Where to Watch the Presidential Debates in DC – 2016

Credit: TheHill.com

Because it’s DC, plenty of bars will be hosting Presidential (and VP) debate watch parties in the lead up to the 2016 general election. Whether this is terrible or “This Is Why I Love DC” is debatable (as someone who cares more about my local ANC and ABRA decisions than Congress, it’s clear where I stand). That being said, these parties are usually fun times and it’s nice to have the shared bar experiences that sports towns have. So whether you’re a Hillary Clinton fan (reluctant or not) or a rare DC breed (a closeted Trump voter), here’s a list spots that are hosting parties for at least the first debate on Monday, September 26th and will likely host parties for the others (Oct 4th-VP, Oct 9th-perfect for many gov’t workers since it’s Columbus Day eve-and Oct 19th). Expect most bars in DC that have TVs to show the debate

Best bets (for both fun and crowds) are highlighted.

  • Capitol Hill/Eastern Market/Barracks Row
    • The Ugly Mug 
      • hosted by comedian
      • bingo
      • prizes
    • Capitol Lounge
      • Clinton/Trump impersonators
      • drink specials
    • The 201 Bar
      • Cloture Club debate drinking game
    • Union Pub
      • Cloture Club debate drinking game
  • Adams Morgan
  • 14th Street/U Street
    • Bar Pilar
      • 4 Election cocktails
      • bingo
    • Sudhouse
      • $3 PBR, $5 Drafts, and $5 Rail drinks
      • $4 Corn Dogs with fries or pork sliders for $6
    • Busboys and Poets
      • Post-Debate Community Discussion with Panelists:  Bill Ayers, Jared Ball, Medea Benjamin, and Fatemeh Keshavarz.
      • Also at Brookland & Mt Vernon Square
    • Local 16
      • DC Young Democrats
  • Dupont Circle
    • Teddy and Bully Bar
      • $5 Clinton BBQ Sliders and Trump Steak Bites
      • $11 Hillary/Trump-themed cocktails
  • Downtown
    • Lincoln Restaurant
      • $5 Clinton BBQ Sliders and Trump Steak Bites
      • $11 Hillary/Trump-themed cocktails

Joselito Set to Bring Andalusia to Eastern Market in November

Joselito, a Spanish restaurant focusing on dishes from the southern area of Spain, Andalusia, is set to open in November in Capitol Hill, just steps away from Eastern Market. The eatery, located in the shuttered Sona Creamery space at 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, comes from the folks behind the acclaimed SER Restaurant in Ballston. News of SER’s involvement with the space was first reported by the Washington Business Journal and the Capitol Hill Corner blog in early August. Javier Condon, co-owner of Joselito (as well as SER) provided details about the restaurant at Thursday night’s ANC 6B Alcohol Beverage Control Committee meeting.

The menu is still being finalized, but due to the size of the small kitchen, expect a fairly small menu- about 10 hot and 10 cold dishes (meat, seafood, veggie). Each dish will be offered in 3 sizes-tapas (small), media racion (main course size), and racion (family style). For drinks, the owners plan to offer about 6 of each of the following: cocktails, sherries, sangrias/vermouths, Spanish draft beer, and white & red wines (along with 3 sparkling wines). All wine (and perhaps other drinks) will be offered in 3 sizes (by glass, half portion, or bottle). The restaurant will have the same menu for lunch and dinner (perhaps with some sandwich options for lunch), and brunch may be on tap at a later day. Pricing for happy hour will be rather unique for DC-everything on the menu will be discounted by a certain percentage (perhaps 10-30%).

Josalito is taking over Sona’s liquor license, so it will initially have about 60-70 seats, with some outdoor seating, and be open till around 11p on weekdays and midnight on weekends. The old cheesemaking area for Sona will be transformed into additional seating (the glass partition will remain for most part). Construction on the space begins soon.

Bardo Plans to Shutter Trinidad Location and Sell Cans if Nats Park Location Approved

At a contentious ABRA fact-finding hearing on August 10th, Bill Stewart, the owner of Bardo, told the board that he would close the Trinidad/Bladensburg Rd. location if the ABRA approves his manufacturer’s license application for Bardo River Brewery just south of Nationals Park on the Anacostia in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. The owner also expects to brew 5000 barrels of beer in the first year of operation, with 7000 barrels to follow (note Bardo in Arlington never brewed more than 2500). He also plans to set up shop like the famous Mcmenamins in Oregon, establishing satellite bars in Virginia and Maryland that Bardo would sell its cans through, as well as selling cans in retailers throughout the DC Metro area. The 150-page transcript is worth a read, including

  • Bardo’s lawyer strongly objecting to ABRA inviting the ANC representative to sort of testify, calling it “illegal”
  • an ABRA Commissioner telling Bardo’s lawyer to basically “Come at me bro” and inviting him to sue him
  • Bardawg officially becoming part of the security plan
  • a discussion about how open air tanks can be targets of shootings and terrorist attacks

Barred in DC will have more on the transcript later. A week earlier, Stewart stormed out of the originally-scheduled fact finding meeting because ABRA had invited folks from the Nationals and the ANC to participate, saying that he’ll lawyer up.

