by Jared Holt July 21, 2015 at 2:45 pm 1 Comment

Bar Pilar

A 14th Street NW bar will celebrate the 116th birthday of Earnest Hemingway the way the famous writer might have.

Bar Pilar, located at 1833 14th Street NW, will serve a special menu of Hemingway’s favorite meals and libations tonight starting at 5 p.m.

According to Pilar’s menu, Hemingway enjoyed noshing on pickled mushrooms, chilled cucumber soup, lobster salad and rabbit stew.

Bartenders will pour five different tropical and rum-based cocktails such as the “Hemingway Daiquiri,” an absinthe-based drink called “Death in the Afternoon” and two different rum slushies.

Is this really what Hemingway liked to eat and drink?

“Hemingway once said, ‘The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them,'” said Melissa Gold, a PR rep for Bar Pilar, in an e-mail. “Trust us.”

Bar Pilar will also screen movies based on Hemingway novels on both of its floors.

Image via

by Tim Regan June 8, 2015 at 11:05 am 0

It’s no secret the Borderstan area is home to some of the most popular restaurants in the city.

During last night’s RAMMY Awards, put on annually by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, six Borderstan-area restaurants took home awards:

Four of the night’s awards — Favorite Gathering Place, Upscale Casual Brunch, Everyday Casual Brunch and Favorite Fast Bites — were decided by the voting public.

For Bar Pilar co-owner Jonathan Fain, winning an award voted on by the public made the evening feel a little sweeter.

“It’s a big honor,” he says. “It’s nice to feel loved by the entire neighborhood.”

“This one is especially important because two years ago, we went through some really hard times and bounced back from it,” adds Fain. “We’re really excited to still be open.”

The night’s other big winners included Del Campo‘s chef Victor Albisu, who won Chef of the Year, and José Andrés and Rob Wilder, who shared a Restaurateur of the Year award for their collaboration on ThinkFoodGroup.

by June 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0


Borderstan’s RAMMYS Winners. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Kim Vu. He also has his own food blog, DC Wrapped Dates. Follow him at@dcwrappeddates or email him at kim[AT]

Much like last year, Borderstan saw its fair share of winners at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s annual awards gala, known as the RAMMYs. With the vibrant theme “Restaurants in Bloom,” many finalists, awardees, and gala-goers alike showed up in garlands, boutonnieres and floral prints. It was in this festive atmosphere that our neighborhood was honored multiple times over.

The burgeoning 14th Street Corridor and its rapid transformation into a revitalized restaurant destination was a running theme throughout some of the acceptance speeches, most notably from the team from Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene winner Bar Pilar, who commented “when we first were doing the build-out for Bar Pilar, we had pimps come into the restaurant and ask, ‘what are you doing?’ And we’d say ‘building a restaurant.’ And they’d ask, ‘For who?’ Now we know.”

Neighborhood RAMMY Winners

The following Borderstan restaurants were winners last night:

  • Upscale Casual Restaurant – Estadio
  • Casual Restaurant – C.F. Folks
  • Neighborhood Gathering Place – Nellie’s Sports Bar
  • Hottest Bar Scene – Bar Pilar

Other Nominees

Borderstan also saw its fair share of nominees. Joining Estadio in the Upscale Casual category were fellow 14th Street neighbors Birch and Barley and Cork; and C.F. Folks had to squeeze past Bar Pilar for its Casual Restaurant award. Additional nominations also went to Dupont Circle newcomers Boqueria and DGS Delicatessen, and Estadio’s manager, Justin Guthrie.

Taking home the big prizes last night were Blue Duck Tavern for Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year, Mintwood Place for Best New Restaurant, and Fabio Trabocchi for Chef of the Year. Congrats to all the winners!

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by January 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0


Churchkey will host a Brewers Ball during Inauguration Weekend. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT] 

It’s finally here. The weekend District residents both cheer (drinks, patriotism, friends, holiday weekend) and fear (traffic, tourists, restricted parking). If you can’t make it down to the presidential ceremonies this weekend (or maybe your invitation to the Inaugural Ball got “lost in the mail,”) there are plenty of other ways to celebrate… mainly, in a bar.

