End of an Era (soon) Vol. 176 – Stetson’s For Sale on U Street

1610 U Street, NW

Damn it! I spent a good part of 20s in Stetson’s. Ach, I think I’m becoming that old guy…

The listing says:

“Great opportunity for a restaurant on U Street. The property offers two floors of bar and restaurant space, rear patio, 24 tap line system and a lower level with a walk-in refrigerator, reach-in freezer, and ample storage. The business (Stetson’s Bar), Class C Tavern license, inventory and owned fixtures including two HD projectors convey. Zoned C-2-A. Appointment only. 24 hour notice required.”

It’s going for $2,400,000. Well, when in Rome, I’m off to set up a kickstarter page! For $50 you will get an ice cold 12oz Budweiser. For $500 you will get a 12oz Budweiser and a shot of your choice.

Oof, I’m so sad.

42 Comment

  • I wonder if Jenna or Barbara Bush could be talked into buying it…that would be oddly awesome.

  • Won’t miss the rats running around in the Back patio!

  • It will probably become a Western-themed condo building (popped up and back, ‘natch) and continue to be called “The Stetson”

  • Tried to go to trivia night here, arrived at 5:15 and everyone was already camped out waiting for an event that didn’t start until 8.

    • Well, trivia starts at 7 ๐Ÿ™‚

      But yeah, we’re a rabid and loyal bunch. Not sure where we’ll play now ๐Ÿ™

  • PLEASE start a kickstarter.

  • This will truly be a loss. Moved here in late 2008, and this was always a go to place to meet up with friends, both those who had been in DC and those just moving in. Loved drinking pitchers on the back patio and trying to make sure rats didn’t fall on you from the beams.

    • Regular c. late 1993 through about 1999 here. Stetson’s every Thursday with a group of friends. They stayed late. I’d walk home to my studio at New Hampshire and V, at around 9:30, after about 4 beers. I was famous for that. Come to think of it, I still tend to leave the bars and parties earlier than everyone else…

  • So, for less than $5m I can own Stetson’s and live nearby in the GDON house on Swan Street. I’m in!

  • Next, you’ll need three experienced creative professionals to work full time developing the business for nothing but free beer and their love of ten-gallon hats. Where do I apply?

  • Stets has always been a favorite. A great neighborhood bar. It’s never crazy crowded, has a truly fantastic staff, good wings and a noted lack of bros on NFL Sundays.

  • Good Riddance! The only reason I was hoping they’d stay open was to see them featured on Bar Rescue. I hope Chi-Cha Lounge goes next.

  • DC CapHill

    I moved to DC in near the 2k’s, lived 2 blocks from Stetson’s for a decade, and made it my “home bar.” It was better when Frankee ran it, the wings used to be LEGIT especially on quarter wing night. It rarely amazed me when someone famous to uber-famous would just walk in off the street and NOBODY would bother them, and THAT is what I appreciated most about that bar.

    I remember discovering that is was the “home bar” of the Red Sox watch parties, so much so that the team reps were bringing the Commissioner’s trophy by for a fans meet-and-greet, which was weirdly awesome.

    I also remember once walking in on a steamy afternoon, fighting a vicious hangover, and just looking to slug back a few pints before an afternoon nap. Nobody really in the place, but a table of guys, two other couples, a guy a few stools down and Frankee behind the bar. My phone starts ringing, I’m in no mood to answer it. It keeps ringing. Frankee is amused by this. I say, rather annoyed by missing the joke: “WHAT!” To which he says: “Sorry…it’s just, the band that made that song are all looking at you now. It’s that table if you want to say hello.” Death Cab for Cutie are in the corner staring at me, as I slowly turn what I imagine to be a lovely shade of chartreuse.

    Stetson’s FTW.

  • They’re taking all of our beloved old haunts away from us.

    • Seriously. Between this, the Reef, Pharmacy Bar, Tom Tom Club, Blue Room… ๐Ÿ™

      • Alll good ol’ Tom Tom! So many nights of dancing and free drinks! I agree with the old DC haunts going away. Next up Heaven and Hell replaced by a speakeasy.

        The last time I went to Stetsons I thought it was a gay bar? But that was back in 2007/2008. Did this change recently?

    • +++++++++++++++++++++++1

  • Noooo St. Etson’s is too good to be sold off like this. I’m going there tonight to have a nice cold pint and wait for all of this to blow over.

  • Do you mean a good part of YOUR 20’s? Or a good part of the 1920’s? Perhaps both?

  • God, haven’t been a regular since the 80s but am saddened to hear this. A boss of mine — very senior Senate and presidential campaign staffer and Hunter S. Thompson confidant, plus fun guy to hang out with — once swore that the party didn’t start at Stetson’s until the cops from 3D showed up, the doors were locked and the cocaine that had been seized but not turned over to Evidence came out. I din’t believe it — DC cops would never do something like that.

