Author Archives: Barred in DC

Best Pizza in DC

Timber Pizza (photo by Barred in DC)

[See other Barred in DC Food lists here]

Nearly everyone loves pizza, though people are skeptical often about pizza in DC. I think the average slice is just average or worse, but there are some great ones. A Twitter follower posed this question: “Any ideas for pizza delivery in DC that isn’t personal sized or deep dish or Detroit? I swear I’m not picky – just want a plain ole pie” and roughly 120 replies later, here we are. I’ve expanded list to include spots that were mentioned that didn’t answer the question (in typical Twitter fashion) but were good pizzas. (Note: I’ve only eaten from half of these spots, so this list is a combination of crowd-sourced popular acclamation and personal experience).

Those in red are particular ones mentioned by many and/or Barred in DC pick.

Traditional NY Style Pizza

Prices for 1 topping pizza (size indicated). Not including tip + tax.

Cheap For DC 

These are not necessarily better than all the ones listed below, but have the best value proposition.

  • Duccini’s Pizza (Adams Morgan)
    • Order online (in-house) or call. Available via Grubhub (no fee?)
    • Delivery w/in 2-3 miles (appears to deliver as far east as 6th St NW and far west as 26th St NW. As far north as Monroe St NW)
    • $13.99 (12″), $15.29 (14″), $16.59 (16″)
    • Slices available in person. Since 1988. Top choice by many.
  • Pizza D’Oro (Shaw, Columbia Heights)
    • Order online or via DC To GoGo App
    • Delivery zones- Shaw (20004, 20005, 20036(?) 20009, 20008, 20001, 20002 (not past 4th st NE), Col. Heights (20010, 20012, 20011, 20008, 20017)
    • $10.34 (10″), $12.54 (12″), $14.74 (14″), $15.94 (16″)
    • Slices available in-person
  • Angelico La Pizzeria (Tenleytown, Shepherd Park., Glover Park, MtP)
    • Order Online
    • $10.49 (10″), $15.49 (14″), $18 (16″) $2 delivery fee
    • Slices available in person
  • Sicilian Pizza (Trinidad/off H St)
    • Order online or via BeyondMenu app
    • Delivery w/in 2.5 miles; $3 delivery fee. Serves most of Capitol Hill.
    • $12.49 (12″), $14.74 (14″), $16.99 (16″)
    • slices may be available in-person
  • Mama’s Kitchen and Pizza (Anacostia)
    • Order online, via Slice App, UberEats, Grubhub
    • Delivery $2-3 fee (much of east of the river, Navy Yard, The Wharf)
    • $11.74 (12″), $15.24 (14″), $17.49 (16″)
    • Slices available in-person

More Typical Price for DC

  • Wiseguy Pizza (PQ/Chinatown, Navy Yard, Foggy Bottom-currently closed)
    • Order online or via app for Pickup (Curbside Carryout)
    • Delivery via Grubhub (Navy Yard only). $2 fe
    • $23 pickup / $30 delivery (18″)
    • Slices (possibly not now or only in-person)
    • Most mentioned
  • We The Pizza (Capitol Hill)
    • Order online (Curbside pickup or delivery)
    • $20 (14″), $22 (16″) (including most specialty) / $2 delivery fee
    • Siices available via pickup/delivery
    • One of most mentioned
  • Andy’s Pizza (Shaw/U St, Navy Yard from Atlas Brew Works)
    • Order online (Chownow-Shaw, Toast-Navy Yard) or in person at Atlas). Shaw is closed M-Tue.
    • Delivery available from Shaw Chownow-$25 min, around 15% delivery fee
    • $22-24 (18″)
  • Della Barba Pizza (Ivy City)
    • Order Online (closed Sun-Mon) or ToastTab
    • $19 (Smaller), $22 (large)
    • Brooklyn, Napoli, Sicilian, Detroit, Chicago Styles available (see below)

Pickup Only (Apparently not NY-Style, but super cheap)

  • Vace Italian Deli (Cleveland Park) 
    • Order in-person or call 202-363-1999
    • $12.25 (14″), $14.50 (16″)
    • $2.50 slices.
    • Since 1976. Not open for Sun dinner

Others Mentioned More Than Once: Ledo, Pizza Walay

Non-NY Style or Sit-Down Spots

Neopolitan(ish)

  • Timber Pizza (Petworth)
    • Order online for pickup (not currently available for dine-in, though normally). Hellbender weekly for mobile takeout. Mobile ovens at farmers markets
    • Delivery via Caviar (15% service fee, free delivery usually)
    • $12-$14 (10″)
    • Neopolitan-ish style
  • 2 Amy’s (Cathedral Heights)
    • Order online for pickup (not currently available for dine-in)
    • No Delivery
    • $16.50 (12″(?)) (Margherita)
    • Neopolitan
  • Pizzeria Paradiso (Dupont, Georgetown, Spring Valley)
    • Order online for pickup (no dine-in available now)
    • Delivery (UberEats-Dupont, Spring Valley Caviar-Georgetown). 15% service charge, $2-3 fee
    • $14 (9″), $20 (12″) (Margherita)
    • Neopolitan style
  • Stellina Pizzeria (Union Market Area/NoMa)
    •  Order online (Toast)/in-person for pickup (outdoor seating now available, indoor normally; counter ordering)
    • Delivery (DoorDash/Caviar). 12% service charge
    • $14 (10″), $1 more or so via delivery
    • “Neo-Neopolitan”
  • Menomale (Brookland)
    • Order online for pickup. Dine-in available now.
    • Delivery does not appear to be available even by 3rd party app
    • $14 (12″(?)) (Margherita)
    • Neopolitan  (DOP certified)
  • Etto (14th St/Logan)
    • Order online for pickup (no dine-in right now)
    • Delivery (Chownnow)
    • $17 (12″(?)) (Margherita
    • Neopolitan-style
    • Closed Mondays/Tuesdays

