2018 DC BAR ROUND UP – BY BARRED IN DC

I wasn’t asked by BYT to respond to their 2018 Food Round-Up (and they shouldn’t have, as you’ll see below), but given the format is actually pretty great, amazing source of info and Laura Hayes shouted out my Twitter account/polls, I spent 15 minutes replicating (fancy word for “stealing”) below:

Sum up 2018 in bars in a word (or, fine, a sentence)?

Something for everyone, probably.

The best bar trend on 2018/The worst?

Best: More bars giving card back to customer when starting a tab. Worst: People thinking that the person(s) who run the admittedly incredible Dan’s Cafe Twitter account are actually affiliated with Dan’s Cafe.

The most anticipated or best DC bar opening in 2018/The one that didn’t quite live up?

Most anticipated-TikiTNT of course. Probably the most hyped bar in DC since Churchkey opened in 2009. Though, I’ll probably see myself at the Crown and Crow and the Pie Shop (above Dangerously Delicious) more. Didn’t quite live up: Wish 1905 was still there, Cortez probably makes more sense though.

Most underrated bar in DC right now? Why?

Most great bars are properly rated, though people probably haven’t checked out The Crown and the Crow and Pie Shop, which both feature live music, and I think they’ll be pleased when they do.

The best drink you had in 2018?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?

Best: No clue, I went to a lot of bars in many countries. Worst: Definitely this sweet cherry drink I had at Moxy last week since I still remember it.

Favorite cocktail of 2018?

$7 Daiquiri at Colada Shop, primarily because it was $7 and I love a good Hemingway daiquiri. For people who say DC is overpriced, they’re right, but there are spots like Colada Shop you can eat/drink for not much and feel like you’re not slumming it.

Best drinks event of 2018?

I don’t goto many events unless a PR company comps me so nothing really. The 5th Annual All Souls party at All Souls is ridiculous ($1 Tecate, $2 Sparking Wine $3 Makers)

What do you think was THE bar story of the year in 2018? Why?

Duh, the rise and fall of Initiative 77. Amazing to see the mobilization of bartenders politically and the Save Our Tips signs everyone, but also hopefully the public has learned that barbacks get screwed a bit.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2019?

Little Grand, from Dave and the awesome folks behind All Souls coming to H Street near the Whole Foods. Hopefully it opens by early fall.

What you wish for DC in 2019 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

Bars uniformly agreeing to include tax with price of drinks. NY transplants trying to do some shit here

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

Chef: I’ve met Michael Rafidi a few times, and he’s cool, so let’s go with that. Restaurant: I rarely have sit down dinners because I spend so much money on bars and traveling. I haven’t been to Little Serow in several years but it’s awesome.  In 2019, dinners at Maydan and Chloe were memorable. Bar: All Souls

What is the place you ended up at the most in your own spare time? Why?

Barwise-I hit Eatbar’s incredible $4 HH nearly every week on way home from work. My FOMOness means I don’t goto same bar that often though I probably make it to Hill Prince monthly. In total, probably my buddy’s Darin’s spot who has been referring to Barred in DC as just “barred” for years. He lives in a condo building that is a glorified dorm off H Street with great deck and floor parties.

Favorite food/drinks story of the year someone else wrote and why?

I learned a ton from Laura Hayes stories in 2018, one standout was this piece about chargebacks at bars (not just saying due to my shoutout) Between her and Jessica Sidman, the Young & Hungry space for the Washington City Paper since May 2012 has been INFINITELY more important than whatever Tom Sietsma writes about DC’s fanciest restaurants every week

Favorite thing YOU covered in 2018 and why?

My favorite polls/stories/tweets were about chain restaurants. People have strong opinions about them and are really interested

Go to cookbook – released this year, and evergreen?

Ha, wut. I actually do cook, but whatever takes 3 ingredients and the least amount of time I find by googling. I make these idiot savant cocktails where I just wing like whatever ingredients in my house. 75% of time it’s awesome, 25% tastes worse than puke.

Instagram vs twitter for staying in the bar loop and why?

Definitely Twitter. Every food/bar writer in DC has their stories tweeted out and bars announce events/specials. Instagram isn’t that great for this. Facebook is actually frustratingly more useful than Instagram in finding info on bars who don’t their info on any other social media site/website, but I can’t follow all the bars in DC on Facebook like I do on Twitter.

Favorite instagram accounts and why?

@rsantra – cool dude

@popville – blantantly doesn’t even bother to post his own photos, but people give him some great ones and it has a good scene of DC. I know he has a lot of haters (including from many of my active followers) but he’s a great guy.

Truxton Inn, McClellan’s Retreat, Union Pub, Barrel – My man Sam does a great job with varying posts/stories and is a great bar manager.

Favorite twitter accounts and why?

