Saloon Summer Closing Aug. 5 – Sept. 1. Building School Number 17!

1205 U St, NW

Every summer the Saloon closes to build schools around the world. This year they are building number 17 in Uganda. Amazing.

Their front window also reveals they not too keen in on the U Street task force:

Click to enlarge

No TV (Please Don’t Cry)

27 Comment

  • Good luck on building School #17! I know that Commie is a bit of a polarizing owner/figure, but I personally think that he’s awesome.

  • I don’t know anything about this place, but these pictures exhibit countless signs of personality disorder.

    • tonyr

      Can’t argue the support for good causes, but the “No Standing” rule is ludicrous. IMHO. YMMV.

    • Yep. And so do the countless rules posted throughout the interior of this place and its menu. I want to like this place, but there are so many passionate, arbitrary rules that it’s a little grating.

    • PDleftMtP

      Don’t ever go to Larry’s Ice Cream. They’ll be rude to you.

      It’s largely a gimmick. The owners and staff are really nice people – and their charity work is great. Financials posted in the bathroom.

  • they should rent out their space for a month to a pop-up.

  • Yeah, the owner is a little bit crazy….

    But, whatever, it’s a free country.

    I think his comments on the task force are spot on. Too funny.

  • My favorite bar!

  • Love these guys.

  • claire

    One of the main reasons I like the Saloon is *because of* the “no standing” rule and the lack of televisions! A place where you can actually sit and chat with some friends over a tasty beer (surprisingly hard to find in this city). I selfishly don’t like the month when they are closed – but appreciate the work they do building schools and hope this year’s school goes well!

    • I agree with the ‘No Standing, no TV’ rule of the Saloon. For folks that do not like it there are several other options in town (read that as every other bar in the city) that allow standing and TVs.

    • Exactly.

      The owner has decided he wants his bar to be a place where people can sit, chat and enjoy their leisure time.
      The owner has decided that patrons standing and television sets are not conducive to this idea.
      The bar has been open for some time.
      He has a good contingent of loyal repeat customers
      By all appearances, this is a sucessful business.

      And I love this place.

  • So what is the story behind this place? This guy sounds like he’s the bar equivalent to the Soup Nazi.

  • I’ve never been here, and the more I hear about it the less likely I am to visit. The school-building is a good thing, but random rules, and the attitude behind them, are off-putting. I don’t need a TV in a bar, but I am not opposed to them (handled properly, i.e. bartender rules) and sure I’d rather sit than stand, but things like the “Please don’t cry” remark just seem unecessarily aggressive. Yes, absolutely the owner has every right to express his opinions, but I also have every right to express mine, by staying away.

    (And really – he’s angry because the City is trying proactively assist the small business owners durinn the construction period? Construction that is badly needed and will benefit everyone in the neighborhood, but admittedly can impact the businesses, so they’re trying to lessen the impact. It’s great that the Saloon can afford to say ‘No’ to the help, and luckily the construction will be happening while he’s closed anyway; other businesses don’t have that luxury and hopefully will be helped by the City.)

    • I live around the corner from this place and don’t get the appeal.

    • But the rules aren’t random – random rules would be like “beers must be ordered in a robot voice” and “customers may only cross their legs if facing south or east”. The rules are chosen to create a specific kind of establishment. I don’t mind TVs or standing when I go to a bar, but sometimes I like to go to a bar that doesn’t have either.

    • did you ever consider that the whole point is to keep people like you away?


  • There’s definitely a very small intersection in the Venn diagram that has one circle labeled “PoP Commenters” and the other labelled “Saloon Regulars”. Kami doesn’t know who the Prince of Petworth is. I suspect he’s one of just a few proprietors on U Street who can say that. He’s got a personality disorder, yes, but his bar is awesome and the rules — that he doesn’t take very seriously — exist to keep many people out.

    Kami doesn’t just build schools. He teaches communities how to demand infrastructure projects from their local and national governments. His ideas are the kind that win Nobel prizes. He also feels strongly about the DC tax regime, and he’d love to talk to any of you about it over a beer or a cigarette, I’m sure.

  • The rules are 99% of the reason I go to the Saloon. You see, they keep it to be a civilized place where I can get my friends together, talk and have beers.

    Kommie is nice, the mission he has for taking profits and building schools is amazing and the beer is delicious. What more could I want?

    In seven years I have NEVER turned away from the place. That includes showing up on a Friday at 9 with 15 people in tow. They figured out how to seat us and it was an awesome time.

  • The owner is actually a very nice guy and the bar is a great refuge from the running sh!t show that is U St. on the weekends.

  • Ive never been there but am planning on going soon. I hate going to bars where people are standing all up on me when I’m eating/drinking. I like the concept and will be checking it out soon.

  • Yeah – I actually worked there then and have a very different opinion of Commie/Komi/Kami however anyone wants to spell it. It wasn’t easy and he was never nice – in fact kind of psycho.

    We would regularly work 20+ tables. I did the whole patio more than a few nights. If people walked a check or actually stole money that was left on a table (don’t every do that folks!) every couple of days – he would make us cover the loss. Most suckiest, lousiest, rottenist bar owner I’ve ever worked for (And that includes lumberjack roadhouses in Alaska!)

  • Kind of ironic that this guy is bitching about rules for obtaining an interest-free loan that would offset any potential loss of business that might be caused by a badly need facelift for U Street. If he doesn’t like the rules, or wants something that the city isn’t offering, he should just decline the offer or move his business to another neighborhood. It is the same principle that he follows in running his bar — if you want to stand, go somewhere else. So if he is unhappy with the disruption in the neighborhood, and the city’s offer of a loan, he should go somewhere else. No great loss.

  • I’ve been to this place a few times and while the servers were nice, the school-building generous, and the atmosphere pleasant, the signs everywhere are pretentious, self-righteous, and shrill. I think that the rules can be applied and maintained sans attitude.

Comments are closed.