Movement at Pub and the People Coming to Bloomingdale

1648 North Capitol Street, NW at R Street

We first heard about plans for Pub and the People back in October:

“A neighborhood restaurant and bar with 70 seats indoors and a potential for up to 100 outdoors. The largest patio in the area will also provide a view of the U.S. Capitol Building (which will be nice, assuming it ever reopens). Indoors, the space will bring the atmosphere of DC’s early pubs and restaurants. Think exposed brick and wood, not suspenders.

We have recruited Chef Dan Dalcin, currently Sous Chef at the award-winning Black Salt in Palisades. Chef Dan’s menu will offer traditional American cuisine, and will draw influence from several other cuisine types: Southern, Southwestern, Seafood, Asian, and Vegetarian.”

And we saw some renderings later that month. And now they’ve applied for a liquor license:

“New Tavern serving high-quality American Fare with entertainment for special events, live music, karaoke and community speaking events. Total occupancy is 99. Sidewalk Café with seating for 125 patrons.”

Very much looking forward to this becoming a reality.

North Cap looking north

North Cap looking south

Firehouse at the southern end of the 1600 block of North Capitol Street, NW

Ed. Note: On Washington Firehouse Restaurant’s facebook page they wrote on Jan. 30th:

“Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, emailed their representatives, and came out to support The Washington Firehouse Restaurant. Our ABRA hearing lasted almost 7 hours yesterday and we should hear back from the board within 60 days as to their determination on our application and the hours of operation. As soon as we hear from the board we will post the news on our Facebook page. Thank you again and have a great week.”

85 Comment

  • mark my words, north cap will be a happening little corridor in a year or so

    • a bit longer.

      • One year is a stretch but five years it will be unrecognizable. Economics.

      • My husband and I made a bet about this…specifically how long that NY Pizza will still be a NY Pizza. My guess is >2 years, his <2. While some think N. Cap is just super shady, there are actually a lot of bright spots (Uncle Chip's, DCity Smokehouse).

        • brookland_rez

          Ha. When I lived there, it was still a KFC. It became a NY Pizza in like 2009. Got pizza from it once. It was disgusting.

        • I love those places. Are there any other bright spots right now? That guy who sells old kitchen appliances?

          • Wait–is there really a guy who sells old kitchen appliances? I’m renovating, and trying to figure the easiest way to sell old kitchen appliances…this could be perfect…

          • Yep, the Flea Market store on R and N. Cap! Other bright spots include that Jamaican place at Randolph and Fab Lab DC (though they haven’t had any events in a while).

    • houseintherear

      It’s amazing. I have only recently started walking my dog along N. Cap in the evenings, and I have to say it feels much more like a thriving metropolis than a smelly piece of crap these days! There are still people hanging out on the street, but the vibe has changed- instead of harassing me, they pet my dog and say hello. Hope it can stay this way- the longterm residents can stick around, but the street can improve. Pipe dream, but it’d be nice.

  • It’s an obvious ploy to bring another nightclub and all kinds of stabbing-related incidents to the neighborhood.

    • Really? ROFL

      • For those not privy to the inside joke that is the Firehouse Restaurant, local community opposition (basically a couple of really old residents completely out of touch with reality) claims that the firehouse will make North Cap more dangerous and stabby, rather then less. Now you know. 🙂

        • Yeah, what could go wrong? They want to accommodate 400 people until 3 in the morning. Sounds like a nice quiet family restaurant.

          • Except the maximum occupancy is 250 and the 3:00 am hours are only two nights a week. If you want to complain, fine, but don’t misrepresent the facts.

        • LOL at “stabby”… Not that getting stabbed is funny, I have just never heard a place described as “stabby”

        • Just curious – where did you get your information that “a couple of really old residents completely out of touch with reality” had concerns about the Firehouse? The meeting that I went to was attended by many young people, concerned about parking and noise. I never heard anyone mention violent crime, or crime of any kind, for that matter.

          • Not the PP, but the “group of 5” have been prolific in listerv activity, e.g. bloomingdale listserv, so for anyone who did not attend the liquor licensing meetings etc, this is the main neighborhood opposition that we are aware of. I have personally never met those people but my understanding is they are older, long time residents, who basically oppose any and all restaurant development done by “gentrifiers”. For example they protested Big Bear’s original applications. This is all second-hand so if you have better info feel free to post.

        • Can’t seem to respond to the comment farther down in the chain – but…

          The “group of five” which has protested some liquor license apps has not protested the Firehouse. (They are a mix of young, old, new, old, and basically are concerned about the area of First and Rhode Island.) Three different groups of neighbors protested the Firehouse,over 50 people, in addition to the ANC and the BCA. None of the groups sought to deny a liquor license, -just limit some hours and other typical requests in an agreement – formerly called a voluntary agreement.