@thepug – Tony has some great opinions and thoughts about DC and bars, and sometimes his own bar, the 14th worst in DC

@ivyandconey – Just hilarious and sometimes confusing.

@dcreynolds – always good for mixing it up

@morelandstavern – ditto

@maustermuhle – I refuse to listen to NPR/public radio but he’s great at fact-checking and clarifying local news

@lolomcg – Both fun and real insights from the beverage director/bartender at DC9

A question you wish we asked here (and your answer)

Are blogs dead? Yes but not everyone is on Twitter so you need to put info out somehow and newsletters seem like a ton of work.

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Adams Morgan Liquor License Moratorium Extended 3 More Years; Columbia Road Added

In late November, the DC ABC Board unanimously voted to approve a three-year extension (until around end of 2021/early 2022) of the Adams Morgan liquor license moratorium, which has been in effect since 2000. This follows a 3 year extension approved in 2014, and effectuated in 2015, which removed the previous restrictions on restaurant, hotel, and off-premises liquor licenses which many thought stifled development. Barred in DC has obtained a copy of the rulemaking, though there may be a few editing fixes before it’s published in the DC Register later this month.

Under the moratorium, which received mostly support for an extension, no new nightclub licenses can be added in Adams Morgan  and the number of tavern licenses cannot exceed 10 (there are currently more than 10, which means if they close, they cannot be replaced until the number hits 10). ABRA also granted the local ANC’s and neighbors request to expand the moratorium zone  an additional 400 feet on all sides, and shifted the center a bit. The moratorium now extends 1800 feet (one-third a mile) in all directions from Tryst Coffeehouse. Most new areas are residential but the biggest deal is that the moratorium now extends northeast on Columbia Road to the intersection with Mozart Place (half block past Federalist Pig). The ABRA explained why it expanded (basically the spectre of Chief Ike’s reincarnated scared everyone):

The Board recognizes that when it amended the moratorium in 2014, it had not considered a moratorium covering Columbia Rd., N.W.  At that time, fewer residential properties were being built in that area.  Since then,several residential communities have opened on or near Columbia Rd., N.W. and future development projects are planned. … Presently, these residents on or near Columbia Rd., N.W. are not protected by the moratorium.  There has been a substantial amount of testimony of how this lack of protection left those residents vulnerable to a new nightclub opening in the location vacated by Chief Ike’s.  Although the community was successful in preventing the nightclub from opening there, it required a significant amount of time and effort.  Had the moratorium covered this section of Adams Morgan, the community would not have been subjected to this burden.

However, because it expanded the zone, it extended the moratorium 3 years instead of the 5 years sought by the ANC and neighbors, due to the progress made during the previous 3-year moratorium, and a shorter period to review impact of geographic expansion of moratorium would allow amendments to made sooner. Information on the current moratorium (with a map that will need to be expanded slightly) can be found on the ABRA website.

Where to Find Miller High Life in a 750ml Champagne Bottle in DC

Credit: Miller High Life
Barred in DC bought 3 of these at Grand Liquors in Hill East. Classy neighbors

[Post Edited] 750 ml champagne bottles (!) of the DC bar alternative for brohsters to Natty Boh and PBR, Miller High Life, has been rolled out nationwide for the first time. Barred in DC has had trouble (Ed. Note: He has not actually tried) finding it in DC, but a source has told him (Ed. Note: ok the source is the social media person behind the Miller High Life Twitter account) which 13 bars and 6 liquor stores in DC have ordered Champagne of Beers in a big bottle. Note that many of these spots may have already run out or are waiting until NYE to pour them. There may be others who’ve ordered otherwise. Barred in DC picked up one at one of these liquor stores for $3.99; each bottle is 25.4 oz. FYI.

Bars


Brookland
Brookland Pint

Capitol Hill/Navy Yard/The Wharf
Due South
The Dubliner (sold out) 
TikiTNT ($15 normal, $12 during HH, $10 during late night HH; 200 cases ordered)

Mt. Pleasant/Columbia Heights/Petworth
Elle (available NYE, and afterwards, supply permitting)
Slash Run (currently available for $12, should be available on NYE)
Wonderland

Shaw/U Street
Espita (in cooler but not available for sale yet)
Service Bar (sold it Thanksgiving Eve for $15)

Dupont
Glens Garden Market (sold out)
McClellan’s Retreat (sold for $15 starting 12/13 for the 12 days of Christmas; 2 cases being held for NYE)

H Street/NoMa
Hill Prince
The Star & Shamrock
The Eleanor (will be available for NYE)

Liquor Stores

Grand Liquors – Hill East  (As of 12/12, they had 3 bottles left for $3.99)
Metro Liquors – Adams Morgan
Paul’s – Friendship Heights (as of 12/15, currently out of stock)
Sherry’s – Woodley Park
Sunset Liquors – Bloomingdale
Wardman Wines – Brookland

How many of each Fast Food/Fast Casual/Quick Service Chain Spot is in DC?

