840 E Street NW.

The space itself looks great on the outside, with a new facade. (It looks even better now, this photo was a couple weeks old.) They're currently working on pouring concrete for the patio beer garden as well. I've reached out to the owners for more info, but haven't yet heard back.

Here's more info from their (under construction) website:
Situated in the heart of Washington, DC, Hook Hall is a traditional tavern and event space. It is a place you go to enjoy a cold beer and catch up with friends, or to find the latest epic pop-up experience. It’s a space designed to transform and transition throughout the day. 
We have a stage that’s primed for local talent to impress, and our outdoor space – The Deck – that is second to none in the District. Choose a sunny day, pre-book your outdoor cabana, and gather all of your friends – you have memories to make at Hook Hall. 
As a traditional pub you’re invited to join us from sun up to sun down, for a hot cup of coffee in the morning while reading the paper or achieving inbox zero, to the midday meetings, and happy hour end to the work day. Swing by after your black tie gala to show off your fancy duds and have a night cap before heading home. Whatever you’re looking for you’ll find here at Hook Hall. If what you’re searching for is a fun place to hang with your friends or your kids, a place to unwind after a day in the office, a place to sit in the sun and write your memoirs, or a place to congregate and celebrate—Hook Hall is here for you.

We have a rotating selection of craft beers, classic cocktails, and supple wines. Specialty cocktail nights will feature new favorites that might make their way into the daily rotation. In the mornings, our coffee is always hot and strong, and roasted by the local team at Vigilante Coffee.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Work underway at 14th and Monroe for Children's Hospital primary care center; former TGI Friday's space

Finally, something is coming to the big empty space that was supposed to be TGI Friday's at 14th and Monroe. The other day I walked by and saw some workers there, who told me it was being turned into a primary care center, and the permits for it say "Children's National Primary Care," which is affiliated with Children's Hospital.

Work is underway, but it's unclear how long it will take. Children's Hospital sold their Shaw clinic last year, so presumably this is the replacement.

It seems like a good use of the space. This was going to be TGI Friday's, which spurred some opposition from neighbors that it would be loud or otherwise problematic (upstairs from this space is a senior citizens' home.) TGI Friday's agreed to install soundproofing, but then they canceled their plans and it never came to fruition, and the space has sat vacant for a long time.

The area is a bit far from the main foot traffic around 14th and Irving, and the space across 14th failed as both a Ruby Tuesday and as the mysterious and rarely open Jenkins BBQ. (That space is now planned to be a Korean BBQ, which I hope succeeds.)

In any case, it seems like a convenient place to take your kid for medical care. What do you think?

Thursday, May 30, 2019

New neighborhood bar Smitty's now open at 3549 Georgia; relaxed vibe, nice cocktails

There's a pretty cool new neighborhood bar open at 3549 Georgia Ave NW, Smitty's. I stopped by last week and enjoyed it, it has a relaxed vibe with brick walls and a long bar, plus some tables, and some nice cocktails.

It's run in part by Kaleabe Getanah, who you may remember from the Saloon or Hilltop - he's a super nice guy so it's good to see him with a new place. They also have some bar snacks, though I didn't try them. The lemon basil vodka soda and cucumber mint gin & tonic were quite tasty. Prices are very reasonable too.

It's a nice little friendly spot, check them out.

Friday, May 24, 2019

City pools open Saturday! Here are the ones in our area

Woo! The city's outdoor pools open tomorrow. It's finally that time of year. Here's the full list, and the ones in our area. "Happy Hallow" is an outdoor kids pool at the Marie Reed facility, most of which is indoor.

Ward 1

Banneker Pool
2500 Georgia Avenue, NW | 20001
(202) 673-2121
Hours of Operation:
Mon, Tues, Wed & Fri: 10 am - 8 pm
Sat & Sun: 11 am - 6 pm
(Closed Thursdays)

Happy Hallow
2200 Champlain Street, NW | 20009
(202) 671-1289
Hours of Operation:
Wed, Thurs, Fri: 10 am - 6 pm
Sat & Sun: 11 am - 6 pm
(Closed 2 pm - 2:30 pm Daily)
(Closed Mondays & Tuesdays)

