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Tag Archive | "17th Street NW"

Saturday: CTRL Featuring BreakfastClub at Cobalt


"CTRL"

The boys of CTRL. (Courtesy CTRL)

Chocolate and Peanut Butter. Vodka and Red Bull. Tequila and… well, anything. Two great tastes that taste even better together.

That’s what you’re gonna get this Saturday, June 29, at Cobalt, when the boys of CTRL, DC’s premiere electro, indie dance party, join forces with BreakfastClub, DC’s retro night that features the greatest hits, one-hit wonders, and remixes from the greatest decade evah!

The party starts at 10 and ends when Molly Ringwold makes out with Judd Nelson. For more info, check out the Facebook invite.

And for a little taste of what we’re going to play:

  • Adam’s preview mix.
  • Jeff’s preview mix.
  • Khelan’s preview mixes, here and here.

See you all at Cobalt this Saturday!

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Reader Poll: Where is DC’s Gay Neighborhood?


For the past three years, in anticipation of Capital Pride, we’ve asked readers, “Where’s DC’s Gay Neighborhood?” The Dupont-Logan area is the center of LGBT pride events each year, including the parade, which runs from Dupont Circle, down 17th Street and then over to 14th Street NW in the Logan Circle neighborhood. (See this year’s slightly different parade route.)

Click here to take survey: Where is DC’s Gay Neighborhood in 2013? We will share the results with you next week.

We ask the question each year because DC’s gay population has been shifting eastward and northward from the one-time center around Dupont Circle.In the 1980s it began shifting to 17th Street, on the eastern end of Dupont — after being centered along Connecticut Avenue and P Street NW west of Dupont Circle.

"17th Street "Cobalt" "Borderstan

In the 1980s DC’s gay neighborhood began shifting eastward to 17th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

As we have asked in previous years, “Does DC still have a single gay neighborhood?” Is the LGBT population spreading out across the city at a slow but steady pace?

In the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Borderstan reader polls, the top choice of readers was Logan Circle. Last year 38% in 2012 said Logan Circle was the city’s primary gay neighborhood, with “Everywhere and Nowhere” in second place, and Dupont Circle in third place — with Shaw making big gains each year. (Results of previous reader polls are below.)

Today 17th Street is still generally recognized as DC’s “gay Main Street” — and only a few blocks from the Logan Circle neighborhood. But, overall, is the Logan Circle area the new Dupont Circle when it comes to all things gay?

Here’s how Borderstan voters responded the past three years.

 
Where is DC’s Gay Neighborhood?
Neighborhood 2012
Reader Poll
2011
Reader Poll
2010
Reader Poll
Logan Circle 38% 34% 38%
Everywhere and Nowhere 18% 22% 21%
Dupont Circle 13% 12% 14%
Shaw 9% 4% 2%
U Street 9% 8% 6%
This is such a 1970s question 8% 17% 18%
Columbia Heights 3% Not asked Not asked
Other 2%  3% 1%

 

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17th Street: Morte Torium


From Dito Sevilla. Email him at dito[AT]borderstan.com, follow him on Twitter @DitoDC.

"17th"

17th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Last century, back in 1990 — before many of us were even born — the then residents of Dupont Circle were just beside themselves. They were deep in the throes of fighting a war. Their neighborhood was under attack.

Something simply had to be done to stem the rapid and unrestricted investments made in their community by evil, cash-hungry, noise-making, trash-piling restaurant and bar owners.

These greedy, profit-piling, pillagers came in — most of them foreigners — and started leasing and buying up empty, sometimes abandoned storefronts. They began, through years of hard work, clever financing, mutually beneficial partnerships, and other arrangements commonly employed by the “business community,” to transform them into money-making ventures.

Some succeeded, others failed. Some are still open for business. Most served a popular intoxicant, a liquid found throughout the world, an ancient substance with unknown properties: alcohol. What was worse, the owners of the storefronts, building, basements and the like also found themselves motivated by the much touted American dream of feeding their families, and making an honest buck.

So in one selfish act after another, they threw the deep love they were supposed to feel for their neighbors by the wayside, and they sold out, they rented space, or sold their land to these horrible people — to these bar owners. It just makes me sick.

That war begun 23 years ago has raged on, leaving a trail of casualties in its midst. Many of those residents are now dead. Those who survived are now 23 years closer to death, these veterans and heroes.

Though what one can imagine required the all-day efforts of countless retirees, the residents decided to take real action. Why fight each and every evil business person head on, why write so many letters, and voice so many complaints? That would have taken much more diligence than these sound-haters could muster. Even if they had time for it, which they did, why admit it?

