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Photo via Smithsonian’s National Zoo

It’s like the Oscars for gianta pandas…

The big news shared by the Zoo over the weekend:

“The giant panda zoo awards were announced yesterday and Bao Bao won silver Panda Personality of 2014, and the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat won bronze Favorite panda enclosure outside of China!”

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2609 24th Street, NW

Thanks to a reader for sending these devastating photos Saturday morning from a fire in the former Murphy’s/future Bar Civita [“A modern American and Italian influenced restaurant in historic Woodley Park in Washington, D.C.“]. I’ve sent an email to the Bar Civita folks and will update when I hear back. Hopefully it won’t push the planned opening too far back.

Good update from owner Liam Civita:

“It is definitely an unfortunate setback, but it is only a setback. It will delay opening but not by much, as a majority of the damage was on the patio which we were replacing anyways in a couple of weeks. The fire department did a tremendous job in controlling and putting out the fire.”

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3000 Connecticut Avenue, NW courtesy Baked by Yael

From an email:

“DC’s first cakepoppery is officially open for business!

To start, we’ll be open from 10am to 7pm daily (closed Mondays), and we’re working out additional morning hours on weekends. We’re still learning the ropes and waiting for a few more pieces of furniture, but the store is beautiful and I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.

We’re planning a Grand Opening celebration in a couple of months, once the weather is nicer and the sidewalk construction has been completed. There’s no need to wait for the party to come say hi and to check out our cakepops and other delicious treats like black & white cookies, rugelach, raspberry bars, and more. And yes, there will also be bagels very soon!”

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2621 Connecticut Avenue, NW

A tipster sends word about the recently closed Taste of India:

“With the recent closure of Murphy’s of DC leaving us bereft, there’s a wee bit o’ sunshine on the horizon. While nothing will replace Murphy’s, particularly with it’s roaring fireplace on nights like this, “Taste of India” closed a couple of weeks ago and the folks who own Maddy’s are turning the space into … an Irish bar. Rumor is that the new space will be named “McIntyre’s” and is slated to open “sometime in March”.”

Ed. Note: Maddy’s currently has located in Dupont at 1726 Connecticut Ave. NW and at 13th and L St, NW.

In November we learned Murphy’s was closing after almost 30 years in Woodley Park and would be replaced by Italian restaurant Bar Civita.

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Former Murphy’s space at 2609 24th St, NW

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From WMATA:

“On January 5, Metro contractors will begin a major capital project to install six new escalators at Woodley Park Station. The project is part of Metro’s plan to replace more than 130 of the system’s oldest escalators to improve reliability.

With a vertical rise of 102 feet, the entrance escalators at Woodley Park are the longest in the District of Columbia and the third longest on the Metrorail system (behind Wheaton and Bethesda). The current escalators entered service when the station opened in 1981.

Woodley Park Station’s entrance is served by a total of six escalators, three short units and three long units.

During the project, Metro’s contractor, KONE, will take two escalators out of service at a time – one short and one long. Each pair of escalators will require approximately 46 weeks for preparation, demolition and removal of the existing escalators, construction work, installation of the new escalators, testing and inspections.

The remaining four escalators will remain available for customer use.”

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2729 Connecticut Avenue Northwest

This rental is located at 2729 Connecticut Avenue, Northwest. The listing says:

“GREAT LOCATION!!!!! Less than 2 blocks from the Metro. Top floor unit in a beautiful historic townhouse. Free washer/dryer for community use in the home. Beautiful back yard. COVERED GARAGE Parking available for $150 per month. Enter the home and go to the top floor. The unit is on the right. Vouchers welcome. Showing: 9am – 8pm”

You can see more photos here.

This 2 bed/1 bath is going for $2,100/Mo.

