War, War, Rumors of a War…

This note was posted in the Columbia Heights Listserv regarding the new wine bar slated to go into the corner spot at 11th and Lamont:

“I have not posted on here in a while, so not sure if this subject has been raised of late, but I wanted to find out if there were any other residents in the neighborhood concerned about the proposed wine bar for the Southwest corner of 11th and Lamont Streets, NW. I am adamantly opposed to it, primarily because I live in close proximity and am certain this will lead to late-night crowding, noise, and other pollution. While that corridor of 11th Street is zoned commercial, I doubt most of us want to see it turn into a corridor of bars. As a resident in close proximity of the business, I suffered enough from the trash and nuisance (horrible, overflowing dumpsters and lots of rats at my doorstep) when the location was a deli — I can only imagine it will be worse as a bar.I plan to oppose the liquor license at the hearing in September and would appreciate hearing from other like-minded neighbors. I am also willing to organize a petition drive.”

Well, I am willing to organize a petition of support to counter the author’s petition drive. Fortunately I think he will find it very difficult to counter the prevailing sentiment of support.

Heather Goss wrote a thoughtful response to this post:

“I can understand your concerns, but respectfully disagree with you. It’s not quite right to call this another “bar,” a la Wonderland. Yes, it will be open late, but it will be a more classy, sit-down wine establishment, not a rowdy joint. And I don’t see it creating any more trash than the deli that preceded it. Furthermore, it’s owned and being run by a foursome of guys who’ve established a number of fantastic venues around the city, not the least of which is Warehouse (Paul Ruppert), an art gallery/cafe/bar/theater whose closing due to the massive tax hike down at the convention center is a huge loss to the D.C. community.

As someone who lives off of Georgia Avenue, I continue to look forward to venues moving into the neighborhood that aren’t more huge chain stores or dumpy liquor stores. And along the same note, I’d really love to see anyone opposing this venue step forward (perhaps with some cash) with some suggestions of what should be there, because right now it’s an empty storefront, just another blight like so many others in the neighborhood.”

I obviously agree with Heather on this matter. So what say you all: Is there actually some controversy to a fantastic wine bar going into a commercially zoned strip?

163 Comment

  • I support the new wine bar, agreeing with Pop and Heather, and further, would like to see the 11th Street commercial corridor thoroughly revitalized. It will hopefully become a vibrant retail strip of locally-owned, independent businesses, restaurants, bars, etc.

    This is why I no longer participate in the Columbia Heights listserv: it seems dominated by the NIMBY, anti-everything crowd.

  • Awesome, Heather. I couldn’t have said it better.

  • The CH listserv is full of bright minds, between Dave “I’ve lived here for 20 years so my opinion is the only one that matters” McIntire and William “Jim Graham is the cause of all life’s problems” Jordan.

  • First of all. what the hell does this fool think it will become if the wine bar doesnt open? A yarn store?

    Honestly. Rally around this wine bar people, unless you want to see 11st suffer the same fate as mount pleasant street which if you haven’t noticed is a lot slower to rise from the ashes as other corridors due mostly to a lot of ass hats like this opposing everything. My advice to this guy is sell your house and move to a more residential area of town or to…. you guessed it. the burbs.

  • Could someone please post the time/location of the hearing? As others have said, the OP does not represent a significant segment of the Columbia Heights population.

  • I’m not too psyched about a wine bar. Decent priced coffee, and reasonably priced pizza is one thing, a wine bar is another.

    Personally I wouldn’t mind a decent deli.

  • The OP did flesh out his reasons more in a later post on the listserv. It seems to be a fairly rational argument to me and if what he says in point 3 is 100% accurate then maybe this spot isn’t best suited for a bar.


    In response to the points made below:

    1) I certainly do not want the establishment to remain vacant and I
    am fully in favor of small, independent businesses for our

    2) Fairness. It is not for me to compare the application for a
    liquor license to those other establishments. I do not live near
    them and was not impacted by their applications. I am opposing the
    liquor license based on the facts of this situation, not in
    comparison with others that may or may not have received a license

    3) I do not mind that it is a wine bar, per se, but it apparently
    will only have indoor seating for about 14 and rely primarily on
    outdoor seating. This will inevitably lead to a lot of noise late
    into the night, about 5 feet from the front of my house. In terms
    of trash, there is only one place for trash to be stored for this
    establishment and that is in a dumpster in front of the building (no
    alley space or access available). Regarding fencing, etc., I would
    like to know more. I would be slightly less opposed it the new
    management decided to put a relatively high fence between my
    property and theirs, in order to block some noise and potential
    loiterers (if there is a wait for a table, guess where people will
    congregate? My front steps. I will bet money on that. What will
    that mean? A lot of noise, loitering, and trash (especially
    cigarette butts since most smokers I have observed do not consider
    cigarettes garbage, somehow…)

    4) Track record of owners. I do not know the new managers and
    would not disparage their good name. I am sure they are fine
    people. I would welcome a dialogue with them directly. My
    concerns, however, are quite legitimate.

    5) I am not that concerned about “community excitement,” unless my
    neighbors in the community are also able to see the reasons I am
    concerned and work to come to a reasonable solution on how new
    businesses can be supported without impinging on the rights and
    quality of life of residents, especially those living in very close


    PS: I do not live on a commercially zoned street. I live on
    Lamont Street, which is completely residential. When I purchased my
    house seven years ago the location in question was a clothing
    store. The location never had a liquor license.

  • And so begins Adams Morgan Pt. 2, Revenge of the ANCs. I assume that when all of these people sell their houses to move to more quiet neighborhoods, they will forfeit their profit that is attributed to the increased value of being near a lively neighborhood corridor. Protesting a wine bar is one step away from protesting protests. If you can’t stand the mildest of noise that much, move to West Virginia. I live in front of a metro stop and a metro bus stop… I’ve yet to petition WMATA to change their routes. Perhaps the poster would like it better back when the hood was controlled by MS-13.

  • I had a friend who lived on that block of Lamont St. in a group house around 2000-01. They had people shooting up heroin behind their house and prostitutes turning tricks in their half-collapsed garage. The closest full service grocery store was the Safeway on Columbia Road in Adams Morgan, and any walk at night pretty much terrified her.

    Reflecting those experiences, I think the changes are very positive for the neighborhood, though I admit I wouldn’t want to live next door to a sidewalk cafe either. It’s a risk you take when buying next door to a commercial property…I looked at houses for sale in very similar situations (including one directly next door to the Hitching Post) and decided against them for exactly these reasons. Anyway, my advice to the homeowner would be to befriend the owners, and to the owners, to do your best to limit noise after designated hours and give this guy a lifetime discount!

  • I noticed that Col Hts doesn’t have a single McDonalds and I think that wine bar spot would make for a perfect location. I could serve as a real activity center/pedestrian generator just like the one at 18th and Columbia in the heart of my neighborhood, Adams Morgan.

    If it’s too small a space for a McDonalds then how about a Subway … neither of these businesses would have a liqueur license.

  • actually i was going to open a gun shop there to sell revolvers.

    might as well cash checks too!


  • First: fyi, Paul Ruppert of the wine bar, among other guests, will be at tonight’s North Columbia Heights Civic Association meeting to discuss plans for the space. A good chance to ask questions prior to the anc meeting …

    Steve P, is that a sarcastic post? If so, well done. If not, ummmm, I’ll vote for the wine bar over any fast food chain …

    Concur that if you choose to buy a property directly adjacent to a commercial / retail strip (as I did), you kind of can’t complain much when commercial / retail establishments (other than, say, a strip club) decide to purchase or lease space on that strip.

    If this wine bar is kept out, what sane business owner will ever even consider coming to 11th St. again, especially in this economic climate? A lot of the remaining vacant spaces are in rough shape, there are tons of other options between DC USA, 14th St., Georgia Ave., all of whom would die for a business like this, and the last thing we need is developers seeing this corridor as a place which just isn’t worth the effort or investment.

  • The rest of my comment is awaiting moderation, but just wanted to note in the meantime that Paul Ruppert of the proposed wine bar, among other guests, will be at tonight’s North Columbia Heights Civic Association meeting to discuss plans for the space. (Click on the link on my name for meeting details). A good chance to ask questions prior to the ANC meeting …

  • I agree 100 percent with the woman who lamented the addition of yet another bar (wine or otherwise) in Columbia Heights. We have enough bars, we need places that benefit the community as a whole. I’d much rather see at a minimum a retail establishment that could cater to people of all ages and not involve alcohol. What I’d really like to see is some sort of community center. If an organized effort was started to oppose this wine bar, I’d be interested. Anyway, here was the poster’s comment, she says it better than me:

    “I agree we need something there for the community but how is yet another bar, yet another restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages, going to be helpful to the community? You want to help this community, put a boys and girls club there, get funds to start an outreach program for the children and teens of the community, do something meaningful. Instead of opening up yet another venue these kids won’t be welcome at. I read emails from people who complain about crime, complain about the youth, and the condition of the area, but never have any ideas to make it better other than more policing.”