          The Firehouse posted on their Facebook page that the protestants sought to deny a license. That is false. They also insinuated that supporters appeared at the ABRA hearing. Not one neighbor testified in support of the Firehouse. It is unfortunate that there is so much misinformation circulating.

  • The biggest patio in DC? That would be awesome but that close to Lincoln Road I would be scared of a drive by shooting. No way I would eat there without a bullet proof vest.

    • i bet plenty of people aren’t as scared as you.
      how else is a place gonna change anyway?

    • brookland_rez

      Ha ha. He’s kinda right. At least when I lived there I came out once to find bullet holes in my car that was parked on the street. Another time I came home to find my block taped off with police tape. There were these two young girls from VA living in the apartment below me. They high tailed it back to VA after that incident! A third time there was a young girl shot on the 100 block of Quincy St NE. Where it happened, there was stuffed animals taped to a tree for a while. Never will forget that. All that happened in the space of just one year.
      Hopefully the neighborhood has changed in five years.

      • dude, come on. you lived there 5 years ago? 14th street used to be a shithole too.

        • brookland_rez

          I realize that. That’s why I said I hoped the neighborhood had changed. I don’t know since I don’t live there anymore. I do go through there all the time on my bike and have used the pool and not had any issues.
          I wouldn’t say 14th was a shithole 5 years ago. 14th was kind of like H St is today- clearly transitioning but still lots of remnants of the bad old days. You had Black Cat, etc, but across the street was Swan Auto Sales and the Laundrymat. H St 10 years ago when I moved here, that was a 100% shithole. I remember going to one of the first shows at Rock and Roll Hotel thinking the whole Atlas district was never going to work, that no one in their right mind would want to make that walk out H St from Union Station. I was definitely proven wrong on that 😉

          • thats all i’m saying, with momentum things change drastically. hell, 5 years from now benning road will be hip.

          • To be fair, you’ve been posting about that bullet hole story “5 years ago” on this blog for at least a year. You keep saying you dont know “if the neighborhood has changed”, but numerous people have said that it has. Unless you think home prices go from 300k to ~500k-600k , restaurants open, shady places close, and homes get renovated, but crime remains the same…

            Perhaps you just have an ax to grind…?

          • brookland_rez

            Fine so to you it’s changed. Don’t take it so personal. I still see a lot of unsavory people in the neighborhood around Big Ben Liquors and we still read reports of shootings on this blog from time to time.

          • Not taking it personally… Just pointing it out.

            And, you must know that Big Ben doesn’t really factor into this conversation.. It might as well be another world.

    • I’ve lived on Lincoln Road since 2009, walk my dog on it every day, and have never had the slightest problem. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Yes, there have been a couple shootings. There have also been shootings on U Street – is that also too scary for you?

      • houseintherear

        A friend of mine made a comment to me when I bought a house in Bloomingdale a number of years ago… paraphrasing, something about “good black people” and “bad black people” when I mentioned the nearby U Street corridor developmental success, and how I should be worried about living amongst the “bad ones” in developing Bloomingdale as opposed to (I’m guessing this is what he meant) the more cultured black people of the U Street historic area. Needless to say, we’re not friends anymore (for many reasons), but over time I’ve come to see that comment as a sad reflection of how lots of people in my neighborhood think. Maybe I’m off-base, but that’s probably what the poster meant above… when you get close to N. Cap, people get more scared. With the jazz bars and Duke Ellington murals on U Street, it feels safer and more of a “cultural experience”, but the nitty gritty of the streets close to NE make people poop their pants. Adding to the fear mongering here on PoP is only hurting the city as a whole.

        • Quite a lot of black folks in Eckington and Bloomingdale have been in their houses for decades, despise crime and drugs, have solid, long lasting jobs, with relatively good pay, and want new amenities and development. They may have unique concerns about dog parks, new restaurants, rising home prices, etc – but they are open to change in many ways.

          I feel like in many other parts of the city, there is a lot more public housing and people living on public assistance, comparatively. There is also a lot more strife about changes. Eckington and Bloomingdale have its share of section 8 and some group homes, etc – but there’s very little public housing within a several block radius. Public housing is necessary, but it comes with an array of draw backs. Based on the conventional wisdom, stories on blogs, and other anecdotes, I have always been surprised by how many “long-term residents” in Eckington/Bloomingdale are open to change, welcome new residents, and are generally positive people.

          And, regarding Lincoln Road and North Capitol… there’s really only 1-2 blocks of each road that have problems and its either the transient drifters or 2-5 houses that really cause the problems. Really, North Capitol is fine once you’re north of Q/Quincy/R area.

