PoP Pre-Preview – The Brixton Coming to 9th and U Street, NW

9th and U St, NW

Back in Oct. 2011 I suspected the roof deck coming to the Brixton at 9th and U St, NW was gonna be awesome. Let me amend that suspicion – the roof deck is going to be completely freaking amazing, it’s got two bars on the roof alone! And the rest of the space ain’t bad either…

I’ve probably been getting a half a dozen emails a week since last year asking for updates on the Brixton. I’m happy to say they are just a few weeks from opening, I’ll update with an exact date when it is finalized.

Here’s what it looked like in 2009:

Check out how it’s shaping up:

First floor

Lots more photos after the jump.

First floor bar

First floor

Second Floor

Second floor bar

Second floor bar

Second floor chandelier

Roof deck

Roof deck fence

Roof deck front bar

Roof deck back bar

Amazing views

48 Comment

  • claire

    Less than a mile from my house… so excited to check it out!

  • Wow, that really awesome. I guess I have a new pre-9:30 club place.

    Hopefully, the roof at Marvin will get a little less crowded now too!

    • +1. That Marvin rooftop had been my go-to bar, but lately it has been super packed like all the time.

  • Now I might actually have a reason to come to U street…

  • Wonderful, now I don’t need to suffer through DC9’s roofdeck anymore. This place looks incredible!

    Any word on a drink/food menu?

  • FINALLY! Total Hilton Bros. stamp on it, they’re beginning to look the same or have a very Hilton Bros. feel. Obviously, the roof deck is amazing and wow, that gate is really something else, out of this world.

    I thought I once heard the the type of food was going to be lik London East End style but that was a long time ago so maybe things have changed and someone knows something much more recently than I.

  • Kudos to this group (this is from the Marvin group, right?) for taking previously-dilapidated / vacant underused spaces, and making them gorgeous and almost inevitably, very popular / profitable. They clearly have a business model that works.

    From a personal perspective, though, I never really go to any of their places anymore (and haven’t since I was on the dating scene), and I don’t see why I ever would. Why? (1) The menus never seem to be that creative / appealing / feature anything I am desperate to eat (Chez Billy being the latest example); (2) the food is just OK, and expensive enough that it needs to be better than OK, since you will typically spend around 100 bucks for a dinner for two with drinks and apps; and (3) while all of their venues are gorgeous, they all sort of blend together (including this one, it looks like) as slight variations on a similar theme, and they tend not to have a particularly unusual / interesting / memorable vibe.

    Compare them to the other wave of new places, like Boundary Stone, Bistro Bohem, etc., which offer more unique atmospheres (albeit in more off-the-beaten-track locations), cozier vibes, less of a scene-y feel, and better (and much better priced) food, and I can’t say I am excited for yet another Marvin-group opening. I wish instead of focusing on adding more and more enormous venues, they’d focus on making the food distinctive and better-executed at the places they already have. But given their demographic target (trendy 20 and 30 something singles), they probably won’t need to, and will still thrive.

    • Hmmm, interesting POV. I must not be remembering correctly because I thought you were really excited about Chez Billy. Either I am wrong or you have come down a bit from the anticipatory cheerleading. (I apologise if I am confusing you with another poster). Anyway, you make some interesting points, some of which I think I know what you mean. I’m not sure I think their target audience is trendy 20 and 30 yo singles. ESL probably skews younger but that’s been around a while. AIC probably too. I think places such as Marvin, Gibson, Chez Billy skews slightly older, more 30 and 40 with a few 20 yo tossed in for good measure. The places are more expensive, as are the places say in PQ or 14th street and it seemed that people thought more expensive places skew older since they might be more established and can afford these places.

      • You remember correctly, I was indeed really excited for Chez Billy. It seemed like it would be (and indeed is) a very beautiful, professionally-designed space (although somehow, the pictures excited me more than the actual place). I loved the idea of a higher end restaurant on Georgia Avenue to add to some diversity. I still need to give it a fair try. But, the one time I went, I ended up having just drinks (and neither glass of wine was good, and to boot, they were not cheap), and nothing on the menu really excited my companion and I (especially at those price points), so we decided to go elsewhere. And I couldn’t put my finger on it, but as beautiful as the space was, something in the vibe was lacking.

        I kind of had a similar experience with the other Marvin group spaces. I used to go The Gibson, but it got old for me pretty quickly. I frequented Marvin itself quite a bit when it first opened, but after a number of medicore food experiences followed by large bills, I haven’t been back. And I tried Blackbyrd once, nice space, but crazy pricey menu for the caliber of food. And with so many new, more creative options popping up all the time in Columbia Heights, Bloomingdale, Shaw, and Logan, I’ve just lost my enthusiasm for that group of restaurants ….

        • I hope you don’t think I was calling you out because people have the right to change their minds about something, especially after trying the space out. Optimism is a great thing. I’m curious to know if you ever went back to that thread to post after your experience because I remember a lot of cheerleading on that thread (not you but lots from others). I suspected that it had a lot to do with the “arrival” of the neighborhood. What you say is something that I’ve considered for some time, the food is fine/decent but expensive. They are doing something right, given the demographics, because their places are packed, so something is working for them and people are willing to buy into it but there are lots of exciting openings all the time all around DC.

    • +1 to the OP regarding all of their spaces. Spot on assessment. These days I’m happy to meet at one for a drink on a deck, but beyond that no thanks.

    • I absolutely agree with your point on the interiors. I’m happy to see that something was done with this property but this design aesthetic is tired and redundant. A reminder of the conservative bland nature of DC design. It would be nice to see something more progressive and inspiring.