Park View Children's Pool
693 Otis Place, NW | 20010
(202) 576-5750
Hours of Operation:
Wed, Thurs, Fri: 11 am - 6 pm
Sat & Sun: 11 am - 6 pm
(Closed Daily: 2 pm - 2:30 pm)
(Closed Mondays & Tuesdays)

Ward 4

Upshur Pool
4300 Arkansas Ave., NW | 20011
(202) 576-8661
Hours of Operation:
Tues - Fri: 10 am - 8 pm
Sat & Sun: 11 am - 6 pm
(Closed Mondays)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wow Wawa! Beloved shop opens tomorrow in Columbia Heights with free coffee through the weekend

It's Wawa time! The beloved Philly-area convenience store with popular sandwiches is opening tomorrow at 14th and Irving according to WTOP. They'll be offering free coffee starting at 8am, and the first 100 people there get Wawa t-shirts according to DCist. They're donating $2500 to the Capital Food Bank too.

This is the third store in the city, with two others in Georgetown and on 19th Street near Dupont Circle, and there's Adams Morgan and Tenleytown locations opening soon as well.

The Wawa in our area replaced Potbelly, Pete's Apizza and Five Guys. I've never gotten a sandwich (or hoagie, depending where you're from) at Wawa, but people seem to love them. They also have a wide variety of coffees and are similar to Sheetz in that you order from a touch screen and there are a lots of options for sandwiches and other food, plus convenience store items. I've also heard a lot of people disappointed that Pete's was closing.

What do you think? What's your favorite sandwich from there?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Wonderland's 15th annual Sundress Fest is May 5th: food, music, fun all for charity

It's that time again: local mainstay the Wonderland Ballroom is holding their 15th annual Sundress Fest, a block party with food, music and deals, and where anyone wearing a sundress get discounts.

The event benefits DC Central Kitchen, and they'll be selling sundresses at the fest in case you don't have your own. The fest is always a blast, and I'm looking forward to it.

Here's more form Wonderland:
Mesdames et messieurs, boys and girls, the Wonderland Ballroom is very proud to announce that it will be holding its FIFTEENTH Sundress Festival on the fifth of May this year.  
Sundress Fest, DC's best beer-infused block party, is a celebration of summer that takes place at the Wonderland Ballroom every first Sunday of May with proceeds benefiting DC Central Kitchen.

Literally all the stops - and there were honestly very few stops to begin with - have been pulled for Sundress's quinceaƱera. Last year we ordered two swimming pools' worth of beer, and this year we have four. DC Brau is coming out in force to serve them to you. Last year we got half a day of sun; this year we've already been assured by our only Wiccan regular that we'll have beautiful weather. We have three bands. We have the fantastic Maddy Brannon and Kate Flaherty emceeing affairs from the stage, and we have the mellifluous musical stylings of DJ Keenan Orr until the streetlights come on.

Mark your calendars for Sunday May 5, and be sure to save this event on Facebook to get all the details on the day's festivities as they become available!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Councilmember Nadeau holding public safety meeting April 30

Just got this from Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau. Read on, and I'll update once they sent out a location.

4th Annual Ward 1 Public Safety Meeting

Join me for my fourth annual Ward 1 public safety meeting. You can learn about how DC agencies are working to address crime in Ward 1, as well as meet your MPD officers.
We’ll have a new format this year based on feedback from previous years.
We’ll open at 6:30pm with an open house featuring representatives and brief remarks from MPD Commanders, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, Collaborative Solutions for Communities, the Ward 1 NEAR Act Study Group. Each representative will have a table and residents can mingle and ask questions.
Then at 7:30pm, we’ll be joined by neighborhood MPD officers for those who would like to meet an MPD officer who works in their neighborhood.

What: 5th Annual Ward 1 Public Safety Meeting with Councilmember Brianne Nadeau
When: Tuesday, April 30, 2019
6:30pm: Open house with brief remarks
7:30pm: Meet neighborhood MPD officers
Where: Ward 1 Location TBD

I want to make sure all residents feel welcome, which is why we have a new format that strives to strike a balance. MPD plays an important role in maintaining public safety in Ward 1, but based on feedback from residents last year we have reduced the number of officers who will be present during the open house portion of the evening. That said, I’m aware that many residents appreciate the opportunity to meet their neighborhood officers, which will happen during the second half.
Unfortunately, we are not able to provide childcare due to the limitations of how Council funding may be spent, but children are welcome and we'll have a coloring corner for the big kids.  
We will provide pizza for dinner.