Detroit Style

  • Della Barba Pizza (Ivy City)
    • Order Online (closed Sun-Mon) or ToastTab
    • Pickup and Delivery
    • $25 Detroit
    • Also $28 Brooklyn, $28 Napoli-Nonna, $24 Sicilian, $34 Chicago Deep Dish
  • Ivy & Coney (Shaw)
    • Order Online and DC To Go-Go app for pickup and delivery (dine-in not available now)
    • $5 delivery fee
    • $16 Detroit pizza (+$2 for pepperoni)
  • Red Light (14th Street)
    • Order via Caviar, DoorDash Grubhub for pickup or delivery (dine-in may be available for now)
    • $13 Detroit Pizza (+$2 for pepperoni)
  • Emmy Squared (Shaw)
    • Order Online for pickup (normally dine-in, but not now)
    • Delivery (UberEats-$2 delivery, 15% service fee, Caviar-free delivery, 12% service fee)
    • Mostly around $16-18 for Detroit-style

Other Style

  • All Purpose (Shaw, Navy Yard)
    •  Order online (ToastTab) for pickup (or outdoor dining at Navy Yard)
    • Delivery (DoorDash / Caviar). $3-4 delivery fee, 12% service charge.
    • $18-20 (12″)
    • Jersey-Style, deck-oven
  • Comet Ping Pong (Upper NW)
    • Order online (Chownow)for pickup. Dine-in available now.
    • Delivery (Chownow, or Caviar). Chownow-$6.75 flat fee. Caviar-12% service charge + free delivery.
    • $11.45 for 1 topping (10″), $15 for most speciality
    • New Haven-style
  • Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza (Friendship Heights)
    • Order online (Toast). Normally in-person casual, sit only)
    • Delivery via Toast. Roughly 5% service chrge
    • $8.75 (10″), $12.50 (12″), $17.50 (14″), $22.50 (18″). Specialty pizzas 33%ish more
    • Slices available
    • New Haven-style
  • Bacio (Bloomingdale)
    • Order in-person or call 202-232-2246. Can eat-in or patio (unclear now)
    • $10.95 (10″), $14.95 (14″) – takeaway only ($2 more for dine-in)
    • patio
    • Unclear style
  • Sonny’s (Park VIew)
    • Order online for pickup (can eat-in normally, but not now)
    • Delivery (Caviar)
    • $22-26 for whole pie
    • $4 slices available (perhaps for online ordering)
    • Sicilian-style

Other Notable Ones:  RedRocks, Nicoletta, Pi Pizzeria, Tino’s, Mellow Mushroom,  Union Pie/Union Stage, Homeslyce, Oath Pizza (best fast casual), Piccolina’s, A Baked Joint, Little Beast, Old City Market

Best Bloody Marys in DC

Bloody Mary (not from place listed). Photo by BiDC

I crowd-sourced the best Bloody Marys in DC on Twitter. Below are the ones mentioned the most.

Most Mentioned By Far:

  • Buffalo & Bergen
    • Capitol Hill (8a-3p Wed-Sun)
    • Union Market (temporarily closed)
    • $9 for normal bloody (currently available online for pickup/outdoor dining)
    • $19.50 Lox’d & Loaded
      • Skyy Vodka  Bloody garnished with lox, cream cheese, capers, red onion on an everything bagel

Mentioned Multiple Times:

  • Boundary Stone (Bloomingdale)
    • 11a-9p daily (takeout, outdoor dining)
    • Bloodys likely available at all times, but geared for weekend brunch
    • Normally $17 bottomless during weekend brunch
    • $9 singles.
    • $25 kit (1 qt of bloody mary  mix and 7.5 oz Tito’s vodka)
  • Old Ebbitt Grill (Downtown)
    • Open early to late (takeout, outdoor/indoor dining)
    • $14(?) Bloody Maryland cocktail
      • Old Bay on rim, large shrimp on rim
      • might not be available right now

Others Mentioned Once:

Columbia Heights/Brightwood Park/Park View/Petworth: RedRocks, Jackie Lee’s, Red Derby, Reliable Tavern, El Chucho, Wonderland Ballroom
Shaw/Logan Circle/Dupont: Roy Boys, Birch and Barley, Espita (tequila, mezcal), Logan Tavern, Pearl Dive
Capitol Hill/Navy Yard/The Wharf/NoMA:
Carving Room, The Salt Line.  Barrel, Beuchert’s Saloon, Hanks Oyster Bar, Station 4, Lavagna, Duffy’s, Roy Boys

