Dear PoP – Help Save The Black Rooster Pub

The Black Rooster Pub, originally uploaded by poppyott.

“Dear PoP,

I work in Farragut North, and often frequent the Black Rooster Pub at 1919 L Street, NW. Check out this Twitter petition put together to keep the Peace Corps from forcing the pub out of its building.”

Hmm, I’ve never been to the Black Rooster Pub but it sounds pretty sweet. Not sure how helpful a petition will be but it’s worth a shot. If you’d like to do so you can sign the petition here.

What’s the word on Black Rooster Pub – any big fans out there?

28 Comment

  • i LOVE the black rooster. if the peace corps really closes it down…i just…i might just not go to happy hour anymore, ever, anywhere. and that would make me terribly sad. save the rooster!

  • The Rooster is awesome. It’s really a pity that it’s being forced out, but hopefully the petition will help!

    Basically, it’s got an atmosphere you just can’t get at any of the other bars around there; perfect for an after-work drink (or 8), not too many schmucky lobbyists, and great, friendly staff.

  • The Rooster is a classic – not the best beer or the best food you’ve ever had, but that’s kind of the point.

  • down with peace corps and their helping poor people. booo!

    rich people in dc want to drink alcohol there instead! there is nowhere else comparable for the rich dc resident to drink.

    think of the children!

  • lol you crack me up!

  • Is Peace Corps really at fault here? They are a tenant in the building. They do not own it. They are subject to lease terms and agreements with the building management like all other tenants in the world. Peace Corps has occupied the majority of the street level of that building for many years, with the exception of a small sliver of the building which is occupied by the pub.

    Typically in commercial leases, when a tenant occupies a majority of space but does not have immediate need for a small remaining part, they either lease the entire space and sublet the unneeded space until such time as they have use for it, or they negotiate lease terms with the landlord to have ‘right of first refusal’–meaning the other space is leased separately but when their lease term is up, the majority tenant is given first dibs on the space. If they want that space, the occupying tenant is evicted. If not, the occupying tenant gets to stay. Sometimes that right of first refusal is a one-time deal when the first lease expiration arrives; sometimes a majority tenant retains the right of first refusal through many lease expiration cycles, and may decline for years before suddenly deciding to act on their rights.

    The occupying tenant is of course privy to all of these terms when they sign the lease for that minority space themselves. They know the minute they move in that they may some day have to move out. And the majority tenant’s rights to take the space are enacted far in advance–usually six months or a year before the expiration date. It is not at all like residential tenant laws where a landlord only has to give a month’s notice. And of course any prospective tenant has the right to decline the lease terms offered by a landlord and find a place to rent elsewhere.

    Either way, this pub is only being evicted because of a building management business decision. Frankly given the glut of commercial office space in this town (80% of buildings renovated in the past 12 months remain empty), this could end up a win for the pub–landlords are offering space for far less $/SF than a year ago, probably less than the pub leases their current space for, and many are throwing in renovation or build-out expenses for free or at vastly reduced cost.

  • The Peace Corps isn’t all peace and love, as many of you would like to believe. The organization has been rife with corruption and scandal for decades, much of which is swept under the rug.

  • Ya’ll don’t care when you’re forcing black businesses out of their buildings.

  • If the Peace Corps can serve better drinks, I’d say fine… Otherwise we storm the building and establish the Brown Ale Junta: mandatory draft Sam Smiths and mellow the hell out, dissenters will be maced and then fed into every paper-shredder on K Street, tie-first.

  • This always amazes me… presumably the lease is expiring, thus the property is being returned to the lessor, period.

    Man – this is a black business, i.e. the black rooster, oh you meant skin color, right race relations is now apart of leasing commercial real estate… how could I be so obtuse. If you don’t want to be forced out… own it. If you can’t own it, you run the risk of being forced out, that’s the nature of a lease.

    Corruption in the Peace Corp? Say it ain’t so, the UN is also a model for corruption… but we don’t talk about that either.

  • So I’m curious about Alvin Cooper’s statement that [Peace Corps] has been” rife with corruption and scandal for decades, much of which is swept under the rug.”

    Guess there’s no evidence of all that corruption since it’s hiding under a rug. Unless Alvin you know more than you’re saying….and in that case, do tell!

    Love me some good scuttlebutt on a Tuesday morning. Especially if it is baseless and unfounded and all.

  • Agree with the sentiment that the Peace Corps (with corruption or not) does a lot more good than a bar and should be valued as such. There are two other dive bars on that block and a half.

  • There seems to a widespread misunderstanding in DC about what it means to lease/rent rather than own. The former explicitly involves vulnerability, and the solution is to own. If you can’t afford to own, tough, go elsewhere. Whining about your lease or rent is wasted breath.

    And Peace Corps is just corrupt neocolonialism, designed to give well off kids a post college holiday and serve as a contracting vehicle for the usual international development money grubbers. As if there is a labor shortage in the developing world. It gets propagated as its Kennedy’s white elephant, other countries accept it as it gets them US money, which usually allows their corrupt leadership to oppress their own people. The volunteers are inconsequential, except one of them requires more cash and support for a year than most citizens of their host countries see in a lifetime. Read up on neocolonialism and the peace corp or go to school.

  • As someone intimately acquainted with what peace corps volunteers do, I take great exception to your comment that they are inconsequential. They save lives, improve communities, and in most cases, do a LOT of good on a very local level. I won’t quibble with your broadly based objections to the peace corps in general, but once you get down to the volunteer level, you are completely wrong.