  • Holy Cow! Gentrification is good my friends.

  • It’s like u streets all growns up.

  • Opening…I heard from a trusted source that they plan to open on July 1 for brunch and then to have a bit of an all day event. I guess they are foregoing the typical soft opening strategy and are diving right in. Opening for brunch the first day you are open is a gutsy move. My guess is that they can pull it off. This place is going to be amazing – I hope the food is on the level with their other places that have paid close attention to food – Marvin is always a hit and Chez Billy, IMO is some of the best french food I have had in the city.

  • When is it opening, any idea?

  • So excited about another great addition to already the best neighborhood in DC. Hilton Brothers will hit another grand slam with the new project…

    • Right before they pretty much shut down all the roads and parking in U Street for renovation… (Just recall what it did to Adams Morgan)

      Not a good look on opening timing.

      • First, the construction is taking place between 9th and 14th. Not the entire U street. Second, what did it do to AdMo?

        • adams morgan looks awesome now! it’s much better off for the improvements!

        • Businesses hurt in a major way during that construction process, it started around 2 years ago. I think that’s the main reason for success with U street because customers stopped going to Adam’s Morgan. Now there’s a lot less parking in Adams Morgan (because they changed from back-in parking to parallel parking as well) leveling out the population of business supporters.

          The construction project will greatly impact all of U street because of parking and traffic restrictions caused by construction, beware! At least this may make the new spots on Georgia Avenue & New Hampshire more popular now, the streetscape project there was completed months ago.

          • i think you’re exaggerating the situation. first off, things in adams morgan had been already getting slow. and u streets success was far before the adams morgan construction project. if anything the new adams morgan will resuscitate and choking strip.

            parking, while necessary, is not the life blood of these areas, especially considering the residential growth of 20-30 year olds in the past handful of years, people, who, by and large, are not drivers.

          • Streetscaping probably played a part, but I think a lot of people have been moving away from Adams Morgan as a nightlife/dining destination for a while. I suspect the growth/coming of age of H St and 14t St have more to do with it.

          • Also U street is metro accessible right in the heart of the area. AdMo had metro access, but you had to walk about 10 minutes in either direction. That will make some difference in your argument regarding parking limiting business sales on U street.

          • Maybe if a few more restaurants and bars opened in Adams Morgan that anyone but plastered 20-somethings wanted to go to, it would do a bit better. The older Adams Morgan places are in rough shape and were never notable for their cuisine. The newer ones tend to be bland, recycled, or just plain uninspired in concept and execution (with a few exceptions like Jack Rose, but not enough to overcome the general vibe of tired-ness). There isn’t one single place in the entire stretch that serves consisently tasty and affordable food. The streetscape may help, but only if more interesting businesses come in. Because the fun / cool / more interesting concepts have been opening on H Street, the classy, sleek, trendy places are all on U Street, and the good food is in Logan or on 11th Street in Columbia Heights (or scattered in other pockets as well). Which leaves Adams Morgan with what, exactly, night life identity, other than a big extended frat party? Adams Morgan’s success was, more than anything, attributable to a lack of alternative night life destinations in DC. With H Street, 11th Street CH, and U Street / Logan thriving, and even Bloomingdale / Shaw on the rise, Adams Morgan will have to step up its game lest it continues to lose foot traffic to, simply, better food and drinking destinations.

          • Also Adams Morgan’s entry in the the nightlife scene was in part a result of nightlife moving out of Georgetown. I think back in the 90’s, Georgetown is where people would go to play at night. As development (gentrification to some) pushed east, Adams Morgan became the hot spot for nightlife. As development continues to push east, there will be more and more trendy or cool places moving east, as development keeps pushing in that direction. Progression is moving eastwards…

          • Well said, NoLongerNew2CH

            To paraphrase Krusty the Clown, “Don’t worry Adams Morgan, you’re just finished, that’s all.”

          • Also this is a completely different streetscape project than what they did in Adams Morgan or on Sherman Ave. This is more of a tidying up than a massive spring cleaning- we’ll get new sidewalks and pretty street lamps, but they aren’t tearing up the entire road.

          • Gosh I hope Adams Morgan is dropping in popularity.

            That would be awesome for me.Please keep the trendy hip expensive new chain places moving into U and H Streets.

          • “There isn’t one single place in the entire stretch that serves consisently tasty and affordable food.”

            Not one eh:
            old: Little Fountain Cafe, Meze, Bukom Cafe, Bardo’s, Mezkerem
            newer: The Diner, Oaxaca, black squirrel, A’dam falaffel shop

            On columbia road:
            mixtec, granja de oro, and of course, the Astor

  • Great, now we can have all our gay bachelor parties across the street when Nellie’s gets too crowded with bachelorettes!

  • This should answer the question of a poster on another thread who wondered why anyone would pay “Connecticut Avenue prices to live in Bloomingdale.” The Brixton isn’t in Bloomingdale but it’s very close and one of the many examples of the exciting things going on in the eastern part of NW.

  • This place is gorgeous. I am very impressed. I also peaked into the Hilton Bros’ spot that is coming right next ot the 9:30 club the other day (literally peaked through the window) and it looks like it is almost complete too. They had one bar inside, one on an outside patio, and they were putting together booths for seating. This area is going to have a lot of new dining and drinking options very soon.

  • meh. home depot flip job.

  • Good that the interior design is excellent, as the exterior architecture is absolutely hideous!

  • So no one commented on the name?

    Maybe I missed it on a previous post about this place, but Brixton isn’t the best name for the place.

    It’s like calling an American place in London “Watts”.

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