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Opposition to The American Bistro Hoping to Come to Blagden Alley

by Prince Of Petworth September 20, 2013 at 10:30 am 42 Comments


Thanks to a reader for sending the above note:

“Got home yesterday (live at Blagden Alley) and this was taped to our front door. Seems that “The American” bistro will face some opposition at the ANC.”

In late July we learned The American would be a bistro from Xavier Cervera hoping to come to the Downtown Boxing Club space in Blagden Alley.

Do you think the proposed bistro is a “commercial use that is far too intensive  the historic alley and the surrounding residential area”?

1209 – 1213 10th Street, NW (actually in Blagden Alley)

  • Anonymous

    Oh not – not alcohol and music! Maybe they should bring back the waffle place instead.

    • Small Plates

      Time to get our the pitchforks and torches!

  • john does

    is this a legitimate concern of commercializing an area which is currently (relatively) quiet? Or might it instead relate to this restaurateur’s history of middling establishments?

  • City Dweller

    I think it’s time for these folks to pack up their smooth jazz records and golf clubs into their volvos and move to the suburbs where it’s nice and quiet. Jesus, who cares? The city is noisy.

    • Sunsquashed

      That’s easy to say if you don’t live there. I don’t, but I can’t blame residents for wanting to keep a quiet pocket of the city quiet. I love the explosion of restaurants in DC, but some businesses don’t fit well with their surrounding neighborhood. People who live in the area have a right to minimize negative impacts. We use to rent a house next to a restaurant. They changed ownership, and the next thing we knew we had late night dance parties with deep bass reverberating through our walls at night. Not cool, and we spent months fighting with the owners, with little/no help from the city agencies responsible for controlling this shit. As with any business, the devil is in the details…… yes, these residents might be reactionary NIMBY’s, but they might not be over-reacting, we just don’t know.

      • Anon

        Sorry. Your comments are entirely too level-headed and mature for any POPville debate on the subject. We as a community expect you to get in line and, in the future, write only nonproductive and ridiculous things regarding golf clubs, Volvos and the suburbs.

        • Anonymous


        • Anonymous


      • textdoc

        Well put.

    • Geezer

      I think it’s time for all the frat-boys to…. Oh, forget it!

      • Anonymous

        Did you just forget how you were going to finish your sentence? My condolences…

        • Anonymous

          No, I read Sunsquashed eloquent comment and decided to sit this one out.

    • Anonymous

      The northside neighborhoods of Chicago seem to have a bar on nearly every other corner. From what I remember when I lived there, the bars tried to keep noise down by closing roof decks/patios around 11. Also, many refused to serve people under certain ages; anyone under 25 stands out in my memory.

      • MtP

        I think it would be a great idea to look at other cities to see how they handle this type of thing. The two other places I have lived (Chicago and Boston) both had a ton of neighborhood bars that were extremely co-mingled with very residential areas. It seems like here people are used to commercial strips (H, U, Connecticut, 18th, etc) and, with very few exceptions, take umbrage to mixing bars and residential.

        Not sure of the solution – but I do think the type of bar makes a difference. Most of the neighborhood spots in other cities seem to be “tavern” like where they are a casual restaurant and a low-key hang-out bar. Not too many of these spots in DC.

        Personally I love the idea of DC having more neighborhood bars, but I think the “standard” DC bar and the massive crowds it attracts might not be a good fit.

        • PR for Hire

          That’s the problem with DC – every place that opens up becomes an utter clusterf#ck of obnoxious, loud, sloppy people. Blagden is really quiet and the businesses that are there are quiet, inconspicuous, and upscale. This place sounds like a clone of a place that would be on 14th Street. If I lived in Blagden, I wouldn’t want that next to my home.

      • well…

        Well, I know the Red Derby has a similar agreement — they close the rooftop patio at 12. (Maybe earlier on weekdays?)

        I would imagine that’s pretty standard fare for a rooftop permit.

    • Anonymous

      Are you familiar with the alley? Do realize how noisy a roof deck will be? This is a tight space that will echo and disturb not just those who’s homes abut the alley but others on 10th street. The city is noisy but noise from garbage collection, drunks, deliveries & music is not welcome literally in someone’s backyard as this will be. Do you want a constant party in your backyard? Know the area & spend time living there before you comment please.

  • ET

    Is Cervera still involved? He sold all his other places to a restaurant outfit from Boston or New York that his brother is involved with. That doesn’t negate Cervera’s involvement of course, but either he is doing it for himself or for some out of the area group. It doesn’t necessarily say anything about the type of place it might ultimate end up being.

    I just think it is a bit odd to put a restaurant in that location seems awkward.

    • monkeyrotica

      If he is involved, I’d be more concerned about his notoriously mediocre food and decor than any noise spillover.

      • saf

        And service.

