Category Archives: DC Bar News

Granville Moore’s Reopens as a Belgian Tavern Thursday April 29th

Granville Moore’s was one of the last spots I went before the pandemic. This is from March 4, 2020

Granville Moore’s, the great Belgian H Street tavern, reopens for dine-in service on Thursday April 29th for the first time since mid March 2020. Since last May, because of limited seating and most importantly the fact that its popular mussels aren’t suited for takeout, the spot has served Italian-American dishes to go as Granville Moore’s Pasta Place. In fact, the owners announced that it would likely have to permanently close in September. Instead, a slimmed-down Belgian menu (with all the favorites) will return by the end of the month, starting Thurs-Sun 5-9p; you can reserve via Resy.

I reached out to Granville Moore’s owners (is this reporting?) who said that the success and positive feedback of the popular monthly mussels nights at the neighboring The Queen Vic (which they also own) coupled with the increasing numbers of fully vaccinated people being more open to indoor dining, convinced them that re-opening could be viable despite limited capacity. The beer list is being re-built right now and will have “some fun stuff” by re-opening. They were concerned about staffing but sounds like familiar faces will be returning to serve. There was no outdoor space pre-pandemic at GM’s but they are actively looking for an outdoor dining space nearby, but still TBD.

DC Denies Church’s Request for Fully Vaccinated Seating With No Social Distancing Because Not Consistent with CDC Guidance

Excerpt from DC HSEMA Waiver Decision

Capitol Hill Baptist Church (6th and A NE), which successfully sued DC government last fall to permit increased capacity for outdoor services, had its waiver request to allow a “COVID-19 Immune section” seating fully vaccinated people at 100% capacity with zero social distancing denied by DC’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA). DC denied the request on Wednesday, April 14th because CDC’s most updated recommendations for fully vaccinated people currently allows them to congregate with others fully vaccinated (and a household that contains unvaccinated people at low risk) without masks and social distancing indoors, but only in a home or in a private setting, not public settings. The Southern Baptist-affiliated church (incorrectly) appears to have interpreted CDC’s recommendations to allow to “gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask” in all settings (although the letter does not say whether masks would have been required in the COVID-19 Immune section). The section would have been in the church’s West Hall, allowing 328 churchgoers.

Barred in DC believes, if granted, this would have been the first use of the so-called “Vaccine Passport” in DC. Note that in NY proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test has been frequently used for admittance for fans to sporting events, but seating is still socially distant and masks are required.

DC did grant the church’s waiver request to allow 500 people indoors (110 outside) in 7 different sections for their “Non-Immune Seating” with social distancing (at least 35% capacity, but possibly 45%). This is higher than the Mayor’s order which limits capacity to 25% or 250 persons, whatever is lower.

In October 2020, the church was granted a preliminary injunction from a Federal judge to allow it hold outdoor socially distant services with no capacity limits; DC had limited outdoor gatherings to 100 people. In late November, DC lifted the cap on outdoor service.

Best DC Restaurants/Bars to Eat and Drink Outdoors Right Now

The Brig – February 2021 (picture by author)

Although bars and restaurants have been allowed to serve patrons onsite outdoors since May 29th of last year, many DC residents have shied away from going more than a handful of times (or at all), even outdoors. But now as people get vaccinated, expect the visits to increase. Still, given the pandemic is still not over, people will want to check out outdoor spots which are trying their best to keep people safe and/or have the space that make you feel more comfortable.

Based entirely on crowdsourcing and other research of PoPville comments/replies to other Twitter posts, here’s a partial list of spots people felt were worth visiting. Feel free to leave comments below of spots you feel are doing great personally (or @ on Twitter). If you appreciate content like this, please feel free to join the absolutely-zero-benefits Patreon.

