57 Comment

  • Wow, Dupont surely is in a decline over these past few years compared to the rest of the city….at least they have the fame of The Big Hunt still.

    • Well, sure, it’s no longer the hip destination it once was, but there’s plenty of money in Dupont to keep it alive.

    • I’m not sure I’d categorize Dupont Circle as being in decline. In transition, for sure. Maybe we’re approaching a saturation point for bars and restaurants, city-wide.

    • On the contrary… or I should say it depends on how you characterize “decline”… in the case of Dupont, the cost of retail real estate (like most areas in DC) keeps going up — this space is already leased (for substantially more than Marvelous was paying)… and, as the other posters pointed out, Marvelous Market has been in decline for years now. Still it does mark the end of an era…

      • Who will be moving in???

      • justinbc

        The OP is just trolling, ignore it.

        • I’m guessing that you’re fairly new to the city with a very short frame of reference. Dupont has gone through much change over the past three decades or so, trust me. It’s not unfathomable for someone to think that it’s in decline.

      • I guess. Most people don’t see replacing charming local businesses with soulless chains as a good thing.

      • Marvelous Market has been in decline…??? I think you meant Dupont. If so, yes! I agree about Kramers being great (and who goes out for a stroll around P&P?), but there are no edgy, cool places around there to hang out in besides the Big Hunt, and who knows how much longer they’ll be there. Lambda Rising and Melody Records are gone, no movie theaters, the only pizza by the slice place sucks (which is kinda hard to do), shall I go on…?

  • The one near 18th and Eye closed too!

  • One can still buy good bread around the corner at Firehook, or a wide variety of high-quality food a few blocks north at Glenn’s Garden Market. Marvelous Market was marvelous when it first opened in Dupont in the last century, but has gone steadily downhill in recent years following a succession of ownership changes. The quality of its offerings steadily deteriorated while prices remained high. I used to shop there regularly, but have not purchased anything from there in a couple of years.

  • Interesting how the stated decline really began with the exodus of the Gay Community to areas North and NE of Dupont.

    Now watch those areas continue to grow…

    Hint for you younger home buyers – Go East !

    • I’m confused why people are saying dupont is in decline… sour grapes or something? I mean, with the addition of GDS, Glenn’s, Little Serow, Lou Lou’s, Ping Pong, Filter, Shop House and the other food joints on that strip, it sounds more like it’s just finally improving to keep up with development on 14th. Look for more places that suck to close. I, for one, am happy MM closed since it was insultingly overpriced and the pastries weren’t fresh. Hopefully we’ll get something better in there, along with the space where Potbelly was… also look for Cosi to close soon. Sure, farther east is cheaper and will appreciate in value someday, but dupont is still a thriving neighborhood. And I’d argue it’s the best location in the city because it’s walkable to downtown, chinatown, georgetown, logan, 14th street, shaw, woodley park, etc. Not many neighborhoods in the city that afford that nice a lifestyle.

      • “since it was insultingly overpriced”

        Totally agree. I went in once years ago and walked out after seeing the prices – never to return.

        Just because a community has a little extra money to spend doesn’t mean they are stupid enought to throw it away.

      • justinbc

        Why would you walk from Dupont Circle to Chinatown? Take the Metro.

      • I could’ve sworn that the sign in the window of the Potbelly said that they’re remodeling. Not sure why they’d bother. Hopefully they’ll move on.

      • “I’m confused why people are saying dupont is in decline… sour grapes or something? I mean, with the addition of GDS, Glenn’s, Little Serow, Lou Lou’s, Ping Pong, Filter, Shop House and the other food joints on that strip, it sounds more like it’s just finally improving to keep up with development on 14th. Look for more places that suck to close. I, for one, am happy MM closed since it was insultingly overpriced”

        Interesting that you think MM is overpriced but Glenn’s is not. I love Glenns with a capital L and if I made $90,000 a year, I’d be shopping there on the regular. As it stands, no, I can’t afford to do that. I hope I’m wrong, and I’ll gladly accept all taunts if I am, but my prediction is that Glenns won’t last that long. The reason is that there are not enough multiperson households, read: wealthy families, to sustain upscale markets. Remember, there was a really great Italian market on Connecticut where that restaurant next to the vid store is. It was really great. But – closed. I predict Filter will stay because it caters to what people want, apparently which is not places to get together with other people, but places to go alone. Our retail and food establishments reflect who we are and what we want. (Which is not much.)

  • It’s funny — I agree that Dupont is probably not in “decline,” but I will also admit I personally never go there anymore and don’t know many friends who do either. I almost forget it’s there. And when I occasionally do venture west of 14th street, I am always surprised to find it (still) filled with people. Who are they? :^)

    • Usually newcomers to the city. Dupont still has a reputation as being a nice safe neighborhood to crash at while you get your bearings. There are also some older folks who will probably be there forever because they bought homes before it got expensive. But yeah, it’s certainly not a destination anymore. I caught the tail end of Dupont’s gay scene in 2005, and it was glorious, but if you go down 17th street now it’s eerily quiet even on a Saturday night. I like Kramerbooks and the Phillips Collection but still can’t find reasons to go to Dupont more than once or twice a year.

      • justinbc

        “It’s not a destination anymore.”
        ———-
        I think multiple bars revenue streams would beg to differ.

        • Omega, the ladies bar in the old Badlands spot, Fireplace, JRs, D.I.K, Cobalt… not bad

          Did I miss any?