  • Pennywise do you honestly think living and working in developing countries is a vacation? If that’s the case, I know a remote village in Mali, or Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, or Rwanda or Peru or Ukraine that would be perfect for your next two year vacation. Indoor plumbing generally not included.

    By the way, the average age of Peace Corps Volunteers is 29.

  • Peace Corps is NOT a development agency, it is an exchange program, plain and simple. It should not be considered as such, it is a method of public diplomacy and soft power, but not a development agency. On the individual level, yes many (though not all) PCVs do a lot of good. But at the agency level, it is very much a top-down agency where the overall policy of the Peace Corps is guided by US foreign policy.

  • As a returned Peace Corps Volunteer I second Voiceofreason.
    Firts, not all volunteers are well off (a majority I served with were not).
    Second, a growing population are several years (if not decades) from graduating from college.
    Third, please name the “usual international development money grubbers” that Peace Corps subcontracts to?
    I know this was not the topic of the post but I think people should god for bid do a little reading before the critizise and organization. Two out of the three goals of the Peace Corps is about cultural understanding. Only one is about providing assistance/people with needed skills.
    My experience has shown that PCVs are pretty good ambassadors of what goodness lies inside each of my fellow citizens. The monetary compensation for service is negligible. The mtoivation of most of my fellow volunteers was a desire to be of service and to understand the day-to-day realities of another country. I don’t think its accurate to call it neocolonialist. I lived at about the level of my neighbors. The one benefit was that I knew I was getting paid every month, and that I had one mouth to feed. I lived in an apartment just like my neighbors. When we didn’t have water or gas – I too suffered. When the heat went out in the middle of winter, I too froze with my neighbors.
    For sure there are those that are their to enjoy a “working vacation.” But to judge an organziation by a few bad characters is probably not wise.

    On topic – without looking at the lease/sublease agreements of both PC and the Black Rooster I think its difficult to accurately argue on behalf of one side or the other. Does PC need the space? Perhaps. Is it cheaper to locate all the staff in one building? Sure – but it depends on the income the sublease may generate (if there is a sublease).

    Loads of PC employees are some of the Black Roosters customers so they too are losing out on a favorite watering hole. With all the store front vacancies and the apparent following of the Black Rooster I tink they can make a go of it elsewhere if that is the owners desire.

    But please – if you are going to make blanket statements on about an organization (Pennywise) start off by being a bit better informed. And yes I am aware of my bias having been a volunteer – but in my experience those on the inside probably have a better vantage point than others.

  • Thanks Andy (2) – well said (& thanks for your service).

    It’s true that some of the best customers at the Black Rooster Pub were Peace Corps staff – the pub was often called Shriver D (an extension of the meeting rooms w/in Peace Corps). It will be missed.

  • I think that there are other bars in the area that are miles better than the Black Rooster- but who would want to expand their office space into an old bar? With the economic situation the way it is these days, you would think there are much better places for the Peace Corps to expand their offices into. How the hell do you get the stench of stale beer and pathos out of that place?

  • It’s got something to do with the rent being raised from $25 a square foot to somewhere around $50 a square foot. The rooster was barely making a profit at $25. At $50 a sq foot you might as well change the name to Black Hole…

  • We are a Dutch Internet Company called Black Rooster, so we stand up for our same-named brothers!

  • A more reasonable question would be: “what will the Peace Corp be using the space for?” I heard from the BR tender that they were using it for storage space.

    I hardly think that keeping the bar open is an assault on the Peace Corp.

  • that raises an important question: what is the best way to assault the Peace Corps?

  • Sorry to anger the PC crowd here. The role of PC and the broader international development arena, which is wholly corrupt, especially in the US government, is a well debated topic. Since blogs are hardly the place for citing references and extensive discourse, I offered the above summary, which I will stand by, though perhaps the contracting statement does not apply so much to PC as, say, USAID or MCC. I do recognize that, as one reader points out, PC is about cultural exchange, but I also note the other posters seemed to value their role as agents of development, not the cultural aspect, though that is important and hardly confined to PC in modern times. Anyways, I am glad you are all committed to the program, though I think its disgusting American hubris at nearly its worst, though not quite Rumsfeldian of course, in that it purports to help countries that our government much more often mistreats. Again, there is no labor shortage in any country receiving PC volunteers, and volunteers are generally accepted to appease US interests. I would encourage you to read a Foreign Policy piece, here:

    …and always think critically of course, and perhaps dig up other writings. Feel free to flame me if it makes you feel better about your misplaced ideology. Case in point, VOR is on your side and a fellow alum. Ugh.

  • Pennywise you cite an article written by a former Peace Corps Country Director, not exactly an expert on US foreign policy. There are plenty of people who disagree with his opinion.

  • It’s too bad the Black Rooster Pub is closing but Peace Corps is not to blame. Heck, no one is to blame.

    pennywise = troll on this topic.

  • I am the owner of the Black Rooster Pub. First off, I would like to say that I have always valued the Peace Corps as neighbors and customers. The problem was never with the Peace Corps. The owner of the building and the GSA came to terms over the space when the previous owners of the Black Rooster neglected to exert an option which was available.

    As of October 28, I was able to work out an arrangement with the owner of the building and GSA. The Black Rooster Pub will reopen in 2-3 weeks. The Peace Corps were scheduled to use the space for office space.

  • Yea! Jack Evans, Bob Peck, and Richard Cohen saved the Black Rooster. Save a spot at the bar for Jack and friends at the reopening!

Comments are closed.