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


New Single-Party “Outdoor” Seating Structures at Le Diplomate and St. Anselm

St. Anselm’s Streetside Shacks (photo – Barred in DC)

St. Anselm’s Streetside Shack (photo – Barred in DC). Spot vent right under table on far wall.

Le Diplomate Streetside Chateaus on 14th St NW (Posted with permission from- U Street Buzz)

Le Diplomate Streetside Chateaus on 14th St NW (Posted with permission from- U Street Buzz)

This post has been updated on 1/3 to add more details based on architectural drawings and plans sent to DCRA.

Popular DC restaurants Le Diplomate (14th Street) and St. Anselm (Union Market area) caused a stir on social media this week after opening up nearly identical dining structures in the parking spots in front of the eateries (i.e., “streateries”). The spots are both part of the 20-restaurant STARR Restaurants group (founded by chef Stephen Starr).

The semi-enclosed structures contain multiple partioned stalls, each of which contains one table with chairs serving one party at a time (either 2 or 4 people at a time). Even more striking-each stall has its own electric-powered overhead pendant light as well as a vent providing heat from a central source (each structure has a building (or 2) at the end which contains the heating unit-apparently a condensing gas furnace (possibly this one made by  Payne which costs approxmately $2300) and a 100 gallon propane tank). The 3 walls for each stall are made up of wood going up to waist high with plexiglass above it separating the stalls from one another and the street; the ceiling is metal. The side of each stall that faces the restaurant consists of a several secured semi-rigid plastic strips with a 3 foot or so wide permanent opening for the entrance to the stall (I’ve spotted servers speaking to diners standing outside the entrance).

For more details: I’ve obtained copies of the architectural drawings/blueprints from DCRA for Le Diplomate (1, 2). Multiple permits, including a construction permit and a certificate of occupancy were required from DCRA. I couldn’t locate the ones for St. Anselm but they should be similar. These were designed by Stokes Architecture and Design in Philadelphia.

Although these have more than 2 walls, these structures appear compliant with DC’s indoor dining pause which permits[e]nclosed outdoor seating structures such as plastic domes or igloos that are intended for individual parties of six (6) guests or fewer.” Because of the partition, parties can be within 6 feet of the party next door and still be compliant with the rules.

These structures did not come cheap; an industry source pegs the cost of the larger structures in front of Le Diplomate on 14th Street at close to $80,000. Another restaurant owner estimated a $75,000-$100,000 cost. However, a construction contract submitted to DCRA shows that it cost $45k and the restaurant owner served as the general contractor, so unclear the discrepancy. Each business received the $6,000 Winter Ready Streatery Grant from DC. But they seem popular and will likely be quite helpful for revenue and employment for staff the the colder months.

Le Diplomate calls their stalls “Streetside Chateus” (owing to its French cuisine) while steakhouse St. Anselm terms them “Streetside Shacks” (not sure this one, it’s a steakhouse though they call themselves a “tavern” hilariously). The 24 Streetside Chateus line both 14th Street (16 stalls seating 48 in 780 square feet) and Q Street NW (8 stalls each seating 4; 32 in all in 480 square feet) in front of the restauarant and are extensive, St. Anselm by comparison has a more modest operation with 12 stalls in 2 structures (stalls alternate seating 2 and 4) with another 6 in a structure still under construction, all on the 5th St NE side, which will seat approximately.

I first learned of the Le Diplomate structures from U Street Buzz and St Anselm from Tommy McFly.

Some wonder why DC didn’t allow similar actual brick and mortar indoor dining in stalls or one party at a time when they’re allowing things like this? Who knows (there was no explanation provided by the city). I speculate that the city may have thought it unfair for it to provide winter-ready streatery grants that helped spots build these structures and ban them; it is easier for investigators to spot and administer since the structures are more easily visible than inside (bright line rule: no eating allowed in the main structure). I know some have been concerned for customers due to lack of ventilation – I have not been – my polling has shown roughly 80% of people who go out are dining with people they already spend time unmasked socially non-distant and I would be extremely surprised if people going to these stalls are already not part of the same household or COVID crew. I do have some concern for staff-Laura Hayes of the CIty Paper documented in detail some of the issues for serving more enclosed spaces-but the forced air heat and the relatively wide permanent opening seemingly mitigates this.

An email and Instagram message sent to Le Diplomate was not responded to by publication.