While killing time on an unexpected day off, and while researching for my next eagerly-awaited Twitter poll, I went down the rabbit hole and started calculating how many locations of prominent fast food/fast casual/quick service chains were in DC proper. After tweeting some figures, I ended up getting tons of reaction, showing that this is many interested in. People are fascinated that there is one Little Caesar’s in DC, up on a strip across from the Georgia Ave. NW Wal-mart in Brightwood. One follower even created a Google Map (https://twitter.com/ChelseaCirruzzo/status/1070768690394791939?s=19)with many spots.

Decided to put this in a post and organize it better. This doesn’t include very limited chains necessarily and the figures can be off a few.

Using the great QSR’s magazine’s 2018 rankings based on revenue, here are those found in top 65 in DC:

BIG CHAINS (Ranking by Revenue)

Burgers

#1 McDonalds – 26
#4 Burger King – 3 (soon to be 2 after Van Ness closes, others are in Adams Morgan and on Bolling Air Force Base in SW)
#6 Wendy’s – 3 (Dave Thomas Circle/NoMa, EOTR near Minnesota Ave station, on Georgia Ave. near Howard)
#27 Five Guys – 8
#33 Checker’s – 1 (Bladensburg/NY Ave)

Nearby: Sonic (Inside the Beltway in PG Co.), Hardee’s (Ft Meade), Steak ‘n’ Shake (Annapolis, redericksburg), Freddy’s Frozen Custard (Fairfax)

Sandwich
#3 Subway – 50+
#11 Panera Bread – 7
#23 Jimmy John’s – 4
#31 Jersey Mike’s  – 2 (near Rhode Island Ave Home Depot and NE Costco)
#54 Potbelly – 22
#63 Corner Bakery Cafe – 5
#65 Charleys Philly Steaks – 2 (Union Station, L’Enfant)

Nearby: Arby’s (Rockville, Hyattville, PG Co., Annandale), Firehouse Subs (Annandale), McAlister’s Deli (Mt Vernon, Fairfax), Jason’s Deli (College Park, Falls Church), Dickey’s BBQ Pit (Alexandria)


Snacks/Coffee

#2 Starbucks – 50+
#7 Dunkin Donuts – 19
#45 Baskin Robbins – 4 (only 1 in Woodley Park is standalone, rest are w/ Dunkin)
#47 Auntie Anne’s – 2 (Union Station, L’Enfant)
#52 Jamba Juice – 2 (Union Station, L’Enfant)
#59 Tropical Smoothie Cafe – 1 (Mt. Vernon Square)
#61 Cold Stone Creamery – 1 (Cleveland Park)
#62 Smoothie King – 4
Nearby: Dairy Queen (couple inside Beltway near Skyland area) 

“Ethnic”

#5 Taco Bell – 3 (Union Station, NY Ave/Bladensburg, near Fort Totten)
#12 Chipotle – 20
#20 Panda Express – 4 (L’Enfant, Columbia Heights, Navy Yard itself, Costco area)
#36 Qdoba – 2 (Penn Quarter, Dupont)
#40 Moe’s SW Grill – 3 (Downtown, NoMa, L’Enfant)
#50 Noodles & Co – 1 (Downtown)

Chicken

#8 Chick-Fil-A – 7 (Tenleytown, H Street, Union Station, Columbia Heights, GW, Georgetown, Catholic U)
#13 KFC – 2 (NY Ave/Bladensburg, in NE near Fort Totten)
#19 Popeyes – 9
#29 Bojangles’ – 1 (Union Station)
#37 Church’s Chicken – 1 (L’Enfant)
Nearby: Zaxby’s (Winchester), Wingstop (several inside Beltway), Boston Market (South Arlington:Glebe & Columbia Pike)

Pizza

#9 Domino’s – 9
#10 Pizza Hut – 3 (not counting the Target one)
#17 Little Caesar’s – 1 (Brightwood across from Wal-Mart)
#20 Papa Johns – 9
Nearby: Marco’s Pizza (closest in Fairfax Station), CiCi’s (Bailey’s Crossroads, Rockville) 

Nearby in Top 65: Captain D’s (Manassas), Long John Silver’s (one in PG Co. temp. closed due to fire, Dale City)

Other Fast Casual Chains (minimum 3 spots in DC)

&pizza – 13
Sweetgreen – 12
Chopt – 9
Cava – 8
Roti – 8
Pret a Manger – 7
Au Bon Pain – 7
Devon & Blakely – 7
Cosi – 7
Shake Shack – 6
Jettie’s – 5
California Tortilla –  3
District Taco – 4
Amsterdam Falafelshop – 3
TaKorean – 3
Beefsteak – 3

Underwhelmed with DC’s New “Night Mayor”? You’re Not Alone

[Full Disclosure: Barred in DC spent at least 30 minutes updating his resume and drafting a cover letter and applied for his job. He never got a callback, and is not bitter. At all.]