Mark your calendars!

Brianne K. Nadeau
DC Councilmember, Ward 1

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Whoa! Korean BBQ with tabletop grills coming to 14th and Monroe, former Jenkins BBQ & Ruby Tuesday space

This is awesome news: a Korean restaurant with tabletop grills is coming to 3364 14th Street NW, the big space at 14th and Monroe that was the short lived Jenkins BBQ and slightly longer lived Ruby Tuesday.

Washingtonian has the story, it will be an outpost of the Iron Age Korean BBQ chain, which has 8 other US locations (including two in Virginia and two in Maryland) and one in Thailand. According to Washingtonian:
Iron Age is known for its affordable all-you-can-eat menus ($20-to-$25 per person in the Washington suburbs) and industrial red-and-black decor. DC diners can expect the same, though some locations have slight menu variations.
That sounds awesome. There will be about 35 tables and the opening date is uncertain -- the article mentions it could take a year to finish buildout, and also suggests permits may be tricky. What else is new, right?

It sounds like a great addition to the area, and I hope it's more successful than the other two. I would suggest they advertise and are open regularly, unlike the mysterious Jenkins (pictured above).

Here's their website.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Wow: Meridian Pint is closing and moving to Arlington on Sunday; building for sale

This is pretty crazy and unexpected: Meridian Pint is ending its 9 year run at 11th and Park and will be closing Sunday, April 21 and moving to Arlington.

I didn't receive a press release about it, but on Twitter they say "It's with a heavy heart that we will be saying goodbye to Columbia Heights," and DCist reports on a press release sent to PoP:
"During the last 9 years a lot has changed in regards to the evolving needs of our staff, our customers, our lives and our city,” owner John Andrade wrote in an announcement published by Popville. “With change comes new opportunities for us all to grow in different directions. Therefore, we are very excited to announce that Meridian Pint will be moving to Arlington, VA to expand our passion for American craft beer into Northern Virginia.
They will be having a final Easter Brunch on Sunday and will close at 4 pm.

I didn't see this coming, the place always seems to have a good crowd. Then again, Andrade has closed places before and reopened them -- he owned Asylum on 18th Street, then closed it and reopened as Smoke & Barrel (which is also good.) Maybe there is more money in Arlington, rent increased, or something else. I've reached out for more info, and for info on what else might go into that space.

11th Street has seen a lot of change lately: Maple and the Good Silver closed, though both are being replaced: Maple will become Ossobucco Ristorante and Queen's English is filling the Good Silver space.

Meridian Pint is survived by Brookland Pint on 12th Street NE, Smoke & Barrel in Adams Morgan, and some places in Virginia.

UPDATE: I just found that the building is for sale. That might have something to do with it. The building is currently owed by an LLC related to District Design and Development.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Union Drinkery closing, to be replaced by wine bar from Midlands folks

Sad news for fans of neighborhood cocktail bar Union Drinkery at 3216 Georgia: they will be closing April 27th. DCist has the news, which includes word that the replacement is a wine bar called Saint Vincent, which includes one of the owners of the Midlands.

I was always a big fan of Union Drinkery, which had tasty, reasonably priced cocktails and a nice back area, but I wonder if they shot themselves in the foot when they closed the first floor bar. It always looked like the place was closed and empty, and in response to the news on Twitter, multiple people said they had no idea there was an upstairs, and didn't think the place was open. I heard they were renovating the downstairs bar, which was my favorite place, but it never seemed to make any progress. They also had pretty subtle signage, so if you didn't already knew it was there, you probably wouldn't know otherwise.

Fans of neighborhood cocktail spots are not at a loss though, right up Georgia is Reliable Tavern, which is a great place. Go check it out.

The new spot is inspired by Bacchanal, a combination wine shop and bar in New Orleans where you can buy a bottle and take it with you or drink it at the bar or out on the patio. I've been to Bacchanal, it's pretty awesome, so that's a good sign.