More pics of St. Anselm’s Streetside Shacks are below

The Best DC Takeout and Delivery Meals of 2020 – Crowdsourced Edition

Baan Siam was mentioned by many people as their favorite takeout/delivery of 2020

Given the restrictions (including 10 weeks were there was no dine-in at all in DC) imposed to stem the tide of the pandemic have threatened the existence of most restaurants, many people have tried to do their small part and frequently order takeout and/or delivery from local spots, and will continue to do so until it’s over. To get an idea of what people enjoyed the most this inglorious year, on Saturday night (12/26/20), I posed a question on Twitter, Where was your best takeout/delivery meal from in 2020?”; over 200 people responded, including some from outside the DC area. 

I encourage you to take a look at the quote tweets and replies for more details/kudos and all the mentions, but with the help of a follower who compiled the mentions for me, below are the spots that were mentioned multiple times. Almost all of these spots do both takeout and delivery (multiple platforms; most spots that are on DoorDash are also on Caviar and vice versa since share ownership); the platform linked to on their website is listed. Remember to pick-up if possible (calling is almost always an option) and use the preferred delivery platform when not to maximize amount of money that goes to restaurant. For more Barred in DC food guides go here. For food writer picks from Eater go here.

Mentioned Several Times (roughly in order of mentions)

  • ChiKo (Dupont, Barracks Row)
    • Chinese/Korean
    • Website/ToastTab (Pickup), DoorDash (Delivery)
  • ABC Pony (Navy Yard)
    • Asian / Italian
    • Currently temporarily closed
    • GoTab (Pickup), Caviar (Delivery)
    • Weekly $50 dinner for 2
  • The Red Hen (Bloomingdale)
    • Italian
    • Website/ToastTab (Pickup and Delivery fulfilled by 3rd party co.), Caviar/DoorDash (Delivery)
  • Baan Siam (Mt Vernon Square)
    • Thai
    • Website/ToastTab (Pickup and In-House Delivery)
    • Current $60 2 apps, 2 entrees, 1 dessert, 2 drinks special
  • Unconventional Diner (Shaw)
    • American
    • Tock (PIckup) Caviar (Delivery)
  • DC Harvest (H Street)
    • American
    • Website (Pickup, and Delivery fulfilled by 3rd party co.), Tock for special events
    • Frequent special dinners
  • Taqueria Xochi (U Street)
    • Mexican
    • Website (Pickup, and Delivery fulfilled by 3rd party co.)
    • Tacos can be ordered for later assembling
  • Anju (Dupont)
    • Korean
    • Website/ToastTab (Pickup) Caviar (Delivery)
    • Frequent special dinners
  • Masseria (Union Market Area)
    • Italian
    • Tock (Pickup and in-house Delivery)
    • “Masseria a Casa” $85 dinner for 2
  • Rasika (PQ/Chinatown, West End)
    • Indian
    • Website (Pickup), DoorDash/UberEats (Delivery)
  • Cane (H Street)
    • Carribean
    • Website (Pickup and Delivery via 3rd party co), DoorDash/GrubHub/UberEats (Delivery)
  • Purple Patch (Mt Pleasant)
    • Filipino / American
    • Website/ToastTab (Pickup), DoorDash/Caviar (Delivery)
  • Medium Rare (Cleveland Park, Bethesda, Arlington)
    • French/steak frites
    • GoTab (Pickup), DoorDash/Postmates/Grubhub (Delivery)
    • Known for $26 steak and frites dinner. Been supporting community with free meals
  • Maketto (H Street)
    • Cambodian/Taiwanese
    • GoTab (Pickup), Caviar/UberEats (Delivery)
  • Thip Khao (Columbia Heights)
    • Thai
    • Tock (Pickup, and Delivery fulfilled by 3rd party co.)
  • Federalist Pig (Adams Morgan)
    • BBQ
    • Website/ToastTab (Pickup; check social media for discounts), UberEats/DoorDash/Postmates (Delivery)
  • Ghostburger (Shaw)
    • American (Burger/cheesesteak)
    • GoTab (Pickup), DoorDash (Delivery)
    • Located at Espita
  • RPM Italian (Mt Vernon Square)
    • Italian
    • Website/Chownow (Pickup), all delivery platforms
  • Fancy Radish (H Street)
    • Vegatable Focused
    • Website (Pickup), DoorDash/Caviar (Delivery)
  • Compass Rose (14th/U Street/Logan)
    • International Street Food
    • Tock (Pickup), DoorDash (Delivery)
  • Pupatella (Dupont, Arlington. other locations in VA)
    • Italian/Pizza
    • Website (Pickup), No Delivery in DC
  • Dolan Uyghur (Cleveland Park)
    • Uyghur/Chinese
    • Website (Pickup), All the Apps (Delivery
  • Laos in Town (NoMa)
    • Laotian
    • Website (Pickup, and In-House Delivery)
  • I’m Eddie Cano (Chevy Chase)
    • Italian
    • Website/Upserve (Pickup, and In-House Delivery; free delivery M-W w/ $30 min) DoorDash (Delivery)
  • Slash Run (Petworth)
    • American/burgers
    • Website/Chownow (PIckup) DC To Go-Go/UberEats/Caviar (Delivery)
  • Lucky Danger (Mt Vernon Square)
    • Chinese
    • Tock (Pickup and Delivery)
    • Slots go live at midnight each day. Sold out ASAP
    • Located at Prathers in the Alley
  • Old Ebbitt Grill (Downtown)
    • American
    • UberEats (Pickup and Delivery)
  • Albi (Navy Yard)
    • Middle Eastern
    • Website/ToastTab (Pickup), Tock (family-style Pickup)
    • $35-55/pp family dinners  (min 2)
  • Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (Downtown)
    • American/seafood
    • Website/Chownow (Pickup), DoorDash (Delivery)
  • St Anselm (Union Market area)
    • American/Steakhouse
    • Caviar/DoorDash (Pickup and Delivery)
  • Duke’s Grocery (Dupont, Foggy Bottom, Cleveland Park-Counter)
    • American/British/Sandwiches
    • Website/ToastTab (Pickup), Caviar/DoorDash (Delivery)