Mentioned Multiple Times

Capitol Hill/Eastern Market/Navy Yard/The Wharf

  • The Roost/Shelter (large wraparound pati)
  • Trusty’s (small sidewalk cafe, 2nd floor deck is sheltered
  • The Brig (large beer garden, new streatery)
  • Atlas Brew Works Navy Yard (large beer garden along relatively slow traffic street, sometimes pedestrianized)
  • Cantina Bambina (outdoor open air waterfront bar)
  • The Salt Line (big outdoor space near water)
  • Others Mentioned Once
    • Pearl Street Warehouse, Lupo Marino, Walter’s, Bardo, Little Pearl, Rose’s Luxury, Albi, Dacha Navy Yard, Duffy’s, All Purpose Capitol Riverfront

Petworth/Park View/Columbia Heights/Mt Pleasant/Brightwood Park

  • The Midlands (large beer garden)
  • Saint Vincent (large wine backyard garden)
  • Jackie Lee’s (sidewalk cafe)
  • Others Mentioned Once
    • Wonderland Ballroom, Queen’s English, Makan, Purple Patch, Hook Hall

Shaw/U Street/Bloomingdale

  • All Souls (big side patio)
  • Lulu’s Winegarden (great streatery, front patio, and bucolic back patio)
  • Calico (huge bi-level patio)
  • Compass Rose (gorgeous streatery)
  • Le Diplomate (great single party stalls in streatery)
  • Ivy and Coney (outdoor roof deck. limited seating, walls)
  • Electric Cool-Aid (frozen drink and canned beer garden)
  • Others Mentioned Once
    • Pearl Dive, Pub and the People, Bresca, The Royal, Dacha Beer Garden

Dupont/Adams Morgan/West End/Penn Quarter/Georgetown

  • Iron Gate (gorgeous interior courtyard patio)
  • Others Mentioned Once
    • Rasika West End, Annabelle, Lapis, Himalayan Heritage, The Green Zone, Tail Up Goat, Chez Billy Sud, Zaytinya, Jaleo, Oyamel, Penn Quarter Sports Tavern, Across the Pond

NoMa/Union Market area/Ivy City/Brookland

  • Other Half Brewing (lots of outdoor space)
  • Red Bear Brewing (multiple outdoor patios)
  • St. Anselm (single party stalls in streatery)
  • Dew Drop Inn (outdoor deck and lots of seating in lane set below street)
  • Others Mentioned Once
    • Right Proper Brookland, Primrose, Atlas Brew Works Ivy City, Brookland’s Finest, Wundergarten

Georgetown/Glover Park/Tenleytown/Cathedral Commons

  • Others Mentioned Once
    • Chez Billy Sud, La Piquette, Surfside, Guapo’s Tenleytown

Where to Watch March Madness in DC – 2021

Fake logo

March Madness 2021 (aka the NCAA Men’s Basketball Division 1 tournament) is upon us, after a sad cancellation last year, this time in a strange way befitting this time. All 67 games are in Indianapolis or nearby and the first wall-to-wall 32 game first round is Friday and Saturday (pushed back a day), with second round Sunday and Monday.  See TV schedule and bracket here.

To help you figure out where to watch, I’m focusing on DC-proper spots that will be open by noon on Friday (some 11a or 11:30a), plus have at least 3 outside TVs and/or have at least 4 TVs (otherwise what’s the point). Let me know if you have any additional suggestions. Unfortunately DC’s alcohol 10p curfew isn’t extended back to midnight Monday so many spots won’t be able to show all games for first round. My goto DC March Madness (basement feels Vegas-ish vaguely) spot Penn Social is sadly not open)

At Least 3 Outdoor TVs

  • The Brig (Barracks Row)
  • The Admiral (Dupont) (not confirmed open noon Friday)
  • The Midlands (Park VIew)
  • Lou’s City (Columbia Heights)
  • Ivy and Coney (Shaw; reservation only)
  • Cleveland Park Sports Bar & Grill
  • Penn Quarter Sports Tavern
  • Public Bar (Dupont)
  • Walter’s (Navy Yard)
  • Dirty Water (H Street)
    • $28 Bud Light Mega buckets (8 16 oz alum bottles), $24 Cisco Pitchers, $24 Bud light Seltzer Buckets (5 12 oz cans), $24 mixed drink pitchers. Mandatory bucket or pitcher purchase per table per hour

Other Spots (many have some outdoor space/TVs)