 

List of DC Spots That Have Closed During Pandemic

 

As predicted by many in the industry, the pandemic as well as the associated restrictions have led restaurants/bars to announce (or otherwise indicate) that they are closely permanently (at least in their current form and location). Although some of these spots have explicitly said they’re not closing due to the pandemic (see *), including anyways as you never really know (bars that announcing closing in advance before pandemic was an issue are not included). Note that this Eater DC list was consulted, though I supplemented (dates it opened in parentheses). Booze-serving spots in the District only (so don’t @ me with Peregrine or a random Subway)

  1. Post Pub (1974/1976)
  2. Eighteenth Street Lounge (1995)
  3. Fado (1998)*
  4. Montmartre (2001)
  5. Lucky Strike (2005)
  6. The Source (2007)
  7. Cafe Soleil (2008)
  8. Seventh Hill Pizza (2009)
  9. Ziegfield’s/Secrets (1980; last location 2009)
  10. Ghibellina (2013)
  11. Red Rocks H Street (2013)
  12. B Too (2013)
  13. Momofuku/Milk Bar (2015)
  14. Sotto (2015)
  15. Campono (2015)
  16. DC Eagle (1971; last location 2015)*
  17. Big Chief (2016)
  18. Bareburger Dupont (2016)
  19. Nocturne (2017)
  20. Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. (1st storefront 2017; last location 2018)
  21. America Eats Tavern (2018)
  22. A Rake’s Progress (2018)
  23. Pom Pom (2019)
  24. Megarolls H Street (2019)

 

Phase 2 in DC Starting Monday June 22nd – But What Does That Mean?

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

[EDITED}
Mayor Bowser announced today that DC is moving into phase 2 of the reopening starting effective Monday, June 21th (joining Montgomery County the previous Friday, 10 days after NoVa, and a week after PG County).

The Mayor issued a Phase 2 order (which followed this presentation, as well as guidelines, plus ABRA rules, and FAQ. Phase 2 will allow the following

Gatherings of 50 people or less Allowed (unless otherwise allowed. Does not apply to federal property)

Mask rules unchanged

Restaurants, Breweries, Bars, Distilleries

  • Indoor seating allowed (no standing) at 50% capacity with 6 foot buffer between parties (not just tables, but between patrons)
    • Restaurant staff and people sitting outside don’t count
  • Outdoor seating continues (with same 6 foot safeguards)
  • Seating at bar itself permitted but with 6 feet between parties AND when there’s no bartender working at that bar
    • So basically only for places that have multiple bars, and you have to mark if open for service or not
  • Limit of 6 people seated at a table or joined table
    • Communal tables can be used but need to demarcate 6 feet between groups
  • No indoor queuing 
  • Food must continue to be purchased by each table
  • Each spot will continue to have to offer at least 3 food items
  • No self-serve buffet
  • Dancing, darts, pool, other games will remain prohibited
  • Live music not allowed
  • Must close at midnight (if sell alcohol), both indoors and outdoors

Other Rules:

  • Gyms/workout studios (including in apartments/condo buildings) can open at very limited capacity (5 people/1000 SF).
    • Classes must keep 10 foot buffer.
    • No locker rooms, showering
    • 10 feet between equipment
  • Apartment/condo/gym pools may open (but not hotel pools)
    • Management must establish and enforce written infection plan
    • Mandatory sign-in (date, time, apt number, cell phone bumber)
    • Residents only
    • Unannounced inspections by DCRA and DOH
  • DPR pools open for lessons and lap swimming and other structured activities sometime after July 15th.
    • No deck lingering except during mandatory rest period
    • 6 feet buffer
  • All retailers can open for indoor shopping,
    • though ones that were closed during stay-at-home order can only open at 50% capacity
  • Nail/wax salon/spas/tattoos/threading open by appointment only at 6 feet apart (no waiting)
    • previously only barbershops and hair salons
  • Playgrounds open
  • Libraries will reopen in certain areas at 50% capacity. Time limits likely.
  • Museums/art galleries/National Zoo can reopen with capacity limits and physical distancing measures
    • guided tours not allowed in most situations
    • sneeze guards/protective barriers at ticket booths
    • tape/signage
    • Cannot allow more than 50 people in any self-contained exhibit hall/room
    • No standing receptions
  • Childcare can reopen to same staff/child capacity as prior to pandemic
  • Camps can open to max 10 people in single indoor space at a time.
  • Churches/places of worship go up to 100 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less. 10 person max groups 6 feet from other groups.
    • must clean between services
    • Encouraged take reservations and assign seats
  • Real estate open houses allowed
    • no more than 50 people
    • agents/hosts should take names
  • Theaters, cinemas, entertainment venues can apply for waiver to hold an event

Must Stay Closed:

  • Hookah/cigar bars must be closed
  • Hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms at gyms or residential buildings
  • No guided tours or large tour groups
  • Spray parks

DC’s New Requirements for Sidewalk Cafes and Street Dining – A Summary

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

On Friday, DC’s government released a joint publication of the Mayor’s office as well as DC’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Department of Health (DC Health), entitled Reimagining Outdoor Space: Restaurants and Retail, Guidelines for Expanded and New Outdoor Seating. A summary fact sheet was also released. If you are a DC restaurant/bar, member of an ANC, or head up a BID/Main Street, I strongly encourage you to review the entire 18 page document closely. Although the materials suggest that they are for Phase One reopening, expect that the requirements and flexibilities to be in effect for Phases Two and Three (i.e., until the public health emergency ends).