  • Blagden

    As someone who lives right on Blagden Alley, I had this notice on my door last night. I trust the ANC to work out a reasonable agreement in the same way they’ve done with Rogue 24, Longview Gallery, Table, and A&D Bar. Longview occasionally has parties that spill out into the alley, but seldom past 11-11:30 and the noise from the trucks loading and unloading is bearable. There’s more noise from the construction going on where Old City Green used to be and from the coffee shop going in next to Rogue than there is from any of the established retail venues. Not sure why parking would be a concern for the folks posting the notice; we’re right next to Mt. Vernon Metro, and I can’t imagine “The American” being a destination spot for folks. Rogue is (or used to be), but they have dedicated parking secured. Overall I think this is reactionary.

  • E in Rosedale

    Blagden Alley, huh. I miss Fight Club.

    • Anonymous

      The first rule of Fight Club is…

    • Anonymous


    • Scott

      fight club was the best

    • Anonymous

      i miss signal 66.

  • Anonymous

    Oh my god, so sick of NIMBYs. Funneling businesses into “commercial corridors” is only going to widen the housing/income/amenities divide plaguing the city; dispersing a variety of establishments through areas – yes, even predominantly residential ones – is the only way we’re going to survive without becoming yuppie heaven (I say this as a yuppie).

    • anon3

      You are welcome to invite everyone over to your own backyard. In truth, NO ONE wants this in their own backyard, so why permit it at all? — it is basically a nonstop, never ending party with a bunch of drunk folks clapping, howling, and cackling. It’s the sort of thing you should do in your own house, not in any ‘corridor’ of the city. Think about if your neighbors were always having a party, you would not enjoy it. People go to these places with the intention of getting sloppy. Those drunk gals look cute for about 5 minutes, but they get obnoxious really quickly. If a business wants to make money destroying brain cells, they need to keep it contained. If you want to be outside, do it in your own backyard, and then it isn’t anyone elses problem.

    • ClevelandDave

      So lets put a loud, obnoxious bar that is open until 2 am next to your house and see how you like it…

  • Mr. Poon

    The merits of these complaints might be valid. This place is opening up in an alley, after all, and I’m not entirely familiar with the area’s layout. But reflexive opposition to opening bars and restaurants is generally becoming quite tiresome. If opposition to opening restaurants were more targeted and less ubiquitous, it’d be taken more seriously and more people would weigh the merits. As it stands now, it’s hard to take these sorts of signs and groups entirely seriously.

    • Dno

      +1. As an aside, it’s a shame DBC is being kicked out by another generic restaurant. Hope they find a new place in the city.

      • PR for Hire

        Has Dave found a new location yet? I went to my last class in mid August and haven’t been back since due to a month of work and personal travel. How much longer does he have in the current location?

  • andy2

    Is there not enough vacant space elsewhere in the immediate area that is more conducive to a restaurant?
    The alley’s commercial spaces seem better suited to a business that doesn’t involve late hours, noise and crowds.

    • Anonymous

      There’s plenty of available retail on 9th Street right now. However, I think many property owners are holding out/asking for “boomtown” prices in anticipation of all the condos filling up. Also, I think a lot of property owners don’t want to give leases longer than 5 years. They’re all paranoid about missing out on skyrocketing rents.

  • Lisa

    Wish I had known about it yesterday; it wasn’t on the ANC’s Meeting Agenda. Anybody go who can fill us in? They won’t post the minutes for months.

    • Logan Circle resident

      It was brought up at the ABRA Policy Committee. There was about an hour of comments from the community, and the restaurateur, Xavier, answered nearly all of the concerns, promising to spend lots of money to mitigate noise, trash, and nuisance. There will be a Settlement Agreement worked out with the ANC Commissioner for that area and signed by the ANC in the next month or so. Overall, Xavier seemed like the kind of guy you’d want opening a restaurant in that area, and given that it’s zoned commercial, SOMEBODY was going to open a restaurant.

      • anon3

        the new ‘beer garden’ on 7th street is mitigating noise with a single row of immature plants. Some of the plants appear to be dying. None of the plants appear to mitigate noise. I would be careful about accepting promises from anyone interested in making money, ever. Even if this guy is considerate and dedicated to the community, he could sell the place within a couple years to someone who is as thoughtful

      • Anonymous

        Thank you! Very helpful information.

      • Lisa

        Thank you. Very helpful information.

  • No Restaurant

    Keep downtown boxing club! A much better establishment for the community.

  • walter

    Horrible idea! Keep DC weird!

  • Lisa

    ANC2F missed the deadline to file an ABRA protest (!) and are hoping that they can still work well with Xavier and hammer out a settlement agreement. The ANC meeting referenced in the flier is nicely summarized here: http://shortarticlesaboutlongmeetings.blogspot.com/2013/09/blagden-alley-meets-restauranteur-at.html?utm_content=buffer15df3&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer


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