  • The Roost (Cap Hill-if you get a good outdoor space you can see several indoor TVs)
    • Roost Madness. order 16 specific dishes during tourney get $20 credit. 1 winner gets $100 credit
  • The Game (Adams Morgan)
  • Dock FC (Ivy City; open garage doors)
  • Across the Pond (Dupont)
    • $1 wings / $3 sliders / $5 apps / beer specials
  • The Bottom Line (Downtown)
  • Stadium Sports (Navy Yard)
  • Buffalo Wild Wings (Navy Yard)
  • The Big Stick (Navy Yard)
  • Proper 21 (downtown)
  • Proper 21 K Street (West End)
  • Stoney’s (Logan Circle)
  • Church Hall (Georgetown)
    • $8 Liters of Narragansett / $10 liters of Church Hall IPA / $6 ultimate nachos
  • Franklin Hall (U Street)
  • Trusty’s (Cap Hill)

DC’s Vaccine Portal – What Went Wrong and What is Coming Next

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Last week (Thu-Fri Feb 25-27, tens of thousands of DC residents (and some non-DC residents) were frustrated and angry after 3 straight days of DC”s COVID vaccine registration portal was plagued with crashes and errors. Last night (Thu March 4), the DC Council’s Committee on Health held a marathon oversight hearing, with over two hours devoted to the vaccine rollout to get some answers about what went wrong and the pre-registration portal coming soon. I encourage you to watch the hearing yourself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URIc6lhNJvs&feature=youtu.be if you’re interested, starting at the 9 hour mark, with relatively detailed testimony from DC’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) Chief, Lindsey Parker, starting at 9:30.00 or so, but here’s a quick paraphrase of what we learned:

Portal to Date

  • DC Health approached OCTO in September 2020 to build a vaccine scheduling/administration portal. OCTO decided to contract this out instead of using limited manpower to build out self, and was already familiar with Microsoft’s recent COVID-work since they had helped launch a public COVID testing site in March in very short order. Contract was an emergency procurement based on the public health emergency, so no competition required and can be done quickly. DC was the first jurisdiction in the country to sign on to Microsoft’s product; at the time that occurred, Microsoft hadn’t yet created a pre-registration product. There were no budget constraints on OCTO/DC Health to create the portal and they expect to be reimbursed by Federal government once the new bill is passed later this month.
    • [Author’s Note: I think a lot of people will be angry about the fact that this project didn’t start until September 2020. I expect the media and Council to press more about this. Based on my sense, I don’t think the product would have been any better if it had started in March or not; also Federal govt was developing its own system and no one knew exactly how it would be administered until later on so creating a system just on a guess would cause just as many problems as it would solve. But I could be wrong]
  • Portal launched in December 2020. As part of the contract, Microsoft is responsible for testing. Since the portal launched in December, there has been 16 versions created. There has not been any public testing by Joe Schmoe or seniors prior to launching, so they have been reactive to feedback.
  • On February 18th portal was open for priority zip codes for seniors and other essential workers (including grocery store workers). The peak had 62 users with 2000 requests (clicks/refreshes) during the peak 5 minute window. 100,000 clicks/refreshes in the hour it was open. No errors occurred.
  • On Feb 25th, the portal was now supposedly open for priority zip codes, not only seniors but with 18-64 with chronic conditions. The number of distinct users during peak went from 62 the week before to 8,780. The number of requests (clicks/refreshes) during the peak 5 minute window went up 27400% to 550,000 and 6500% for the full hour to 1.32 million attempts (up 6500%). Microsoft was not expecting this increase and there was an extreme bottleneck. System worked to identify if traffic was legitimate which slowed system tremendously. Once traffic speed was restored, they realized Microsoft forgot to update the workflow to include 18-64 (“Tired eyes missed that workflow”). This was updated at 9:51 and appointments were closed by 9:54.
  • Microsoft then assured OCTO that they improved their infrastructure for Friday’s wider rollout. They were wrong.  The number of distinct users went up to 20,202, with 1.2 million clicks/refreshes during peak 5 minutes and 7.38 million during the hour (459% increase from Thursday). Again there was extreme bottleneck as service protection limits again were invoked (to protect from bot that trying to take system down) which then triggered slow site as well as errors for 13% of clicks.
  • For 3rd time on Saturday, there was a new registration opportunity for 18-64 with conditions only in priority zip codes with next week’s appointments. Once again Microsoft reassured they had enough capacity. Again they were wrong. Apparently they had fixed the issue but Microsoft’s development team “cleared the cache” right before it opened and with the heavy traffic, the portal froze again, and had to restart the system. It was down for 15 minutes. Peak 11,247 users, 800,000 clicks/refreshes in 5 minutes and 3.8 million in the hour. Whopping 1.6 million errors (44% of all clicks/refreshes).
  • Finally, Microsoft higher level folks fixed the portal this week and yesterday a waiting room was instituted and the captcha was removed (other security features on backend to replace it). The site handled roughly the same number of unique users and number of hits as the previous Thursday with no errors and no issues with the site (all appointments taken in less than 7 minutes)
  • OCTO and Microsoft seemed to have had correctly anticipated a huge number of new sign-ups (it wasn’t clear but it seemed system could handle 100,000 unique users at once), but per Parker, they did not expect “millennials” to use every browser on their computer/phone/tablet at once continuously refreshing, as well as asking friends from across the country to assist.

