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Holy Shit, Polly’s Has Closed!!?!?!?

by Prince Of Petworth February 22, 2010 at 5:01 pm 63 Comments


Wow, this is very sad news. Polly’s was located at 1342 U Street, NW and was one of the first “new” cafes/restaurants to go into U Street. Just in from a reader:

“Tried to go to Polly’s this weekend — turns out they have closed! Tragedy! Do you have any information on this terrible, terrible occurrence?”

And it is confirmed on their Web site:

“Polly’s has closed.
We miss you already.
Check back here soon for a personal note…”

This is really shocking news.

  • mateo671

    What? This is sad news – I just ate here last Thursday…

  • Corn the 2nd tyme

    I’ve always been puzzled with so many folks’ affection for this place. I suppose it might have been good a decade ago, when it was the only non-Chinese food/fried chicken/subs/take-out on U Street, but the one and only time I went there, maybe 6-7 years ago, the place smelled like piss, and the food was expensive and not very good.

  • Sunny Florida Avenue

    Sad, because the happy hour special was super, especially on a nice day when you could sit out on U. But, really, that spot holds the strongest urine smell I have ever been privy too. Eating there sounds crazy.

  • E

    Third on the pee smell. It was so strong. I’ve tried to go back and bailed 1 drink in a ton of times, and every time, there it was…

  • Anonymous

    Pee smell. Strung out looking waitstaff. Too many other options to make it worth it. Not surprised.

  • Quebecois

    It had a great fireplace. That was all I needed…

  • Hoodrat

    Nooooooooooooo! I love this place. Relatively cheap, at least at happy hour. Decent food. Good tunes on. Rarely crowded. Usually quiet enough to have an actual conversation. Somewhat, um, lackluster in the service department but usually pleasant. I was just there last week. bummer.

    and, yikes, i never noticed any smell other than old beer.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t been in years, but I do have found memories having brunch there in the late 1990s after visiting the flea market that used to be where the Ellington building is across the street.

  • Chris in Eckington

    It had been in decline in recent years. When there were fewer options on U street it was always packed; good luck getting a table for Sunday brunch. But I stopped in last year and it was really anemic. I think the smoking ban allowed previously unnoticable smells to dominate. Plus I believe it underwent an ownership change and the new management was just not as energetic and service seemed to be off.

  • reflexive

    the food used to be average, but it was really cheap.
    then the prices went up.
    they used to have cool music.
    great bartenders. good prices.

    then the food got a bit fancier. and the prices skyrocketed and they stopped taking credit cards.

    i’m sad to say that in my mind pollys closed years ago.

  • DCist

    I agree, the food looked like shit and smelled like piss.

  • Average Joe

    Do we really need all the expletives today?

  • MissBiscuit

    I figured something was up a while ago when Polly’s went through a “we don’t accept credit cards- cash only” phase. That’s never a good sign. Sad to see this place go.

    • miss biscuit, I do not have strong feelings about polly’s but your picture of biscuitville made me just a little nostalgic for Burlington, NC.

      thank you!

      • Oh, biscuitville. Butter on your grits? Yes please! Butter on your biscuit? Double yes, please.

        PoP road trip to biscuitville, anyone?

        For the Burlingtonian – what about Max’s burgers?

  • For this place? Yes. Yes, we need the expletives. I also have fond memories of the place, but it went to hell on a fast train. I won’t weep for one less basement that sells overpriced slop to gullible morons with more money than brains. I predict the imminent opening of La Dolce Pissoir Cupcakery

    • jpq

      monkeyrotica, you make me laugh.

  • see ya

    good dive.

  • neutrally located, awkwardness between companions alleviated quickly and cheaply with $2 rails. sigh, it was my favorite place to go on a first date. the last time I was there the bartender gave me $5 for the jukebox and let me do the pickin’.

