Bar di Bari Closing in Logan Circle? New Concept to be Called ‘Red Light’

14th and R St, NW

The strange saga of Logan Circle’s Bar di Bari continues. In October we learned the space abruptly closed with no notice only to later learn they were considering closing on Mondays or limiting hours during the winter. Now CityPaper reports that the space will become a new concept called Red Light. No details nor timing were given but Bar di Bari was still open as of yesterday. Their Facebook page also remains live though it hasn’t been updated since Dec. 13th. More info when it becomes available.

48 Comment

  • And so it begins. What’s next? M Cafe? Black Whiskey? Drafting Table (back to its pre-summer, pre-Le Diplomate relative emptiness)?

    For folks in Logan Circle, does anyone know how Universal Gear stays in business next door to Drafting Table? I walk past that place every day, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone buy anything. And yet somehow they have new merchandise just about every week. It’s a large store in a nice building. I can’t imagine they sell enough to stay in business. Anyway, I wonder what the window display will be tomorrow? Answer: underwear.

    • I feel ya. The familiar call for “ground floor retail with residential on top” seems to have given business owners the impression that there is an unlimited amount of disposable income to support all of these new, and mostly expensive, places. Even in Manhattan, where “on top” residential rises 10 or 20 times higher and denser than in DC, bars and restaurants fail. I actually feel a little depressed at the news on yet another, soon-to-be yesterday, restaurant opening. I like seeing DC grow, but wish that some of these new residential buildings would just do ground floor residential with a green setback rather than yet another vacant storefront.

      • The problem is too little retail space, not too much. More retail space would lead to lower retail rents, which would mean that restaurants could stay in business without charging $7 for a pint of beer, and that we could have more actual neighborhood retail. The overpriced restaurants on 14th Street are overpriced because they need to make rent.

      • Not every restaurant concept works out but I don’t see how we need to start worrying about tons of vacancies on 14th street because a couple of them failed. People are still clamoring for this space, and when they’re not the rents will indeed fall.

    • I heard Universal Gear is moving up the street to the new building across from Teds… So they must be doing relatively well.

      • This is because the man who owns Universal Gear is also a partner in the company that is building the building across from Ted’s (as well as View14) (or so I’ve been told)

    • lovefifteen

      I’m pretty sure Universal Gear is doing fine.

  • I’m glad Aaron Gordon finally decided to put this place out of its misery. Now, I just wish that someone would put Mr. Gordon out of his misery as a “restauranteur.” With the recent closings of Tangy Sweet, Zekes, Rabbit Grill, and Fat Shorty’s – yes, all restaurants owned by Mr. Gordon – I wonder who keeps giving this guy money to open these universally terrible establishments. Quite frankly, I am surprised it took him this long to pull the plug on the certifiable disaster that was Bar di Bari. Unfortunately, however, Mr. Gordon once again appears to be heading down the wrong path by simply trying to rebrand this as “Red Light.” It won’t work. Remember what happened with Fat Shorty’s? The same will happen to “Red Light.” It’s over. Move on. You don’t even have to pay me for this advice – advice that, if you follow, will save you thousands and thousands of dollars. I promise. May god have mercy on your soul.

    • +1
      Bar di Bari had the same problems that drafting table does: cool potential, but bland food and poorly run service.

      • And let’s be honest, the ONLY reason drafting table survives is because it gets the overflow from Le Diplomate, Etto, Gihbellina, and Pearl Dive.

  • Hmmm. As a very old time resident of Logan Circle …my first reaction to ‘Red Light’ as a name is – WHAT are they Thinking!!! Oddio.

  • Maybe Ludacris is taking over?

  • Are they going to be serving food/beverage at this concept, I thought that was for restaurants.

    • We’ve had it wrong all along. They aren’t trying to operate successful restaurants. All of Mr. Gordon’s “failures” have actually been a series of thought experiments. He isn’t asking “Is this a good idea for a dinning establishment?” but “What would happen if i did ________?”

  • Haha, these comments are ridiculous but spot on. The closing does make me wonder what type of place would actually do well here. What would be distinguishable from the zillion other places up and down 14th/U? One thing that comes to mind is Ramen – there aren’t a lot of reasonably priced establishments in the area and no competitors in the genre between Adams Morgan and Chinatown.

  • All I can think of is “Roxanne” from The Police (that, or Amsterdam). Not sure if that’s a good thing or not for a future restaurant.

  • I keep thinking this would be a great location for a kite store.

  • austindc

    “Red Light” huh. So I guess we won’t see many cyclists stopping there.

  • I actually enjoyed Bar di Bari. Cute relaxing place, good food (tho small servings and kinda pricey), and never had a problem with the service. I liked how it filled the niche between coffee shop and full-service restaurant. If it does close, I will miss it.

  • The problem with Bar di Bari was that it didn’t know what it was, and neither did anyone else. Was it a bar? A pre-dinner tapas and cocktails place? A place you could get cocktails and/or coffee after dinner or a show? Well, it was none of the above. It came off as a theme spot at an airport with bland food, bland service, and it closed right when you needed a drink or a cup of coffee.

    What the neighborhood needs is a really good Indian restaurant. I’m sick of faux April Bloom pork-festaruants, or small plates done in a mass-meh style, or hipster douches pouring yet another $12 faux craft drink.

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