The biggest things that restaurants should know is that 1) sidewalk cafes are required to have 6 feet between backs of chairs of different tables (Not just tables) 2) 4 feet buffer between tables/chairs and the pedestrian path on the sidewalk 3) 4 feet buffer between adjacent business frontage 4) Parking space outdoor dining will require ADA ramps 5) ANCs/Main Streets/BIDs can apply to close whole parking on one or two sides of street block, traffic lanes, whole street, or alley.

Here’s a summary of the provisions:

Restaurants Can Register/Apply On their Own to Use:

  • Expanded or new Sidewalk space in front of restaurant (or adjacent property w/ written consent of owner or ground floor business)
    • Can start operating  immediately following registration but still have to apply for TOPS public space permit within 5 days
  • Parking Space(s) in front of restaurant (or same adjacent property)
    • Can’t operate until DDOT approves application via TOPS

ANC/Main Street/BID Can Register/Apply to Close For Outdoor Dining:

  • Full side of block of parking
  • Closure of lane(s) of traffic
  • Full Street closure (full or part time)
  • “Plaza” (basically large sidewalk areas or connected sidewalk areas)
  • Alleys behind/next to restaurant

Unclear what happens if one of these groups support closure but another don’t. But based on my reporting, it appears that all of the groups applicable to a certain space have to at least not object.

All new outdoor spaces will require the businesses using it to provide proof of insurance that names DC as certificate holder/additional insured with certain limits. This requirement makes sense and is consistent with existing rules for existing sidewalk cafes.

“Buffer” Requirements (NEW)

The following “buffers” are required for all new/existing outdoor seating in public space:

  • 6 Feet Between Tables AND the backs of chairs (except between chairs at same table)
    • This requirement was not in original rules so unclear whether this is legally required right now in private outdoor space/roofdecks, though the intent is clear
  • At least 6 feet (10 feet in some areas) of sidewalk clearance for pedestrians
    • Already existing rule.
    • Must use tape or some other way (e.g. planters) to denote the pedestrian path
  • 4 Feet buffer between tables/chairs and sidewalk pedestrian path; same buffer with adjacent business frontage (unless seats allowed in front of theirs)
    • This requirement was not part of original rules,
    • The buffer can include “lightweight easily movable furnishings”
  • 3 foot clearance from fire hydrants

The 6 feet chair rule and the 4 feet buffer rule will reduce the seating capacity of many spots that have already opened. 

Parklets

Parklets in this context are the use of on-street parking spaces/curb lanes for outdoor dining.

In normal times they are present in some places in DC (but not for dining); restrictions in normal times include not permitted in the first and last spaces of a block (unless there’s a curb bump-out) and are not allowed on any road that has a speed limit higher than 25 MPH (e.g major roads like Pennsylvania Ave), but it’s not clear whether those restrictions apply now.

A four foot buffer (comprising of 2 feet of open space and a 2 feet wide physical barrier) separates the parklet from traffic lanes. If one space is used, the area available for tables would be roughly 6 feet wide by 12 or 16 feet long (it’s unclear the buffer size between next parking space). Two parking spaces would increase the area more than double since no buffer needed between the spaces.

The 2 feet wide physical barrier normally is something more substantial than planters and are between 36-42 inches high. Restaurants will be permitted to add umbrellas and other canopies (so long as not above 7 feet high). A platform will not be required to be built to put the outdoor space level with a sidewalk but a movable ADA-accessible ramp will be required to connect to the sidewalk.

It’s unclear precisely what, but it appears that restaurants using parklets will have to install some sort of angled-barrier between it and the next parking spot to protect the users of the dining space from lousy drivers. The diagram listed above shows a water-filled barrier (i.e. barrels), but DDOT may allow other types of barriers or even just require the restaurant to park a car in adjacent space

Streateries

Although streateries should really count individual parklets, DC seems to use the term to encompass more extensive outdoor dining on the street. These are the types of streateries that can be requested by an ANC, Main Street, or BID: 1) block-long parking spaces (full-time) 2) 1-2 traffic lane closures (full-time) 3) whole street closures. These will only be allowed as follows:

  • Only where street blocks where roughly 75% of ground floor street frontage consists of commercial uses.
  • One movable ADA ramp per side of the street block
  • These closures shouldn’t interfere with driveways, delivery/unloading zones, or access to parking garages.

Contrary to some of the reactions to my reporting previously, these are not intended to be “festival” one-off but implemented either full time or on a regular weekly basis.

Parking Space/Traffic Lane Closures

If DDOT approves the closure of  curb lane or 1-2 (but not all) traffic lanes on a particular block, this closure is full time 24/7, not just at night and weekends. These partial closures are not allowed in blocks that have a fire or police station or roads that have 30 MPH speed limit or higher (Pennsylvania Ave. SE for instance).