          • I know those places are technically Dupont, but I live near U St and go to JRs, DIK, and Cobalt often… but never further west… so I think if that area as the western edge of the hip 14th St area more than anything related to Dupont.

          • justinbc

            What you “view it as” really bears no significance in terms of what it actually is geographically.

          • “the ladies bar in the old Badlands spot”… what is that?

          • My girlfriend and I tried to go out to 17th Street, for old time’s sake, the Saturday night of Pride weekend. Half the places weren’t even open and the streets were empty. It was surreal. We ended up going to Phase One Dupont, over where Apex used to be, but that has more of a Foggy Bottom/Georgetown feel to it. I think Dupont as we used to know it is gone.

          • Omega – Closed
            Ladies Bar at Badlands – Closed

        • I disagree. By that logic you could say Capitol Hill is a nightlife destination because it can support several bars. But the vast majority of those bar patrons are people who either live or work here and simply go to these places because it’s convenient. Same with Dupont. The last few times I was over there for a happy hour/birthday/etc people I met at the bar were surprised that I was there since I have no connection to the neighborhood other than the person I was meeting.

  • I agree with others that this is a sign of Marvelous Market’s decline and not Dupont’s. I remember the 1990s when MM was top notch for both bakery and prepared foods (especially sandwiches). I used to stop by the location next to Politics & Prose anytime I was in the area. As teenagers, my brother and I both loved their white bean spread, which was oddly delicious. The few times I’ve gone in the past few years it was just sad. There’s just one left now – in Georgetown. I’d say it’s the end of an era, but that end came a while ago. I wish Mark Furstenberg had never sold it.

  • And the one in Tenley became a frozen yogurt spot. As others have said, I remember when Marvelous Market was, indeed, marvelous, to the point where I went there not just for breads and lunch, but for hostess gifts. Then it became not so marvelous, then, it became badly stocked and awful. The store definitely declined over time.

  • I agree – it’s more of a decline of Marvelous Market than anything. Which is not really surprising because I was never impressed – i’ve been to the Chevy Chase and Tennlytown locations – both locations had a limited menu of overpriced, stale, pre-made sandwiches and salads. Not the recipe for success in this down. As for the decline of Dupont – not gonna happen any time soon. It won’t be as young and cutting edge as it was in the 1980s, but last Friday night, I saw there were still lines outside Public and Dirty Martini, and it still sits in the heart of the most valuable office space in the District.
    As for the north side – Dupont and the surrounding neighborhoods of Embassy Row, Kalorama, Woodley, and Georgetown – will be just fine. Just like with NYC’s East side, old money never goes out of style.

  • My boyfriend used to buy Olive Bread at MM every week 20 years ago. Sweet Memories, I miss him (and old Dupont Circle).

  • Wow, I didn’t realize my morning comment would cause such discussion! I was maybe being a bit dramatic and flippant with my statement about a “Dupont Decline”. It clearly is still one of the most affluent and lovely neighborhoods in the city. I think anyone who has lived here through the 2000′s can see that the neighborhood had taken a dip from it’s height of popularity from a commercial standpoint is where I was coming from. My guess–I first lived in North Dupont when I moved to DC and now I live in LeDroit now….it’s just the urban sprawl that has lead to more options for where people choose to live and play.

  • Marvelous on MacArthur Blvd. closed about 2 weeks ago as well. I think they’re done.

  • MM is no loss. If someone put in an artisanal bakery it would do well. Can’t buy a decent loaf of bread within a mile other than at the weekly farmers market. Firehook disappoints.

  • The poor state of DC retail and food keeps getting worse and worse. MM started out great, was beloved, but then, keeping only some of its belovedness, it became a mecca to cellophane. I’m not sure why DC can’t sustain institutions anymore, but we can’t.

    More empty storefronts continuing to plague our city. Is U Street killing Dupont?

  • As a native Washingtonian who remembers the wonderful era of beautiful family owned boutiques, restaurants and cafes along the entire Connecticut Ave. up to Dupont – trust me it is in decline has been for many, many years. It is sad. How many bars and restaurants do we need?

  • I am only surprised that it has stayed open this long. I never saw anyone in the store – mainly because the selection and service there was terrible. The line at Starbucks could be out the door, but you would still get a coffee quicker there than you would at MM. Other than Starbucks, that entire block on Connecticut is a wash. When MM leaves, you have an overpriced liquor store, a bead store, and Kramerbooks – which survives on historical reputation alone – the food is shockingly overpriced, the service is terrible, and the bookstore staff is barely literate. I live in Dupont circle, but have to go to 14th Street to get decent food – and order my books on Amazon.

    • Denizen, While I agree with your spot-on assessment of commercial retail on Conn Avenue, I am tsk tsking your decision to buy from Amazon. The staff at Kramer’s can be shockingly rude (I shouldn’t say shocking; this is DC afterall), and amazing they’d be so given what must be a precarious existence in the face of Washingtonians such as yourself buying from Amazon, but there it is. There are nice staff people at Kramers, please know that. The food is ok. Not bad by any stretch, and I like it that a brick and mortar place still exists. I like Kramers because they have the latest books and mags that you can browse through. (Also, I would not say the bookstore staff is barely literate, though that they still do the staff favorites brings a cynical smile to my face, as I wonder if those books really are read!)

      It’s become obvious that real estate GREED is what is killing DC retail.

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