Wasn’t it better to pretend they had to get up for work the next day? Well, of course it was. Rather than address the uncooperative, cash-rich, booze-sellers, why not abuse an element of DC government put in place after Home Rule was instituted in 1974? Why not manipulate the system granting Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, or ANCs ( they even sounds flaccid ) “great weight” in the granting of liquor licenses?  What better way was there for small group to influence entire neighborhoods?

In their lame fury the residents succeeded in beating down the wrong adversary. You see, rather than face the current threat, rather than engage in a conversation hoping to negotiate a peace with the existing “business community,” the restaurateurs and bar-owning scum of the era — those who caused them annoyance beyond convenience — they decided, rather than fight what was, they would wage a battle into the future, they would prevent more businesses from daring to open new alcohol selling businesses on their streets.

Not in their back yards, no ma’am. No, never again.

As they could not win against what was already there, the residents would prevent new businesses from opening. Brilliant! The new investors would be punished for the sins of their ancestors. Sounds fair.

Thus was born the East Dupont Circle Liquor License Moratorium, although it’s commonly called the 17th Street moratorium. It has come up for renewal every five years since 1990 — it is up for renewal in 2013 because the decision was made three years ago to review it again this year instead of waiting five years.

I walk past their success everyday. Empty, unpainted, uninhabited storefront after storefront bedazzled with fading “For Lease” signs. What a beautiful sight it is, their success. The little group of residents got exactly what they wanted. Their victory against progress took the shape of a moratorium, a theoretically temporary cessation in the granting of more liquor licenses, the success of which is obvious.

Twenty-three years later there are fewer restaurants and bars on 17 Street — while moratorium-free, business friendly 14th Street has been transformed into a thriving community. This moratorium, set to expire on September 23, after four extensions (each supported by ANC 2B) of it’s original sell-by date has severely handicapped competition. It has made the idea of opening a new business on 17th Street near to impossible — and the impact of that is real.

A quick stroll down from R street to P street will leave one wondering in just how much laundry, and pill popping our community engages in. Pharmacies, and dry cleaners outnumber restaurants. The lateral expansion of two highly rated, critically acclaimed restaurants was a highly contested, and costly affair. Both Hank’s Oyster Bar, and Komi were finally allowed to expand to buildings adjacent to their existing locations, but not before hearings, and meetings, and “listening sessions,” all designed to address the same complaints of the past, from the same five people — complaints that were never directed at either restaurant to begin with.

Whether or not this moratorium is allowed to expire is anyone’s guess. Eventually it will, but when? In five more years, when another five storefronts are empty? Residents and businesses must realize that the future of the neighborhood in which they live and operate in is at stake. Our street’s bars and restaurants have each been open for years — their owners and operators have proved themselves to be valuable contributors to the community. Any suggestion otherwise is insulting.

On our street the reality is, longevity is the rule. Annie’s, the Paramount Steakhouse has been serving burgers here since 1948. The Trio restaurant predates even that.

Jr’s Bar has opened their doors — and their checkbook — for our community since 1985!  Floriana Nestore bought the failing Mercury Grill in 2001, re-branding it Floriana, and it continues to thrive in the hands of her son. Generation after generation has proven themselves to these people, but it never seems to be enough.

Maybe as I age I will need enough medication and artwork to see the benefit of another pharmacy, and a third frame-shop on my street. But until then, I find myself hungry for something better. I guess I’ll walk over to 14th Street to find it.

The next ANC “listening session” will take place June 24 at 7 pm at the Chastleton Ballroom, 16th and R NW.

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Posted in Business, LifestyleComments (11)

Opening May 2: Mid City Artists Featured at Art17


From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.

mid_city_art17_coldwell_banker

Art 17 will be at Coldwell Banker Dupont, 1606 17th Street NW. (Courtesy Coldwell Banker Dupont)

A month-long show featuring 13 Mid City Artists opens Thursday, May 2 at Art17. The show highlights works by several Borderstan artists, including Scott Brooks, Michael Crossett, Gary Fisher, Sally Kauffman, Miguel Perez Lem, Eileen Lyons, Regina Miele, Lucinda Murphy, Brian Petro, Ron Riley, Marie Ringwald, Michael Torra and Robert Weiner.