 

Full Street Closures

Full closures of street blocks (already contemplated in Adams Morgan, Eastern Market, Barracks Row, and Upshur Street in Petworth) will allow seating in the street (both parking and traffic lanes) with no vehicle traffic at all.

Just like current street closure rules for festivals and block parties, however, there must be a 20 foot wide zone (about 2 lanes wide) in the middle of the street where no tables, chairs, or other structures can be placed to allow for fire trucks and other emergency vehicles to pass through or enter. When there’s not an emergency, however, people will generally be allowed to walk (and scoot or bike, if not crowded) around that empty space, providing ideally some area for social distancing. Significantly, at the end of each side of this 20 foot wide fire zone must be a big truck (often DPW snowplow trucks) with a driver inside to  protect the zone from regular traffic as well as allow emergency vehicles inside. 

These full street closures will be either full-time (24/7) or part-time: Thu/Fri 4-11p and basically all day Saturday and Sunday (10a Sat-10p Sun). However, because restaurants may be required to bring in furniture one hour before end of block closure, if implemented as written it would means the restaurants’ outdoor street seating would actually close at 10p Th-Fri, possibly midnight Sat, and 9p Sun. This may have a conflict with the current Adams Morgan plans for closing a block of 18th St every day except midnight-11a.

There is contradictory language in the guide whether full street closures are allowed on streets that have buses. Some language says explicitly they are not permitted on such streets but another bullet point implies that organizers can consider rerouting buses (Since Streetcar can’t be rerouted, there is almost no chance that this will be implemented on H Street).

ANC’s will have a chance to weigh in on any full block closures.

Dining Plazas/Alleys

These dining plazas can be requested in either “wide public spaces areas” or alleys behind restaurants. These areas can be for one specific eatery, or several of them including food trucks and sidewalk vendors.

The wide public spaces areas would be set up like large sidewalk cafes.

Roughly 30 foot wide alleys not needed for circulation (i.e., if there’s another exit available) could be closed, but they would be set up like full street closures, with a 20 foot wide fire lane as well as big trucks protecting such area. There would be a long loading/pick-up/drop-off zone on the street adjacent to the alley.

Public Drinking / Open Containers in DC – A Possible Option to Help Bars and Restaurants?

Public Drinking image puroticorico / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

I’ve lost track how many people have suggested that loosening the DC ban on public drinking/open containers would help restaurants/bars make additional revenue and provide another fun option as well as promote social distancing during this pandemic. Even the libertarian magazine Reason posted a story “Let People Drink Outside” last month that got some buzz.  Of course, this hope is nothing new, even before the pandemic, when people wished that DC could adopt some of the things they observed on trips to much of western Europe where this no big deal or to the relatively few cities elsewhere in the U.S. this is legal.

I think it’s important to see different ways open container/public drinking has been implemented in North America, and consider whether this could be implemented here in DC.  Although in most of U.S., people actually think of open container in terms of while driving, this is focused on drinking in public (while walking on sidewalks, parks, etc.).

Full-On Open Container Allowed in Public

In most of the U.S. you are not allowed to drink in public except in a bar/restaurant. However, there are some states where open containers are legal almost everywhere except perhaps some downtowns in some bigger cities (Texas, Indiana being noteworthy), whether you bought it from a liquor store (BYOB) or from a bar/restaurant. Here is a sampling of places where a full-on open container policy is totally legal:

  • New Orleans
    • French Quarter: plastic cups or bottles only
    • anything goes in rest of city
  • Las Vegas
    • No glass containers on Strip
    • No drinking within 1000 feet of church/synagogue/school/hospital/homeless center/liquor store
  •  Indiana
    • Indianapolis allows bars/restaurants to sell to-go as long as it in original container
  • Butte, Montana
    • Except 2a-8a
  • East Aurora, New York (near Buffalo)
  • Hood River, Oregon (near Portland)
    • drink can’t be open when you leave bar or goto another bar with it
  • Erie, Pennsylvania
  • Beale Street, Memphis
    • No glass/metal containers
  • Sonoma, California
    • allowed 11:30a-sunset
    • Most people just in Sonoma Plaza but can walk anywhere
  •  Texas
    • Arlington, TX
    • Fort Worth, TX (possibly only to-go from bar/restaurant)
    • Fredericksburg (beer or wine only)

Entertainment Districts – To-Go Open Containers

However, in the past decade or so, something commonly called an “entertainment district” has begun to spread around the country. Instead of allowing BYOB everywhere, these typically downtown districts allow people to buy drinks to-go in plastic cups from bars/restaurants and walk around the district with it. These are popular in the following states:

  • Alabama (est. 2012)
    • Birmingham
    • Montgomery
    • Mobile
    • Huntsville
      • Good example of potential rules
  • Georgia
    • Savannah (most famous one)
      • Contrary to popular belief, Savannah only allows to-go (not BYOB) booze in the central historic district, not all over the city
    • bunch of suburbs near Atlanta
  • Mississippi (est. 2016)
    • Called a “Leisure and refreshment district”
  • Ohio (est. 2015)
    • Called an “outdoor refreshment area”
    • Toledo 
    • Tons of small towns I’ve never heard of
    • Cincinnati is considering it
  • Tampa, Florida
    • 2-mile riverwalk
  • Kansas City, Missouri
    • Power and Light District in Kansas City, Missouri \allows this