Check out what the following bars have planned for Inauguration Weekend:

  • Ben’s Next Door (1211 U Street NW) will host a series of events to celebrate the inauguration. A Friday kick-off party (January 18) will feature drink specials and a DJ; Saturday (January 19) will focus on service – Ben’s will collect children’s books for donation, starting at 11 am; and Monday will heat-up with an inaugural brunch, starting at 11 am. For more information, visit the website.
  • Cafe Saint Ex (1847 14th Street NW) tweeted #fourmorebeers on January 15. Clearly, the local neighborhood spot is gearing up for a boozy weekend. Stop by for a taste of what’s on tap, including suds from Chocolate City.
  • ChurchKey (1337 14th Street NW) is hosting an Inaugural Brewers Ball on Monday, January 21, where gusts will be in the company of Allagash Brewing Company, Fullsteam, Schlafly Beer, Smuttynose, DC Brau, Star Hill and others. For more information on time and tickets, contact Churchkey.
  • Old Ebbitt Grill (675 15th Street NW) is a presidential dining house. No really. Like presidents actually eat there. Established in 1856, Old Ebbitt was a favorite of Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding and Theodore Roosevelt. It’s location (steps away from the White House) is the perfect spot to watch the weekend’s festivities.

Ben’s Next Door rings in another four years (Luis Gomez Photos)

  • P.O.V at the W Hotel (515 15th Street NW) has some of the city’s best views and tasty, swanky cocktails. Need we say more? The bar is open regular hours through Sunday, but you need a reservation to get in on Monday.
  • Bar Pilar (1833 14th Street NW) will serve beer-focused, politically named cocktails January 16 through Inauguration Day.  For more information, call 202-265-1751.
  • Boqueria (1837 M Street NW) will serve an American-inspired menu along with plenty of classic American libations through January 22. Boqueria will also have unlimited drinks and tapas on Saturday and Sunday for $35.
  • The newly renovated Nick’s Riverside Grill (on the Georgetown Waterfront) will serve up classy cocktails and spin tunes from 9 pm until 2 am. Come dressed to impress. Tickets are $15.

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by December 28, 2011 at 8:00 am 2,545 0

"Borderstan""15th Street NW""Clouds"

Tuesday, 6:15 pm: The evening sky over DC at 15th and Corcoran Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster or email her at [email protected].

Hard at work or hardly working? This one’s for you – the few of you toiling away in quiet buildings with no co-workers, questionable heat and no real motivation.

Borderstan Well Represented in ‘Top Standbys’

That may not sound too fancy, to be the best staid and true standby restaurant. But the list compiled by Eater DC yields something a bit better than your mom’s meatloaf. It includes Estadio, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Cafe Saint Ex, Bar Pilar and many other places that you’d be all too happy to make your Thursday dinner staple. May I recommend trying most of them this week, while crowds are typically smaller than average?

Double Rainbow!

The non-stop rain finally slacked off around quitting time yesterday, prompting a flood of Facebook and Twitter pics of the rainbow that popped out all too briefly at 5pm. It was a pretty impressive display. A few of our favorite can be seen here (snapped at the airport) and here.

What’s Up with the Bike Lanes?

Greater Greater Washington invokes the ‘paralysis by analysis’ line to  query what is taking so damn long with the city’s bike lanes. Is the Mayor, they wonder, commissioning so many studies to avoid making a decision or taking some action on additional bike lane striping. With L and M Streets stuck waiting for the conclusion of the Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street study, it’s hard not to wonder what is going on here, especially since the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has already done a study on these lanes. Politics taking a long time in DC? Color me shocked.

Lauryn Hill at Warner Theater

Readers of a certain age will remember a time when Lauryn Hill was on top of the world and tossing rhymes as the frontwoman for the Fugees. Well, despite her prowess behind the mike, life has taken some twists and turns for Hill. Notably, a bad dip at a Ram’s Head show that the Baltimore Sun brings up as way of introducing her new gig. The show is February 29 and tickets go on sale December 30.