Union Drinkery is owned by Ali Bagheri, who also owns A&D in Shaw, Sundevich and formerly Small Fry, both of which used to be next to Union Drinkery, later closing. Bagheri says he will focus on the other Sundeviches in the area. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Do we have everything in Columbia Heights? What are we missing? Let us know

Do we have everything in Columbia Heights?

For the years I've been running this blog, I've been running an occasional "What we're missing" series where I talk about things I think we need, many of which are suggested by readers. Past posts have included things like bookstores, a movie theatre, a coffee shop on Georgia Avenue, and so on. However, most of the things in the column have come to pass -- there's Loyalty Books on Upshur and Walls of Books on Georgia. There's Suns Cinema in Mt. Pleasant and Atlantic Plumbing nearby. We have Colony Club, Heat da Spot, Qualia and Harar Coffee on Georgia.

So, what else do you think we're missing? I've been trying to think about it, and most things we already have -- tons of restaurants, services, even some shopping. Foodwise, we now have bagels (Call Your Mother), Italian food (Sonny's, Maple's replacement), Chinese with the coming Queen's English, fancy cocktail bars, beer gardens, even some shopping.

The only thing that I could come up with was good Thai food, and maybe a thrift store like Goodwill or Salvation Army. Maybe a good traditional deli? What other ideas do you have in mind? Let us know in the survey below.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Femme Fatale DC, new pop-up shop and events space open on 11th; lots of workshops coming up

This is pretty neat: Femme Fatale DC describes themselves as a "a platform for womyn creatives and entrepreneurs to collaborate in sharing their passions" anthey just opened a new pop-up at 3224 11th Street NW, where the Willow pop-up was before. The shop hosts events and serves as a shop for entrepreneurs and artists, with things like art, clothing, crafts and more. Here's more from them: 

We just opened our pop up shop at 3224 11th St NW in Columbia Heights. We wanted to introduce ourselves to you and your community. We are Femme Fatale DC, a platform for womyn creatives and entrepreneurs to collaborate in sharing their passions. We build meaningful friendships through creating spaces & experiences that amplify, foster and sustain an ecosystem of womyn who empower each other. We just opened our forth pop-up shop featuring over 30 different local womyn entrepreneurs and artists. We are so excited to be in the Columbia Heights neighborhood and have been loving it. We have a bunch of upcoming workshops that we would love to invite the Columbia Heights neighborhood too.

Felted Succulent Workshop with Rock Paper Plant- April 4th 6:30-8:30pm- Do you want a houseplant without the hassle of actually keeping it alive? Felted succulents can in survive even the most inhospitable climates and look really cute on your desk. In this two-hour class, you’ll learn the basics of how to create felted structures all while creating your very own needle-felted cactus. 

Tipsy Terrariums with LOVERS Plant Studio- April 5th 6:30 - 8:30pm- Emily will guide you through the process and art of creating a beautiful and lasting container garden- a sweet micro-environment that is super easy to maintain! Emily will share her tips for terrarium design, planting, and care.

Pout for a Purpose with LIPP Beauty- April 7th 4-7pm- Join LIPP Beauty for an event benefitting the Alzheimer's Association. 100% of your $10 ticket goes to directly to the Alzheimer's Association and you get a $10 coupon to shop LIPP Beauty's cruelty- free lipstick line.

Full Moon Circle: Myth Busters with Untethered Strength April 22nd 7-9pm- Join Untethered Strength for a Breathwork Meditation. We will discuss our personal myths- the stories that we tell ourselves, the thoughts and beliefs that we incorporate into our actions on a daily basis (sometimes subconsciously). We will discuss ways to dispel these myths followed by a Breathwork Meditation to release negative thoughts, patterns, and habits from our bodies.

On our full calendar on our website you can see all the events we have for the next few months. We also have a free happy hour every Thursday featuring a mystery cocktail and tarot readings that we would love to invite the community too. We are open 

Wednesday- Friday: 3-9
Saturday- Sunday: 12-9
Monday- Tuesday: Closed

We have wifi and invite anyone into the shop to come do work, chat, or just relax. 