Not all districts are the same but generally share generally some qualities:

  • Drinks must be purchased from bar/restaurant (or pop-up satellite bar) in the district, NO BYOB
  • Almost always must be poured in 16 oz. plastic cups
  • Cups usually must have either the logo of the bar/restaurant on it or the logo of the district
  • Often 1-2 drink limits at a time
  • Size of area often 4-5 blocks long or 5-10 blocks square
  • Frequently time-limited (11a-midnight is pretty common)
  • Some don’t allow you to take your drink to another bar
  • Signage and sidewalk markings limiting zone
  • Rarely allowed in parking lots/garages (no tailgating)
  • Shared effort for cleaning area

There are also “common consumption areas” or “common areas” in Colorado (Denver, Ft Collins, smaller towns), Nebraska (Lincoln, Omaha), and Kansas. These are really entertainment district-“lite” because the streets are required to be closed to traffic when the non-BYOB open container policy is in effect. Which means that in practice these are usually are in effect at the most on Fri/Sat nights but more often just once a month or so.

I was surprised to find out that Canada is similar to US with almost no open container areas. The only one I could find is in Montreal where alcohol can be drunk in public, but only in a city park with a meal (whatever that means).

What About DC??

So could relaxing the open container ban work in DC, particularly during the pandemic or even permanently? Maybe.

Allowing a full open container (a la New Orleans) and allowing BYOB (or open container of takeaway drinks only) all throughout the city might promote the most social distancing as people could walk through their residential neighborhoods instead of focusing on a certain more confined area. But I see very little chance that scores of DC homeowners, particularly those who live in the typically very expensive rowhouses near nightlife districts, would not universally and loudly oppose due to concerns about public intoxication, littering/trash issues, and other public nuisance-type issues. It’s also telling that aside from New Orleans and Las Vegas (which have the BYOB open culture for decades or longer), no major U.S. cities allow this. As a result, I don’t see it as a realistic option in DC.

Same goes for allowing people to drink (either BYOB or restaurant takeaway only) in parks. Again, it can be easier to socially distance in park than even a restaurant patio but I see several issues that I feel are insurmountable. For one, many parks are on in fact controlled by the National Park Service, not DC, which generally bans alcohol in its parks. In addition, many parks can be crowded and efforts to effectively reduce the amount of space used for recreation/exercise by allowing people to drink there would be controversial and seen as tone-deaf. I also cannot see DC willing to deal with the inevitable litter issues  (however, private/public options like Yards Park seems like could be a good candidate for business district mentioned below).

On the other hand, a “business district” that allows patrons to take away their drinks bought at a bar or restaurant and walk around or to another spot may be doable. The business districts would by nature contain fewer or no residents living in houses and if properly done, any negative effects would be contained to the neighborhood (though it should be noted that the southern jurisdictions mentioned below in general don’t contain that much residents next to or in their business district). The districts can be organized in tandem or loosely with the cognizant BID or Main Street so that they would only be created in areas where the bars/restaurants/other businesses want them. There are now plenty of examples elsewhere that can be studied to provide the most controlling environment to avoid spillover or other negative externalities, and possibly reduce the Mayor’s concerns that she does not want to create a party/festival atmosphere that would reduce social distancing.

Recommendation

My recommendation is that Mayor Bowser/ABRA/Council of DC should strongly consider coming up with a new type of liquor license to create the entertainment district concept in DC. This liquor license could either be shared by neighboring businesses or by a BID/Main Street/large developer. The license would allow patrons of those businesses or those in the BID/Main Street/development that choose to participate to take their alcohol to go in labeled 16 oz cups outside to walk around in the area or any communal seating cleaned/run by the businesses/BID/Main Street/large developer collectively. Just like any liquor license, these applications can be challenged by neighbors or the local ANC, at least initially, so these would be created in areas where the neighbors actually want them.

There are several areas of town where I think this could work initially and may not encounter insurmountable opposition (though there will be undoubtedly some opposition anywhere). [Edited to add and revise areas Note, I’m not saying that DC should immediately legalize these areas (the legislation should allow any area in DC to apply for one) but these neighborhoods where because of the layout of the area, and proximity to residents/houses, I think there could at the very least a limited open container business district that could be OK with the local ANC and neighbors and would be worth having.]

  • The Wharf (tailor-made, you can close the shared streets to auto traffic)
  • Navy Yard (perhaps just Yards Park and the walk to where Salt Line/All Purpose are)
  • CityCenter itself
  • Georgetown Waterfront
  • Downtown/Golden Triangle/Penn Quarter (roughly 7th Street-20th Streets Northwest south of Dupont Circle/Mass Ave and north of Pennsylvania Ave NW, excluding any residential blocks)
  • Ivy City (around the Hecht’s development)
  • Union Market

Once certain areas adopt this and if it goes well with few issues, the more popular nightlife neighborhoods like Adams Morgan, U Street, or H Street could follow suit.