Occupy DC Tent Makeover

The Washington Blade sent out their ‘Gaylarious’ crew to make (ostensibly) someone’s holiday wish come true. They went down to McPherson Square to make over an Occupy DC tent. Hilarity sort of ensues. It’s at least entertaining enough to kill five minutes of your day, as you try to bill eight hours for Minesweeper, making coffee and shredding some paper.

by August 1, 2011 at 10:55 am 2,399 0

Justin Bittner, Bar Pilar, Alejandra Owens

Justin Bittner at Bar Pilar.

From Alejandra Owens. You can find her on Twitter at @frijolita and her food blog One Bite At A Time. Check out her January restaurant profile of Bar Pilar.

Name: Justin Bittner
Restaurant: Chef at Bar Pilar, 1833 14th Street NW
Age: 30
Hometown: Baltimore
Current Residence: Baltimore
Tattoo Count: 0

Borderstan: What brought you to D.C? How long have you been here?
Bittner: I came to town for a job opportunity at Bar Pilar and I’ve been working here for four years and change.

Borderstan: Lots of chefs have a cause or nonprofit they support — what’s yours?
Bittner: I don’t have one.

Borderstan: Favorite dish on your menu?
Bittner: Crispy roasted potatoes with aioli.


by February 9, 2011 at 6:47 am 1,634 0

specimenlife Flickr Borderstan Connecticut Avenue NW

Northwest corner of Connecticut Avenue and Q Street NW. (Photo credit: specimenlife, Flickr Borderstan Reader Pool) 

From Michelle Lancaster. Got news for Michelle? Send her an email.

Sad But True Stories: Bike and Pedestrian Safety Hearing

TBD liveblogged the entire hearing, and there are some stories you shouldn’t miss. If you ride a bike, there are some horror stories to make you feel better about your own experiences. As a pedestrian, I am nervous of a few key intersections in Borderstan — the dog park at 17th Street in between Swann and S Streets in particular — and the stories of cars hitting people in crosswalks does little to alleviate that concern.


by January 11, 2011 at 5:30 am 3,182 0

Bar Pilar Logan Circle 14th Street NW Alejandra Owens

Bar Pilar’s bar. (Alejandra Owens)

From Alejandra Owens at One Bite At A Time. Questions or comments for Alejandra? Send her an email.

Bar Pilar has long been a favorite neighborhood watering hole, but last week it got a boost of publicity. With plans to expand into the upstairs space, more Borderstanis will be able to belly-up to a table and enjoy Chef Justin Bittner‘s unpretentious and delicious fare.

I’m a big fan of the brussel sprouts and lamb, pork and veal meatballs – but with the menu changing weekly it’s hard to pick a favorite. Have you guys been to Bar Pilar? Excited for the expansion?


by June 17, 2009 at 2:46 am 3,766 0

Let’s take a break from The Real World: DC and DC Council crime bills… and head over to the blog, 14th & You. The folks there had a posting Tuesday (“Partner of ANC Commissioner Attempts to Scuttle Saint-Ex Agreement; Goes After Policy Employees”) about the brouhaha over Cafe Saint-Ex, Bar Pilar and Policy on 14th Street NW, and the role of ANC 2B-09 Commissioner Ramon Estrada and his partner. (For background, it helps to first read the blog’s postings from June 6 and April 24.)

This story, as reported by 14th & You, is actually about more than just these three establishments on 14th Street NW. It is about our local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, city government, regulation of local businesses, liquor licenses, voluntary agreements and privacy issues–and how our city treats small business owners in general.

The story raises questions about all these issues, and they warrant discussion  in our neighborhood and our city. It is a discussion that is long past due. welcomes comments (even some guest postings) from ANC commissioners (including Mr. Estrada), community groups, city officials and residents of the DupontLogan area.

From 14th & You: “Partner of ANC Commissioner Attempts to Scuttle Saint-Ex Agreement; Goes After Policy Employees”



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