          • in what sense is public housing “necessary”?

          • “in what sense is public housing “necessary”?”

            oh god, really?
            because we want to live in a civilized society that takes care of one another.
            at least i do. and many people need that help.

  • This looks cool. From their website:

    The Pub & The People is hosting a pre-construction open house! We will be serving food and beverages and introducing ourselves to the neighborhood! Details below:

    When: Tuesday, March 11 from 6pm-8pm
    Where: inside our new spot, 1648 N. Capitol Street NW (corner of North Capitol and R Streets NW)
    More: Chef Dan will be making sandwiches and we will be serving hot cider and other beverages.

    Please come on by and say hello!

  • Should have an awesome view of the evening ambulance pickups from the park at the corner of North cap and florida.

  • The change on North Cap itself cannot come fast enough. Still so shady around P and a bit south of that.

    • yeah, agreed, but i’ve been in bdale for about 5 years and the development in the last 2 or so has convinced me, like a few others on here, that north cap & florida will be unrecognizable in a few years. bdale home prices have already gone through the roof and eckington’s are skyrocketing too. north cap & fl will cling to NOMA’s coattails and not look back.

      • i think we can expect the whole city to keep getting better. and more expensive.

      • Indeed. I have been between North Cap and Lincoln in Eckington for 4 years. My assessment just came, DC is trying to raise my assessed value by close to six figures for next year.

        • Mine just came as well – a significant leap. I’m between N Cap and Lincoln in Eckington as well.

        • brookland_rez

          Everybody that owns houses needs to check the taxable part of their assessment. They can only raise that by 10% max. They are trying to raise my taxable assessment the entire amount of the overall assessment, which is like a 25% rise.
          Needless to say, I’m appealing the taxable part of my assessment.

  • brookland_rez

    Used to live across the street from that place, on the NE side of N. Cap and R St. from 2008-2009. Always thought that space would make a great neighborhood restaurant. People have been talking about N. Cap turning around for years. Glad to see it finally gaining some momentum.

    • justinbc

      If the Reservoir development ever winds up actually happening that area will go nuts. Who knows if / when that will ever be though.

      • Well, McMillan is happening, that’s for sure. They passed the biggest hurdles now I believe. When? I’m guessing they break ground within the next two years.

      • brookland_rez

        That and if they can ever get Sarsum Corda redeveloped. Sarsum Corda is the biggest blight on that area. The crime that radiates from it just brings that whole area down.

        • They already raised blocks and blocks of Sarsum Corda to make room for NoMa. The city is also actively redeveloping pretty much all of the low-rise public housing south of NY Ave, much of it into mixed-use housing. (Though the Tyler House isn’t going anywhere for a while.)

        • brookland_rez

          They razed Temple Courts, and the Food Rite grocery store that used to be on the NW corner of K St and N. Cap. They did that when I was still living over there. Sarsum Corda, the low rise cooperative on the NW corner of N. Cap and M St is still there. I go by it all the time when I come back into the city through the 3rd street tunnel and have to divert onto M St to turn left onto N. Cap.

        • The housing development on Q and R between 1st and 3rd invites unsavory characters and illicit activity in the Truxton Circle area as well. Anyone know if anything is planned?

          • Granted I’ve only been in the area for a year, I haven’t noticed any issues with the development you mention. I walk my dog past there at least twice a day during all hours and it seems just as fine as Bloomingdale proper. Police raided a house on 1st and Q (NE corner) not too long ago and seemed to have pushed out the unsavory element from that corner.

          • It’s one of the very few areas that I feel somewhat skittish about walking down (Q St between 1st and 3rd NW). As a big dude, it’s rare – but there are a ton of guys who hang out on the sidewalks gambling and drinking. Especially when it’s warm out.

          • brookland_rez

            Guys hanging out drinking and gambling makes you skittish? Seriously?

          • brookland_rez how many times have you been harrassed and/or mugged on the street?

          • brookland_rez

            Never been mugged in this country. I spent 2 years in the ghettos of Guayaquil, Ecuador. Got mugged at gun point twice down there, and at knife point once. Saw drive by shootings on a daily basis, and saw 3 brutal murders in the streets right before my eyes, one by machete.
            Harassed? I don’t know what people constitute harassment. I’ve been called whitey or cracker on occasion. I’ve had aggressive pan handlers try to get money out of me. When I used to skateboard downtown a lot, I had a few fights with security guards. Going to punk/hardcore shows, been in a few fights there. Had a guy intentionally try to hit me on my motorcycle once. Didn’t end good for him.
            When you’re out on the streets sharing space with people that may or may not be from a rougher background, shit happens sometimes. That’s the reality of living or spending time in transitional areas. But two guys playing chess? C’mon. If that truly sketches you out, I suggest moving to Cleveland Park or something.