Since Mid City Artists was founded in 2010, the group has exhibited and hosted open studios at Art17. The space, at Coldwell Banker Dupont, has been dedicated to displaying the art of DC artist for more than 10 years. Most recently, Kevin Duffie, who owns the real estate company’s 17th Street location, asked featured Mid City artist to be the curator of Art17.

While kicking of the spring art season at Art17 and the new collaboration between Michael Petro and Art17, the show also previews the Mid City Artists’ spring open studios. The upcoming open studios weekend will take place May 17–18 at the artists’ studios around Borderstan.

The Details

  • What: Art17′s Spring Art Season show featuring Mid City Artists.
  • When: Opening 6 to 8 pm, Thursday, May 2; exhibit on view throughout May.
  • Where: Art17 at Coldwell Banker Dupont, 1606 17th Street NW.

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Development at 17th and O NW Moving Forward


"17th"

Construction on the apartment building at 17th and O Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

Construction work on the apartment building at the southeast corner of 17th and O Streets NW is moving forward. Construction began in late December and is expected to be finished by next spring.

Located at what used to be a parking lot owned by First Baptist Church of Washington, the residential project of 220-unit apartment building is in hands of architect Eric Colbert of Eric Colbert & Associates.

According to Colbert, most of the units will be junior bedrooms (with some two bedrooms) and all apartments will be rental units.

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Tuesday: 17th Street Festival Kickoff and Fundraiser


"17th"

Tuesday: 17th Street Festival Kick Off & Fundraiser. (Courtesy of Festival)

September might sound very far away but Tuesday, April 2, the 17th Street Festival will have its Kick Off & Fundraiser event at Cobalt from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Come out and get involved with the 4th Annual 17th Street Festival while enjoying $1 Rail Drinks during the event, at 17th and R Streets NW. The tentative date for the 2013 festival is Saturday, September 21.

The 17th Street Festival is planned by the Urban Neighborhood Alliance (UNA), which brings businesses and residents together to develop innovative solutions to community challenges.

Additional details — including information on becoming a vendor and sponsor — will soon be available on the organization’s website.

  • What: 17th Street Festival Kickoff and Fundraiser
  • When: Tuesday, April 2. From 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
  • Where: Cobalt, 1639 R Street NW

We hope to see you there!

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BorderStyle: Bespoke My Heart


"Bespoke"

Bespoke: Michael Andrews is ready to measure. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Khelan Bhatia. Follow Khelan on Twitter @KhelanB or email him at khelan[AT]borderstan.com.

Well hello, Borderstanis. It’s been a while, I know. I’ve missed our chats about all things menswear, fashion and style. But I’m back now… pinky swear.

Now that we have the pleasantries all sorted out, let’s get to brass tacks. You know I love nothing more than a perfect-fitting suit… and I loathe nothing more than shopping for one. Department stores, even high-end ones, are filled with off-the-rack monstrosities that cost more than they should, uninformed (and often-times rude) sales people who couldn’t give you fashion advice if you paid them (and, hey, guess what? we are paying them) — and other customers who keep getting in your way as they try to find that perfect belt to hold up their pleated pants.

Remember: your suit’s your armor in this crazy world; life in the District can be stressful enough but buying a great suit doesn’t have to be.

Made to Measure

The Michael Andrews Bespoke studio. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The Michael Andrews Bespoke studio. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Luckily, our little borough has seen a growth of made-to-measure suit makers to help us unlock our inner Don Drapers in a civilized manner. The latest and greatest of these is Michael Andrews Bespoke, who not only offers made-to-measure suits but is a full custom clothier. Already a force to be reckoned in NYC for the past seven years, Michael opened up his DC location last October on the corner of 17th and Q NW.

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit his Dupont studio; as I walked in, I knew this is a place where I’d feel more than comfortable dropping a chunk of change for a well-tailored suit. Frank Sinatra was playing softly in the speaker and I was immediately offered a beverage of my choice.

As I was introduced to Michael, the proprietor of this lovely establishment, I noticed his sharp, finely cut three-piece navy suit (BTW, I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust anyone who looks sloppy). We sat down and chatted about the experience he and his team want to create for their prospective customers.

Appointment Only

First of all, you have to make an appointment, and the DC studio is only open on Mondays and Tuesdays. But what better way to start off the week than to strategize about your next suit? Especially with a drink in hand. Once you have your appointment… and your beverage, Michael and his team get to know you as a customer (hopefully a customer for life).

Why do you need the suit? Is it for work? A wedding? What’s your budget? (Made-to-measure suits start at about $1,000; full bespoke suits at $1,395). Then they help guide you through the 10,000 or so fabrics they have in stock, in addition to their vast collection of linings (I gotta tell ya, they have some very, very fun ones) and other details, like buttons, etc.