  • Good riddance. This place lost my credit card (i.e. gave it to some random bar patron!)

  • Linc Park SE

    Man that sucks! On the evening of 9/11 I met up there with my soccer mates, commisserating. The firefighters from across the street were there too, just back from the Pentagon. Everyone in the bar was hugging them, and buying them pitchers and shots (until the bartender cut’em off.) I spent many a night there but that one I’ll never forget.

  • I watched the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series at Stetsons. One of the happiest nights of my life.

  • I moved to DC in the Spring of 1988 and lived at 1734 T Street from ’88 until 2000. Stetsons was the closest bar to my house and I played hundreds (more?) of pool games upstairs. Back in the early 90’s Stetsons was the Greenpeace bar. I never worked for Greenpeace but those guys always had great stories and (most of the time) good weed which we smoked there and in the back patio area most nights.
    Doug the manager was a huge Skins fan with a big laugh. He was such a great presence downstairs. I made many friends there including one guy I met there one night who I ended up going to the Virgin Islands with (no homo) less than three days after I met him. We’re still good friends.
    I stopped going there by the late 90’s but it will always have a special place in my DC experience.

  • This is the worst news I have heard in a year, nay, an entire decade. I first stumbled upon Stetsons (figuratively and literally) in 2005 where I watched the Wizards win their first playoff series in years. Every other bar on 18th street and the surrounding areas was either too crowded or too Tomtoms for me to watch, yet Stetsons opened its doors and I have never looked back since. It is an oasis, a shining beacon of greatness of neighborhooditude, located on an island unto itself, surrounded by so-called “upscale” establishments that serve mixed drinks in mason jars to the dreaded bridge and circle crowd, who leave behind jumbo slice boxes and vomit before ubering back from whence they came. Mayhaps this first moment at Stetsons has clouded my judgement, and I am able to overlook the shortcomings some heretics have dared to point out since I so closely associate Stetsons with that glorious playoff win. But mayhaps not, as I have also been there for the Nats collapse of 2012, 2013, and many a Caps one to boot. No, my affinity for Stetsons is based not on some subconscious association–like how the smell of cotton candy brings with it memories of clowns, both pleasant and horrific–but on the objective fact that Stetsons is a true neighborhood bar, and maybe the last of its kind. Where else can one go to watch games on a Sunday, be ensured there will be a TV with your game on, seats available to watch said game, and sweet, glorious wings as far as the eye can see? Where else can one go on a weekday for happy hour without fear of having your or another patrons drink spilled on you as someone elbows their way to their Tinder match? And where else, pray tell, can one go to order a decent beer, play pool, darts, buck hunter, and Chumbawumba on the jukebox all in the same hour? Nowhere, I’d venture to say. Now our treasured Stetsons will be turned into another overcrowded rooftop bar, organic gluten-free tapas restaurant, or (shudder) an extension of Local 16. This is a sad day for DC, for America, and dammit, for the neighborhood bars that are the glue that hold the gears of our social fabric together.

    So count me in for a kickstarter campaign. And until then, I’ll be drowning my sorrows in wings and beer, in that very order.

  • Someone post the link to the Kickstarter campaign already, dammit

  • I’ve been going to stetsons on the reg for almost 9 years, and have loved every single minute of it. In fact, Molly the bartender just joined my husband and I are our wedding two weekends ago because of the connection and friendship we’ve made over the last several years. The fact that a girl with little desire to dress up on a saturday or friday night can show up in jeans and flip flops is enough of a reason for me to love it – but there’s SO much more. The patio is amazing, and the friends I have made there are countless.

    Anyway – I happened to text a bartender the second I saw this yesterday and was in fact reassured that they are not closing and the owner is very likely just looking to see what they can get.

    In a city full of new wonderful (high priced) restaurants and bars, Stetsons is a welcome reprieve from the fast-moving calamity that is U Street/14th Street. And to anyone who has loved this place or made memories, Stetsons needs your HELP. They need YOU to remember what makes them wonderful and come back on weekends! GOOD beer, back patio, pool table, juke box and friendly AWESOME staff. Here’s to several more years with Stetsons.

    • OH – I suggest a STETSONS LOVER PARTY THIS SATURDAY. We will be there by 6 p.m. this Saturday and I think any and all regulars should come to show their love and support!!! I was actually there the day they decided to paint the back patio because the owner had been mailed two bottles of liquor found in the desert in CA dating back to the 1900’s with Steton’s address. Talk about history. Hope to see you Saturday!

  • I went last night and spoke to the person manning the front door. I mentioned how I was bummed it was closing and he told me it was all a false rumor. There was an appraisal of the property and for some reason the appraiser made the document public, leading some to believe that it was closing. It’s not. May want to confirm with ownership.

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