          • brookland_rez, are you willing to share where exactly you lived in Guayaquil? I’ve done some work in the slums down there. The typical slum (“ghetto”, as you put it, although as you must know, slums are of a different character in L America compared with the US) housing down there is small shacks, some concrete or cinderblock construction but often plywood, may or may not have water and electricity connection. Some of these are on the banks of the Daule, some in Bastion Popular and all the “Urbanizacion”s named after socialist heroes and famous dates in history, and so on. Did you really live in those circumstances? What were you doing there?

          • brookland_rez

            I grew up in the Mormon church so I did my 2 year mission trip there. I went when I was 19 in 1996. We spent a lot of time proselyting and also did a lot of community service, helping people work on their houses, etc. I no longer practice the Mormon faith, keep in mind. I haven’t been to church regularly since about 1999.
            I actually spent about a month in Bastion Popular. I also spent about 6 months in Guasmo Sur. Also 6 months on the Isla Trinitaria and western suburbio. This was from Feb 1996 – Feb 1998. I have no idea how it is now, but at that time most of Bastion Popular and Isla Trinitaria consisted of cane shacks. It was one of the most recent invasions at the time. I lived in the middle of it, in one of the few cement buildings that was available as a rental (the mission wouldn’t allow us to live in cane shacks). I got robbed by a group of thugs with sawed off shotguns in Bastion Popular within the first week of being there.
            As a Mormon missionary, you don’t get to pick where you go. I guess after being in so many rough areas, they decided to reward me and send me to Cuenca, Loja, and Zamora for 6 months. All of those cities were much cleaner and safer. It was usually where they would send female missionaries.
            In general when I was there, crime was out of control in Guayaquil. The police used to rob the drug dealers. People would get murdered and there would be no investigations. A lot of the cane shacks were built over water. None had plumbing so all the sewage just emptied into the swampy salt water. When tide would go out, all you would see would be filthy, smelly shit. Smelly is an understatement. In my time there, Guayaquil was a disgusting, unhealthy place to live. I contracted viruses and parasites on such a regular basis that the mission nurse would give us antibiotics every month regardless of whether or not we felt sick. I got E. Coli while I was there, and practically died due to inability to access health care.
            I look back on my experience there and think about the positives (learning the value of hard work, learning Spanish, etc.). But as a 19 year old that grew up in a nice clean upper middle class suburb, to say it was an eye opener would be an understatement. After seeing what I saw down there, and having been in 48 states and nearly every major city (including bad parts of Detroit, Baltimore, and typical “bad” American cities), I can safely say there is nothing in the USA that is going to shock me.

          • brookland_rez

            Oh yeah, also run away inflation and economic issues in general. When I first arrived there, bus fare was 500 sucres. A coke was 1000 sucres. The exchange rate when I got there was 2500 sucres to a dollar, when I left it was 5500. Prices on basic goods would go up every week or so. After I left, around the year 2000, they adopted the dollar after the exchange rate spiked to 25,000 sucres to a dollar. I believe they’re still on the dollar, but I don’t pay that much attention so I don’t know for sure.
            I was also there president Abdala got both elected and overthrown months later. All the people in the countryside shut down the roadways in protest and burn tires in the middle of the highways. We were told to stay locked up in our apartment during this time. Political corruption in general was out of control nationwide, and there was a lot of political upheaval.

      • it will go nuts mcmillan or not.

  • justinbc

    Man, I wish I could have scored that firehouse for $600K back in ’09, what a sweet residence that would have made!

  • brookland_rez

    Another fun fact about that area. The space in between the grocery store and the firehouse used to house punk shows when I lived over there. One of my friends, Matt Moffet, who owns Smash Records in Adams Morgan had a band, 86 Mentality, that played their last show there. The space was a shell with a dirt floor. For sound proofing, we had old mattresses stuck up on the walls. Fun times.

  • This bar is going to be awesome! The owners/founders are really cool guys, so this place will be a lot of fun, and the Chef is great too. The area is on the rise, and I think this will quickly become a staple in the Bloomingdale neighborhood. Looking forward to having fun on that patio – I’m not scared like some of the other commenters!

    • while there are naysayers, there are enough people in this city that are willing to go out and not i’ve in fear that this place will be fine. and in 2 or 3 years, ever the naysayers will check it out.

    • justinbc

      I don’t know about that chef specifically, but the food at BlackSalt is indeed very good, so hopefully he learned as much as possible there.

  • North Cap still needs to do something with that triangle, which I heard is federally owned, so let’s see how long that takes

  • I am so excited for everything about this.

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