Lion’s Fine Wine and Spirits Soft Opens at 3614 Georgia Ave, NW

3614 Georgia Ave, NW two blocks south of the Petworth metro just north of Otis

A few weeks ago I said this liquor store was gonna be ridiculously awesome. Well, there is no doubt about it, this liquor store is ridiculously awesome. It soft opened on Saturday and this coming Friday will be its grand opening. The owner, Mr. Lee, did not spare any detail. Take for example, the lion sculpture outside, it was specifically imported from Tibet:

But the real excitement is, of course, with the store itself. People who remember the old store will be dumbfounded. This transformation is nothing less than spectacular:

It’s easy to overlook all the awesome – but check out the ceilings when you stop by:

And of course they also have an awesome selection of wine, beer and liquor. The back of the store is ringed with beer:

And while the store was less than half stocked for the soft opening, you can tell the wine selection is gonna be equally awesome taking up the bulk of the store:

And this is just the beginning for Mr. Lee’s plans. While the store itself is huge you’re actually only seeing a fraction of the building. Mr. Lee was kind enough to give me a tour of the rest of the building and explain his vision for part two. Part two will have a wine bar, sushi bar, Korean style grill and much much more. You have to trust me on the space, consisting of two floors – it is gigantic. Planning for part two will take place this summer and it’ll probably be another year before it’s completed so we’ll def. revisit as plans progress.

In the meantime – be sure to check out one of the best new wine, beer, and liquor stores in the town.

More photos after the jump.

66 Comment

  • orderedchaos

    Oh man… Friday, you say? I’m there.

  • Wow – This is a cathedral (or temple) of liquor!

  • Korean grill? Like, bulgogi? Bi bim bap?

  • The other signage is a little bit “eh”, but otherwise, cool!

  • bfinpetworth

    I stopped in on Saturday and the photos only partially tell the story. The place is sparkling clean, the employees are smiling and helpful, and there is no plexigkass! What a great addition to he neighborhood!

  • It’s really great – congratulations to Mr Lee.
    But I wonder what happens when the old clientele comes back.

    • Exactly! I’m just glad someone else said that first though.
      While a “ridiculously awesome” liquor store may be better than the old liquor store it was before, I always thought this place should be closed due to it’s proximity to the school next door. I know I know the store was there first, but still. What? There’s no where else to put a “ridiculously awesome” liquor store on Georgia Ave??

      • Prince Of Petworth

        And some people call me myopic…

        • ok, so improving Lions is a step for a better Georgia Ave? -so would just one fewer liquor store, especially right next door to a school.

          • What does the proximity of a school have to do with anything? Don’t you think the founders of the school would have picked another location if being next to a liquor store was in fact somehow bad for children?

          • Prince Of Petworth

            Hahaha, never mind the strip club…

          • My point was there are still just tooooo many liquor stores on Georgia Ave. Seriously, can’t we have anything else!? Guess I just thought it’d be a good opportunity to use the school as an excuse to limit liquor stores and get something -anything else here.
            I too am distracted by shinny displays and tin ceilings. But if we’re to ignore the “reality” (history) of the neighborhood and “hope” things improve, well I think we can hope for better than just a fancy liquor store. While I don’t want to see total gentrification, if Caribou Coffee or Panera Bread could push the strip club out too, I’d be just fine with that.

          • I think a Panera or Caribou Coffee qualifies as “total gentrification.”

      • @Anon
        Can you please tell me how a clean and well run liquor store, which by efintion won’t be selling to people who are drunk or letting people hang out in fron tof the store drinking, will negatively impact school children?

        • Unfortunately your definition doesn’t match the reality. Living 2 blocks away from this I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dodged past booze soaked drunks doing nothing but hanging out in front of the liquor store. Sometimes very aggressively bothering people walking by begging for money, pissing in the alleys and doorways, from Petworth Liquor up to Lions.
          Yeay they might serve Korean grill!!! That would be an improvement. But I’ve never ever seen them do anything about the drunks and thugs hanging out in front of any of these liquor stores.

          • I also live within 2 blocks of the store and disliked being harassed by drunks when I went to buy alcohol… but since the store is now under entirely new management and the previous management was evicted by the building’s owner, I think you should hold your judgement on whether or not Mr. Lee will sell to drunks and allow those drunks to hang out in front of the store.

