58 Comment

  • Wow! End of an era for sure. That place was such a dump, but its departure seems to harken the further decline of 17th Street.

    • What will become of 17th Street in the coming years? The place was hopping in the 90’s.

      • I think the best it can hope for is that it becomes a strip of bland chains similar to nearby Connecticut Ave. People with exciting business ideas don’t come to Dupont these days.

        • Seriously, why do you think that is? I mean, I’d much prefer to live in Dupont than pretty much anywhere east of there (including Logan, Shaw, and H St) if I could afford it. Plenty of money in those apartments and rowhouses, so there should be good opportunities for businesses. Guess people just like to follow the herd…

          • It seems like a lot of the jobs around Dupont, not to mention the proximity to GW, are of a transient nature that ensures a steady stream of people pass through but rarely settle there. That’s my theory anyway. I would never want to live there because I have a steady job located on the other side of town and the commute would be hellish.

          • I think the problem is higher rents for the businesses. So ironically, those who can afford to live where it takes plenty of money to live often have less interesting or diverse options nearby.

          • The Dupont neighborhood, particularly the 17th St. corridor, has been quite hostile to new business. They have successfully blocked new bars/restaurants in the name of quiet enjoyment. Or something.

          • Is there any way to hold ANC responsible for blocking Tavern licenses and creating these ever revolving dead retail spots? What are the current neighborhood track records of these killjoys? How many businesses died on their watch only to stay shuttered?

    • Sad that it’s gone but the bathroom was like something out of trainspotting, it smelled like there were dead rats in the walls, and Mia was a queen bitch. Who pays to get treated like that?
      The only saving grace was cheap pitchers and Fran, she made you feel like you were seeing a relative.

  • Townhouse was my “Cheers” for many years. It was a dive, but the people who owned it, worked there, and frequented it in the early 2000s were some interesting folk. They used to let us host private parties on the top two floors, bringing in DJs and everything. RIP those chicken fingers.

    • +1, the place was wonderful. The town that DC is turning into can go eff itself.

      • If you think that DC is now devoid of places like Townhouse Tavern, you don’t seem to know DC that well. There are plenty of bars like it, just maybe not all that convenient to you.

      • +1,000. It’s the end of an era. All these youngsters who’ve arrived in the past few years have no idea how cool and fun DC used to be. Then again, they think small plates and $16 “artisan” cocktails are cool.

    • Yep and they used to keep the party going until the next morning. You weren’t allowed to leave because they didn’t want to alert suspicion that they were open past hours. I remember getting trapped in there once and having some scary guy screaming at me when I finally found a way to force a locked door open at dawn.

  • Glad to see it go. This place was basically a Coke Den.

  • I spent basically all of the ’00s at this bar. It certainly went downhill in recent years but man my youth is officially over!

  • Kind of relieved to see it go– I’ve known people that were trying to kick a coke habit but always ended up doing some when they were out on 17th, because Townhouse just made it so easy to get it. Of course the dealers could stake out new territory somewhere else, but I can’t think of another bar nearby that would accommodate them.

    • Yeahhhhhhh. As someone without a coke habit or any interest in revisiting it, but who knew plenty of people with habits in college, it’s obvious if you’ve spent even an hour or two at Townhouse on a Friday or Saturday. Anyone saying otherwise just doesn’t know what they’re talking about or what to look for. I brought my out of state cop friend there and he couldn’t stop chuckling.

  • This place was definitely a coke den (Dom stopped running the joint after the 2011 FBI task force raid, but you could find little “teenth” bags in the bathroom on various nights anytime after his departure). lol @ anyone who says otherwise.

    Even if you didn’t know the history of this place or the people involved in it, all you had to do was open your eyes.

  • brookland_rez

    This makes me think of that weird Safeway that used to be in Dupont that just said “Townhouse” on the outside, but was a Safeway inside. The “secret” Safeway, right?

  • Definitely the end of an era. With this closure (and the fact that Fox & Hounds will never be the same) the 17th St bar scene is over. Spent many a fun time back in the late 90s/early 00s at Townhouse and the Fox.

    • What happened to Fox & Hound?

      • Changed ownership and revamped the place – just lost its charm.

        • Man, is there anything left on that strip that’s worth the trek out there for?

          • Yes, the food at Hank’s, Duke’s, Little Serow, and Sushi Taro (i’ll take out Komi because it’s so hard to get in). Good cocktails at Hank’s too and I’ve heard the basement at Floriana (which is much improved). Still a fun time late night at Annie’s. But the old scene is pretty much dead though.

          • So some good restaurants but the nightlife’s gone?

        • The inside is way too nice and clean, and they’ve unfortunately done a similar gut job of Trio’s more recently, but the food is still reliable if unspectacular, and when it’s not overrun by annoying Clarendon types, the patio is still pretty rad.

  • I’ve been living in DC for 15 years and went to Townhouse Tavern once — about 2 years ago. I could not believe how nasty it was.

  • Disappointed. Their chef was fantastic.

  • GOOD! This place was dirty, smelled awful, and was filled with sketchy people. I had one of my drinks drugged once there. Might have been cool back in the day but for the past 5 years it was nasty.

  • Let’s hope Cobalt is next. That place is a shit hole and the restaurant in the basement reeks of sewage. Can’t be safe to eat there. Maybe the owner will burn it down again. I mean accidental fire.

    • I’m not crazy about Cobalt, but if that place goes it will be the nail in the coffin for 17th Street.

  • I am actually sad to see Townhouse go, but i am not surprised. As for a drug den, that is any bar in this town.The thing that has destroyed 17th st is the ANC Board and the people that live in close proximity of the bars and restaurants. They moved here when they were young and when they got older they bitched and complained about the noise. So instead of coming to 17th st. Business people opted for 14th st which is now thriving. As a Realtor, i am amazed that people will move into a neighborhood with bars and restaurants, then bitch and complain about them. What they don’t realize is that when all of the bars and restaurants leave 17th st. The value of there homes will diminish because the only thing that will be left will be a neighborhood filled with bitchy people and a community that has nothing to offer them.

    • I agree The ANC has way to much power. Do you believe that Townhouse Tavern actually had a restaurant license? It did. Tavern licenses are impossible to get thanks to ANC assholes.

  • Coke den for sure… And yes that place was disgusting and yes all the dealers hang out there now the linger at dik bar ….

  • Being a previous “cokehead” I can attest without any doubt that Townhouse was a coke den for the masses There’s absolutely no doubt about that…whether you were into that scene or not, Townhouse was the Cocaine Mecca of 17th St. I spent many of my binge all nighters in that place simply to the fact that they would stay open after hours for anyone that would spend their money! But in all defense, most of 17th Street was the same scene in it’s hay day Now the scene is on 14th and U Street…but the same old adage applies….coke dealers know that if you’re willing to pay $16 for a cocktail, there are just as many willing to pay for the coke. Townhouse may have been sleazy and disgusting, but many a drug dealer will get their same profit from those who are equally lurking in high scale places….14th and U St will meet the same fte once the trendiness wears off…and it WILL…

    • It’s weird…I get the impression that coke is making a comeback around here, and that is something everybody should be very concerned about. Because where there’s coke, there’s crack. Things could easily real ugly in DC again, and for someone who lived through those dark days, it’s definitely not something you want to see.

      • What makes you think it’s making a comeback? I feel like it’s on the decline, but maybe that’s because I’ve grown up and am not around people who do it very often anymore.

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