  • Ummm, I have a few more comments pending, but DCDireWolf, that is ridiculous. Have you SEEN the space? Obviously not. It is way, way, way too small for a community center. In any event, there is no shortage of vacant spaces for community centers. Putting a wine bar in in no way hinders your efforts (to the extent you have expended any) to bring an additional community center to Columbia Heights (and by the way, have you been to the gorgeous brand new communtity center on Girard St.? It’s great). The wine bar does benefit the “community as a whole” via turning a dilapidated space into a viable commercial enterprise that generates tax dollars which, gasp, fund public services such as community centers. Moreoever, no single business benefits the community as a whole, save for possibly Target and the Giant. Rather, every business fills a niche. Personally, I’d rather have a wine bar than a vacant space, but call me crazy. There are tons of other vacant spaces on 11th (including several on that very block), 14th, Georgia Ave … if you want some OTHER, unspecified business that you happen to personally prefer, why don’t you go ahead and raise some capital and rent out or purchase one of those spaces? In the meantime, leave hard-working entrepeneurs, who are trying to turn a vacant space into something viable and which will surely please many folks in the area, alone.

  • With respect to overflowing garbage, it sounds like a health code violation to me. Neighboors to such buisinesses should demand that they be strictly enforced. I wonder how many times the poster called 311 to complain? It sounds like the establishment will be more like cork or vinoteca than wonderland. It the noise get to be too much at night, again there are noise ordinances that must be enforced. There is no reason that a wine bar cannot exist in that location within the bounds of the existing laws and ordinances. If they not properly enforced, the perhaps some attention should be paid to fixing that situation.

  • Any sized space just about can be used as community space. I walk by the space practically every day as I live two blocks away. I’ve seen it, and I don’t want it to be another place to get alcoholic beverages. Bars and wine bars and whatever kind of bars only cater to a small demographic in the neighborhood and do nothing to improve the neighborhood as a whole. Instead it’s one more space that’s either legally or culturally off limits to the majority of the community. It’s a bad idea. Just because some people would LOVE a wine bar, doesn’t make it a good fit. We have lots and lots of places to drink wine and beer in Columbia Heights, we have very few places that cater to everyone else. I’ve looked into all the available spaces on 11th Street and they are priced to exclude anyone without serious amounts of capital or collateral already stowed away. That’s why you see local restaurant/bar chains snatching up spots, they’re the few that can afford it. It’s a shame. Greed wins over the community again.

  • I’ll probably never go to the wine bar but it’s better than an empty store front… that’s just my 2 cents.

  • I agree with DC Dire Wolf. How about something for the community as a whole?

  • Well put, New2CH. And honestly, while it’s not a locally owned, independent establishment, I think Target actually fills the need for retail that the entire community can afford. Marshall’s is pretty inexpensive, as is Payless, as is RadioShack, etc. What would you have put there or anywhere that would offer more for less?

    It seems to me that some, not all, of the people who are consistently against new restaurants and new development in general, always say that it doesn’t serve the community. So my question is this…why don’t you spend your time pushing to have these community centers, boys and girls clubs etc opened in one of the many vacant buildings that exist? Don’t you think that would be time better spent?

  • DCDirewolf, demand creates supply. If this wine bar opens, and I hope it does, and there is a supply of people to make it successful than it will be. If as you say we don’t need it and instead need “places that cater to everyone else” then perhaps you should fault the current vacant owners who choose to price their buildings at the prices they do. Perhaps those people who want to cater to “everyone else” should band together with some other “everyone else’s” and pool their resources so they can open whatever space they desire. These prospective owners have created the capital they currently have by meeting a real demand that is there and are successful because of that.

  • Give me an idea of something for the community as a whole. Less complaints, more ideas please. I am open to anything. A wine bar sounds good. A coffee and pastry shop sounds good. An Italian style bar that sells coffee and pastries in the morning and refresments and sandwich style snacks in the afternoon/evening sounds (yes that includes wine and beer) sounds even better, but it is probably way to low key to survive in this country. What else?

  • “legally or culturally off limits?”

    DireWolf, I am sure if this place opens, they will take ANYONE’s money. In Wards 7 and 8 they are dying for places like this. Count yourself lucky that places like this are opening and not dingy carryouts or a check cashing store. The rents in DC are too expensive for a business to cater to the youth in CH. The youth in much of DC do not have the type of disposable income to support the businesses you seek. That is why it is up to the parents and to a lesser extent the government to provide activities for youth.

    I see where this conversation is headed. Watch it needlesly turn into a conversation about people getting pushed out of the neighborhood.

  • I just had a great idea. How bout instead of being one of these aweful moles that move to a city and then complain when it changes and grows. The kind of people that have stalled smart growth in Tenlytown, a very under utilized metro stop that should be supporting a lot more density). How bout all you annoying NIMBYs sign a pact and agree NOT to oppose but whole heartedly support ANY business willing to locate to and bolster the 11th street corridor in exchange for all said businesses pitching and contributing to a fund to rent another vacant space for a neighborhood rec center.

  • There is a dingy carryout a few doors down from this spot, by the laundromat. I’d wager that the majority of people that use it, and there are a lot of people that use it, will NOT be using the wine bar, for economic and other reasons.

    How can you push for a community center in a spot if you have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes millions of dollars, in capital or collateral to get into a spot?

    I have no doubt that the wine bar will go in, be approved, and that it will be packed just like Red Rocks and Wonderland get packed with a certain demographic that often doesn’t even live here. I have no doubt it will be better than a vacant spot. But I also have no doubt that it will not improve CH as a whole and will not serve the majority of its residents. Hell, even another laundromat would serve the community better than a wine bar. Another discount clothing store would serve the community better than a wine bar. An after-school sandwich spot that doesn’t serve booze and catered to high school students and workers and residents who need a cheap meal would serve the community better than a wine bar. A day-care center, for profit or not, would serve the community better than a wine bar. An eye doctor or a dentist’s office would serve the community better than a wine bar. A toy store would serve the community better than a wine bar. A community theatre would serve the community better than a wine bar. An outpatient addiction treatment clinic or other kind of health clinic would serve the community better than a wine bar. There are countless other things that would serve the community better than a wine bar.

  • Thanks, Anonymous, you always say the best things.
    DC is clearly lost on those who would oppose this new wine bar, and what a sad pathetic existence that is.

    Where can I sign that counter protest petition!?!!?!!

  • DCDire- I went to DC public schools and we were ordered to go straight home after school. Due to fights and loitering that would occure at nearby after school sandwhich shop hangouts. Not sure if such rules are in effect anymore or if the aclu stepped in. is there a curfew anymore? Man was I PO’d when they passed that at the height of my highschool nights out.

  • I find the whole concept of a wine bar culturally insensitive. I want a icehouse where they serve domestic longnecks, have picnic tables, stray dogs, and a jukebox that only plays Willie.

    DireWolf is right. This town needs another “wine bar” like it needs another lawyer.

  • Anonymous- I think that if our ‘hood had what Tenleytown has, we wouldnt be having this conversation.

  • I am a neighbor on the 700 block of Lamont St who also works in the neighborhood. I welcome the wine bar and all other 11th St businesses, and I will be at tonight’s meeting. I originally heard that the wine bar would include a “charcuterie” and I would love it if some small sandwiches or meals could also be served.

    As for eye doctors, dentists, pediatricians, and gynecologists, may I remind DCDireWolf that we have 4 hospitals a short walk away at 110 Irving St NW. The dentist on GA Ave is also expanding into a nicely renovated space between Irving and Kenyon (near Jackson Hewitt tax place). But a toy store would be a nice addition — so would community theater. Has anyone been to the Spanish Gala theater at the Tivoli, BTW?

  • Odentex, I would welcome a sweet “domestic longneck bar” as well. That would be awesome. Don’t see why we can’t have both. As I said before, supply and demand…

  • saf

    All of you who are talking about a “community center” – the LAYC’s Art and Media house is right there, but when they do an art project out in the community, you piss and moan that it’s not pretty enough for you, and you whine that you’ve never heard of them and they must not be a “real” program. There are a number of very close places that serve the youth of the neighborhood, but only a small portion of those youth use those places. Rather than whining that we need more such places, how about you all put your money and your time and effort into supporting such places that already exist.

    As for businesses, I’m coming down on the side of yes, yes, and yes for this business. There are a LOT of businesses I truly dislike in the neighborhood, but they serve someone, so I guess they’re ok. Well, this one would serve me. So I like it!