Once you’ve made your selections, it’s time for the measurements. A few weeks later, you’ll come back for your first fitting and then a couple of weeks after that, you get your brand, spankin’ new suit. All in all, it takes about eight weeks, but don’t forget, good things take time and a little TLC (and I don’t mean No Scrubs).

That’s it for me this time around. Talk to you soon!

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Posted in BusinessComments (1)

Timing Is Everything


From Dito Sevilla. Email him at dito[AT]borderstan.com, follow him on Twitter @DitoDC.

"timing" In the near 10 years I have spent underground, mixing and listening, advising and shaking, pouring and un-popping I have seen and heard a lifetime of celebration and sadness, mind numbing plotting, relationship building and ending, the excitement of newly minted, fresh faced, non-profit workers alongside their jaded counterparts and results of three presidential elections.

After 10 Holiday Seasons, 10 High-Heel Races, 10 Gay Pride Parades and thousands of guests, I thought I had seen it all. Then came Tuesday, February 26, 2013.

It was a nasty, windy, cold and rainy night. My little bar was blessed with its usual mélange of friends, regulars and neighborhood newbies, each angling for a seat at the subterranean watering hole at which I have chosen to leave my mark on the world of service. The evening began normal enough: wine, lasagna, two Grey Goose martinis, some gays, some girls, a man on a date, a couple in the window and umbrellas strewn about.

Around closing time though the door walked a woman, a young woman with that look on her face. That look which says, “Oh, you’re still open…” I wasn’t, but why should that stop her. Morphing my disdain into a smile, I offered her a seat, affording her ample opportunity to ignore every subconscious signal I sent pleading with her to get out.

I guess my smile was convincing; she quickly made herself at home, ordered some wine and did her best to ignore me ignoring her. As there were few conversations in which she could insert herself, I took it upon myself to do the part of my job I either love or hate depending on who I have to do it with.

I asked, “So who the hell are you, where are you from, what are you doing here, etc.?”

I used nicer words; she unburdened herself. I re-filled her glass, and then my own.

After a few minutes, her story went from boring to depressing. She is, or was, an attorney. She was just laid off, and has come to DC for a temp job reviewing documents, blah, blah, blah. I can now assure you: the only thing more boring than reviewing documents is listening to a story about reviewing documents.

Anyhow, while I knew that the past 30 minutes were a half-hour I’d never get back, I forced myself to be pleased I had done a kind thing, not letting this stranger-turned-new-friend go thirsty. All was right in our little world. No sooner had I sighed, “Okay, well… goodnight…” the door opened again.

Really, now what?

Audibly exhaling, I turned to make eye contact with a very wet, yet extremely distinguished gentleman. I would like to say it was kindness which edited my internal monologue from “And who the hell are you?” to “Good evening, sir. How are you this evening? A little wet I see. Well have a seat.”

But no, it was curiosity.

I love people, especially when people look like they’re somebody, and he did. I thought to myself, his bearing is dignified. His overcoat is tailored. He looked like the kind of man who thrives in all climates. Wind, rain, perfect! This man was born with the understanding that what makes a man great is his ability to adapt, to succeed in the face of opposition, and prosper, not in spite of it, but because of it. Then again I had made all this up in my head. He sat, ordered a beer. I began my paperwork. I’d be home in 20 minutes. No, of course I wouldn’t.

They began talking. And talking. There was a connection, a spark. Conversation flowed; I eavesdropped. He’s a lawyer too. She’s always thought older men remind her of her father (daddy issues). He has two daughters. She wants to relocate. He’s a partner in a firm. He’s going to Greece next week.

She spent a summer in Athens. She loves Dogs. He did pro-bono work for PETA. She just bought a new watch. He collects them… and on, and on, and on. After two hours of agreement, I could take no more. They exchanged numbers, he asked her to join him in Greece. She said, yes. When they returned, he said, there might be room for new talent at his firm.

Just as I was thinking how magical my job was, that my patience somehow allowed these two to make such a meaningful and powerful connection right there, all before my very eyes… the phone rang. No, no. Not my phone, hers.

It was her “boyfriend.” WHO?

I raised my eyebrows, rolling my eyes back so far I could see my own ass. I turned, daring not to look at the gentleman. I heard the sound of my teeth grinding as she indicated she’d be home, “in a few.” Oh dear.

