“Quoth the Raven” by our Intern in Mt. Pleasant – Tina


The Raven needs no introduction.

Ah, The Raven. For many, that phrase elicits little more than memories of High School English class, and that creepy bird taunting a young man over his lost lover, Lenore. For a few (perhaps a few more these days) The Raven has become symbolic of another love lost; the home away from home, the dark corner all your own, the dumpy little dive bar untainted by the masses. The Raven has seen it’s way through more than a few changes since 1935, most recently the building has been under construction to create some new affordable housing. But it’s still here, and it doesn’t look to be going away any time soon, as the management company (www.mannadc.org) doesn’t have any plans to get rid of the place.

Some friends and I stopped in for a couple drinks last night and I spent some time chatting with the bartender, Sam, who was just about as nice as could be. Like the dutiful “reporter” I am, I asked Sam what he likes best about The Raven and he told me it was the old school pictures behind the bar. Forgive me if I’m getting it wrong, but I believe the story goes something like this: A few years back a young woman moved to DC and came looking for The Raven at the insistence of her Grandfather (or maybe her Dad?) She stopped in for a chat with the bartenders and they got to talking about the place, and it’s history. When she reported back that The Raven was indeed still alive and well, Gramps sent some pictures of himself and his buddies hanging out at the Raven back in the 40s. And there it is, a little slice of history right on the wall!

13 Comment

  • I will only say this – being able to go into the Raven on a Friday night and get the back booth without fighting through a crowd and not have to deal with people who think they were in some kind of hotspot was one of the great things about the Raven back in the day. Those days are over, and I don’t get out drinkin’ too many Tuesdays these days.

    But honestly, there’s no reason for me or anyone else to get all mad or holier-than-thou about it – hey, if I like something, I shouldn’t exactly be shocked that other people like it too. It’s just a bit of a shame, is all. Frankly, I hope the owners are cashing in and buy themselves a nice fishing boat. God bless ’em after all these years.

  • I haven’t been there, but I can’t stand when places don’t take credit cards…its 2008! Get with it!

  • Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I won’t go there, or that it isn’t a great place. I got to tons of places that still refuse to keep with the changing times and take credit, but it is just so frustrating!

  • Hipsters.

    Preppy tools.



    Speaking of high school English class.

  • The Raven reminds me of Highschool all right. Because thats where I used to drink back then. God bless them for that. Being born and raised in DC (yes, we exist), it is a knee jerk reaction to hate on the flood of transplants that now overpopulate my old haunting grounds and call themselves locals after a trip to Bens. Not to mention the haunts that werent so lucky and were demolished to make way for condos and offices to house said transplants. But hey. Its a city. That’s the way it goes.

  • The jukebox is fantastic as are the drink prices. I haven’t witnessed a huge increase in the “Georgetown crowd” pre se, but the area population is expanding and the watering holes are limited. The Raven is a tiny joint so an extra dozen people makes a difference. I don’t know of a good solution other than hopefully an increased demand in this type of place will increase the supply. I would love to see more establishments like this open up verses a “lounge.”

  • if you really wanna get your money’s worth on the jukebox, you gotta play the 10+ minute guitar-virtuosity that is pfunk’s maggot brain… it really pisses off hipsters too 😉

  • These days I prefer Marx Cafe.

  • oops! Thanks for spell-checking, anonymous. I never said I did well in high school English 😉

  • The bars of mount pleasant are like mood rings. each one is suitable to a different occasion or sensibility. the raven is the place to go if you just need to drink: low lights, familiar and agreeable music, and lots and lots of cheap booze. no real distractions – no wall of TVs (Tonic) or inconsistent DJ’ing (Marx – although the DJs are often quite good). the raven is almost the platonic form of dive bar, right down to its refusal to sign a merchant agreement with visa or mastercard. priceless.

  • “what grill?!”

    Ah, there did used to be a grill there. The Raven stopped serving food in the late 60s (about).

    One night in the late 80s, I was behind the bar. A young couple, obviously new to the neighborhood, walked in and asked, “What time does the grill close?” Before I could answer, one of my smart-ass regulars pops out with “1968.” The young couple fled, and as far as I know, did not return. I felt bad, and managed to hold my laughter in until after I chastised Brian (the smart-ass).

    In many ways, the Raven I knew when I lived in Mt Pleasant is long gone. But it isn’t – there are still some of the same people around, and it still has a vibe much like it did in those days.

    One more story – there used to be (may still be, I just don’t get there at happy hour a lot any longer) a semi-regular that we called “the drunk professor.” He was a neighborhood guy who taught accounting at UDC. When he got drunk, he would stand at the end of the bar and recite “The Raven.” He thought it was profound.

  • The words misspelled are 5th grade issues, not problems for high school English. If a high school English class is reviewing this, believe me, it’s remedial. The apostrophe s usually connotes possession, like the preppy’s Dockers, not a plural marking. One hipster, two or more hipsters. Just a simple s. One of the biggest mistakes, and it’s so simple to get right, is it’s vs. its. It’s = it is (contraction). Its, with no apostrophe, is the possessive form of a thing, the restaurant’s menu = its menu, the car’s battery = its battery. But despite the errors that were distracting, the piece on The Raven makes me want to go there, or wonder why, when we lived in Mt. Pleasant, we never went there.

  • Friend of my dad used to live off Hobart back in the 1950s and was a Raven regular. He used to pickup the streetcar and ride it downtown. Back then, the area was mostly boarding houses, few with air conditioning, so on boiling August nights, folks would sleep out on their front lawns. The housing shortage was just starting to drive folks to the suburbs. Anyway, back then the Raven was run by a lady who fancied herself a torch song singer. She’d be belting them out on a little stage near the front window. According to my dad’s friend, she was godawful. Every Friday night there’d be a fight at the Raven. You could set your watch by it.

    The Raven’s still in business because anyone can come in, sit down, and have a beer. Eventually, the hiptard crowd will grow the hell up and move onto some other trendy spot and another generation will discover the Raven.

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