Despite all this, Barred in DC predicts that ABRA will grant the manufacturer’s license to Bardo, and if it doesn’t, its denial will be overturned on appeal.

[9/1 PM Update: Transcript excerpts from DCBeerBill and Aaron Morrissey saved below]

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Attention DC Local Journalists: Include Cross Streets With Addresses

As a reader of every legitimate news source about DC local news (real estate development, crime, and of course, bars/restaurants), Barred in DC has observed great reporting by legitimate journalists and full-time(ish) bloggers alike. Folks have found their own voices as well as collectively comprehensively covering the scene. That being said, /rant begins/ could y’all include cross streets once in a while? It’s not needed when the cross street is obvious (for example, an address on a letter street like 2100 P St. NW), but not many people know off the top of their heads where, say 2204 14th St. NW is (more on this later).

In fact, a whopping 77% of those polled on Twitter said they wouldn’t know the address without Googling. More information might be necessary for addresses avenues named after states (See Lucky Bar at 1221 Connecticut Ave. NW, which is near 18th and M/N Streets) or those outside the numbered/lettered streets. The writer would have to add a few more words, but doing so provides a wealth of information that allows the reader to know exactly where the author is talking about.

A recent example shows how widespread this shortcoming is. There was wall-to-wall  coverage (kudos to their PR rep) for the new Sakerum Latin-Asian fusion bar featuring the sushi cocktail. Among others, The Washington Post, the Washingtonian, Washington City Paper, and Zagat all covered the opening with gusto. At best, the outlets mentioned the old Mova, the “hill” on 14th, or being near 14th and U. Not even the press release (yes PR should do that too) mentioned that Sakerum is at 14th and W, which one could only figure out if they’re one out of four people in DC who can ID non-obvious addresses. Of course, Google or Apple Maps isn’t far away for most, but why make the reader add the extra step? Barred in DC has tried to include cross streets from the very beginning, but then again, I’m a fake journalist.

From the corner of 1st and 1st /rant over/

Barred in Asheville

Asheville

Asheville

Asheville, the western North Carolina city nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, lives up to the hype, Barred in DC can safely say after recently visiting it for the first time. The artsy, off-beat community of 80,000 is known for its incredible beer scene, excellent food, and surrounding beauty. Get your own cheap flight (or go on a road trip)  and find lodging in its walkable and charming downtown, and go. I’ve already booked another trip in November. Below are suggested activities to do and places to eat/drink that we were able to fit in the 36 hours we were there. If you’re at a loss for your next step, just chat with any of the friendly locals.

Amazing Pubcycle

Pubcycle

Pubcycle

Sure it’s cheesy, but the 90 minute Amazing Pubcycle tour was worth the $24 to get bearings downtown. Here’s how it works-about 10 people sit and cycle on bike seats around a U shaped contraption while the tour guide/DJ (get on Tyler’s tour) drives the pubcycle (which has a motor to assist) and generally hypes up the pubcyclers as well as passing pedestrians. Drinking BYOB cans of beer or Solo cups of wine is encouraged, and stops at a brewery and a brewpub are good places to fill up. A shorter, cheaper 40 minute ride (no stops) is available, and tours happen all afternoon and evening long.

Breweries

Lot of this being drank in Asheville

Lot of this being drank in Asheville

If you love beer, Asheville is awesome. 40+ breweries are in the area, including a ridiculous amount downtown. You may be tempted to stop by the New Belgium or Sierra Nevada breweries which both set up their east coast shops here, but I would suggest keeping it simple and just brewery hop on the South Slope a few blocks south of downtown. Every restaurant or bar will also have multiple local breweries on tap, often for less than $5/beer.

Catawba Brewing

Catawba Brewing

Visited:

  • Green Man – original brewery side-by-side to much larger space. Small bar downstairs in newer space and go upstairs to bar and great patio. Loved the Holly King, an American Strong Ale style.
  • Catawba – Pair with amazing Vortex Donuts next door.
  • Wicked Weed – Slickest, biggest place downtown.
  • Twin Leaf – Little more rustic, darker. Flagship beer is an IPA called Juicy Fruit
  • Wicked Weed Funkatorium – Sour beer mecca.
  • Asheville Brewing– closer to downtown, good pizza
  • Other Suggestions: Hi-Life, Lexington Avenue Brewery, Burial, One World, Highland, Pisgah

Restaurants

Curate

Curate

Asheville has a tremendous food scene-great values to be had downtown as well as in West Asheville (Haywood Road area) and in the River Arts District.