  • I live across the street from this place. There is a “discount clothing store” right next door. It used to be a deli, a really really bad deli. That laundromat is disgusting, full of litter and loiterers. The wine bar, run by a group of DC residents who have a background of success, is much better.

    A community center? A boys and Girls club? A) There is a Boys and Girls club in CH, despite many closing throughout the city. You think the area can sustain two? B) I rarely see kids under 18 in this part of CH, so I’m not sure who you think it’d be serving.

    Also, I really take issue with you saying this place, like others near by will be “legally or culturally off limits”. Are you including Red Rocks? Or CH Coffee? Because if you are you’re either a racist or religious nut (possibly both) and I really can’t wait till you get gentrified.

  • “I really can’t wait till you get gentrified.”

    This sentiment pretty much sums up why a lot of people get pissed off about yuppie commercial development in CH and Petworth. There is a perception, however far from the truth, that the newcomers to the area like to go to “wine bars” and plan how to finish “getting people gentrified.”

  • I think the OP lives in the bright blue house on Lamont that was just renovated. Well, it’s hard not to count your chickens when you see an identical house on the market for $1.1 million. I guess the NIMBY forces would be nervous about a wine bar pulling down their home’s market value. But for those of us not living in million dollar homes, it is good to have some businesses in walking distance.

  • There is a LOT more to life than your home’s market value.

  • DireWolf has a point. The methadone clinic on New York Ave has really turned that neighborhood into a paradise. Perhaps we could combine the drug clinic with a McDonalds (per the earlier suggestion), and replicate the whole beautiful vibe of the Sursum Corda complex. Oh man, the possibilities!

  • Of course there is, but some people have shot a ton of holes in your argument, wolf. There are community centers, there are “affordable” retail options that cater to everyone. If you’re so intent on development “for the community” why aren’t you spending your time educating the youth about the options already available to them? Why aren’t you contacting your elected officials about helping the community more?

    Honestly, if you set something up where people in the neighborhood could volunteer their time, I bet a lion’s share of the people on who are commenting would come help out. Moreover, I bet the owners of the establishments you so despise would give their time and money to help you out.

  • That’s kind of exactly what bogfrog just said, DDW. If you want some kind of no-business dystopia I’ll sell you a prime condo in Pyongyang.

  • I don’t live in Columbia Heights, and I’m not really involved with this bar thing. There seems to be a lot of opinion back and forth.

    But I do agree with DCDireWolf who asked if CH really needs another bar. Bars are great, but so are fast food joints, convenience stores, big-box retail and every other type of commercial space. What make a neighborhood vibrant is a good mix of all types, without a saturation of a single mode of business. And bars/nightlife are an easy thing to open (I’m comparing to other businesses to start), and can be quickly profitable. Everyone knows how much a bottle of vodka costs, but no one has a problem paying 6 dollars for a shot of it. But no one will buy food, or clothing, or anything else at such a markup. We need to support these types of businesses if they’re ever going to be opened, because they aren’t going to happen organically.

    I like the eclectic mix of daylife, nightlife, bars, restaurants, retail, and yes, residences that U Street offers, and I’d like to see something similar for Columbia Heights.

    As for noise complaints, I’m going to ignore that all together. I moved to DC from Western Maryland (yes, practically West Virginia) because I wanted some noise. I sleep with no problem above a metro line, surrounded by bus lines, a busy intersection, and guys partying on the street. Get over it, use 311 and other resources to enforce noise ordinances, or if you want the convenience of city living without the hassle, I’m sure there are plenty of Single Family Homes sitting on the market in Rockville.

  • saf

    “I really can’t wait till you get gentrified.”

    Wow, that’s remarkably stupid. Look, I disagree with the wolf, but honestly, hoping someone gets displaced, without knowing anything about them other than they disagree with you? You’re as bad as the people who look at me and based solely on what I look like, assume I’m a “gentrifier.”

  • Non-business my ass. You can get a glass of wine in two, soon to be three places within a 30 second walk of this new wine bar on the same street. There is plenty of business. Not enough non-business. as usual.

  • “The methadone clinic on New York Ave has really turned that neighborhood into a paradise.”

    I don’t know much about New York Ave, but I know that a methadone clinic does a lot more to help people in serious need than a wine bar.

  • I would also add that it is likely that the majority of people in CH that would be opposed to this wine bar aren’t reading or contributing to this blog. You get a skewed sample in here.

  • “There’s a lot more to life than your home’s market value.”

    Yeah, there’s a lot more to life, but for most of us who own a house, it’s the most valuable piece of property we will ever have — so I would call it more a “big part of life.”

    And, I don’t need some preach about my kids, my wife, or the other sort … that’s a given that I love my family, but love doesn’t put a roof over me and my family’s head — so my property and it’s value are pretty damn important.

    We don’t all have trust funds to fall back on when mommy and daddy finally kick the bucket.

  • “We don’t all have trust funds to fall back on when mommy and daddy finally kick the bucket.”

    Exactly! And most around here don’t own their homes either. So another bar doesn’t really help or help the kids or help anyone except those with disposable income to relax with a glass of wine.

  • While my comment awaits moderation, one other thing:

    People asking for a wine bar in CH are also kind of saying “I like to drink wine, but I don’t like to drink wine at The Heights, LGL, Wonderland, Logan Tavern, Cork, Vinoteca, Chix, RedRocks, Pete’s Apizza, or anywhere else. I also don’t like to buy bottles of wine at any of the thousands of liquor stores, or D’Vines.”

    Search PoP for “wine”: 5 pages. I don’t think anyone is going to be stumbling around CH crying “Some wine! Some wine! My kingdom for some wine!”

  • Wine Bar people, it’s time to go visit the original poster and bring one of the cakes and some wine that you plan to have for the opening. This is no different than inviting your horrible neighbors to your barbecue, they won’t call the cops on you if you invited them first.

  • Moreoever, no single business benefits the community as a whole, save for possibly Target and the Giant. Rather, every business fills a niche.

    a very wise statement and one that bears repeating.

  • Saf, you enjoy living near racists and religious nuts? (I assume DDW is, so he wouldn’t mind)

    I don’t, and I take solace in the Big Sort coming.

  • DireWolf, I am sure if this place opens, they will take ANYONE’s money.

    If a bar takes the money of teenagers they’ll be out of business pretty quickly, no?

  • To those who say Columbia Heights has enough bars: On what basis do you think this? How many “bars” do we have? I can think of one: Wonderland. Red Rocks is a restaurant. The Looking Glass is technically in Petworth. The Red Derby is in 16th Street Heights. Honestly, I think our neighborhood is UNDERSERVED by night spots. Is there something illegitimate about places to eat and drink? Just because you don’t seem to like such places, doesn’t mean that they aren’t important to many others in the community. Personally, I couldn’t care less about such things as ice cream and cupcake shoppes, but I am guessing you would prefer something like that to a bar despite the fact that it serves only a subset of the community.

    DcDireWolf, if you agree that the wine bar will be successful, then why on earth would you oppose it? What’s wrong with people from other places coming to spend their money in our community? It creates jobs, and creates opportunities for other businesses to open, and improves safety by generating more foot traffic.

    As others have noted: Mt. Pleasant is the shining example of what happens when the community resists development. Mt. Pleasant Street blows.

  • saf

    DCer, I have to disagree. I think no business at all benefits the community as whole, except in terms of its contribution to our tax base. (I hate and boycott Target. I like Giant, but I am sure there are those who hate and boycott Giant.)

    So, I would revise that to: No single business benefits the community as a whole. Rather, every business fills a niche.

  • Rather than whining that we need more such places, how about you all put your money and your time and effort into supporting such places that already exist.

    I am very active in my PTA and let me tell you, many such places would really like you to go to Target’s Back To School sale and buy a dozen boxes of crayons and a dozen things of elmer’s glue and bring them in for donations. Some of them even want your old computers!

  • “And most around here don’t own their homes either. So another bar doesn’t really help or help the kids or help anyone except those with disposable income to relax with a glass of wine.”

    Oh I see. You’re a communist. Having disposable income is now a crime. Must every business help the kids and save the world?

    Seriously. This is a terrible argument. Most businesses are just businesses, and many in our community actually do give a lot back in different ways. We need businesses, too. If there is a demand for wine bars, then what possible harm is there in adding something to the community that makes it a more interesting place to live for those of us who dare to have disposable income.

  • Exactly! And most around here don’t own their homes either. So another bar doesn’t really help or help the kids or help anyone except those with disposable income to relax with a glass of wine.

    Right, but the people who own their homes are better for and more important to a community than renters. Sorry, but that’s a cruel fact of sociology and it’s driven US government policy for 50 years. Just to be clear, it’s a fact and not an opinion even though it’s a rough fact of life. So… while it’s not fair, isn’t it proven to be more important for a community to lock people into a home they own than not? And what does that mean if they’re currently a minority, but in 5 years homeowners will be a majority?