  • Eric in Ledroiit

    just to chime in, exact same experience here – great memories of having some drinks and dinner by the roaring fire 5-10 years ago, or having what were at the time incredibly good omelettes on a sunday morning outside. but we went back there maybe 1-2 years ago for brunch and the food was disgusting, we never returned. Sad, it had a ton of character and used to be a favorite.

    captcha: CONDEST zwieback

  • I fondly recall eating and drinking at Polly’s during the blizzard of 1996. However, Polly’s never really evolved as U St developed and paying more and more for the same food with indifferent service just became too much for me to bother with anymore.

    RIP Polly’s!

  • Laura

    On two separate occasions I have visited Polly’s to be told they were out of beer. Once on a Tuesday at 8pm, the other a Saturday at 11pm. A dive bar without beer? Sounds like a winner.

  • Wanting it

    I guess Greenpeace activists have grown tired of the yuppies bringing the neighborhood a good name.

    What I want to know is where in DC area does one custom order plasma torched cut metal for yard art fences?? I want some.

    • i know some metal shops around, and some plasma torch artists. what kind of design do you want done? i might be able to point you in the right direction.

      if its pretty standard and you don’t need an artist, Missco (301.277.4300) and Posners (301.350.1000 ) are both metal suppliers that could give you the names of iron and metal contractors to do the work.

    • Hey…my husband, Robert T. Cole, made that for Polly’s back in the day. It was all green, though and in recent years, it was painted by the owners in the rainbowy colors, much to Robert’s dismay.

      • I want to add that we had many a meal and great times there. We are sorry to see it go! It is a classic and we are losing so much personality from our hood.
        Good Luck CiCi in whatever you do!

  • Don’t care what y’all say, I loved this place. I’d only stop in every now and again for a quick beer. Their eggs benedict was great in my pre-vegan days, roasted potatoes after going vegan. Always nice staff. Graffiti in the men’s room of a cat saying “MROW”. It was cozy yet divy. I always had a comfortable feeling walking down those steps.

    I think it’s silly to think a place needs to evolve – I like that places stay the same and keep their own character. And, cripes, I hate it when my favorite bands evolve, lose what made them great, and start to suck.

    Good luck, Sissy!

    • a neighbor

      spelled Cici

      • Thanks! It was short for Cecily, right?

  • And I’m glad my girlfriend and I got to try their 64 ounce bloody mary before they closed. It was a great experience, or so I’m told.

  • vstreetlounge

    I have way too many good memories of the place to say bad things about it, but it is true that it had a stench. But then, who didn’t know about that. It’s been there for years. For regulars, it was often a source of amusement.

    It was my neighborhood bar when I first arrived in DC just after college. Made some great friends there and even a couple of boyfriends.

    It’s sad to see it go, but I suspect Sissy has some good plans for her future.

  • Boris Ray

    Wow. Great memories from the late 90’s. The old owner was cool. Wasn’t much there back then. Back to my Freedy Johnston album…

  • whatever. $14 omelettes, $7 beers, shitty service. and the owner was so scared of her neighborhood that on September 11th 2001 she had the windows fitted for plywood because she thought we were gonna riot.

  • Logan Girl

    Good riddens. Went there once and never again. Ya, it did smell!!

    • Anonymous

      ridden? i didnt know they had rides.

  • Dog walker

    RIP Polly’s
    Had my first date with my future wife there, October ’95. Great memory, but I’ll have that whether it’s open or closed.

  • Anonymous

    The owners also own Axis next door. So I’m guessing they remodel the place and reopen it as something new.

    • Sue

      Axis closed, too.
      I spent some time at both Polly’s and Axis last year and liked them both. Sitting close to the fireplace at Polly’s took care of the smell and Axis was just fun.

  • Mike B.

    Bad food. Bad service. Won’t miss it.

  • J.Con.

    No bar or restaurant can or will survive on U Street if it refuses to accept cards. Period.

    • Eli

      Ever heard of Ben’s Chili Bowl?

      • Anonymous

        bens is neither a bar or a restaurant.

        • Eli

          Not a restaurant? What would you call it then?…

          • J.Con.

            T-minus 30 minutes to intestinal collapse.