The room became cold. Goodbyes were exchanged. Calls and emails were promised. His dignity impressed me. No sooner had she returned my goodbye nod she was out the door, across the patio, and onto the sidewalk. Luckily, I didn’t have to say a word. With a last glance at her name and a flip of his wrist, her card fell to the cold, wet, concrete floor. He asked, speaking to me with the same bearing with which he entered “I’d sooner hire my ex-wife to litigate. Can you believe that simple bitch.” It wasn’t a question. I didn’t answer.

So, while there is probably a lesson here, something about opportunity, timing, the motives of man, I still haven’t figured it out. But people, when you’re in a restaurant, silence your phones, because the next time your “man” calls, you might be in Greece, with your new boss. Next Tuesday, I’m closing at 11.

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Monday’s Photo: One Love


"Love"

One Love is by ekelly80 from the Borderstan Flickr pool.

Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.

Today’s photo, One Love is by ekelly80. The photo was taken on February 14. The One Love sign was advertising a party in the neighborhood, and was taken at 17th and R Streets NW.

If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from DC’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

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Posted in Arts & EntertainmentComments (1)

Trio and Fox & Hounds Sold


"Trio"

Trio Restaurant in February 2010. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Dito Sevilla. Email him at dito[AT]borderstan.com, follow him on Twitter @DitoDC.

Well folks, it appears the rumors are true. Trio has been sold along with Fox & Hounds, 17th Street’s most elegant dive-bar to long-time manager of its sister restaurant Trio. Both businesses officially changed hands earlier this month.

The prospect of an eventual sale was nothing new. For years, Trio and Fox & Hounds have been officially, or rather unofficially “for sale” through brokers and agents tasked with finding the right buyer for one of DC’s oldest restaurants. Trio Restaurant opened as a luncheonette by an eponymous “trio” of partners sometime in 1940.

Since that time, the restaurant has remained in the same family, some 73 years. Over the decades, owner George Mallios and his family expanded their luncheonette several times, first into a full-service diner, and then around both corners of 17th and Q Streets NW adding the Fox & Hounds “Lounge” in 1967, and Trio Pizza in 1973. Trio Pizza was eventually broken off and sold to Jaime Leeds of Hank’s Oyster Bar where it remains today, having itself expanded further down Q Street.

Of all the recipes served at Trio and Fox & Hounds, none are more vexing to me than their astonishing recipe for success. Having lived in Washington my entire life I have seen restaurants come and go, open and close, reinvent, repaint and renovate… but not Trio. As long as I can remember, the corner remains unchanged.

Sure the burgundy awnings are now green, and the faded mismatched plastic patio chairs are replaced as soon as they no longer support the weight of exactly one drunk person, but for the most part, no effort has ever been taken embrace change. I usually subscribe to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, but Trio has taken it to another level altogether.

Though you’d never notice, every year the wall-to-wall carpeting of the Fox and Hounds is changed out for (you guessed it) the same exact gray-tan-beige Astroturf. Drinks are served, as they always have, “English Style,” where the liquor is poured over ice, and handed to you with a small bottle of mixer, allowing you to add it as you see fit. The recipe only changes if you change it yourself.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you cut a hole in a wall and jammed a port-a-potty into it?  One visit to either Fox & Hounds bathroom will illustrate the result better than I could in writing. Although we are told that they are closing the second weekend of February until Tuesday at 4 pm to redo the bathrooms!

For all of it’s idiosyncrasies, dysfunctional pricing system, handwritten receipts, quizzical odors and so-outdated-it’s-new-again-décor, Trio and “the Fox,” as locals know it, are places where you always feel at home, (assuming you live in a bowling alley’s party room). One can’t help but let their guard down in a place where judgment is the only thing not welcomed. Chelsea Clinton chose Fox & Hounds as the place to drown her sorrows after one particularly tough break-up with her now husband. Tears and Jameson flowed, as patrons and secret-service agents looked on, both in horror. How could we judge?

As the next few months pass, the staff may be retained or replaced, the walls may change color, the bathroom may no longer resemble a jiffy-john, and with luck, the food may even improve, and under the right circumstances you may even eat it. But, remind yourself that no matter whatever the future holds for the corner of 17th and Q, it will always be Trio, it’ll always be the “Fox” and the tears of a president’s daughter will always be welcome.  On a block where Agora was Jack’s, and Jack’s was Le Pigalle, and Le Pigalle was Peppers and Peppers was Boss Shepherd’s — I know as much as things change, they will, too, remain very much the same.

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