Pre-Registration System

    • To the shock of everyone on the call, the representative from the City Administrator’s office (Jay Melder) said that both Microsoft and Accenture have been asked to develop the pre-registration portal and they have yet to pick which one has been through the right testing, has the right features. This is despite fact that Mayor demonstrated what the portal looked like today at a press conference apparently the Microsoft version though Accenture’s would look similar.
      • [My read: DC’s is making sure Microsoft doesn’t screw up on Friday and want to put their feet to the fire by bringing in a second vendor. I entirely expect Microsoft to be chosen.]
    • It’s not guaranteed that there will be a pre-registration portal Monday or even next week at all (note that originally the pre-registration wasn’t supposed to open until mid March).
    • As noted by others, pre-registration will allow DC residents or workers to submit their information and then wait for DC Health to invite them to make an appointment. Invitation will come through email, text, and/or phone call. Will be able to list a 3rd party who can register on your behalf.
    • Dr. Nesbitt botched an answer at the press conference-all DC residents and DC workers will be able to register when the site opens live even if they’re not eligible. Ineligible workers will not be advantaged with higher priority for booking early though it seems.
    • Once you have the invitation (which will likely be issued in batches on a rolling basis), you’ll have a certain amount of time to book an available appointment. Likely 48 hours. Even if you miss that window or the appointments don’t work for you, you still are kept in the system so you have another bite of the apple.
    • Won’t be based on first come, first serve. The way it seems that it work is that there will be certain % dedicated to each group, and this % will constantly change based on whether groups uptake on the vaccine % changes. There will continue to be a priority for zip codes (or more targeted neighborhood clusters) whose vaccine uptake % is low relative to rest of the city. Within each group there will be some randomization so that person who registers minute 1 doesn’t necessarily get it before the person who registers on Day 3, though obviously the appointment invitations are only filled based on who has registered so far, so it still pays not to delay too much on pre-registering.
      • [Here’s an example I made up that could be the way it works but is not a real example: 10,000 vaccines through portal, (10,000 with hospitals and other places not through portal). 2000 to seniors in priority zip codes/neighborhoods, 2000 to 18-64 with chronic conditions in priority areas, 1000 to eligible essential workers in priority areas. 2000 to seniors in rest of city, 2000 to 18-64 with chronic conditions in rest of city, 1000 to eligible essential workers (DC or not DC resident]
    • OCTO/DC Health didn’t seem to commit to announcing each time the breakdown of what the doses are going but seemed open to it. They said that the current vaccine data would show the prioritization.
      • Note: The system will be pretty opaque which is why DC Health originally preferred the free-for-all system of registration.