          • Anonymous

            i guess if you want to be all general with the word that its a “restaurant”, sure, whatever.

            eating at bens is like dinning at a bowling alley.
            awesome as hell, but a restaurant? i guess the duck tours are a “cruise ship” too.

  • a neighbor

    Polly’s is the only place in DC that i was ever a barfly. I loved it back in the day, when i knew all the staff and they knew me. but it did decline, and one of my last interactions with a strung-out-looking bartender INFURIATED me! so, sorry it is gone, but not really surprised….

    i once saw George Stephanopolous on a date there. he loved the artichoke dip — LOVED it!

    • Clark

      Are you guys still together?

  • Sully

    Bummer, but expected. Nice hole in the wall. Nice locals
    Nice fireplace. Nice binge drinking on Sunday at the bar without judgement by the bartenders watching whatever sport (horse racing, Nascar) on that wonderful shitty TV. With that said, Awful,awful, awful overpriced food. Polly’s you will be missed.

  • UStDenizen

    Went there once maybe 6 or 7 years ago when some friends leaving near it suggested meeting there and since I moved to the neighborhood 5+ years ago, have never once been drawn to go back. Never really thought about why, just never went.

  • Total shame. I did love that place, if for no other reason than that it was never crowded and generally quiet.

    Can’t say I’m totally surprised either: It was never busy, and the last time I was there, they closed early due to lack of customers.

  • JB

    I never cared for Polly’s but am seriously bummed at the loss of Axis. Where else could you find such a great beer selection, genuinely friendly service, and happy hour til 8:00 (at least in the summer)? I fear this may be the sign of U street’s demise into just another dupont

    • Anonymous

      Axis didn’t close, they just morphed it into Bistro La Bonne. Unless you’re saying that its latest incarnation has closed recently.

  • Mistr Knucklz

    Now that this dump has closed, let’s reclaim the sidewalk out front. They should never have been given outdoor space to begin with. Where is Martha Graham when we need him?

  • Polly’s Closed: One Less Sysco Delivery Truck

  • DeepDarkDiamond

    went there for brunch the morning after my best one-night stand ever back in 2003. The only time I ever went there, but that place will always have a place in my heart

  • Pissing_in_Alleys

    Seriously, it smelled like urine.

  • The strung out bartender was a neighbor of mine haha. I guess I’m increasingly in the minority of this town who think the smell of piss, cheap beer and surly staff are a basic prerequisite for a real bar. LONG LIVE POLLYS

  • DPM

    Too bad! When I lived on U St. 5 years ago, Polly’ s an awesome place to go for brunch. Good music, fireplace, nice staff, some of the best French toast in the city, and great bloody marys. Sorry to hear that it went down hill over the years or maybe it was a change in clientele? Cozy dives aren’t for everyone!

  • Neal – Som Records

    RIP Pollys!
    They were the first of the new U Street bars. I worked at State of the Union when it first opened and it was basically State, Polly’s, Ben’s and Utopia and that was it down there. The Grand Poobah (corner of 14th and U) lasted a year and the Andalusian Dog slightly more. I have many fond memories of Polly’s and especially remember some of Cici’s Thanksgiving pot lucks at the restaurant for her friends that couldn’t make it out of town to eat with their relatives. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    when were grand poobah and andalusian dog open?

  • BrzlnQT

    Finally! That place sucked!

  • Scott

    Polly’s, Andulusian Dog, Republic Gardens (before Marc Barnes) State of the Union were all open in the early 90’s as the green/yellow line opened and when U Street got written up in Playboy as the hip new place for all the young Clintonites to hang out. Grand Poohbah opened a little later on top of a Hogs on the Hill at the NW corner of 14th & U.

    Polly’s was the last of the early “New U” businesses east of 14th, that started coming in after the Metro construction delays devastated the area. Sad to see this U Street institution closed. Hadn’t been in there much for a while until , am glad I was able to spend some time there recently, watching the CAPS.

  • I’m with Binklesworth on this. Polly’s rocked.


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