            “Your reality” is based on the building’s history, a history which will hopefully not repeat itself.

      • The liquor store was there first. Exactly.

    • Seriously… old people shopping in liquor stores are the worst. We should put them in nursing homes like everybody else.

      • That store has come a long way, for the comment on putting old people in nursing homes I take exception as I am about 50 years old, senior citizens are NOT the problem!

        • Umm… it was a joke, Steve. It was a commentary on JM’s word choice. And 50 is not old!!! It’s the new 20s. 😉

    • The “old clientele” isn’t going anywhere. We’ll be in front of you in line – loud talking – and may rob your ass outside just to keep it proper.

  • 1,2,3 Here comes Mr. Lee…

  • Holy CRAP! What a transformation. Looks great. Welcome to the neighborhood, Lion’s!!

  • I stopped by about a week ago when they were stocking the shelves, Mr. Lee is as nice of a person as you will find. He stopped what he was doing just to show me around. This place is AMAZING. Even though CC’s is much closer to where I live I will make the extra effort to shop here so I can show my appreciation of truly awesome customer service.

  • PoP – A few months back you said that the new Safeway was the biggest thing to happen to Petworth since the Metro. I happen to think Lion’s rebirth trumps that.

  • burritosinstereo

    wait….does this place have a bar inside the store? can I just bring a sleeping bag and toothbrush with me and never leave?

  • is Mr Lee the previous owner? Or did ownership change hands?

    • The building is owned by the same person, but the store is under new management. I was told by the daughter of the elderly owner of the building, that they weren’t aware of the state of disrepair of the building/store under the previous management. They ultimately evicted the previous management who had stopped paying rent and recruited Mr. Lee, who also owns a store in Montgomery County, to reopen a new and improved Lion’s Liquor.

  • claire

    Wow, I’ll definitely be checking this place out! Beer selection and prices look decent (but is it $11.99 or $12.49 for the 6-pack of Racer 5?). Wonder if they have mezcal (I’ve been on the lookout)…

  • I would be so excited if they’d let you mix and match brews in there. I don’t know if it’d be the best plan, given that it usually involves buying singles. Still, I love it when you can make your own sampler pack.

  • Lets hope they don’t sell singles. Last thing the neighborhood needs is another place for the army of 24/7 unemployed drunks to walk out of with a 40 in their hand to throw on the street 3 blocks later.

    • After reading negative comments about drunks and thugs and bull in general- I find it odd that PoP decides to delete some and not others.
      So, on to the really awesomely decorated liquor store, that I used to be to scared (almost) to walk into- place looks amazing and I am more than ready to have a decent place to buy wine and good beer, other then Yes! or Giant.
      However, I am interested in what will happen in a few months after the new shine wears off and the Petworth “drunks” trash it up. If Lion’s can keep them at bay and prices reasonable- this will be the best thing to hit GA Ave in a while.

      • Well, when the “new shine wears off and the Petworth “drunks” trash it up” can we send them back to Petworth? But seriously, I think it’s in Mr. Yi’s best interest to not sell to drunks, keep the outside clean and discourage loitering. He has invested a lot of money to create a high end business. If he permits it to go to pot, then he will have seriously wasted his money and squandered an opportunity.

    • Unfortunately, I did see a small selection of tall boyz and 40s but they were contained to one small cooler. I also hope that drunks and thugs decide to go to one of the other dumpy establishments and leave the new Lion’s alone. I feel they can do well without the business

      • This is a timely post cause it jives with my angst over the drunks. I was feeling frustrated this weekend by the numbers of drunk men/zombies with bloodshot eyes and slurred speech who hang out in front of the liquormart at 1st and T and piss on the walls in the FRONT of the buildings. Not only is their behavior not good for the community, it’s not good for them!

        Who thinks it’s a good idea to have at least one (!) liquor store nearly every block!? Do we really need that much liquor? On the other hand, I have to walk 6 blocks for a cup of coffee.

        Okay, I just wanted to vent.

    • saf

      You know that has nothing to do with selling singles and everything to do with not following the law on selling to those who are already drunk.

      • Valid point about not selling to overly intoxicated people, but I rarely see the regular hangouters buy a 12 pack and sit outside the store. I do see them with paper backs wrapped around a tall boy drinking and harassing people….then the subsequent trash that is discarded on the sidewalk

  • I stopped in on Saturday, it is indeed awesome. The cashier said they’d have wine tastings at the grand opening on Friday.