Another random note, DC Health this week essentially confirmed my analysis/reporting that the reason why Bloomberg/NYT/Post/Time trackers (which all use the same CDC data show that DC has way more doses than DC Health has is that 40-50,000 doses out of the 280k+ are for Federal entities which DC has no control over (and they’re more likely to stockpile). He said the true % of adminstered/delivered is closer to 80%. Issues with data is lack of reporting, hospitals are holding onto doses a bit longer while community health organizations have reserved more shots for 2nd doses just to be safe.

OCTO also posted some slides about the challenges of government IT.

No Benefits- Become A Barred in DC Patron Today on Patreon

Barred in DC, aside from barely hundred bucks in WordAds ad revenue annually and free preview drinks and food, is more of a hobby than a side hustle from my day job as lawyer. People have always told me I need to monetize it but it seems like even more work and that gets rid of a lot of the appeal for most people.

That all being said, if you’d like to support Barred in DC as a patron, with absolutely no perks other than the satisfaction of parting with a few bucks/month, feel free to join the Patreon here.

What DC Restaurants Supporting the National Guard

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

Up to 21,000 National Guard troops from across the country are expected to be in the DC area by the time of Inauguration Wednesday, with nearly 1/3 here by the end of the weekend. In part due to the viral tweets that showed many of these military reserve soldiers (mostly part-time) sleeping on the floor of the Capitol,  but also due to a sense of appreciation for the protection being provided, many DC restaurants and residents have sought to support these Nat Guard members with meals. (Note: all of these members have in fact lodging at barracks or hotels around the area; the images show the members during their rest/nap breaks during their long 12-24 hour on-duty shifts).

Although the National Guard has stated that it is not in fact accepting donations, it appears that restaurants or others who have a contact with the Guard have been able to provide purchased (supplemented with donations) of meals and food. You may want to support these spots with a donation or a meal purchase for yourself. Here’s a running list of spots who’ve done so (link to donation page if available)

  • We The Pizza (Eater article provides context that shows they’ve coordinated to provide food from the following). Donation link supports donations from all these spots.
    • Good Stuff Eatery (their sister restaurant)
    • PLNT Burger
    • Maketto
    • Breadsoda
    • CHIKO
    • RASA
    • Pizzeria Paradiso
    • RIS
    • Sticky Fingers Eats & Sweets
    • Cane
    • The Duck and The Peach
    • District Doughnuts 
  • Craft Beer Cellar is organizing donations (Venmo hstne-love). So far:
    • Farmbird
    • Tony’s Place
    • The Big Board
    • Pie Shop
    • Bullfrog Bagels
  • Jose Andres/World Central Kitchen (Video here)
  • District Taco

Know of any others? Email barredindc@gmail.com or @barredindc on Twitter

You can also support DC residents in need by checking out my charity guide.

An Interview with the Porch Guy

Peter Tracey, the DC resident who went viral on Wednesday. Screengrab from video shot by Veronica Westhrin

Note: This post has been updated to add the name of the woman in car

Yesterday, DC and the nation were rocked by pro-Trump protesters/rioters/terrorists/insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol and broke inside in face of a woefully prepared (or worse) U.S Capitol Police force while Congress was debating the electoral college vote. This was upsetting to the majority of the country and certainly DC residents, particularly to see how these folks were treated compared to the violent show of force by DC Police and Federal forces this June at Lafayette Park and elsewhere in DC.

In the midst of this, a video shot by Norwegian journalist Veronica Westhrin went viral of a White DC resident yelling at Trump protesters to “Get the fuck outta town! Fucking treasonous pieces of shit!” and then engaging with a Black woman driving a vehicle about the clear racial disparities in how the authorities treated (“And it’s like nobody gives a shit! If that was Black Lives Matter there would be tanks roling down Pennsylvania Avenue! But they let these fucking crackers take over the goddamn Capitol….What the fuck is that?) (Here’s a short clip at the beginning cut off from the original video and a short clip at the end with more from the woman.)

The raw anger and emotion exhibited by the man and woman resonated with hundreds of thousands of people, being seen millions of times.