    I mean, renters are basically bad for a community and should be discouraged. Knowing that from countless studies, how does that affect these decisions.

    In MTP there’s all kinds of crazy demographics because the density of people living in apartments is higher than homeowners. But the people who rent just don’t stay very long, so the only people who are involved in long-term planning own.

  • (I hate and boycott Target. I like Giant, but I am sure there are those who hate and boycott Giant.)

    Considering that Target completely rebuilt the school libraries at Bancroft elementary and um… what was the other school on Georgia Ave?, I’d say that you must hate DC children. Would you say that’s a true statement?

  • heather and PoP are right–good luck

  • Why is it that any proposed private commercial development in CH inevitably draws the response of “that should be a community center instead”? (street-level retail at Allegro, this wine bar, etc.) CH needs private investment, and it has benefited greatly from it, as anyone who was here pre-2005 can attest. Let the private business owners come up with a business plan that works for them. Don’t expect that they owe CH anything, other than responsible membership in the community, and let them know that they will be held accountable to being good neighbors through persnickety enforcement of regulations on noise, trash, etc..

    Do we need private investment? Of course. Is private investment going to chase the money? Of course. Eventually, and probably soon, 11th Street and its denizens will be over-served with wine and high-end pizza, the would-be wine bar owners will see less of an opportunity and lose interest in the area, and the would-be toy store/dentist/clothier will see an opportunity to make money and serve another demographic slice of the community. And they’ll want to make money, too — that’s just how it works. Unless investors are taking some benefit from public resources (like all the city-owned lots on 14th Street that now house DCUSA & Co.), the expectation that they should serve some greater public need is fairly misplaced. That’s the difference between for-profit and non-profit.

    I’ll just finish this by noting that it’s interesting that the OP on the Yahoo group was worried about his own investment, nothing else. He has legitimate concerns that should be addressed early and often with the wine bar’s owners, but he certainly wasn’t pretending to have some greater community interest in mind.

  • Anonymous, it didn’t work the way you suggest in Adams Morgan, which someone pointed out somewhere used to look a lot like 11th Street looks now.

  • Regardless of whether people want to shop at Target, they very clearly “benefit the community as a whole”, by both offering necessary goods at decent prices AND donating 5% of their profits to education and community causes.

    As for the wine bar, I have to agree with the sentiment that NIMBY politics more often than not hurt the community as a whole. Mt. Pleasant is a fair example. I don’t blame the OP for not wanting a drinking establishment so close to his house, but venture to suggest he wouldn’t be raising a stink if it were a few blocks away….

  • DCdire- when did you move here? I have lived in Adams Morgan my whole life and dont recall it ever looking like 11th street. The difference being that 11st was basically filled with vacant properties before the recent interest. Adams Morgan gentirfied and 11th street is too. But that is the only similarity. 18th street was more like Mount Pleasant St if you want to make a comparison although it always had restaurants and nightlife.

  • Community centers are geared towards kids. I’m an adult and I don’t have any kids. While I appreciate the need for community centers (uh, and I guess a place to vote and have ANC meetings, which is already covered where I live), the idea that they serve everyone isn’t true. It does nothing for me.

    I don’t want another community center. I would appreciate it, however, if the supposed $15 million renovation of the existing Petworth library would get moving. And meanwhile, you’ll find me at the new wine bar in CH!

  • What makes something “culturally” off limits, by the way? And if it’s what I think you’re driving at, DCDW, aren’t there lots of places in CH that are “culturally” off limits to the Red Rocks/CH Coffee/Wine bar set?

    Niches, niches everywhere.

  • DCDireWolf – I still don’t see any alternatives. That space is privatley owned, whoever has purchased it has to pay the rent. What would you propose they do? Can you offer an alternative business plan that will offer the same return on investment they are forecasting to those helping to finance? If you say community center, who is going to pay the mortgage? Who will pay the staff. I think it is fine to oppose this, but you still have not offered an alternative. In all due respect, the commercial coordiors of this city, as well as most other cities, rich and poor are lined with bars and restaruants. Why should your beloved street, which is zoned commerical be any different? All I hear are complaints and not a single solution.

  • I see people making negative comparisons with other neighborhoods on both sides — Mount Pleasant and Tenleytown as the underdeveloped and Adams Morgan as the badly developed. I’m wonder what neighborhoods are a positive example of development. If Dupont, Georgetown, or Logan are positive examples, what kind of businesses came there first?

  • I fully support the new wine bar but have a quick, somewhat off topic, question…
    “I live on that block of 11th”: You said that you rarely see kids under 18 in Columbia Heights. How is that possible? I see kids on 11th street, especially my block of Otis all the time. Most of them are totally cool and seem to love living in a neighborhood with other kids around. In fact, my housemates and I got invited to the birthday party of the coolest 7 year old in columbia heights who lives at the end of our block and returned the favor to her (and her parents) when our party came around.
    So, between seeing kids walking to school, playing and just generally hanging out, and the fact that there is a school in the area, I have no idea how someone could miss that fact. I work with youth a lot, and I have to say that there is a pretty big misconception that our urban area isn’t “family oriented.”
    That being said, I am sure many a parent in this neighborhood is glad to see more commercial development rather than the vacant buildings that just ask for trouble…

  • I would like to point out that a Wine bar will employ a kitchen staff of more likely than not local low income people. Where as a I dont know store that gives away school supplies to the needy would emply 1 and fail in a Day. The world just isnt perfect DCDireWolf. Just your moving here from wherever you are from along with others has raised rents. I dont expect you to move out of the neighborhood for the good of those who came first

  • If things continue the way they have in CH, I’ll be moving out a lot sooner than I wanted to. But I doubt that those who came first will be moving into my house.

  • DCDireWolf: there is more than enough community space in the area. There’s the Mt. Pleasant Library, the community center at 15th and Girard, the Dance Institute, the Boys and Girls club, the various schools, LAYC, Upper Cardozo Health Center, and so on and so on. The neighborhood does NOT have a wine bar, and it’s a perfectly good use of the site. It should develop a nice synergy with Red Rocks and Wonderland. On all the various listservs and blogs, you repeat your little tirades against retail and in favor of more community services of an undetermined nature, and it’s growing tiresome. It sounds like you would prefer to live in a retail-free worker’s paradise, North Korea maybe?

  • Tiresome to you I understand, just as the unrestrained excitement for new, unneeded, bars and high end retail shops is tiresome to me and many others in the neighborhood. Red baiting seems a little silly, no?

  • DCDW- Where will you move H Street and start complaining on the Frozen Tropics blog when Joe trys to open another place. Just think of all those bars and restaurants and the jobs they have created. To think they could still be abandoned storefronts.

  • Why does something have to be a bar or alcohol serving eatery/establishment or an abandoned storefront? It’s not an either/or is it? Can’t another kind of business go in other than something we already have too much of?

  • I was using the example of H Street. No thriving community spaces were harmed in the making of those places they were vacant. as was the bi rite building that will soon be home to another evil restaurant and another handful of jobs. In order for the types of places you want you would have to lobby DC to supplement the rents for places that DCDW wants in his community but make no money to pay rents.

  • I’m more of an “invisible hand” kind of guy, DCDW. If this wine bar suceeds, then we obviously don’t have too many of these establishments. Others on here have already essentially said this. It’s just simple economics.

  • Just as I thought. Just bitching. DCDW, I think your plan to move out of the area is a good one. It is clear that you are not very compatible with the direction of the neighborhood. Personally, I moved to the Petworth area because I wanted to be a part of a neighborhood that blossomed with things like wine bars, pizza restaruants, and organic food markets. There are community centers that are not maintained or well run. Why add more decay. Why not support local businesses coming in. All these things make the neighborhood a better place. I would love to see that space become a bakery that makes fresh bread, but there is no money in that. I will happily accept a wine bar instead. The engine of the local economy are 20 and 30 somethings with disposable income. Wine bars and other restaruants that happend to serve beer are where they like to spend their money. So that is what we are going to get…for now. Things do change.

  • Getting an alcohol license in DC involves many hands, invisible and otherwise, and they’re usually greased. Simple economics don’t exist. If they did, DC would have had many more grocery stores and a lot less bars and condo buildings years ago.

  • “The engine of the local economy are 20 and 30 somethings with disposable income.”

    yet that demographic continues to be a minority in CH and Petworth, yet all the development is aimed at them. and that vocal minority gets all out of sorts when someone speaks up for the silent majority.

  • Completely Off Topic:

    I knew that by the time we passed 70 comments, communism was going to slip in here eventually. It’s the Seventy Comment Communism Theory!

  • Way to miss the point. I’m talking about after the place opens. You say there are too many of these places, but if people want and are willing to pay for their products and services, then you’re actually wrong.