    Way to go Mr. Lee!

  • Will they be selling kegs of beer?

  • Looks cool but beer looks overpriced in places…950 for a six pack of Saranac? Ehhhh…

  • Well, it’s not close to me, but it’s close enough that I don’t have to drive to capitol hill to get good wine. Hopefully the quality of the wine selection will match the quantity. As for Korean food – yum!

  • Congrats Mr. Lee, this looks great! I wish them the best and will patronize with my business. A lot of effort and money was put into transforming this place and it shows.

  • The subliminal, passively aggressive bigotry on some of these comment sections on PoP never cease to garner a chuckle from me on an overcast Monday. Good to see that ultra liberal leanings haven’t robbed you of good ol’ fashioned irrational suburban fear.

    • So being a liberal means that you have to tolerate drunks getting in fights on the street and hitting you up for money? I guess that makes me a conservative.

      • Oh, you didn’t get the memo? You live in the city, you should just “deal” with things like that. Otherwise, you’re a racist who belongs in the suburbs.

    • -1

      No idea what this comment means.

  • Happy to see this! I bought a bottle of wine here in 2005 and remember the nice Korean couple escorting me around the store …I think to protect me from the other customers. My how it has changed!

  • I hate it when i lick the monitor. Just can’t help it.

  • Do they have lemoncello? I can’t find it anywhere in Petworth.

  • I hope this means i dont have to travel to Total Wine in Alexandria anymore if I want to try out some good beer/wine

    • If you are traveling all the way to Alexandria for good wine/beer, you are skipping over numerous good stores along the way. Try going down 14th street, Devines, Cork Market, Cork and Fork, Whole Foods even to name just a very few.

  • Beautiful job. And I think the physical atmosphere will have a huge impact on the type of activity that happens in and around the store. For example, folks were skeptical that the rehab of the 11th and Monroe Park in Columbia Heights would change the useage, but from what I’ve heard, it’s night and day between the old park (mostly public drinking) and new (mostly children playing). People feel a lot more comfortable engaging in illegal / drunk / violent / problematic behavior in an atmosphere, including a physical atmopshere, conducive to that kind of behavior. Thus, beautiful store fronts / interiors (plus streetscapes, like the painfully slow Georgia Ave. project) has a dramatic impact on people’s behavior.

  • It’s not solely the store owner’s responsibility to ensure this liquor store doesn’t end up like the previous store. (FWIW, I’m skeptical that the building “wasn’t aware of the state of disrepair” — until the rent check stopped arriving.)

    It’s also the neighborhood’s responsibility to patronize it. It might even mean paying an additional .50 or 1.00 for a 6-pack.

    Call it the cost of keeping a proprietor afloat so he doesn’t have to sell singles to drunks. Bottom line, he’s going to make the decision that keeps him in business, and you can help him with that.

    • Even more than just patronizing the place, if there are bums outside, say something to the management. I’m happy to tell Mr. Lee that while he has a great interior, if it’s the same atmosphere out front as it used to be, I’m no more interested in going to Lion’s than Giant liquor closer to my house. However, if the place stays clean and inviting inside and out, I’ll happily make the extra walk to support the place.

  • I went in here on Saturday about an hour after they opened–almost didn’t because I thought they weren’t open yet. Good selection, fair prices. Fingers crossed for phase 2–sounds awesome.

  • The place looks great. If I’m in the neighborhood, I’ll defintely check it out.

  • I stopped by today based on the pics to see if the selection matched the decor and was disappointed. I didn’t see much wine that you can’t buy at the Giant except the Riunite which I didn’t know was still around. The liquor selection was very much like any corner liquor store. This place has the potential to give Calvert Woodley or Schneider’s a run for their money, but alas it appears they are wasting that.

    • I also stopped in over the weekend and was completely blown away by the interior. I spoke to the owner and a couple others in the store and I was told that this is only a fraction of the wine they’ll be carrying. After all, it’s called a “SOFT” opening for a reason. Duh.

    • Good luck with that. Those are probably the two best wine stores in the city.

  • They still don’t trust customers to pick their own hard liquor – but it is a great improvement.

  • I went in there yesterday and was blown away! I’m so excited about the upgrade to the neighborhood! Yeah no plexiglass!!!!!!

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