Using some Internet sleuth skills, I discovered (in about 10 minutes) the porch man’s identity is Peter Tracey, Senior Counsel (formerly a law firm partner) at the Big law firm Perkins Coie. I sent him an email last night with the Subject line: “Hero to all” and the body solely consisting of “Thank you.” He replied this morning: “Thank you, yesterday was a tough day but we got through it.” I followed up to see if he was interesting in speaking further about everything and to my surprise he called me to talk. Here’s what he had to say (not verbatim completely; bold is my emphasis):

“I agreed with the Mayor’s guidance that we should not engage. But I saw this couple walking back with the Trump flag unfurled. I just let them have it. I have done that a couple times at these last couple rallies and have let my thoughts be known. But it just happened that a Norwegian TV crew was outside and filmed the whole thing.

My general impression that this gave people a little bit of lift on a very bad day. I’m happy with it because everything I said is what I believe. I think the issue…needs to be focused on the disparity between the way that people of color would have been treated had they done the same thing versus the kid glove treatment that these guys got yesterday. I think that tells you all you need to know about the fundamental problems in this country. People say they broke in, but they actually acted like they owned the Capitol and pretty much were treated that way. As opposed to people of color who would have been beaten, shot, and absolutely massacred after something like that. That to me, is the fundamental issue that is going on here.

I just hope with the new administration coming in that people of color and White allies step up and really put this on the agenda because this has got to be addressed.

We’re so lucky here in DC. We got problems. We’re a diverse community. Yes there are tensions. Yes it’s not perfect. We have the advantage of regularly living among different backgrounds than us and I think we grow by that. Then these knuckleheads that come from out of town and they think they run the world and it’s so distressing.

When you live in DC you have to expect that people are going to protest that think differently than you…I get that. But the way this administration has handled this has been disastrous from soup to nuts and, at a certain point, and I think they crossed that point yesterday, everyone is basically complicit in crimes. I just hope that the city and Feds in the new administration be aggressive about pursuing these people….

This is exactly what white privilege is. You know what? I had white privilege to be able to sit there and scream that crap. I get that. But at the same time…nice thing about our neighborhood is that cars are close enough that I can talk to the people in the cars from my porch… I understand and I agree with guidance we got from city to not engage. Trump was looking for any excuse for a confrontation to do something like that to invoke the Insurrection Act. But I just let them have it.

I grew up in New England. One of my ex brothers-in-law came to this rally…Apparently he’s fallen into this weird QAnon, Democrats taking small children thing. He’s falling into this hole. It’s not that I have no connection to this. It’s sad to me. At same time you got to put your foot down…I noticed that the only people…who are raising the disparate treatment on TV are all Black people. White people need to be be talking about and engaging. Big mission of this next administration.”

Note I asked him if his fellow firm lawyer, Democratic Party elections lawyer Marc Elias had anything to say; he said he had not heard from him but all of his other colleagues who talked to him had no problem with it. UPDATE: In an email later today, Tracey stated “By the way, Marc Elias and other colleagues I have heard from at the firm have all been very supportive, and while my language may have been a little colorful, the values involved clearly are fully shared.” I also asked him whether he would be interested in running for DC mayor as people on the Internet had suggested. He talked about his experience litigating with DDOT over a historic tree that ended up being cut down and seemed to say he won’t do more than keep up with the local ANC.  He also told me he is not a drinker currently, but does enjoy regular Coca Cola. 

The woman in the car has been identified as Shawntia Humphries, a recreation manager for the DC Dept of Parks and Recreation. Above The Law posted this as well

 

The Big Hunt Has Terminated Its Lease. Building for Sale/Rent

The Big Hunt – one of DC’s dives

Upstairs at Big Hunt – Skee ball tables

Decor at Big Hunt

1/11/20 Update: A former staffer at the Big Hunt informed me that the owner sent an email to staff on January 6th that “they can stop holding their breath.”

The legendary dive/beer bar The Big Hunt formally terminated its lease as of October 31st, 2020, Barred in DC has learned. The news looks bleak for their future (Oct 31st was the end of their lease term but they were hoping to come to an agreement with the landlord, but instead they terminated pursuant to the terms of the lease); however, given they have not yet vacated the space perhaps there is a glimmer of hope (albeit very unlikely based on the circumstances why it has not yet been vacated). It’s more likely that The Big Hunt will be on this ongoing list of spots closed.