Hong Kong Chinese restaurant Queen's English coming to Good Silver/Kangaroo Boxing space on 11th

This is a welcome development: a Chinese restaurant called Queen's English is coming to 3410 11th Street NW, formerly where The Good Silver and Kangaroo Boxing Club were. Eater reports the chef is Henji Cheung, formerly the executive chef at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. A sign in the door says now hiring, and mentions Hong Kong style cuisine.

The menu looks pretty interesting, with bar food and lots of drinks. The menu is below, with things like smoked trout roe, pigs ear, a half chicken, and Eater adds things like "crispy rice with fried shrimp, steam egg and caviar, naked scallop dumplings, and bamboo salad." They'll also have Hong Kong-inspired cocktails as well as wine and beer. 

I think this is a great addition -- there isn't much Chinese in our area that isn't the takeout variety, so I'm excited to check it out.

Since they're hiring now, they may be opening soon.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Thanks for putting up with our April Fools posts

April 1st is over, and we're back to our regularly scheduled programming. Thanks for bearing with this site's regular April Fools posts. We've been running them for about ten years (at least, when April 1st is during the week) and I hope you enjoyed them.

In past years, I moved to Gaithersburg and reviewed all the Chili's there, we learned that Wonderland was getting replaced by a Taco Bell, I became a nudist and changed the blog to Nude Columbia Heights (which featured a nude happy hour at Bad Saint), there's a new real estate firm focused on adding cell phone stores, banks and 7-Elevens to our area, Banneker Pool became a private Crossfit gym, and celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn was taking over The House strip club and changing it to "The Champagne Room."

There were also lots of DCUSA empty space-related jokes, such as Disney opening a hotel there, a new curling ice rink opening, the parking garage adding luxury micro-unit condos, and Tim Horton's going in. I wish a few of those were true.

And then there's my favorite: "hey, check out this door."

Monday, April 1, 2019

Mayor's proclamation: rebranding Columbia Heights the CoHi Landing Technology Corridor

With all the news today from 11th Street and technology, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 4 Councilman Brandon Todd have issued a proclamation. For one, they’ve announced our area will be henceforth called the CoHi Landing Technology Corridor. The rebranding will include the area from 16th Street to Georgia Avenue and Spring Road to Florida Avenue.

“With the coming Amazon HQ2, we believe that 11th Street NW and the Columbia Heights area should be given a new name that matches the businesses on the street, as well as the city’s commitment to technology, bitcoin, the cloud and block chains.” wrote the proclamation. “We think this rebranding will help us attract visitors and technology firms to the previously underutilized 11th Street storefronts, and hope that many new tech firms will open soon on the street and many Amazon employees will move to the area. Also the cloud is involved.”

They also revealed a new logo for the neighborhood, which will be hung as banners from light posts around the area.

The proclamation also included an honorary street name for 11th Street: Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Boulevard. The signs will be installed shortly. Like other honorary street names in the city like Abe Pollin Way near the Capitol One Arena and Rev. Dr Edward Thomas Way at 13th and Fairmont, the old street names are still official, but you can send a letter to the honorary ones. So Bad Saint could be at 3226 Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Boulevard. Unclear if that needs a NW or not, as there is already one in SW. They included a mockup:

In addition, Councilmember Brandon Todd introduced a bill to appoint a city blockchain and cloud mayor to work as a liaison between cloud, blockchain and Bitcoin businesses and local residents. Councilmember Jack Evans also said he can help connect blockchain businesses with the Council through his non-council job.

11th and Park dog park to be replaced by Bitcoin mining company

Lots of technology news today in the area. A real estate developer has announced that the dog park at 11th and Park, sometimes called 11th and Bark, will be replaced by a new facility for bitcoin mining.

The property surprisingly went up for sale a few months ago, leading to an effort to buy it to make sure it would remain a dog park. Those efforts didn’t succeed, and the building will be used for mining Bitcoins, which involves computers doing math problems. The proposed facility will be named 11th and Bitcoin, a reference to the area and the park.

The mining operation, a joint venture between a Chinese industrial conglomerate and startup entrepreneurs from California, sent out a press release:

“We are excited to come to the neighborhood. This property was not previously used for anything productive, and Bitcoin and its incumbent blockchain technology is a great fit in the blossoming CoHi 11th Street technology corridor. We also believe that with the coming Amazon HQ2 development in Arlington, the cloud is involved. Plus you can use Bitcoin down the street at Wonderland.”