Today, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed Shawn Townsend, a Supervisory Investigator at ABRA, the Night Mayor Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture.  Reactions have been fairly negative thus far:

  • “D.C. Put A City Bureaucrat In Charge Of Its New Nightlife Office” – DCist, Rachel Kurzius
  • “I’m thoroughly disappointed,” [the owner of Trade/Number Nine] says. “We wanted someone with real world experience. ‘I once opened a bar in South Carolina,’ isn’t enough.” (see WCP/Laura Hayes article
  • #keepdcboring
  • “Wow. So lame”
  • “bucking trends is something only the coolest towns do. DC is a cool town and totes has a gf…u wouldn’t know her cuz her mom used to be the Canadian ambassador, so, uh, she’s back there, now, yeah”
  • “Oh this is not going to end well” – Trevor Frye, former DC bar owner/bartender
  • Real-life tweets from non-family members or on my payroll:
    • “It’s not Barred in DC so I move along.”
    • “Barred in DC was robbed.”
    • “Barred in DC’s name isn’t Shawn Townsend tho.”

The Washingtonian’s Brittany Shepherd found out some public details about Mr. Townsend, including exactly which bar Mr. Townsend opened: a bar in the West Ashley suburban area of Charleston, SC, called 7 Cafe. The spot was open from around 2010 to 2015, it seems was located in a strip mall parking lot, which isn’t exactly comparably located to the many bars in DCs in walkable, dense districts near residents and the like.


Well it did have a valet.

Laura’s article is really a good read regarding the missed opportunity they had with this position, as many folks wanted something more akin to the Night Mayor in Amsterdam, NYC, London, and other cities around the world being a creative force in getting nightlife really ramped up, which is the key issue in why so many folks were disappointed.

The office that Mr. Townsend will lead was created by the DC Council to be more of an outreach/liaison role in the first place. This was always clear by anyone who followed the law and read the position description that this wasn’t going to be a “night mayor” as in other cities. Instead, DC apparently really hyped up this position to the media, talking about all the applications they received, and the media ate it up (note many of these articles really explained what the position did, but again most people only read tweets/headlines).

As early as October 9th (before many of these articles came out), Mayor Bowser was saying the  city has already has “a daytime, lunchtime and night time mayor” but this didn’t stop the media from continuing using the term (particularly since it seems self-serving from the Mayor in an election year.). As a result, with the government really pushing forward the narrative that this was a big deal with all their applications set the expectation that the government wouldn’t be hiring another bureaucrat. [Disclosure: I’m really good at being a bureaucrat, but alas.]

Public Bar to Close in Early 2019; Replaced by Another Sports Bar Concept

Public Bar, the Dupont Circle/Midtown sports bar slash nightclub, is set to shutter in early 2019 (perhaps as early as New Year’s Day), the bar has confirmed to Barred in DC. It will be replaced by a new concept/name (though still be a sports bar) to reopen in spring 2019. 

The well-attended spot (perhaps not popular given the 2.5 Yelp stars and the likely “good riddance” derision this post will get from DC yuppies who turn their nose at that area) first opened in spring 2009, replacing Club Five.  Barred in DC personally saw Nationals player Ryan Zimmerman arrive in his Uber from Clarendon (not an unusual sight) a few years back.

As a way to close down the bar, the bar is having a “Come As You Are” NYE party, with a $20 admission charge ($15 early bird, $25 later on), with all drinks (yes, even top shelf liquor) priced at $5.

It’s unclear whether this development has anything to do with the upcoming Chik-Fil-A to be located on 1st floor and basement of same building.

Where to Watch Tiger v. Phil “The Match” in DC

Official site

In an ambitious ploy to capitalize on the comeback of Tiger Woods, “The Match” was conceived as a head to head golf match between him and Phil Mickelson, which starts at 3p eastern time on Black Friday. $9 million at stake.

To the derision of many, this match is only available in home by ponying up 20 bucks to stream online or through your cable provider. But at least a couple bars are confirmed to watch:

  • Caddie’s on Cordell (Bethesda) – HH til 8p
  • Penn Social (Penn Quarter) – opens at 3p, which is 1 hour earlier than normal. HH is usually 4-7p everyday with $2 off drafts, $5 rails, $6 wine, may start earlier 
  • Mister Days (Clarendon)
  • The Brig (Barracks Row) – with sound

Ventnor Sports in Adams Morgan may show it depending on interest