  • Are you anti environment DCDW? Without Condo Buildings and smart vertical growth there would be sprawl which is horrible for the environment. Try and think of the children here man. sheesh.

  • If a McDonalds opened up tomorrow in the same spot the wine bar goes, it would be used extensively and people would be willing to pay for the products and services.

    Does that mean it’s a good fit for the neighborhood and necessary? How about all the liquor stores that do well?

    Just because a place is used and makes dough doesn’t make it a good thing.

  • Ugh. Talking with you is like banging my head off a wall. Of course most of the development is aimed at the people spending the money! How else can a business survive?!?!?!?!?!?

    If you don’t like that, then contact your public officials rather than wasting time arguing with people on this blog!

  • if no condo buildings were built rents would be duble what they are now. again. more of the people you are trying to help would be forced out as there would only be so many places to live and many many transplants like yourself vying for them

  • Columbia Heights is one of the largest neighborhoods in the city and yet has only one real bar, not counting Petworth bars. We deserve and need a wine bar. And other bars and restaurants. Keep them coming.

  • I would argue that a Micky D’s is WAY worse that the wine bar. The added health care costs to soceity are huge. The people who frequent the Micky D’s will probably at some point suffer high blood pressure, diabetees, heart disease or all three. They will undoubtably not have health insurance. The coase will be paid through Medicare and Medicaid. I don’t think a wine bar would have anywhere the negative helth impact that a MacDonalds would have.

    Those 20 or 30 somethings may be a minority, but they represent a vast majority of the disposable income.

    Again DCDW you bitch and moan, and don’t provide an alternative. What do you want to do with the space to pay the rent? Someone has to pay the bills.

    BTW I don’t think MacDonalds would consider that space, as 11th street does not have the traffic flow to support a franchise.

  • there is a closed school on kenyon st. between sherman and gerogia that would make a kick ass community center i wonder if the neighbors in that area would start complaing about all the negative possibilities in that situation and start praying for a serene little wine bar?

  • that school is being rehabbed and will re-open as a Cesar Chavez charter school for public policy.

  • Culled from the Yahoo! listserv discussion on this topic, I’m curious about the veracity of this statement. If true, it seems to be a pretty legitimate point (and maybe worthy of PoP investigation). Are existing community facilities being underused?


    Re: children activities

    I am against more children centers and can’t stand the thought of another community center. Look at Banneker pool & community center with free air hockey, free pool table, free table tennis, available basket ball courts, ready -to – play tennis courts, and a wonderful pool AND 12-8 PM operating hours. Note that there are very, very, very few children that attend and utilize the facitlity. Therefore, creation of another children’s area is unwarranted given untapped supply with existing facilities. I don’t get the families in this area: Children programs are there with plenty of activities and parents/teens/children (for the most part) are not utilizing them! The ones that do are quite cordial and it’s a lot of fun.

  • Seems that a lot of people are (probably intentionally) missing the points of the complainant.

    Trouble is, MPD officers do not do their jobs; opening a wine bar in an absolutely inadequate building just creates an attractive nuisance next to this poor guy’s house. Ideally, the owners would be considerate with their garbage. Ideally, patrons of this joint would stay reasonably sober and classy, keeping their patio noise to a minimum. And, ideally, the District could step in and mete out some punishment if the owners and patrons won’t comply with laws and regs. But that just doesn’t happen in this town (and unless there’s a real sea change brought on by taxpayers who speak up when they see wrongs, there’s no reason to think it’ll happen).

    Seems that a homeowner is in a bit of a tight spot and there are a lot of selfish people who’d rather think of their enjoyment of a few glasses of wine than of the plight of someone who’s essentially a peer and neighbor.

  • I would add to that, the Raymond Rec Center, site of PoPs newly discovered tennis courts. The Rec Center appears to be the site of an open air drug market, but that’s WAY better than a wine bar!

  • Additionally, while it’s just madness to think that a laundromat or community center of some kind would be a good fit in that tiny little corner building, it would be nice to see a little more diversity in that stretch of 11th Street. Say, a take-out food establishment that’s not disgusting?

    I’ve had the predicament of being in that block of 11th before and looking for a place to eat — it’s a wasteland up there. Mayorga is probably the best bet for a.) decent food, and b.) service from someone whose demeanor and body language don’t suggest they could do without my business. And Mayorga’s a bit of a mission for someone on 11th who wants a quick bite (let’s not pretend Red Rocks is an option — their food is god-awful and their service is worse).

    There’s no reason — aside from greed — to force a sit-down establishment into such a limited space as this corner building. Some investor could do well with an upscale take-out business. It sounds as if residents are so excited to replace an empty storefront that they’ll accept any new neighbor, rather than holding out for something that will benefit the neighborhood, neighbors, and the building itself. Bad choice.

  • Can we move this as yet non-existent wine bar to the SuperSave location in Mt. Pleasant? Seems like you guys don’t want it. Thanks.

  • Don’t let a few naysayers let you think that we don’t want it. We want it.

    CP, it’s your opinion that Red Rocks is awful, but judging by how many people are there when I go, there are plenty of people who disagree with you. And wine bars don’t really need that much space. Yeah, it could be a little bigger, but this space should work just fine. Guess we’ll find out soon.

  • CP – thanks for making the point that I made, oh 80 posts ago on lax enforcement, but lets not through the baby out with the bathwater. We should demand that ordinances be enforced. Just like we need to demand that our community centers and green spaces be clean and safe places that are utilized. If they are not, it is incumbant on the city to understand why they are not and make necessary changes. Hold these people accountable.

  • saf

    Wow – this thread is crazy. So:
    “Considering that Target completely rebuilt the school libraries at Bancroft elementary and um… what was the other school on Georgia Ave?, I’d say that you must hate DC children. Would you say that’s a true statement?”

    Nah, not true. I won’t go into Target because they are anti-woman.

    Now, what was the other one? Oh, yeah:
    “you enjoy living near racists and religious nuts? ”

    No, I wouldn’t enjoy that. But since I don’t, I am afraid that it has nothing to do with the conversation here.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    DCDirewolf: PoP will not be used in any way to facilitate your opposition of the wine bar. If you’d like to oppose it God bless but I’m not going to help you. I suggest you appeal to the Columbia Heights Listserv.

  • Seems that a homeowner is in a bit of a tight spot and there are a lot of selfish people who’d rather think of their enjoyment of a few glasses of wine than of the plight of someone who’s essentially a peer and neighbor.

    You have that backwards, the single homeowner raising this complaint is being selfish, not the hundreds of patrons of a restaurant. You literally have it 100% backwards. Please do the math (100s of people vs 1 person) and tell me how your definition of “selfish” fits into that mathematical equation. It’s literally laughably bad logic.

  • ladies and gentlemen, our first official Troll on PoP:


    Please take time to consult this link:


    The best policy for dealing with a Troll is to not engage them.

    “don’t feed the trolls, people!”

  • oops, sorry, reposted before you replied POP, thought it was just a glitch based on the email address. go ahead and delete it. it’s your blog, your rules, and I’m happy it exists. peace.

  • I’m not a troll, i just have an opinion that differs from most, but not all, on here. *shrug*

  • It’s a conundrum. I find myself agreeing with lots of these posts on both sides. Speaking of Petworth, where I live, I would love to see more development, sure, and faster. But so have many of the residents who have lived there much longer than I. That might be one thing DCDW is saying – yoga/wine places aren’t really what they’ve been missing for 30 years. It seems to me that most new things are geared towards the newer residents who supposedly have disposable income to spend there — nothing wrong with that. But having spoken to some of my neighbors, many of whom do not have tons of extra income, they too would like to have someplace to go, somewhere middle of the road, and I have to agree with them – I would too. A new wine bar would be fine, even though I’d probably never go there (for all the tax/business/foot traffic reasons cited above). Very generally speaking, right now there’s a wide gap between the pre-existing businesses that are maybe grungy (liquor stores, take-outs) or are very niche businesses (nail/hair, funeral parlor) and some new ones that are also niche-ey or somewhat pricey – and to me they are all okay and serve their purpose. Why is it either/or? Where’s the happy medium? I’d be thrilled with some no frills comfy place with good food (and yes, some cheap beer), affordable/accessible to the longtime young and old residents and attractive to those newish people like me (5 1/2 years) who would prefer a burger and a Bud to a yoga session and French wine and charcuterie. So, yes, bring on the wine bars, but how about some burger/beer/bbq places (for example) too?
    (BTW, Beveragemania, anecdotally speaking, seems to be doing awesome business).

  • Thanks DCer, you made my point exactly.

  • i agree with jessinmtp, that is a perfect idea for the supersave but things are so restricted up in mtp i doubt anyone would try, so count your blessings 11th st.