Mentioned Twice

Rooster and Owl
Brookland’s Finest
Happy Gyro (at Komi)
Panda Gourmet
Little Serow
Muchas Gracias
Ted’s Bulletin
Elizabeth’s Gone Raw
Rose’s Luxury
Sushi Taro
Beau Thai
Emmy Squared
Nostra Cucina
Queen Vic
Stellina Pizzeria
Thai X-ing
Taco City
Sticky Rice
Seven Reasons
Nina May
Sushi Ogawa
Tail Up Goat
Republic Cantina
Osteria Morini
BKK Cookshop
Pie Shop
Smokin Pig

New Year’s Eve 2020 Take-Out Options – Links to Other Sites

Every year I do a New Year’s Eve post to try to chronicle the plans of every bar open in DC, getting thousands of hits. But obviously that’s not happening this year-given indoor dining will be shut down and outdoor seating will not be allowed to serve booze past 10p.  As a result, many will be doing celebrations at home, including the New Year’s Eve dinner many like to do.  In the interest of not replicating work, here’s are links to all the worthwhile guides as well as some selected spots I found

New Years’ Eve

Some Select Spots

  • Chez Billy Sud: $250 – Dinner for Two package includes: A bottle of Cremant de Limoux, Cesar Salade, Velouté Champignons,Boeuf Bourguignon, Pommes Purée, Roasted Carrots, Baguette & Butter, Mousse au Chocolate. PIckup NYE 2-7p/reheat. (sister spot Cafe Colline in Arlington has similar meal)
  • Craft Beer Cellar/Denizens/Pizzeria Paradiso: $60 – salad/soup/pizza/cake with Denizen’s beer pairings. Pickup NYE after noon or delivery available.
  • The Line Hotel/Brothers and Sisters: $175/275/375 for two – NYE picnic packages. Standard option is charcuterie board and sweets, a bottle of Piper Heidsieck Champagne 1785 Cuvee, and choice of two bottled cocktails. Pickup 12/27-NYE

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


Despite Clamor for Shutdown, Harry’s Bar Received No Citations This Weekend

This post has been edited to include a question & answer from Mayor Bowser’s press conference.

Despite a stabbing that occured around 9p Saturday night nearby and a clamor from social media that it be shut down due to crowds of MAGAs and Proud Boys over the past several months, Harry’s Bar downtown received zero citations from ABRA (warnings, fines, or referrals to the ABC Board) over the weekend, ABRA told Barred in DC this morning.

According to the bar, they weren’t even open for dinner Friday or Saturday night. Owner John Boyle sent me an email unsolicited this morning stating:

We only opened Harry’s for lunch on Friday Dec 11 and Saturday Dec 12 from noon until 3:30 pm. We did not reopen at all in the evening. We knew that [there] would be large crowds and decided that closing before dark both nights was the best way to avoid problems and keep the staff and customers safe from Covid.

I realize that video from the street party and fights close by made it look like Harry’s was open and part of it but we were not.

A reliable source also confirmed to me that information they received indicated that Harry’s had closed by 4p on Saturday. Later today, Mayor Bowser seemed to confirm at her regular press briefing that this early closure was prompted due to discussions DC government had with the bar before the weekend. Full exchange below:

Washington Post reporter Michael Brice-Saddler: Lot of the skirmishes we saw out over the weekend took place near and around Harry’s Bar where people were also observed gathering in large crowds and flouting all the city’s masks restrictions. People were also stabbed nearby that location as you mentioned. So, is the city considering taking any action against Harry’s Bar, implementing any citations against that bar?