Tremendous food at Chani Pani

Tremendous food at Chani Pani

Visited:

  • Chai Pani – amazing Indian street food. Rotis are on point.
  • Curate – renowned Spanish tapas spot from former Jose Andres protégé and El Bulli alum. Get reservations or better yet sidle up to bar at 6-6:30 and grab an early dinner.
  • Bomba – cozy café right in epicenter of downtown. Huge, delicious arepas for lunch.
  • French Broad Chocolate Lounge – fantastic dessert, though with lines all day

Other Suggestions:

  • Downtown: Rhubarb, Table, Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge (burgers only), White Duck Taco, Buxton Hall, Salsas, Limones, Tupelo Honey Cafe
  • River Arts District: 12 Bones
  • West Asheville: The Admiral, Sunny Point Cafe

Bars

Asheville Yacht Club

Asheville Yacht Club

Asheville bars don’t generally get rowdy and are on the whole chill, even late. Folks day-drinking at breweries might have something to do with it. Still, there are a number of worthwhile spots.

Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar

Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar

Visited:

Other Stuff to Do

Business has reportedly suffered drop off due to new NC law

Business has reportedly suffered drop off due to new NC law

Aside from eating and drinking, Asheville is known for the beautiful surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. There are plenty of outdoor activities to do, and there’s some charming places to purchase art, clothing, and other cool stuff. The sprawling Biltmore mansion and grounds are a few miles away, though the price is steep ($60).

Shop – Just wander from artisan to clothing shop to boutique, but some suggestions we visited are below:

How to Get there from DC

Driving takes about 7.5 hours from DC. We flew direct on something called Allegiant; the $75 we paid for a roundtrip flight from BWI was about right considering carry-on bags were extra, we were delayed about 22 hours for mechanical issues, had to stay at a luxurious La Quinta overnight at BWI, and encountered a near riot. Otherwise, a connecting flight through Charlotte or Atlanta on an airline you have heard of can run $250-400.

Where to Stay

The new (opened in March 2016) comfortable Hyatt Place Asheville/Downtown is only a 10 minute walk to the very center of downtown and features free parking. Look for periodic deals or use 12,000 Hyatt points a night (easy to transfer if you have a Chase Sapphire card, which you should).

ABRA Tweaks New Bar Crawl Regulations – “Vomit” Cleanup Included

ABRA has announced revisions to the bar crawl regulations it issued on an emergency basis in January. The regulations,which many predicted would lead to the end of the bar crawl as we know it, were open for public comment this spring. After many hiccups and rejected bar crawls, organizers have figured out the system and bar crawls have not been completely eliminated, but there are certainly fewer than in years past.

ABRA issued revised regulations in response to comments from:

  • the bar Madhatter (a frequent bar crawl stop)
  • Lindy’s Promotions (longtime biggest player on the bar crawl scene)
  • ANCs representing U Street and Dupont
  • the Dupont Circle Citizens Association
  • the DC police, fire, and trash departments
  • the Golden Triangle BID
  • the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW),

Interestingly, although the ANCs, the Golden Triangle BID, and even Madhatter urged ABRA to create a rule prohibiting more than one bar crawl at a time in the same neighborhood, ABRA declined to include this in the revised regulations (although so far ABRA has generally only approved on bar crawl in each hood in practice). The revisions to the regulations include:

  • Detailing what must be included in the  litter management plan, including
    • “the cleaning of human waste (e.g. vomit);”
    • litter removal by 10a the next day;
    • removal of litter on both sides of street (including tree boxes/planters) on the route between bars on crawl;
    • Extend the deadline for pub crawl applications to 60 days (up from 45) before event);
  • Allowing crawls on St. Paddy’s Day and Cinco de Mayo (pub crawls on July 4th, Halloween, and NYE are still prohibited); and
  • Explicitly making it a secondary liquor license violation to participate in an unlicensed pub crawl.

These emergency regulations are still not permanent until approved by the DC Council.

Bardo Tries Again on the Anacostia Riverfront

Bardo’s planned spot on Anacostia (Credit: Bardo Brewpub Facebook page)

After losing its bid for a liquor license for Bardo Big River just south of Nationals Park (as first reported by Barred in DC), the folks behind Bardo are trying a different tack with ABRA. This time, instead of seeking for a bar (tavern) liquor license, the renamed Bardo River Brewery has applied for a Class B manufacturer’s license-a brewery license in other words.

Bardo will likely seek permission to sell and serve beer for on-premises consumption similar to most other breweries in DC. Manufacturer licenses, after a recent expansion in the law, allow beer to be served from 8a-midnight. It remains to be seen if Bardo will ask for the full hours as its closing time was a sticking point with the local ANC in its previous application. ABRA has requested a fact-finding hearing; undoubtedly the ANC will protest once again. Stay tuned whether Bill Stewart, Bardo’s charmingly don’t-give-a-damn owner, has figured out from the previous ABRA hearing and decision and is finally successful in bringing another cool drinking option to the Navy Yard/Capital Riverfront neighborhood.