I’ve tried reaching out to The Big Hunt via Twitter but have not heard back since first contacting them in August. They last posted about their status on July 13th, stating “As soon as it is safe and economically viable, The Big Hunt will reopen. Please follow our social feeds to stay abreast of any developments. As soon as we know, you’ll all know!”

The two massive buildings that house The Big Hunt (and a couple apartments including one that Tony T from The Pug allegedly lived at for awhile) are for lease/sale. The buidlings, which contain nearly 10,000 square feet, can be purchased for $7.5 million or leased out at roughly $26,000/month triple net lease, a decrease of 25% or so from the original asking price. The owner of the building, Mary Gerachis, died at the age of 89 in February, and the heirs/estate are looking to sell or fill the space. (reach out to Joseph Friend at friend@friendre.com if interested).

The spot, known for its extensive beer selection, garish decor, “colorful” tiny bathrooms, downstairs comedy, cheap wing night, and a polarizing reputation, opened in 1992 by the late Joe Englert and partners. Per DCRA data, unlike many bars Englert opened, he still was listed as being involved with the company that owned The Big Hunt. Englert died in August.

Here are some virtual tours of the space, including a close look at the wild interior of  the bar
The Big Hunt (1345) 

The Big Hunt (1347) 

Indoor Dining in DC to Take a “Pause” Starting Christmas Eve

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

This post has been updated to reflect the Mayor’s Order released (13 hours after I broke this news) around 10p Friday night as well as a press conference that was held midday Monday.

Following the lead of Baltimore, Montgomery Co, Prince Georges Co., Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, Michigan, Washington, New York City and other parts of New York, Denver, and New Mexico, among other jurisdictions, the DC government announced Friday that indoor dining will take a “pause” for around 3 weeks beginning right before Christmas Eve, reopening the morning of Friday, January 15th (MLK weekend). Barred in DC broke the news earlier this morning that this closure was imminent, and Laura Hayes (then DCist / Martin Austermuhle) reported the news later in the morning that the closure would occur COB Wed Dec 23rd.

Thus, DC will be returning to the position it was May 29  – June 21 during Phase 1 where outdoor dining was only available; however due to weather it will likely feel more close to the takeout/delivery only stance from March 17-May 28. Expect many spots that weren’t open during that time frame to temporarily shutter.

Permitted Restaurant Activities

Based on clarifications made by DC, the following types of activities will be allowed at DC restaurants/bars during Dec 24-Jan 14:

  • Takeout and Delivery
  • Uncovered outdoor seating
    • can be one or more parties of max 6 that are 6 feet apart
  • All Covered (i.e., tented, canopied) outdoor seating with 0, 1, or 2 walls/side flaps
    • can be one or more parties of max 6 that are 6 feet apart
  • Covered single-party outdoor seating that is fully enclosed (or only 1 open flap/wall)
    • Only one party of 6 can be sat at a time in this type of outdoor seating,
    • includes igloos, small tents, bubbles, partioned spaces like at Le Diplomate, and greenhouses

DC is also allowing electric heaters with extension cords and has replaced the rule that streatery/parklets be closed at 32 degrees or colder with a rule that they be closed during a snow emergency (to protect restaurant furniture and patrons from snow plowing/icing activities)

The order also “strongly advise[s]” DC residents to “limit their activities to essential activites and travel,” and closes libraries and musuems, and states that non-essential businesses must telework.