Then again, by all reports, the police are taking a blind eye towards respectful, non-drunk public drinking and many are partaking (last year 15% of followers did it frequently and nearly 2/3 did it once), so perhaps no legal changes are necessary.

Right Proper Brewing Releasing SAY THEIR NAMES on Friday to Support Black Lives Matter

 

DC’s own Right Proper Brewing Co., which collaborated with Barred in DC to brew the still-available, popular Beered in DC, is doing something way more awesome.

On Friday, June 5th, the brewery will be releasing SAY THEIR NAMES, a limited release kellerbier. 100% of profits will be going to BLACK LIVES MATTER DC. At the risk of stating the obvious, this is based on the #SAYTHEIRNAMES hashtag to make sure people say and remember the names of black people who are murder victims of police brutality and other racial violence. Several of these names are on the label of the 750mL bottle.

The 5.0% ABV kellerbier (which is a German lager) will be available for sale from the Shaw brewpub and the Brookland production facility (not available at bars or in retailers).

SAY THEIR NAMES will be available in draft form pints to go/on patio ($6), 750mL flip-top bottles ($12), and 64 oz. growler fills ($17 + $15 for flip-top growler glass if you want one). Due to limited supplies, only 144 750mL bottles were produced, and they’re asking you to limit your purchase to 1 bottle per order.

Expect the bottles to be sold out in first day or two and the beer to gone pretty soon after. Note that originally RP was going to donate some of the profits to ACLU of DC but ACLU asked that all the donations goto BLM. Employees working will be donating 100% of their tips to BLM as well.

How To Buy

  • Shaw
    • Open Noon-9p F-Sat (Noon-7p Sun-Thurs)
    • order on Toast Tab for pickup or limited delivery
    • Walk-in will be available as supplies last
    • Can drink pints on-site on patio, space permitting
  • Brookland 
    • Open Noon-6p F-Sun
    • Online orders already sold out
    • Walk-in will be available as supplies last
    • Can drink pints on-site on patio, space permitting

DC law still prohibits breweries from shipping their beer directly to consumers in other states even where that is allowed. 

 

Which Restaurants and Bars are Eligible to Open on Friday? Plus ABRA Regulations and Info On Street Closures

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

As reported here earlier today, Mayor Bowser lifted the stay-at-home order and is allowing restaurants and other food establishments to reopen on Friday, May 29th. Many are not planning on opening immediately but many are eligible. My reading of the order and a clarification that Gabe Hiatt of Eater received allows the following outdoor spaces to open immediately for table service/seated “outdoor dining” on Friday, May 29th:

  1. non-booze serving restaurant/fast food outdoor space (DDOT approved sidewalk cafes and any other outdoor space on private property)
  2. booze serving restaurants/bars/taverns/nightclubs/multipurpose facilities “that serve food” (or just have a license to serve food, and their outdoor spaces that have DDOT/ABRA approved sidewalk cafe OR ABRA summer garden endorsements.

What is a summer garden?? It is outdoor space that is not a sidewalk cafe or otherwise in public space. This refers to most beer gardens, back patios, side patios, rooftops, roof deck, gardens, and courtyard.

Also, because all if not all bars/restaurants in DC can technically serve food (my understanding is that DCRA requires any bar to get a restaurant basic business license) I don’t think this is a huge issue.

What does this mean? Barred in DC “exclusively” obtained (“under deadline”) a list of all ABRA-licensed establishments with at least one of these endorsements. Out of the 1450+ licensed establishments in DC, around 850 have one of these endorsements, meaning the other 600 would not be able to open until Phase 3. An incomplete list of beer gardens and other outdoor bars are below, A reader created a map here using this data.

Twitter account Eat DC has the best ongoing list of spots opening.

ABRA Regulations

[ADDED]. I located a copy of the draft regulations ABRA  has now adopted and are final.

On-Premises Outdoor Dining

  • Prohibit dancing, darts, video games, or other outdoor games
  • no BYOB (not allowed anyways)
  • Menu must contain a minimum of 3 “prepared food items”
    • Based on previous guidance prepared food items is not a bag of chips unless housemade or spices added)
  • Require purchase of 1+ prepared food items per table
  • Prepared item can be prepared on site or at another entity that has a DOH food license (i.e. food truck or other restaurant)
    • Bar/restaurant staff have to deliver food, not the food truck
  • Can only be open outside 8a-midnight (or earlier if settlement agreement/Board has said so)
  • No live music or entertainment (only background/recorded music)
  • No alcohol advertising (except menus) on outdoor space
  • Wait staff wear masks
  • Masks required except when “seated and eating or drinking”
  • Requires reservations system by phone or on-line. Suggests keeping customer logs.
    • This doesn’t appear to actually require reservations, just to have a reservation system.
  • Can’t share tables/chairs with another business

Outdoor Dining Expansion

ABRA wants to “allow as many qualifying ABC-licensed establishments to return to operation as possible”. It will allow serving in “new or expanded temporary ground floor or street level outdoor public and private space not listed on its existing license” (No new rooftops or elevated) if:

    • Registers with ABRA and gets written authorization
    • Registers with DDOT for public space OR Gets written approval from property owner for any outdoor private sapace
    • Space must be delineated/marked

Awnings or tents that no more than 1 side are considered outdoor space. And retractable glass walls make something indoor dining. Unclear if this applies to existing enclosed sidewalk patios.

