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That Was Fast – New Brewpub, Bardo, Coming to 1200 Bladensburg Road, NE Already Gets Liquor License. Now Raising Money.

by Prince Of Petworth November 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm 31 Comments

1200 Bladensburg Road, NE

Back in early October we learned that the Bardo brewpub hoped to reopen on a big lot at 1200 Bladensburg Road, NE. Things are rapidly progressing.

From indiegogo:

We have recently purchased a Beeutiful vacant lot in N.E. D.C., near the H. St. party corridor, in preparation for re-opening Bardo. The liquor license has been approved and construction plans have been submitted to the city. Construction is slated to start in December 2012. Plans for the bar include self serve taps, 500 outdoor seats, a funky building made from shipping containers, and the biggest brewery in the DC area. Bardo Rodeo operated in the 90’s as the largest brewpub in the country. The 22000 sq. ft. facility included 900 indoor & 700 outdoor seats and a 25-barrel brewhouse. As one of the first bars in the Clarendon neighborhood in Arlington VA, Bardo brewed 4000 kegs a year and enjoyed thousands of visitors each weekend. Indigogo provides the opportunity for Bardo to raise money to fund the project.

It’s like paying half price for the beer now but drinking it later.

Bardo currently has 300K in cash and 300K in brewing equipment but we need to raise another 150K (to do the custom programming on the Self-Serve Beer Setup). Our main fundraising focus is HALF-PRICE BEER. That’s right, HALF-PRICE BEER. Don’t wanna pay DC prices of $25 for a pitcher of beer? Get 100 Dollas of Beer for $50 pledge! Think of this as a big Groupon-style offering…

We also got T-shirts, pre-release tasting of the first batches of Bardo beer, private pre-opening party…

Also included in the fun will be self serve beer taps, outdoor beer garden, cornhole, and lots of other unmentionable happenings…

More info after the jump.


Vacant lot. Shipping Containers. Brewery. Distillery. Outdoor Party. Outdoor BBQ. Cornhole. GABF award winning beers. Bardo will offer more house beers on tap, at any one time, than any brewpub anywhere. How often do you go into a brewpub to find they only have 4-6 house beers available? At Bardo, we have over 20 recipes (most given to us by some of the most prominent, well-known brewers in the country, such as Rogue , Bridgeport, Anderson Valley, Schmidts). In the past, we have maintained an average of 15 house beers on tap.

One of the main attractions of the new Bardo will be self-serve beer taps. Not a couple of taps at a few booths. TWO WALLS of taps designed for any of our guests to help themselves to beer whenever the urge strikes them… Practice your tap-pouring skills!

Bardo will also offer over 10,000 sq. ft. of outdoor seating. That’s 500 seats. The outdoor beer garden will feature fire-pits, an outdoor grill, cornhole, and of course the sandbox.

Bardo is currently working on getting the law tweaked to allow a distill-pub. Any money raised above the $150K will go towards DISTILLING equipment! wooohoo…


The Stewart Boys. Bill and Andrew with the next generation boy Dillon making a debut. Ethan Brennan, everybody’s favorite manager. Painter/Artists — Suzanne Pender, Adam Bradley, Eric Sandberg. And Maybe the Brewer-man himself will make an appearance.


Back in the late 80’s Bill jump-started the Clarendon nightlife scene when he opened the first of his 3 bars, Roratonga Rodeo, on Wilson Blvd. in Arlington. By 1993, Bill had converted an old car dealership into the 22,000 sq ft behemoth of a brewpub, Bardo Rodeo. Bardo garnered national attention for:

Being the biggest brewpub in the country
Winning 3 medals at the Great American Beer Festival and
Having William Kennedy Smith arrested after sucker punching a Bardo doorman.

Bardo is also credited with giving several local brewers their start in the industry. Jonathan Reeves at Port City Brewing in Alexandria, Favio Garcia at Lost Rhino Brewing in Ashburn and Alan Beal at Virginia Beverage Company in Alexandria were all brewers at Bardo.


The Roots of Bardo reach back to DC in the 1980’s. Bill first started brewing in his kitchen and giving it away in an old row house near 11th & P in DC. After several months at that location, a bigger spot was needed. Christened the BBQ Iguana, it functioned as a live music venue for bands such as Scream, with Dave Grohl on drums (“the only drummer who didn’t need a mic”). A late night burglary of the sound system forced a relocation to what became the Roratonga Rodeo in Arlington. Roratonga’s opening in 1989 made it the very first bar in Clarendon. Roratonga provided 15 microbrews on tap and was one of the area’s first multitap bars if not THE first.

By 1991, Roratonga had become too small. Bill sold it (to the Galaxy Hut people), opened the 2nd bar in Clarendon, Amdo Rodeo. Amdo’s 23 taps eventually proved too small and sold that business (which eventually became IOTA). In 1992, an old car dealership became available. It was here that the crew finally realized the dream of opening a place where they could brew beer. So started the 22,000 sq. ft. brewpub, Bardo Rodeo. After waiting tables at Amdo during college, Bill’s brother Andrew graduated and came on board to manage Bardo.

In the new millennium Bill was on to his next project. When the City condemned the old part of the building, the brewery was moved to his farm then put into storage. He moved to Australia & checked out the Brewery scene… (and the swimming scene!) Frustrated with the level of bureaucracy, he decided to pursue another passion: Campaign for Tibet. Bill spent the next 3 years working with TIPA (Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts) in Dharamsala.

In the meantime, members of the Stewart family downsized and renovated the Bardo site, renaming it Dr. Dremo’s Taphouse. it served as a multitap bar until the building’s demolition in 2008. Efforts to re-open another bar were scrapped when Andrew sent word to the high Himalayas convincing Bill to stop studying the manufacture of Chang-ger, bust out the brewery and start making beer again.


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