  • Adams Morgan gentirfied and 11th street is too. But that is the only similarity. 18th street was more like Mount Pleasant St if you want to make a comparison although it always had restaurants and nightlife.

    this is a pretty accurate description of Adams Morgan from the 1980s onward, but in the 1960s, when the houses on 18th st were part residential and part commercial and the Black Panther’s had their HQ in what was, I guess, Club Heaven, then that was different. I only remember Adams Morgan from the quasi-gentrified days no earlier than 1987.

  • Thanks DCer, you made my point exactly.

    oh I’m not following this monster thread very well.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    By the by, how is possible that noone has mentioned the very community oriented Bloombars that has opened up just a few doors down on 11th Street?

  • Bloombars is a great thing. I’d love to know how they made it happen given the high rents on 11th Street.

  • @CP – Seems that a homeowner is in a bit of a tight spot and there are a lot of selfish people who’d rather think of their enjoyment of a few glasses of wine than of the plight of someone who’s essentially a peer and neighbor.
    Why is this guy in a plight? He knowingly bought his home next to a commercial zone. He most certainly got a discount on the price because it was located next door to a commercial zone. Now after he enjoyed his discount, he wants all the benefits of not having a commercial neighbor. Sorry I’m not feeling his pain.

  • I have a quick question that I think is important.

    First off, if DCDireWolf is a troll, then I can’t imagine what people think of me. The DireWolf has been on this board for months now.

    To my question, What commercial businesses are you missing in your neighborhood that you need more of and PLEASE limit yourself to commercial businesses that are on the upswing (pining for record stores, book stores, video stores, anything taken over by the internet in 1995, drive in movie theaters and bowling alleys are OFF LIMITS for discussion).

    What do you have to drive to the suburbs to go to? Could they put such a store here?

    For instance. Do people know MacGruders w/ two locations on CT Ave? I would LOVE to see a green grocer with that quality in this area. What about Rodmans in Friendship heights? a deli like that?

    My top 5 wants:
    1. Super H Grocery store or at least a smaller Han An Rhum (sp?)
    2. MacGruders-style green grocer
    3. European deli (either Rodmans or something like the Russian Deli in McLean or the Mediterannean Bakery in Alexandria)
    4. Working person’s bakery. Sticky Fingers sucks, period. I mean something where food and not politics are for sale.
    5. a different kind of gym- something that revolutionizes gymming like Curves did a few years back

  • @ DCDirewolf: You should get a hobby (or a job). Do you really just cruise blogs all day trying to start fights in the comments? I see you doing this all the time. Scratch that – what you should actually get is a life.

  • DCDW, i’m feeding you so i’m breaking my own rules – but
    to help you understand your trolldom:

    you make straw arguments
    you repeat yourself over and over
    you dont acknowledge other valid arguments
    you dont acknowledge valid counters to your own arguments (which are straw in most cases)
    you dont propose anything practical and based in reality
    you make baseless claims that are factually incorrect
    you like to hear yourself type

    so there ya go

    sorry, pop, for getting all ad hominem on this dude but youz gotta police ’em early and often or the trolls take over….just look at the once glorious CH yahoo group.

  • Anoneemoo is incorrect, period. That analysis of this thread is not reality. it’s a fantasyland and I disagree with DCDW.

  • Oh the irony, DCDW. Bloombar certainly does not fulfill the needs of the poor, beaten down masses that you’ve been speaking for all day. It fits a niche, that’s it. And even though it’s not really my scene, I have no problem with it being there.

  • Dcer – I know you listed it, but a bakery that focused on bread as well as deserts. Not sure the demand is there, though.

    Sad thing is most of these little convience stores and bodegas back in the neighborhoods used to be little green grocers where folks did thier daily shopping.

  • I don’t find much of what DCDW is saying compelling, but its certainly thoughtful and I suspect posted in good faith. To call him a troll is rude and really seems a little desperate.

  • DCer – “You have that backwards, the single homeowner raising this complaint is being selfish, not the hundreds of patrons of a restaurant. You literally have it 100% backwards. Please do the math (100s of people vs 1 person) and tell me how your definition of “selfish” fits into that mathematical equation. It’s literally laughably bad logic.”

    You being a bit TOO literal, I think, and employing some pretty bad logic yourself when you fail to acknowledge the discrepancy of harms in your “selfishness” calculation. For the “hundreds” of patrons, the denial of a wine bar on 11th means only that they go to another one. The homeowner does not have such a choice – and while it may be easy to say “well, he or she can just move,” that doesn’t make the two choices comparable, or make her “one” automatically outweighed by the “hundreds” of patrons. Her choice is “I can tolerate the garbage, noise, and imposition for the good of people who would not be harmed by having to go elsewhere, or I can abandon my home.” The patron’s choice is “I can go to this wine bar or another one. I want to go to this one, and I don’t care that it dramatically lowers the quality of life for someone else every single day she lives here.” So who’s selfish, again? Only the strictest of Benthamites deems all advantages equal and then counts noses.

    That said, build the wine bar. It’s a free market, what goes there, goes there. Businesses that get chosen by social-engineering fiat and not by the market fail. I’m just saying that calling this resident selfish is too cold by half, and (I think) completely unfair.

  • Oh, and DCDireWolf is no troll. He and I would probably end up punching each other if we spoke in a bar, but he’s been around here for a long time, means what he says, and he (among other long-timers) punches his weight against often-long odds on these threads. I know the arguments FOR development. I’m happy someone is here making the arguments against it.

    That said, DCDW, your anti-elitism is a bit crusty and cliched. I don’t have a trust fund. I like wine. Where do I fit in your manichean us-v-them community drama?

  • 1. decent coffee
    2. better produce
    3. a bar I actually wanted to hang out at
    4. a deli
    5. decent coffee

  • The problem with a wine bar isn’t that it doesn’t feed homeless amputee children with learning disabilities and ebola, it’s that it’s that there are other things the community desperately needs. Where, for example, is a decent caviar shop? A riding crop repair service? A custom pantaloon embroidery store? Or a shop that laser engraves silver spoons?

    What kind of town is this?!?

    And as far as trolling goes, yeah Animoomoo, it’s pretty silly to think someone like Dire Wolf could be serious when challenging the importance of a slapfight between a bunch of over privileged folks over such a deadly important topic. Will there be a wine bar? Will Congress have to act? Where is Lord Obama on this issue? Please, please tell me he don’t drink no Chardonnay!

    If we don’t get this thing resolved, what’s next? People sniggering about other life-or-death issues like in-home dog massages?

    Please God, no… when will our national wine bar nightmare end?!?

  • I’d be cool with a bakery, or a sandwich shop (non-chain). I’d love to see a green grocer. I’d love to see a free medical clinic, but I realize that’s pie in the sky, so I’d settle for a for-profit medical clinic, doc’s office, dentists’ office, eye doctor, etc. I’d like to see a day care center-for profit if need be, I’d like to see a toy store for the kiddies, or a kite store kinda place. I’d be okay with a crafts store, locally owned, a laundromat, a take out place, chinese, whatever, a boys and girls club, a bike shop, a pharmacy, locally owned, a cookie store, an ice cream parlor, a travel agency, etc.

    There are LOTS of options short of another bar. wine or otherwise. you can get wine at several places within 30 seconds of this place and several more within 5-10 minutes of this place. I don’t want 11th Street to be full of bars and restaurants, the kind of development that attracts negativity and is for the few rather than the many.

    I mean seriously, all this talk of long-timers, short timers, what have you, elitism what have you, take a real, honest look at Wonderland and Redrock and tell me what demographic they *mostly* serve. Now recognize that that demographic has spending power but is a minority in the neighborhood. I have nothing against brick oven pizza and wine, I like both. And I’ll go to the wine bar I’ll go get Pizza, I’ll get beer at Wonderland, I just simply think we have enough of that kind of thing now and it’s time to concentrate on establishments that serve the majority of the community, on the whole. Or at a minimum, something other than the alcohol drinking crowd.

    This doesn’t seem that radical to me, really.

  • This is still going….?


    Post to other posts por favor’ people…

  • what is the obsession with dentists? I have not in my life (life long resident of this area for 26 years) heard anyone say “MAN, there is a real shortage of dentists. I really wish there was someplace close by that I could get my teeth checked once every 3 years, blast it all. wine bar wine bar but I have a toothache!” If i had heard these sentiments uttered by even ONE soul. I would think maybe you had a point DCDW. To that end I have not heard anyone ask me if there was a close by place to buy a kite nor do I know where the HELL they would fly it. But I would like it if you went and flew one right now.

  • I have compared DC to NYC. The biggest difference I see is that NYC commercial establishments do alot with less space. In a NYC neighborhood similar to CH, Red Rocks and The Heights would be half their size. But with their size, they can not afford to go downscale. Just look at how big Red Rocks is. They rarely even use the upstairs space. Same for the heights. Until the spaces get smaller, businesses are not going to be catering to the lower end clientele.

  • Oh geez…now we’re comparing DC to New York. It’s apples and oranges. You’re better than that.

  • What makes me really angry is st’s dissing on Bentham! To dismiss his exhaustive and subtle analysis of human experience as “nose counting” is the height of trolldom!

  • Many many comments back someone made a comment that the Banneker community center is underutilized. My experience has been any thing but the opposite. The place has always been jam packed with kids and families enjoying the pool. The tennis courts are almost always occupied. I think it’s a great thing for the area and we consider it our own little “country club.” Tennis anyone? That being said, bring on the wine bar!

  • Awaiting moderation? Can’t we get a philosophy joke up in here?

  • Look, JnDC is right, and to quote that famous American philosopher Rodney King, “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids?…It’s just not right. It’s not right.”

    We need to respect each other’s retail preferences and find a way to get along. Towards that end I am willing to make a serious sacrifice by agreeing to except obscene amouts of cash from all of you to open a retail store that we all can agree is long overdue and needed in the community: “Oden’s Zither Repair Service.”

  • You can have my in-home dog massage when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

  • Please no more community centers and other liberal mumbo jumbo that does nothing for the community… CH had PLENTY of community centers before 2000 and that did nothing to stop, slow, or prevent crime. Guess what! Wine bars, coffee shops and condos are going to do what community centers couldn’t DCDW.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    I don’t know why some comments go into moderation. It is very frustrating for me as well. I do, of course, apologize.

  • I was not comparing as to which is better or worse. But more a comparison of commercial space for similar establishments. Most would agree that a pizza place in DC should be roughly the same square footage as a pizza place in NYC, ceteris paribus. The commercial rents per square footage in Fort Greene, for instance, are probably close in line with CH. But the spaces in Brooklyn are much smaller. In that light, Red Rocks is huge compared to the size of neighborhood pizza places in Fort Greene. As such, Red Rocks can’t sell $2.50 slices like a place in NYC might.

  • Everyone seems to assume that when a wine bar, or a pizza place or a bar (what exactly is Wonderland anyway) move into a neighborhood, it will be that way forever. I would argue that the Columbia Heights/Petworth area is evolving and over time businesses will come and go with the market. I think it is important that we allow the market to continue to determine what goes in those spaces. Right now places that serve booze to 20 and 30 sometings seem to be doing well. I am sure that will change. Let the market do its thing within the bounds of the regulatory authorities…and when they fail, demand accountability from those tased to enforce. And DCDW, I am sorry that these places don’t fit with the lower income and long time residents. I would be nice if they did, but that isn’t what the market is bearing right now. Is Meridan Restaruant up in North Country and example? Is Colorado Kitchen an example?

  • So who’s selfish, again? Only the strictest of Benthamites deems all advantages equal and then counts noses.

    You know, really, time and time again I am criticized on DC message boards for coming at life from a POV informed by the twin towers of economics and computer science. People are going to have to accept that I am in fact in many ways a Utilitarian at heart. I’m also more than anything a Keynesian and I hate von Mises and Rand.

    which means to everyone that I’m a stone cold elitist, I’m sure.

  • I just simply think we have enough of that kind of thing now and it’s time to concentrate on establishments that serve the majority of the community, on the whole. Or at a minimum, something other than the alcohol drinking crowd.

    This doesn’t seem that radical to me, really.


    Actually it seems pretty radical to me (to your credit, it also seems fairly idealistic, in a good way). Frankly, potential investors don’t really care what you think. They care what’s going to make them money on their investment when they’re locked into an expensive lease and have sunk costs in fixtures, inventory, etc.. So much of the development on 11th Street is alcohol-centered because that’s what sells when people are out and about in the area, which is after business hours (it may be zoned commercial, but it’s surrounded by and primarily still residential). It’s not 14th Street w/ Target, etc., which draws business at all hours. People looking to spend money at night aren’t buying kites, they’re buying drinks. Maybe, some day, the critical daytime mass will be there, and at that point laundromats and greasy take-outs will probably become green grocers and dental clinics. But right now it’s not, so the investment is going to come from businesses that can survive slow days while they make money on fast nights. And that’s not business that we should wave off, in my opinion.

  • Years from now, the lucky few of us that survive this curse’d summer, we’ll look back and remember the stuggle that was The Great Wine Bar War of 2008. Sure, the memories will be painful, the images seared into our minds like the glaze in a Bananas Foster pan, but we’ll tell those that come later of just what we’ve been through, how we overcame buying Sutter’s Home in a screwtop bottle from behind bullet-proof glass at the corner Git’N’GitOut store, how we fought for a better way… how we fought for the future of mankind.

  • Dude, he called it “the felicific calculus.” Bentham counted noses with the best of ’em.

  • An elitist is the last thing I’d call you. A calculation that values the concerns of the consumer public over the concern of a landed, property-owning individual is not an elitist calculation. And, in fact, I agree with your overall position. I’m just saying that this homeowner is dealing with a bigger problem than that confronted by a potential wine-bar patron, and thus doesn’t necessarily deserve 1-vs-100 dismissal as “selfish.”

  • Hooray for “st” at 3:45! Good to see that someone can apply logic properly… Even if that someone’s a proponent of this ill-conceived wine bar.

  • I don’t think the Dude is selfish, he just doesn’t want a pile of stinking wine trash outside his dining room window and drunk vinophiles making a racket at midnight while he tries to sleep. Nothing selfish about that I just don’t think there is anything he can do about it given the market environment we are in. Good for those of us who want a nice chianti with fava beans.

  • Speaking of in-home dog massages (as Odentex did), I did partake of this service but it was terrible. That Doberman lacked opposing thumbs and gave a terrible massage. I don’t recommend that anyone tries it.

    About Colorado Kitchen, they didn’t go out of business. Their landlord decided he wanted to build up on the three one-story storefronts he owns.

  • If he didn’t want that, as others have said, he shouldn’t have bought at a discount right next to commercial zoning. Meanwhile everyone who payed full price to live near but not on top of bars/restaurants should get a return.

  • Man, took me forever to skim all those comments. First off, I don’t like DCDW’s bit about ‘certain demographics’ and ‘culturally off-limits’ I mean, come on, you wouldn’t like that kind of code-slap directed at you.

    With that said, I actually agree with DCDW in one way, on an idealistic level there needs to be balance for a healthy community. It will work out over time, I hope. I often wish every available space didn’t have to become one more place to have yer beer or what have you. It’s just a little one-dimensional. But new and varied places to eat out are a blessing, and a good start. I’d love to see more art spaces like Bloombars. Transforming one of the countless dingy liquor stores into a quality corner store (like the old DGS chain) would go a long way, but seems to be undoable for whatever reason.

    I can’t afford the condos going up, but I love to see them and I’m happy it will bring prosperity and diversity to DC areas that were underutilized. I’m happy that fancy places open up for the people who like and who can afford such things on a regular basis. We have some great indie-owned places in DC now like Busboys and Tryst that never existed before. I don’t care about wine bars particularly but power on. Bring it. All. Heck, bring a laundromat, but make it a good one, maybe with some amenities while you’re waiting. There are models out there that rise above the usual grim places.

    We need these things, more urban density, foot traffic, a range of quality businesses. It’s what cities are supposed to be, and we’re (slowly) getting there.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    From a reader who was having trouble posting:

    “Paul Ruppert came by the NCHCA meeting last night. He emphasized that this would not be a pretentious, overpriced place, but rather a cozy community watering hole that just happens to emphasize wine, desert, and good cheeses and meats. He did not want to echo the atmosphere of other DC wine bars. He also expressed that he and his partners have a long history of businesses that cater to the community, and that he is very eager to talk to any neighbors who have concerns and try to work those out. Sounds a lot like a guy we don’t want investing in our neighborhood, huh? Everyone at the meeting, by the way (a small group to be fair) were 100 percent supportive of the wine bar, including a couple who live on 11th and Lamont. Notes of the meeting to be posted soon on the NCHCA site.”

  • I was unable to make the meeting due to work. I’d be interested to hear more about the owner’s ideas about catering to the community. All too often that kind of talk is just talk, but if it’s sincere, that’s a good sign. I wonder if we could convince ALL the business owners on 11th Street to contribute a percentage of their profits toward setting up a community day care center on the block, or teen mentoring center, or something of the like.

    I still, however, think we need another bar on 11th Street like we need more mosquitoes.

  • What’s really funny about this thread is that probably 60% of the people who are vehemently supporting this new wine bar won’t even patronize it. Another 30% will go once, have a less than stellar experience, and then blog about how much the place sucks.

    I don’t live in the area so this new establishment won’t have a direct effect on my quality of life. But I do frequent that 14th Street corridor and what’s striking to me is the separateness. You have yuppies – myself included – sitting outside in sidewalk cafes while the locals, who can’t afford these establishments, just stream by. It’s like a zoo but it’s not clear which side are the animals on display. The outdoor area of Red Hat is like an oasis – a cluster of white hipsters fenced in from the Latinos surrounding them. I guess this is inherent when development comes to lower-income neighborhoods, but it’s striking nonetheless.

  • There is a lot of racial tension in the air in CH and Petworth and other neighborhoods in the city that I think people tend to gloss over or ignore.

    The new businesses, although not intentionally racist, are open to all of course, but are also clearly intended to take dollars from the higher income folks moving in who happen to be mostly, but not completely, white.

    Meanwhile, the majority of residents in the neighborhoods are not higher income, and mostly, but not completely, black or brown. The businesses of course will take anyone’s patronage, race doesn’t matter, but practically speaking, they end up little yuppie enclaves as described by SG. And this can’t help but build resentment and bitterness from a lot of the “everyone elses”.

    If the development was planned in a way where there was a good mix of new establishments, some of which cater to the upscale folks, some of which cater to the working class folks, and some that cater to both, you wouldn’t see too many problems. 14th Street is like that for example.

    11th Street however, seems to be going the other direction with new businesses only catering to a small minority of residents. This is a recipe for a lot more tension and trouble in my opinion. Add all the booze being sold to the mix, and it’s just not a good idea.

  • Honestly, DCDW, prohobition ended around 80 or so years ago. And I will say this. When I go to Red Rocks, Pete’s, Mayorga, Columbia Heights Coffee, etc I’m always happy to see that the patrons are racially diverse. Too often, class is mixed up with race.

  • What about all of the businesses, DCDireWolf, that don’t cater to white folks? Why don’t you complaint about those (for example, the many CH businesses in which English is barely spoken)? You can make exactly the same complaint, coming from the other side. The point is, as I’ve said before, almost every business (especially those in a small space) will appeal to some people, but not others. We have tons and tons of vacant commercial space, I just simply don’t get why you are wasting your time and energy opposing a business that many, many people are excited about, which is coming to one of THREE vacant spaces on that half of a block. Instead of trying to deprive those of us who are excited about the wine bar of a venue that is providing an additional quality social option to CH, why don’t you work to get some of those OTHER vacant spaces filled with whatever it is you feel is missing? Your attitude is counter-productive and only hurts the community, and does nothing to help.

    By the way, I don’t believe that the majority of new businesses cater primarily only to white people. I see minorities in all of the businesses pauper mentioned. And I’d say the majority of customers at many new CH businesses, large and small (Acuario, Pollo Sabroso, Pollo Campero, Lane Bryant, hell even Target) are non-white. You also ignore the many new jobs created by all of these new businesses, many of which employ local residents, the majority of whom are certainly non-white and non upper-class. If you devoted half of the energy you spend bitching about every new business you DON”T like to trying to bring new enterprises you DO like to the area, you might actually accomplish something. Why not drop your stupid and inflammatory anti wine bar petition and instead work to raise capital for a kite store or whatever else you think the area needs?

  • I should go to Red Rocks and Wonderland, the other two big, alcohol serving establishments on 11th Street and take a photo every night for two weeks in the evenings. Maybe I will, and then post them. And have everyone look at them and tell me how “diverse” the crowd looks in terms of class or race. I’m certain it will be obvious, and the same deal for the wine bar.

  • As usual, you ignore the most important points made. Why don’t you go to Acuario or the Chinese food place on 11th or to Pollo Sabroso or to the 20 latino restaurants on 14th Street and photograph those to see how “diverse” the crowd looks at those venues. Are you going to petition to shut them down too because there aren’t enough white faces? Or are you so hypnotized by your PC world view that businesses which cater primarily to non-whites are fine, but those with a majority white customer base are the devil incarnate? If there is such a crying need and huge demand for other businesses that will provide needed goods and services to a large number of people in CH, you have a great pitch to go raise some capital from any of the numerous new lending institutions that have popped up in the area. Go into BB&T with your idea, secure a lease on 11th or Georgia Ave. or upper 14th Street, and start the business.

  • Lots to respond to New2CH.

    1. You raise businesses that don’t cater to white folks (and I’d add rich folks). We’re talking about 11th Street here. There aren’t many of them and ALL the new places coming online cater to the yuppies. 14th Street is a much better model of diversity in retail.

    2. You mention tons and tons of vacant commercial space. On 11th Street, that’s simply not true, just about every vacant building you see there has already been bought or is not for sale. And the one or two left that were for sale are priced to only attract chain stores, or places that can make money off booze. I’ve inquired about just about all of them.

    3. I’m not trying to deprive wine fans of anything, you have two, soon to be three other venues within the same block as the wine bar to get a glass of wine, and if you walk two blocks up to 14th Street you have another four or five places. You’re not being deprived of anything, instead you’re using up commercial space for the benefit of the few rather than the many who live in the neighborhood.

    4. I’d love to fill the other vacant spaces (although they are all spoken for at this point) with more community based businesses, that’s what I’ve been saying all along. But they aren’t priced for that. That’s a big part of the problem.

    5. All of the “non-white” places you mention except for one are on 14th Street, not 11th Street. And the one you mention on 11th Street has to fight off yuppie petitions to get rid of it on a regular basis.

    6. I don’t think debate on this establishment and others is inflammatory. It’s community discussion. I’d argue it’s much more inflammatory to support a series of businesses on a street, in a neighborhood, that the majority of those who live there can’t afford to patronize. It’s a form of business-sector apartheid really.

  • And also, DC DireWolf, I find your emphasis on trying to break down how valuable a business is by what race its clientelle is compose of very disturbing. Do you really want to get into these kinds of racial generalizations? Should we start keeping track of which races commit crimes, or are responsible for graffiti, or engage in community service, or chew gum, or whatever else you want to track as well? Really, by demonizing the “rich white yuppie” as an “other” whose interests, you assume, are necessarily opposed to others in the community, you are no better than anyone who demonizes blacks or latinos or whomever else based on some other criteria.

    Two simple, indisputable facts remain, neither of which you have (or can) contradict: (a) Columbia Heights has a much, much, much broader range of goods and services available and accessible to EVERY income group than it did three years ago, whether it be Target or Payless or a wine bar, and (b) there is ANYTHING but a shortage of vacant commercial space of all shapes and sizes in Columbia Heights — the problem is NOT lack of space, but rather lack of interested tenants.

  • There is very little, if any, commercial space available on 11th Street. I know this because I inquired about pretty much all of it in the past six months. It’s all spoken for. If you don’t believe me, go knock on doors and make the phone calls like I did.

  • As to your allegation of racism. I am simply pointing out that the new establishments cater to a small minority of the residents or people coming from other areas, rather than the majority of the residents that live nearby. This is obvious. I could care less which race is which or which class is which. If most people who lived here had lots of disposable income, I’d be all for a wine bar.

  • UGH. Then put in what you want. You did the leg work now put your money where your mouth is and do something about it.

    Reading your comments is such a frustrating practice…I must be a masochist!

  • This comment, better than anything else, shows just how ridiculous and self-defeating your arguments are:

    “if you walk two blocks up to 14th Street you have another four or five places” meanwhile you complain that I include the zillion non-white business all within a five minute walk of 11th street on Georgia and 14th. Umm, if you walk two blocks to Target et. al, you can find pretty much any consumer good you want, at a very reasonable price. So by your own logic, there is simply no need for anything like, say, a toy store on 11th (have you SEEN the toy department at Target? how could a local toy store ever hope to compete?).

  • In order to “put in what I want” I’d need the capital or collateral that only a chain store or a booze selling establishment possesses. I don’t think you’re seeing the issue here. This isn’t about me though, this is about the fact that the only businesses coming in to the 11th Street corridor, are businesses that cater to the few, rather than the many. If there was a mix of places coming in, like on 14th Street, you wouldn’t see the complaints.

  • New2CH, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree, we’re spinning wheels at this point. I think you’re dead wrong, you think I’m dead wrong. So be it. I’ll participate in the petition drive against the wine bar and what not, you offer your support for the wine bar, and let’s move on.

  • And I don’t know if you noticed, but the make up of the neighborhood is changing. I can guarantee you that nowhere in the business plan did it say “focus on consumers from outside of the neighborhood” or anything of the sort.

  • Yes, the neighborhood is changing. And some of that is good, some is not so good. I have no idea what the business plan states, if I was writing one for an upscale wine bar in CH, I sure as hell tell the bank I’d be getting business from folks outside the community since most of the community can’t afford wine by the glass very often.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Alright, enough already. Jaysus, this has even begun to bore me to tears. Move on. I’m sure this conversation will continue in the future. But for now this thread is finished. Thanks for all the great participation. And I look forward to clinking glasses with many come November.

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