Mayor Bowser: Our understanding, and we’ve had investigators go out, is that Harry’s Bar was not open after 4:00 pm Friday or Saturday. This was part of our discussions with Harry’s prior to the weekend. So I don’t know if we can directly relate any of the unrest to the establishment.

Harry’s has been cited 5 times previously during Phase 2 (including multiple $1000 fines) but to the chagrin of many, they have not had their liquor license suspended as 11 other spots have been. Based on ABRA’s policy set in July and past precedent during Phase 2, this isn’t as surprising to me because they haven’t been caught serving after hours, offering live music/DJ, or playing music at higher than a conversational volume, which have been triggering the suspensions thus far.

Where to Get Hot Cocktails and Other Hot Drinks in DC

Boozy Hot Chocolates

Winter is upon us, and given that most of you will only be comfortable dining/drinking outdoors or takeout only, it may be helpful to know where the hot cocktails are located. Here’s an incomplete list, based partially on crowdsourced Twitter lists. Also consulted Washingtonian/Daniella Byck, and Eater/Tierney Plumb. Those with 3 or more options are listed below (references to cider mean boozy/mulled hot cider). Not all are to-go.  Again, this is an incomplete list. Linked sometimes to the menu but you can also Google.

Lots of Hot Drink Options

  • McClellan’s Retreat: fancy cocktails ($15) including hot toddy, rye/amaro/cider, mexcal/cacao syrup/hot, jager/butter syrup, boozy hot chocolate, rum/cardamaro/vecchio amaro/hot cider
  • Truxton Inn: fancy cocktails ($13) including hot toddy, rye/amaro/cider, mexcal/cacao syrup/hot, jager/butter syrup, boozy hot chocolate, pineapple rum/sherry/lemon/hot cider
  • Cantina Bambina/Snow Globe: Hot toddy with Don Julio Reposado Tequila, peppermint hot cocoa, carolina coffee, Irish coffee, mulled wine, cider (vodka, rum, or apple whisky
  • The Royal: $13 glass/$20 thermos: hot toddy with rum, coconut, spiced pineapple, angostura, citrus; boozy hot chocolate (bourbon, toasted peanut, dark chocolate, dried chile, orange zest, steamed milk: royal treatment (mole eggnog): mezcal, house royal mole, nutmeg, cinnamon, whole egg, steamed milk
  • Electric Cool-Aid (hibernating for winter): toddy, a cider, and hot chocolate, all with different booze combinations. Available in to-go singles or 4-serving containers.
  • Pub and the People: hot bourbon cider, bourbon spiked hot cocoa, pumkin spice spiked hot cocoa, hot toddy, penicillin hot
  • The Green Zone: 5 cocktails: Lebanese mulled win, Wadi Rum (hot toddy), Chocolate Toddy, coquito, classic hot toddy,
  • Red Bear Brewing: in person only: hot toddy, several varieties of boozy hot chocolate, cider
  • Walter’s: tequila infused chamomile tea, boozy hot chocolate, cider, horchata/kahlua
  • Columbia Room: $70 18 oz thermos (serves 3-4). Glogg, boozy hot chocolate with mezcal, Smores cocktails. Along with spirit-free
  • Hook Hall Viking Village: mulled wine, cider, hot toddy, Irish coffee (add boozy whipped cream for $2)
  • The Midlands: cider, boozy hot chocolate with peanut butter whiskey, Jameson hot toddy, Irish Coffee
  • Prost: Gluhwein (mulled wine), Apfelwein (hot cider), and Mexican hot chocolate.
  • Duke’s Grocery: Dublin coffee, Chai Toddy, Sailor toddy, Bourbon, pumpkin spice puree, nutmeg; cider
  • Calico: rum/spiced root beer syrup/lemon, Jameson cold brew;pumpkin spice/brown sugar/craeam
  • Trusty’s: Cider & 3 varieties Spiked Hot Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Butterscotch & Whipped Cream + Hot Toddy’s
  • Breadsoda: multiple hot drinks including Bailey’s and Jameson
  • Lost & Found: Hot toddy, spiked hot chocolate, cider, Irish coffee
  • The Salt Line: mulled cider, hot toddies, Irish Coffee
  • DC9: cider, mulled wine, Boozy nutella hot chocolate