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2609 24th St, NW

That was fast. On Nov. 21st we learned Murphy’s was closing after almost 30 years in Woodley Park and scuttlebutt was that they could be replaced by some sorta fine Italian dining. Eater DC now reports:

“Liam LaCavita, the chef who used to oversee Liberty Tavern and its sister restaurants, is opening up a place there. The restaurant will serve Modern American food, with an influence from other cultures such as Italian.”

They also say he’s hoping to open in early 2015. Standby for updates.

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Photo by PoPville flickr user James0806

From a press release:

“This year marks the 45th anniversary of Salon Roi at its original location in Woodley Park. The first full service unisex salon in the District, Salon Roi has gained recognition for the unique Marilyn Monroe Mural that was painted on its south facing, exterior wall.

Originally called Charles the First for its co-founder Charles Stinson, Salon Roi was named “Best Salon” in 1981 by Washingtonian Magazine. The original owner, Roi Barnard, sold the salon to current owner Daiva Kasteckaite in 2007.

“I have many clients that have been with me the entire 45 years. I gave all their children their first haircuts and still do when they visit their parents,” said Barnard, who still works as a stylist at Salon Roi three days a week. Looking to the future, Barnard says of the new owner, Kasteckaite, “She is relentless in her strife for excellence. The salon is fresh and has many added services, including a spa and boutique.”

Over the years, the iconic Marilyn Monroe Mural has attracted attention to the salon. In 1981 Stinson commissioned John Bailey to paint the mural for Barnard’s 40th birthday. When the mural was painted “all the media mavens came…they were interviewing people in the street for their opinion. Everyone loved and loves it” said Barnard.

In 2001 the Woodley Park neighborhood contributed funds and brought Bailey back to restore the mural to its original vibrancy. As part of the unveiling of the restoration, lights were installed – funded by Starwood Urban – which illuminate the mural at night. Chipotle Mexican Grill on the corner of Connecticut Ave. and Calvert St. pays for the ongoing electrical costs for the lighting.”

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Photo of 2609 24th St, NW, by Connecticut and Calvert, around the corner from Open City via Murphy’s

A couple weeks ago, after Duffy’s closed, we talked about the best regular bars left in DC – Murphy’s was number 10 on my list. Ugh.

A couple readers send the sad word:

“I heard from the management of Murphy’s of DC (2609 24th St NW) that the establishment will permanently close this Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 after last call. Its lease was not renewed, and in its place is supposed to be a fine dining Italian restaurant, no additional details available right now. Enjoy the fireplace and neighborhood vibe while you can. 30+ years of memories for some who worked there from around the time it opened.”

I’ve called to confirm and it’s true – they’ll be closing after last call on Sunday because they weren’t able to renew their lease. Updates on the Italian restaurant when/if more info is known.

For those not familiar, Murphy’s website says:

Since the day we first opened our doors on March 17th 1986, Murphy’s® of D.C. has been the home of Irish hospitality in the nation’s capital. Our extensive menu specializing in delicious pub fare coupled with the finest beverages has been pleasing Washingtonians and visitors to our city alike for over twenty-three years.

Our guests have a choice of seating, ranging from our comfortable upholstered window seat booths, wooden tables as well as stools at our long traditional solid wood bar. A year round seating option is our newly renovated and spacious sidewalk patio. Though most popular in D.C.’s warmest months, the awning and heating system ensure our guests comfort during our city’s cooler months also. During winter months our guests enjoy the three sided wood burning fireplace inside. Whether warming your hands beneath the mantle adorned with an antique forge bellows, or basking in the glow of the flames from across the pub, the fireplace is a gathering spot and a symbol of fáilte, the Irish word for welcome.

Murphy’s® of D.C. showcases the best in live Irish entertainment. Whether playing traditional Irish pub songs or more contemporary rock and folk, our musicians all make sure the crowd has fun. From almost any spot inside the pub guests are treated to sporting events and news reports on one of our large flat screen televisions.

Our friendly and attentive staff will be glad you stopped by. Stay for the craic and raise a toast with us: Slainte! to your very good health!