Ivy and Coney Awarded $85,000 Great Streets Grant Adding “a fully retractable glass roof”

1537 7th Street, NW

The owners of Ivy and Coney share the good news and plans for their $85,000 Great Streets Initiative Grant:

“I just wanted to tell you the good news we got today regarding Ivy and Coney, the next great, fabulous opulent, little dive bar in DC. We’ve just been funded to build a huge roof deck at the bar which we hope to have open a few short months after the interior opens! This will mean a 50 to 60 person deck with a fully retractable glass roof, and more importantly, a greatly expanded food options (with a menu that is undecided thus far).

In other news, at KBC (3410 11th Street, NW) we’ve been getting some concerned phone calls regarding our expansion and whether we are open. While the plans are still very much in the works to add a second floor, WE ARE ABSOLUTELY OPEN. We will have to shut down for improvements at some point, but we will give our customers plenty of advance notice when we settle on a date.”

35 Comment

  • saf


  • taxpayer funded roofdeck. what will they think of next?

    • Sadly I have to agree. This is not what we should be spending $85k of taxpayer dollars on. I’m sure some of the women and children in the DC family shelter would love more permanent housing.

      • forgot to finish my thought —

        To name but one example of something else we could be funding.

      • Hate to be cross, but women in shelters don’t pay taxes. The city is clearly interested in raising their tax revenue over serving the needy. This has been the case for quite a while now.

        • That’s a false choice. The city is interested in raising its tax revenues, yes, but one benefit of that is more money to spend on the woman and her child who need housing assistance.

    • I love the concept of Ivy and Coney and the owners BUT seriously $85k of taxpayer dollars for this? Come on DC, there are so many places and people that need this more than a retractable roof!

    • Not that I fully support the grant, but the idea is to retain/attract businesses in areas that have struggled with such. Of course each business generates taxes, makes the area more attractive to residents, etc.

      Is $85k too much? Perhaps.

      • Yeah, that’s just what I was thinking. Don’t cities and states offer tax breaks to businesses all the time to attract businesses and encourage development? Isn’t this basically the same thing? I agree that $85k seems like a little much, but I don’t have a problem with the concept.

      • This area is on the rise. And if the bar was dependent on the funding, I think some of us would not be critical (that is, the grant made the entire project possible and didn’t serve as a way to merely “spruce” up a supposed dive bar). But the project was already happening, and given the rep of the owners and the publicity it has gotten here on Popville, I seriously doubt they needed to add a roof deck to attract customers.

        In other words, it was already very likely that they would make a lot of money (for themselves and the District via taxes), and could build the deck in the future without our support (like they are going to do for KBC).

        • I agree the area is already on the rise and the grant is probably unnecessary for the bar to open. The general concept of the grant program as a whole is fine, but perhaps the City should refine their guidelines/boundaries. Definitely can’t fault the bar owners for taking advantage of the opportunity though.

          • No, I agree. I don’t fault them for applying, although I question their PR sense.

          • Yea, I didn’t mean to say you were faulting them, just a general statement. Maybe allowing them to open and having a grant program that would match their expenditure on the roof deck at a later date would be a better option.

          • As someone who’s worked in communications, this is a PR strategy that could really go either way. On one hand, the announcement could convey the message “Look how much confidence the District has in our business and its’ potential, that we won this competitive grant; and look how our establishment will be even better.” On the other hand, you risk the kind of negative reaction that’s happening here. Although one could argue that since the Mayor’s office does press on the grantees anyway, the cat is already out of the bag, and Ivy & Coney is just striving to put their good spin on it. (My personal feeling about the grant initiative is that I do share some of the concerns about tax dollars supporting private business….BUT our tax dollars already do this anyway and in the grand scheme of things and the massive subsidies and tax breaks–which no, are not grants but they, in effect, impact our revenue base just the same–for mega-corporations, I can’t get too outraged about small business support. Commercial corridor/small business funding is a very common economic development strategy. I might rather see something like a low/no-interest loan or a recoverable grant, but I can live with this use of tax funds.)

      • Agree but we (and it is WE as this is taxpayer $$s) could be spent to help other small businesses that are lacking open up. Such as a coffee shop, daycare, artist studio, Makr Space, etc. Bars are an easy business in this city and there are a ton of them. I’m not anti-bar by any means, but spending our tax dollars on businesses that struggle makes more sense than on this.

        • Good points on the types of eligible businesses. Certainly attracting bars isn’t a problem for the city.

        • Or the 85k could be used to hire one person in DCRA tasked exclusively with helping facilitate small businesses through the still convoluted and time-consuming process of getting all the permits to be able to open their doors as soon as possible.

          Every month of delay is a de facto “tax” on business owners of thousands of dollars.

  • Retractable roofs are so very 14th St, which is ironic because this place is clearly trying very hard to be anything but another 14th st-style restaurant.

    • Thats whats confusing me…

      it seemed to be going in a direction away from most of the bars we have here
      this seems like a move that will lessen that effect

      also i am with some of you… 85k sheesh

      congrats & best wished though

  • Thought this was going to be a typical Chicago dive bar — sounds like every other DC bar now.

  • My interest in going to this place has just dropped considerably. $85K of taxpayers money to build a roof deck for a venue that probably would have made a killing w/out it? To a group that’s already done very well with their current business ventures? What a waste of tax money. If I were the owner, I definitely would not be broadcasting that news.

    And yeah, a “dive” bar with retractable glass roof top? Might as well throw out that Chicago-Detroit theme becaue that’s 100% DC.

  • andy

    Cancel the DC United Stadium!!! We’ve found our new venue!

  • I would caution vilifying an organization simply for applying for public funding. If you are unhappy with the policy, question the policy makers. Congratulations for Ivy and Coney for successfully navigating the grants process.

    • I think its moreso the feel and type of bar they were going for was all the way against things like fancy retractable glass ceilings n such

      the origional description raised many eyebrows because of the type of bar tiwould be
      it seems that this grant money may change that thing that many people were looking fwd to

    • Agreed, we don’t know what their application looked like. If you have a problem with this grant it should be with the policy makers obligating the funds, not the organization that was able to write a convincing response to something open for award. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  • I was under the impression that the Great Streets funding was supposed to go towards proving the way the street itself looked (ie, new facades, bike racks, planters, etc) and NOT to go towards the bar/salon/office building’s renovations or additions. Though I applaud the DC government for taking an interest in small businesses and neighborhood streetscapes, this seems like a poor use of taxpayer money.

    • “The purpose of the Great Streets Initiative’s grant opportunities is to support existing small businesses, attract new businesses, increase the District’s tax base and create new jobs for District residents.”

      Under those guidelines it seems to fit – small business (check), new business (check), roof adds more room for customers buying food/drink so increase in taxes (check), and more jobs to man the roof deck (check).

      Great Streets is a little confusing namewise, but I guess they’re going for a lively, urban environment and consider that “great.”

      • As someone who lives on 18th st I wish every place with an outdoor deck had a roof that would close at night. Does not seem like a waste to me if it attracts people to the neighborhood with very little impact and less noise at night.

  • I wish Kennedy was one of the “Great Streets”. In my opinion this stretch of 7th is a lot further along than there and there is so much potential in that corrider (of course I’m biased since I live a lot closer to there).

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