Other Spots

  • The Roost: hot chocolate/chartreuse cocktail, hot mezcal apple cocktail
  • The Brig: naughty hot chocolate, cider, mulled wine
  • Red Bear: hot chocolate rumchata
  • All Purpose Navy Yard: Hot rum chai spiced cider
  • Jaleo: spiked hot chocolate and cider
  • Wundergarten: Spiked hot chocolate, cider
  • Across the Pond: Irish Coffee, hot toddies
  • Oku: hot tequila apple cider cocktail (on HH menu)
  • Sonny’s Pizza: cider, hot Penicillan cocktails
  • Lyman’s Tavern: mulled cider
  • The Board Room: mulled wine, cider, peppermint hot chocoalte
  • Medium Rare: cider (Woodford Reserve)
  • Le Diplomate: cider
  • Brookland Pint: cider
  • Brookland’s Finest: cider
  • Stable: Mulled wine, cider
  • Tyber Creek Wine Bar (hibernation next week): Mulled cider, Irish coffee, hot toddies and red wine hot chocolate
  • The Blaguard: cider
  • El Techo: infused tea
  • The Imperial: cider
  • The Game/Tiki on 18th: hot toddy w/ rotating tea
  • Tiki TNT: hot pineapple cider
  • Conrad Hotel: fancy hot toddy’s
  • Cuba Libre parklet: hot cocktails
  • Little Coco’s Hot Coco: hot cocoa (mezcal), cider
  • Garden District: peppermint schnapps hot chocolate
  • CHicken & Whiskey: cider
  • Archipelago: scotch, drambuie, mulled wine syrup
  • Astoria
  • Copycat
  • Chi Cha Lounge
  • The Betsy



$35 Million DC Restaurant Bridge Fund Application Now Live – Details Here

Today, DC made the application for the $35 million DC Restaurant Bridge Fund live. The application will close COB Monday December 28th (another week for restaurants in Wards 5, 7, and 8).  Grants of $10,000 – $50,000 will be provided to at least 700 restaurants (including fast food spots, cafes, delis, coffee shops, food trucks, cafeterias, as well as certain bars and breweries with tavern/restaurant licensees that receive at least 25% of their income from food sales) that were open before October 1st and suffered at least 25% decrease in revenue during pandemic. Spots must actually be open and operating for at least takeout/delivery now (and have a plan to remain open) to receive a grant; the at least 80+ spots that are not currently open will not be eligible. Note: Those spots who take a hiatus during the indoor dining pause are eligible if they reopen by the time pause ends on January 15th.

Funds can be used for:

  • rent/mortgage/docking expense
  • payroll
  • insurance
  • fuel for food trucks
  • utilities
  • expenses related to winterization or COVID-19 prep

Bars that don’t have 25% food revenue will be able to apply for the Entertainment Bridge Fund while breweries/distilleries with manufacturer licenses will be able to appy for Retail Bridge Fund (meaning all except Atlas-which recently changed its licenses, Right Proper Shaw, and Bluejacket are not eligible for this fund).

Funds will be issued on criteria:

  • Amount of economic distress
  • business viability
  • years/months spot has been revenue generating in current location
  • DC resident employed as of Sept 30th (furloughed/laid off don’t count)

Some other relevant restrictions:

  • If spot opened after March 17th, 2020, must show at least $25,000 in revenue
  • Max $10 million revenue for 2019 or max $7.5 million revenue in Jan-Sept 2020. Meaning Old Ebbitt Grill, The Hamilton, and probably some other spots will unlikely be eligible for the funds.
  • Franchises allowed to apply but must be independelty owned/operated.
  • Owners of more than 1 restaurant can apply for up to 5 restaurants
  • Pop-ups/seasonal restaurants with less than 12 month leases can’t apply
  • Sole proprietors that own spots (e.g. food truck) have to be DC residents
  • Bars and restaurants with club/multipurpose/nightclub licenses

A mininum 15% will be reserved for businesses owned by woman/economically disadvantaged DC residents.

Documentation that must be provided by Dec 28th include:

  • Valid basic business license
  • EIN verification
  • clean hands certificate
    • Means that business is not more than $100 in debt to DC Office of Tax and Revenue. More than $100 in debt is ok if they  are current on a payment plan
  • 2018 revenue info (if open)
  • 2019 profit/loss monthly statements (if open)
  • 2020 profit/loss monthly statements for Jan-Sept 2020 (whichever months have been open)
  • Employee numbers for Jan-March, April-June, July-Sept 2020
  • Employee roster as of Sept 30th: employee names, state of residency, full-time/part-time

The application also asks whether spot received other COVID-19 related grants and PPP loan, which implies that receiving other funds may impact amount of Bridge Fund grant.

Awards will be notified in Jan-Feb 2021 with money disbursed after that.

This info was taken from the following: