A Legend Leaves The Looking Glass Lounge (But Won’t Be Going Too Far)


Dan Searing is one of the best bartenders (general managers) in the city. We were lucky to have him for so long at Temperance Hall and then Looking Glass Lounge. The only solace in his departure is that he won’t be going far. For those who are looking for classic posts/comments, surely, you remember this epic battle?

From the man himself:

“Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Some of you know me as the former General Manager of Temperance Hall and its successor the Looking Glass Lounge. Since stepping down as manager this summer to work on the soon-to-be-open wine bar, Room 11, (in Columbia Heights at 11th and Lamont) I have continued to work as a bartender. Tuesday, March 31st is my last shift. Please come by to say farewell and enjoy a free taste of some homemade limoncello and other drink specials. To receive updates about Room 11 please email me at [email protected] To all I had the pleasure of serving, thank you.

Dan Searing”

63 Comment

  • Dan really is the nicest guy. I can’t wait for Room 11 to open up! PoP hosting the grand opening party, yay or nay?

  • From one, community hated noisy and rowdy bar to another!!

    ps. There are some.. well, a couple of posters in other community fora that think Bar 11 is the latest sign of 11st turning into a horrible bar strip ala Adams Morgan.. 😀

  • It’s more than just a couple of posters. A large number of people offline are dismayed at the addition of another alcohol serving establishment for the yuppies going into the neighborhood.

  • DCDireWolf:
    Too bad they weren’t dismayed at all the crack heads, or the crime, or the trash, etc… The “offline” community can go f-itself. They let the community slide into anarchy for decades and now want to complain when someone else comes in an cleans it up. Screw them. As a newcomer(only 5 years in CH), as a Latino, as a homeowner, as a taxpayer, as contributor to local non-profits. I welcome Room 11. It’s time that those of us who are a “net gain” to the city speak out.

  • well said Columbia Heights Dude!

  • I get that many people have the opinion that CH Dude expressed. But it’s basically an expression of, “my way is better, and so whether you like it or not I’m gonna come into your neighborhood and unilaterally change it and kick you out because you can no longer afford it.” Littering and not having enough money should not be grounds for eviction so those with more money can drink their wine and enjoy your (former) streetscape. But, that’s the way it works around here.

  • @DCDireWolf–Hate to break it to you, but thats the way it works EVERYWHERE.

  • Honestly DCDire, you didn’t have your say on this topic in the 50 or so posts from the prior thread? Not to mention the hundreds of other posts on point you have posted elsewhere? You don’t like the wine bar. We get it. It’s opening in a month whether you like it or not. Move on to your next crusade. Or start your own blog where you can rant and rave all day about how much gentrification sucks. Or start preaching at the metro. Anything but another 500 posts saying the same thing over and over again here.

  • Everyone else on here echoes the same sentiments over and over and over. One dissenting voice shouldn’t bother you so much. The opinion of others that live and work and raise families in CH but don’t read blogs should be available for consideration.

  • Good luck Dan! I just hope your knowledge of wine is as good as your knowledge of whiskey, and I am sure the establishment will be a success.

  • I’m curious, DCDW: Did “others that live and work and raise families in CH but don’t read blogs” come to you at some sort of meeting of non-blogging CH residents and appoint you their spokesman? What gives you the right to say you know exactly what such a wide swath of people wants? Your arrogance to presume that you speak for them is fairly obnoxious.

  • DCDireWolf:
    I’ve never said people should move out. Must of the “offline” folks on my block own their homes outright, many inherited their homes. So they can easily afford to stay. Hell most of them have better cars than I do. What I’d like, is for them so stop complaining when we take old boarded-up store fronts and open new business. I want them to stop dropping the race race card anytime we complain about crime, or trash, or graffiti. I want them to stop bitching when those of us who pay more into the system than we get out, ask for better management at section properties, or more petty crime enforcement.

    Back on topic: Does anyone know if Room 11 will have tapas or something similar??

  • I just repeat here what my neighbors tell me. I don’t speak for anyone but myself, but I do repeat what the people I talk to in the neighborhood tell me.

  • DCDireWolf is just jaded because his wife wanted to open her gourmet chocolate shop on 11th Street but it didn’t work out.

  • Yay for gentrification!

  • “they can easily afford to stay” tell that to my neighbors who clearly cannot afford to stay and after decades of home ownership are now forced into early retirement in North Carolina, or a downgrade to public housing after years of homeownership.

    “stop complaining when we . . .” those actions you write about cause people to have to move when they don’t want to, after decades of living here unmolested. I think they have a right to complain. You’d complain to if that happened to you.

    “pay more into the system than we get out” Just because you have more money isn’t license to treat people with less than you like trash to be thrown away. The folks you speak of that “bitch” have been working all their lives paying into the system, and their reward is a wine bar they can’t afford or could care less about, and higher property taxes they can’t always afford.

  • anon at 11:31 am: you are wrong on all fronts, please don’t bring in someone unrelated to this conversation. thanks.

  • To answer a question about the menu, Room 11 will have cheeses, olives, cured meats, some light bites (soups, salads, paninis, things of that nature), and deserts.

    The people who are opening this establishment are exactly who we want operating in this community — hard working local entrepeneurs with ties to the community, who are putting a HUGE amount of their own sweat equity into this space (go by any day at this point and you’ll see the owners busting ass, using largely reclaimed construction materials, to rehab the space into something beautiful), and take a lot of personal pride into making it something high-quality.

    As stated above the “offline community” is hardly monolithic and many, many people who don’t ever read this blog are also excited about this and the other new establishments opening soon in the neighborhood. Whether or not it is something I would be personally excited about, I applaud those who bust their asses to open a small business in C.H. despite all the obstacles in terms of obtaining credit, red tape, and of course the small but vocal contingent of naysayers. Even if I am not personally excited about a business (for example, the new women’s shoe store on Park Road) I applaud these people who at great pesonal risk and with a tremendous amount of individual hard work, provide viable economic enterprises in our community. It is easy to bitch and moan and wine about stuff you don’t like; it is a hell of a lot harder to, through your own money, time, and effort, create something constructive. Kudos to Dan and all the other area small business owners who are slogging through the hard times.

  • Freudian slip … meant “whine” not wine above …

  • Aw yeah! It’s on! It’s on!!11!!!!oneone1!!!! Nothing like a good wine bar post to set a comment thread on fire…

    I for one welcome our new Wine Bar Overlords, even though I can’t afford to drink there more than once a year.

  • DCDW — Is it true, yes or no, that you sought to open a gourmet chocolate shop on 11th St? Easily searchable prior posts by you suggest the answer is yes. If so, you are the giantest, most obnoxiousest hypocrite.

  • John, not true. I have offered help to a local chocolatier with her business, but she’s not seeking to open a gourmet chocolate shop anywhere in DC, she’s working on a different business plan at the moment as far as I know.

  • Can’t wait and can’t imagine how anyone could rationally look at a sophisticated operation like Room 11 and think it’s somehow worse for the community than the sub-par sandwich shop that previously occupied that space.

  • That was almost two years ago. Situation has changed.

  • Wow, anon1158, great digging!
    Apparently, DCDW wasn’t always against the Wine Bar….

    From the link: “To the wine shop folks: fine chocolate and fine wines go together well, in fact we’ve done some tastings with truffle pairings before. If you’re interested in a joint-venture on space to ease costs, please email me”

  • “”they can easily afford to stay” tell that to my neighbors who clearly cannot afford to stay and after decades of home ownership are now forced into early retirement in North Carolina, or a downgrade to public housing after years of homeownership.”

    WTF are you talking about? After decades of homeownership your house is paid off or you’re just about finished with your $400 a month payment on your original 52k note.

    Unless you pulled out equity – But that’s a personal decision. Or you can’t pay your taxes – But there are about 50 programs to cover that, plus payment plans and reductions for seniors. Or you can’t pay for groceries, electric, water, gas and household upkeep – in which case you’ve got problems that have zero to do with “yuppies” (apparently any and all white people of any age or income) moving in to town.

    PLZ to explain?

  • Wine shop and wine bar are two entirely different things, but I will admit, living here the past two years has changed my mind on a lot of things, wine included.

  • Two years!

  • That loud sound you hear is the last drop of any credibility Dire had being sucked down the drain.

  • These issues aren’t about me. I regret that I’m not a good enough communicator or in control of my emotion enough to figure out how to express the impact of the development on many who live around me, without it turning into a me against everyone else thing on here and other message boards. POP my apologies for clogging up your blog. I just hope people stop to understand that what happens in CH impacts a lot more people than you might think. Thanks.

  • Don’t feel bad DireWolf, it is not any inability to communicate on your part — it is that the substance of what you are trying to say makes no sense at all. Barack Obama couldn’t make your argument any more logical. Folks have every right to despise a wine bar and the people who patronize it. That is fine. But you are talking about a wine bar “hurting” them in some tangible way, which is demonstrably false. Even if they don’t like it, the wine bar does no harm to say, a resident of the projects on Columbia Road two blocks away. Not in the least. Unless you count psychological harm, and honestly, I’d say the psychological harm of growing up proximate to constant shooting and gang warfare is a lot more real than being upset over a 1000 sq. ft. wine bar on a, until recently, half-vacant dilapidated commercial strip that brings a lot of tax dollars and foot traffic into the community. I don’t “like” the food served at the crappy Chinese place on 11th, but it would be nuts to say that the existence of this place “hurts” me in some way. It neither adds not detracts from my lifestyle, because I simply choose not to patronize it.

  • I don’t even drink wine. But it strains credibility to be against a business that will certainly help the area. More eyes and ears on the street is good for everyone in the neighborhood. I do not see how anyone should lose in this deal. Even if they are like me and don’t drink wine.

    BTW, 11th St is becoming a nice little strip of eclectic local chains. Kinda like a mini 5th Ave in Park Slope or Fulton St. in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn.

  • Wow, remember the internet has a loooong memory. So from what I gather DCDireWolf is part of the gentrification problem only living here 2 years and making this area unaffordable to me and my friends. My rent has gone up from $450 7 years ago to almost $800 and i am now thinking about moving up to PG.

    Also, they are against this place for other reasons. Could it be that the wine bar will make other properties more expensive (nicer) so this person can’t open the store they wanted to.

    All very suspicious.

    I think they call this astroturfing.

  • DCDW: money talks, BS walks. If the community wants something like this, Dan & Co. will make a profit and find it worth their while to stay. Once you quit pretending that the dozen or so people you’ve talked to in your two years here represent the perfect statistical sample of the Columbia Heights community, you’ll find yourself a much happier camper.

    Some of the sorts of establishments that were being touted here years ago as “inclusive development” have already gone under — namely, Carvel and Cinnabon and Franklin’s Deli. No matter what anybody said about those places being for everybody when these sort of “how can I mask my personal consumer preferences into looking like I care about the community” discussions first started, they didn’t make enough to stay in business, which for me is proof positive that the community really didn’t want them.

    I hope these guys make it, they seem like decent types. But the reality is I probably won’t ever go there so I can pay $8 for a glass or wine, so it’s all blah blah from me. My bullsh*t can take a hike.

  • Lots of people have fled the Columbia Heights News forum because of the wolf and the gnat, hope to god they don’t start ruining things here.

  • The attitude represented by DCDireWolf is precisely what’s holding back urban renewal in many of our inner-cities in this country. The idea that any one person or group of people would know best what sort of retail outlet is appropriate in a neighborhood is ludicrous. If there’s no call for a wine bar on 11th Street, or locals can’t afford to patronize it, it will fail. It’s a principle that has worked really well throughout western history, and very specifically in places like Adams Morgan and on U Street.

    Attempting to plan neighborhood development by preventing upscale outlets from opening is one of the worst ideas ever. I can’t afford to live in Soho or in the Latin Quarter, but those places are really nice and I’d sure love to live in them. In order to create a great city here, with great neighborhoods, businesses need to be free to come (and go) as they’ve been in other great cities around the world.

    Your objections, while legitimate, should be addressed via social welfare programs, rent control, and other city-wide legislation. I’d like to keep Columbia Heights as diverse as possible, but not at the expense of forcing all retail to look like it does on Georgia Avenue.

    Forget that I have it second-hand that it was a family member of yours that attempted to open a chocolate shop on that same block. Even if you weren’t a raving hypocrite, your objections to a wine bar opening in my neighborhood aren’t very well thought out — especially for an attorney.

  • Upps… my tongue in cheek remarks sparked off more than I intended…

  • DCDW writes: “stop complaining when we . . .” those actions you write about cause people to have to move when they don’t want to, after decades of living here unmolested. I think they have a right to complain. You’d complain to if that happened to you.


    Most. Nonsensical. Point. Ever.

    The underlying “actions” you talk about were identified as (a) developing formerly vacant storefronts, (b) cleaning up littered streets and graffiti, and (c) reporting criminal violations and expecting the police to do something about them. Boiled down to its essence, your argument is that people who have lived here the longest have a pre-emptive right to exercise dominion over properties they don’t own, insist that people endure various forms of trespass with a smile on their face, and deprive others of the protection of the laws and criminal enforcement mechanisms.

    Wow. Anything to keep property values down, I guess.

  • Dan is definitely a really nice guy. Congratulations to him, and I wish nothing but success to Room 11.

  • Excellent! I was wondering what will be in that space at 11th and Lamont. I cannot wait for Room 11 to open and will do my best to make it a success (-:

  • I don’t blame DireWolf for being so anxious. A healthy business in the neighborhood is going to do nothing but hurt his street cred. People like him get off on living in bad areas. It lets them think that they are above everybody that lives in nice neighborhoods. Think about when a supermodel dates somebody really ugly. Why? Because she wants you to know that she is concerned about the inside of a person and not the outside, and she wants to make sure that this is easily seen from the outside. Dire is the same way. He wants to live in a neighborhood with no commerce so that he can bemoan the situation and tell himself (and sadly us) how intellectual he is. He isn’t.

    I dare say also that there might be a little bit of white guilt in there. I don’t, thankfully, know DireWolf (or anybody that would post a comment only to return and post another comment only to post another comment all day – pathetic), but he certainly sounds like an apologist. He’s the kind of yuppy that moves deep into the city to tell himself how much of a yuppy he isn’t. Neighborhood mothers, lock up your daughters because nothing is going to gain him more street cred than a well placed marriage.

    Seriously. Quit being such a downer. You just want to complain and be outraged about everything. Everybody but you wants people to succeed in the neighborhood.

  • Notgoing, if you know any supermodels looking to slum it, please send them my way … thx.

  • zomg lol this is awesome. reminds me of the fish painted on the front of one of the stores on georgia avenue: OWNED

  • FWIW further digging suggests Mr. Dire Wolf is a founder or this group


    so we are dealing with someone with a political axe to grind

  • Free Gdansk!

  • Eric,
    How did you find out DCDW has any involvement in that site?

  • Judging by the minimal traffic on that site, that axe he has to grind is pretty blunt.

  • Lest we forget, the post is about Dan, not DCDW. Good luck to him, and thanks for all the beers he’s poured out at TH/LGL. Thanks for believing enough in the ‘hood to put your money where your mouth is.

  • Actually, I amend that — he’s “poured” beers and hopefully not “poured out” too many.

  • in a post several years ago when he was going to open a chocolate store before he became a virulent chocolate store hater he included an e-mail address. googling it gave me a real name and association with a left wing political group. elementary googling my dear watsons.

    but yeah this is not about dcdw, so i’ll leave it at that.

  • “Lest we forget, the post is about Dan, not DCDW. Good luck to him, and thanks for all the beers he’s poured at TH/LGL. Thanks for believing enough in the ‘hood to put your money where your mouth is.” (edited out the “out”)

    I was just about to post the same thing. There’s no need for this to become yet another gentrification argument with DCDW. This post is about a great guy who has been a part of Petworth for many years, pouring beers and drinks longer than the two years DCDW has been stewing in resentment.

  • Za naszą i waszą wolność!

  • I applaud Dan and his partners on their new undertaking.

    I applaud DCDW for his posting and responding in what I read as a calm and measured manner (whether you agree with him or not). In contrast, some of these comments are getting a bit personal and rather 3d-grader-ish name-calling.

