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.