The building is planned to have no windows, to lower heating and cooling costs, and also to limit access to any potential Bitcoin thieves. They also included a couple infographics about how bitcoin mining works.

In addition, I reached out to the 11th and Bitcoin people about it they planned anything for dog owners who formerly used the park. They suggested downloading an app called Woofr, which is “like Uber for dog parks.”

Wonderland now accepting only Bitcoin

This is interesting. Local nightlife mainstay Wonderland has announced they will only be accepting cryptocurrency like Bitcoin going forward. The idea grew out of the difficulty of using cash and credit cards at the bar, especially late at night.

They announced in a press release: "No one uses cash anymore, and after 11 pm basically everyone forgets their credit card. Cryptocurrency will allow us to make sure people pay their tabs when they leave, or if not, pay them automatically."

When asked about how it will work, staff said "I think there's like a wallet or something with numbers you have. You tell us the numbers and it gets processed. It's really easy. I think it takes a few hours to go through."

As for the volatility of Bitcoin, which can go up and down throughout the day, they'll have electronic screens that show the current price of Bitcoin in dollars and the current price of drinks, which will change as the exchange rate varies. There will be specials if Bitcoin plummets too. The cloud is involved too.

This is a new idea for the area, so I reached out to DCRA and the city's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, who regulate bars, to ask about using Bitcoin at Wonderland. One inspector told me "Yes, this is definitely fine." Another said "No, that is definitely illegal."

Blockchain store opening on 11th Street

Well, this is cool! A blockchain store is opening on 11th Street, in the space at the corner of 11th and Lamont that used to be the laundromat, bakery and takeout restaurant. The owners say in a press release that it will take advantage of DC's booming tech scene and the interest in blockchain in the area to make it easier for people to shop for and use blockchain. The current building will be renovated.

The store, to be called Block.Co (in a subtle reference to Columbia Heights) announced they're excited to come to the area:
We think D.C. has a lot of potential, and we are excited to bring the latest technologies to the city. It's a great opportunity for local residents and businesses to get involved, and we think the store will be a fun place to do blockchain.
The DC Tech Alliance was quoted in their press release:
This is an exciting opportunity for our city. Blockchain is a cutting edge technology and it makes sense for the city to get involved, as well as a popular nightlife street like 11th Street NW. It's another great reason why D.C. is a popular destination for technologies, as well as showing that we're a forward thinking place taking part in the latest and most written technologies of the last few years.
I reached out to the Tech Alliance to get more info on what blockchain technology is used for. "It can be used for a lot of things. You know, like buying things or making sure a person exists. The cloud is involved too. Let me get back to you.”

Block.Co also said they will start a podcast about blockchain from the store. They also passed along some infographics about blockchain.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Sonny's Pizza and No Kisses Bar now open on Georgia Ave; see pictures, review and menu

Sweet! Sonny's Pizza and the adjoining No Kisses cocktail bar open today. The spots, from the crew behind Colony Club, announced on Instagram that today's the day.

 I stopped by last week for their soft opening and enjoyed it. The menu consists of square pizza by the slice or a whole pie, Italian sandwiches on big focaccia bread like meatball, chicken parmesan and eggplant parm, and Italian salads and sides (garlic knots, meatballs, etc.) They also had beer, wine and cocktails. You order at the counter and sit down, and they bring it to you. There's also a small bar you can sit at.

No Kisses, which is next door down a little hallway, is also a really cool, cozy cocktail spot with interesting lighting. It kind of reminds me of the room at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The ceiling lights change colors too, it was blue one day and red another. I can see it as a great date spot or quiet place for hanging with your friends.There's also a big patio with a truck that also serves as a bar.

The prices are decent - it's about $4 a slice, which are pretty thick and about $12 for a sandwich. The whole pies are about $30, which seems a little high, but they're also a good amount of food. For example, my dining companion and I got four slices, meatballs, Caesar salad and garlic knots, and we  had two or three meals worth of food each. Another day we got sandwiches for take out, and two sandwiches plus the garlic knots were enough for three of us. The sandwiches were good, and the focaccia is awesome.

Check out below for the photos and menu.