According to the order, the following facts led the Mayor to this decision:

  • Surge of COVID-19 cases that will worsen “without intervention” as a result of Christmas/NYE/NYD related activties
  • COVID-19 ICU patients more than doubled from 11/16 to 12/16
  • Case rate is nearly 8x since early July
  • “Health metrics demonstrate that a number of activtiies are contributors to DC and indeed global cases, and a substantial number of cases cannot identify the source of their infections, which is expected at certain levels of community spread.”
    • in other words, DC is saying there are some cases coming from restaurants (and libraries and musuems) and there’s a lot of cases that we can’t tell where the source is. As a result imposing these restrictions can slow the spread.
  • “A pause in activity … can help stem transmission… prevent disease, save lives and prevent a crisis at our hospitals”

The time-limited nature of the “pause” in indoor dining is not unusual in the U.S. Other places that announced a pause with an end date (That could be extended) include: New Mexico (closed outdoor/indoor dining 11/16 – 11/30), Washington state (11/16 to 12/14, now extended to 1/4), Oregon (11/18-12/2 closed outdoor/indoor dining), Pennsylvania (12/12-1/4), Anne Arundel Co (12/16-1/13, now blocked by judge). On Monday, Mayor Bowser explained that she does not expect to extend the pause, calling it a “holiday pause” and it was three weeks long because DC Health recommended that interventions like this should be at least that long.

Contrary to what many people believe, contact tracing data is not reliable for showing where spread occurs; in fact it was not even really intended to accomplish that (For more details why, I urge you read this WaPo Julie Zaumer piece from last week). So people who keep asking for DC-specific data that shows cases come from indoor dining (or dining in general), they won’t get it. That being said, the press conference Monday would be infuriating for anyone hoping DC could clarify further why indoor dining was shut down. Dr. Nesbitt from DC Health did not even appear and Bowser’s answers to questions were not helpful (see below)

In addition, going against the conventional wisdom, my (admittedly unscientific) Twitter poll shows that restaurant staff/owners actually support an indoor dining shutdown at a higher rate (77% to 65%) than those not in the restaurant industry

The shutdown comes amidst Congressional negotiations to extend unemployment benefits and restore some supplement ($300/week)along with additional PPP funding; one wonders if DC would have done this without any hope of a Federal deal.

Excerpts from Monday’s  Press Conference

Reporter:  We’re reporting on these different big box stores (Wal-mart for example), we’re seeing lots of people in these stores, social distancing is not always easy…. These stores are allowed to operate and now you are asking restaurant owners to shut down for a few weeks during the heaviest time for these restaurant owners.

Bowser: Well, I don’t know it is the heaviest time for these restaurant owners. I am asking them to do it [she notes that the big box store limit was only place one day]

….

Reporter: Restaurant/bar owners and employees have been saying or claiming that the DOH or you have not put forth any kind of scientific evidence showing indoor dining would result in a greater number of COVID  cases or infections. Has DOH or you cited any data that these people claim have not been coming forward?

Bowser: I’m not sure what you’re refering to, but pretty consistently dining has been cited …by people who have COVID as one of the sources of activity, along with other things, but dining is pretty consistently in the top 4.

Reporter: Is this from the CDC or from DC’s own cases that you cited?

Bowser: Yes. Coronavirus.dc.gov. We have a plethora of information about sources of activity. Having said that, there are other sources of activity that are essential activities including people going to their essential work, incuding people going to school, so there are a lot of sources of activity. This in no way, unless we stop everything that we are doing, that’s how we know people won’t be circulating and exposed to the virus. So we have been dialing back for several weeks, many weeks, all kinds of activity, including in restaurants where we stopped alcohol sales after certain time, and we have dialed back for a time the number of people allowed in buildings. We are very focused on, like jurisidictions around us and around the country on how to dial back even more activity. We know that this is a limited time. We are asking eveyrone to make this sacrifice so that our hospital workers won’t be overwhlemed following these holidays.

Reporter: How you landed on the January 15th date and how you will decide to extend it further?

Bowser: I don’t expect to extend the end date. So I don’t go into it with that expectation. We know and the Health Department tells us that 3 weeks is a good intervention interval and … we will start to see the impacts 3 weeks after the interventions begins…That’s why we call it a holiday pause.

….

Reporter: Why were musuems and libraries singled out, as compared to say Walmart and places like that?

Bowser: Wal-Mart is a food seller. I’m not going to be closing grocery stores…if you can’t see why we can’t do that…it seems pretty obvious.

Reporter: But I can also get a haircut, but I can’t enter a library. So why musuems and libraries?

Bowser: The libraries you can still use, but curbside