Street Closures

Street closures are also being considered by the Mayor’s special events task force. Right now it appears the following streets will be closed to traffic to (more to come hopefully) starting on the following dates (likely to extend past that weekend if all goes well):

  • 18th Street in Adams Morgan (weekend of June 4-7)
  • 800 Block of Upshur Street in Petworth (weekend of June 11-14)
  • Eastern Market-200 and 300 blocks of 7th St SE between Penn & NC Ave (weekend of June 18-21).

The expanded outdoor space would be used for extended outdoor seating for restaurants and there would likely be a 20 foot interior space/lane unused in the event of an emergency vehicle needing to pass through. It’s like the closures would be evenings Thurs-Sun, but in some areas the closures would occur during the day on weekends.

There is apparently opposition to closing Barracks Row from the local Barracks Row main street. Stay tuned about other details on closures in other areas of town.

Beer Gardens

  • Scheduled to Open Friday
    • Dacha Beer Garden Shaw
    • The Brig
    • Dacha Navy Yard
    • The Bullpen
    • Biergarten Haus
  • Not Opening this Friday
    • The Midlands
  • No announcement
    • Bardo
    • Garden District
    • Wundergarten

Mayor Bowser Lifts Stay-at-Home-Order and Allows Establishments to Reopen Outdoors – An Analysis

[New Post here: Which Restaurants and Bars Are Allowed to Open on Friday?]

This morning, Mayor Bowser announced that the stay-at-home order, which was in effect starting April 1st, would end at midnight May 28th. Beginning May 29th, restaurants and other establishments can reopen for outdoor seating only, which marks the first time they’ve been open since March 16th.

The order (posted first by Mark Segraves, NBC4), which echoes some of what I discussed in my open letter as well as my proposal from last week, with respect to restaurants/bars:

Allows ALL of the following to open for outdoor dining:

    • Restaurants
    • Other licensed food establishments
    • Taverns, nightclubs and mixed-use facilities that serve food (other part of order says “licensed to serve food”) and already have a summer garden (rooftop/courtyard) or sidewalk cafe ABRA endorsement

Bars/nightclubs/taverns that are not licensed to serve food (I think most if not all are licensed) and don’t have a summer garden or sidewalk license (a lot don’t) cannot open.

Mayor Bowser announced that there will be a process to open outdoor seating to let other restaurants be allowed to expand into. Hopefully, bars/nightclubs/taverns will be allowed to participate in this expansion and receive an expedited ABRA endorsement.

Outdoor dining must occur in DDOT and ABRA approved areas:

  • Outdoor dining customers must be seated while placing orders and be served at tables only
  • 6 people at each table
  • Tables serving parties at least 6 feet apart.

Mayor Bowser and the DOH director Nebsitt weren’t clear if this allows restaurants to serve on rooftops or in back patios or other areas that are not in DDOT-governed public space.

Reservations “encouraged” via online or telephone. They are also encouraged (not required) to keep customer logs to facilitate contact tracing by Department of Health.

GUIDANCE

Department of Health also released guidance. Via the Mayor’s Order these are required. Select requirements:

Guests:

  • Standing or sitting at an outdoor bar is prohibited
  • Reservations are encouraged and dining records will be saved for at least 30 days.
  • Customers should provide names and contact information and record time of arrival.
    • This appears not to be mandatory but do it.
  • Masks required while not eating or drinking. When ordering food and prior to being served

Employees:

  • Wear Masks when working
  • Where gloves when handling ready-to-eat foods
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces used at least every 4-6 hours, and tables/receipt trays between uses
  • Sick or symptoms should immediately stop working and leave.

Employers:

  • Employees must be assessed with questionnaire before shift
  • Must tell 3rd party delivery/suppliers about requirements
  • Post signage that nobody with a fever or symptoms are allowed and everyone has to wear a mask
  • Try to have separate entrance/exit
  • Don’t allow congregation
  • Paper menus strongly encouraged and discarded. Reusable menus have to be cleaned and disinfected between each use
  • Buffets and salad bars are prohibited
  • No self service drink stations, condiments stations, and utensil/napkin stations
  • Single use items strongly encouraged.
  • Flush water systems
  • Tables, chairs, check presenters must be disinfected after each seating

Other restrictions non-restaurants

  • Everyone must continue to maintain a distance of at least six feet from person not in their household, except if such distance is impossible to maintain (e.g obtaining medical services, haircut)
  • Large gatherings of more than 10 people continue to be prohibited
  • Nonessential retail business open for advance order OUTDOOR pickup only or delivery
  • Barbershops and hair salons allowed appointment only
    • “encouraged to keep customer information related to these appointments including which barber or stylist saw that customer”
    • No waiting
    • 1 customer per barber/stylist
    • No waxing, electrolysis, threading, and nail care
    • 6 feet from each other
  • Healthcare providers can offer services including outpatient or other surgery
  • Workers open must tell employees if come to work if sick
  • Plan required that includes all employees about testing locations in DC and CDC guidance
  • Parks, dog parks, tennis courts, tracks, and fields (not playground or pools) will be open.