AM Wine Shoppe Closing in Adams Morgan After All

2122 18th Street, NW

In late August a reader wrote in asking why the shelves were so bare at AM Wine Shoppe in Adams Morgan. At the time a spokeswoman told us:

“The Shoppe usually is slim in August since the owner and wine buyer vacation the last two weeks, which coincides with a dip in customer traffic due to August vacations. The Shoppe will be stocking the shelves this week in order to get back to “par.”

As suspected by a few readers, turns out things were not that simple. The AM Wine Shoppe is closing October 7th:

“A.M. Wine Shoppe, which opened at the corner of 18th Street and Wyoming Avenue in January 2010, will close Monday, October 7th. Unfortunately, the owners could not come to an agreement with the Shoppe’s landlord that would allow them to extend their lease.

The owners are excited about the future, however, and look forward to focusing their efforts on new projects in the area.

The owners also want to thank the Adams Morgan community for supporting the Shoppe from its inception- our success over the past years can only be attributed to our loyal patrons and friends. Again, new neighborhood projects are currently being planned.

Please stop by A.M. Wine Shoppe on Sunday, October 6th, the last day of business, to say farewell.”

21 Comment

  • Dang. This place made a damn good sandwich.

  • I hope that the business can re-open in another building where the landlord does not jack up the rent for no apparent reason.

  • What a bad break for the owners. I really like this place. They have a nice selection of wines and their deli counter and sandwiches are amazing. What a shame they couldn’t work something out with the landlord. Luckily, 18th St still has plenty of empty storefronts so maybe they can set up shop somewhere nearby.

  • I went in to get a case for a dinner party last October (ie, NOT in August), and the shelves were pretty much bare then too. They advertised delivery, but the one person working there didn’t seem to know anything about it. I assumed the store was more of a pick-up-a-bottle-on-the-way-home type of place–not really worth going out of my way for. That was one heller good-looking sandwich, though.

  • Another victory for the AM NIMBY army (aka the “Otten Brigade”) who want to ban all economic activity other than gorp-for-crafts barter.

  • Too bad, I really liked this place and the owners were so helpful and friendly. Looking forward to their next project!

  • too bad. They should move up to that open retail space on Columbia next to Cashions.

  • aw, a shame. i’m in there whenever i’m in AM in the lunch hour for a sandwich. hopefully they open up somewhere else!

  • No more AdMo sandwiches! Dammit.

    Maybe they can look at opening a place in bloomindale, Petworth or CoHi.

  • Standard commercial leases don’t work like residential ones. It was at least for five years with various options and whatnot. With respect to this place, which I like, I suspect their chief problem was that they aren’t quite profitable enough. My understanding is that the margin on wines isn’t very high. Perhaps the final straw was some dispute with the landlord, but I think we ought to take the reports of landlord disputes with grains of salt (see Ray’s Hellburger, that Gastropub that used to be in Columbia Heights, and so on). When people are making money, they solve these disputes.

    • Sorry man, but that’s too much salt. Landlords in DC, and especially AdMo, suck! They have sky high rents that keep going up, even though the area has seen a dip in traffic the past couple of years, and they raise their rents the second a place becomes successful. Opening a business is tough, and I’d imagine a special wine/sandwhich wine shop is really tough, but the only way to have a chance at success in DC is to own the property outright.

      • Commercial leases are the most straightforward thing in the world.

        They lay out, years in advance what you will be paying to the dollar on a monthly basis.

        When the lease expires, you along with anyone else lucky enough to own commercial real estate in this town would increase the rent to market levels, which in this case, based on the space size and location was an additional 20-30K a year in rent.

        Would YOU as a landlord, leave ~20-30K a year on the table? No, you wouldn’t.

        • Do many commercial real estate owners take equity stakes in the existing business in exchange for a break on the rent? It would seem to better align the interests of everyone. It’s pretty stupid to force a business out with a huge rent increase and then have that storefront sit empty for 6-12 months, while waiting for the right tenant.

          • Usually not. Landlords tend to be narrowly focused on the business of owning property, which has way less risk than being a partner in a small business. Not saying that your idea is bad, but just not the way things work in the business.

        • I’m not sure who’s agreeing or disagreeing with me, but I think maybe I was unclear: no commercial real estate lease signed in January 2010 is going to be ambiguous about the dollar amount for rent in September 2013. Maybe there’s some other landlord-tenant dispute here, I don’t know, but my hunch is that if the store were profitable, they’d resolve whatever dispute they had.

      • restaurant owners seem to do okay though.

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