  • Aargh, I went to look at this thread hoping for some good information, but as usual, it’s just DCDireWolf spewing forth his usual anti-everything rant. He has single-handedly poisoned every online forum in the area with repetitive, inflammatory postings not backed up by facts, history or statistics. I have said it before and will say it again: he’s nothing more than a common internet troll, who loves to start up flame wars just for the heck of it. Here’s why:

    (1) He KNOWS that we all know, and have heard his side of the story. Anybody in Ward 1 with any sort of internet access knows DCDireWolf, knows his one-note tune all too well.

    (2) He also knows that whenever he chimes in with his holier-than-thou condemnatinon of everyone else on every message board or blog, he starts up a comment war, or changes the subject, or both, wastring huge amounts of time, and going over the same ground endlessly.

    Most damning (3) he surely must know that his repeated ad nauseum arguments and thread hijackings serve to not convince others he is right, but they convince others he is even more wrong. In other words, he is driving away any possible allies he could have with the stridency and repetitive nature of his commentary.

    (4) There are inconsistencies in his backstory. In one post, a long time ago, he said he has lived in Adams-Morgan for 17 years. In another long-ago thread he said he lived in Richmond until moving here. He has made statements that wouldn’t make sense to anyone who has lived here for years and should know the history and culture of the place by now.

    So, I submit that DCDireWolf is primarly an internet troll, and may or may not even live in the area. For all we know, and based on his frequent plugging of his friend/associate’s chocolatier business, he’s really a developer or upscale gentrifier-type just out for some “fun” and to raise hell on all of our local websites. Maybe he’s 12, i dunno. I’m picturing a Borf-like affluent suburbanite here, just messing with everyone with a little message board grafitti.

  • If you give him the rise – why shouldn’t he take it?

  • “my way is better, and so whether you like it or not I’m gonna come into your neighborhood and unilaterally change it and kick you out because you can no longer afford it.”

    But DCDirewolf! how is that a bad thing? our way really IS the better way. Really! One of my friends in the neighborhood went to college and became a doctor, saving Children’s lives at Children’s Hospital and living in Mt Pleasant. It’s a GOOD THING to bring in the educated because then kids aren’t dying.

  • @MrTinDC,

    real life troll, i met him once at a Columbia Heights ANC meeting.

  • Economics 101:

    (I support the wine bar even though I don’t drin)

    Don’t forget, though, that what happened to Adams Morgan is that bars opened that were never patronized by the community but by “tourists” who supported their existence. I used to spend summer vacation in this super quaint Maine fishing village and when I wanted to go back to it I was shocked to see that the docks were replaced with vacation condo sales and the houses weren’t $12,000 (yes, twelve thousand) like they were in the 1970s, these condos were $800k. $800k in an area of complete poverty? Yes, so the best property went to the tourists and the poor locals lost control of their town.

    Look at the development of Las Vegas and imagine yourself as a silver miner who lived on a shack over a silver mine your whole life- suddenly the new rules said you had to keep your mules penned in.

    What he talks about can happen and is a real economic effect. People do want to keep an area as they like it. The scum of the earth will want to keep Columbia Heights scum-ridden, scummy, filthy and a haven for junkies. Nice people will want to make it nice. This is a battle between nice people and scum. There really is a quantifiable better way and anything that reduces street rapes is better than something that encourages street rapes. Mull that one over.

    DCDirewolf is ignoring the true cost of women being forced to move out of their neighborhood due to violence that is allowed to foster when communities do not work with the police.

  • POP, I am not sure if your ad revenue is correlated to site activity / traffic, but if so, I advise you to post a thread daily on either (a) wine bars or (b) street crime. You will soon be a very rich man.

  • Dan is the best all around bar manager/tender!!! We’re going to miss him and are excited to have him as a neighbor!!

    I for one, am very excited about the idea of sitting outside in my neighborhood hanging out with my neighbors eating home made pastries and drinking wine.

  • Yeah!!! I personally can’t wait for the wine bar to open! AND it’s on the 64 bus route (my bus route)! I don’t know Dan (wine selection is not so good at LGL but they fill the tini tiny glasses to the top) and he doesn’t know me … yet. But you will soon enough.

  • Yay Dan!

    Yay Room 11!

    Yay CH!

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