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Pharmacy Bar to be Renamed “Troublemaker Coffee Bar & Public House” – Maybe

by Prince Of Petworth June 23, 2014 at 10:23 pm 22 Comments

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2337 18th Street, NW

Ed. Note: We spoke about the the change in ownership at Pharmacy Bar back in early May.

From one of the owners – Reggie Elliott:

“The views and opinions expressed in my original sent previously entitled “Pharmacy Bar Name Change” on June 20, 3:22 pm are mine and mine only and do not represent the views, opinions or future intent of the corporation DBA Pharmacy Bar or its owners.”

Original email:

“The name of the bar located at 2337 18th St. NW, previously known as “Pharmacy Bar”, will soon change to “Troublemaker Coffee Bar & Public House.”

Why Troublemaker? Because we thought it sounded cool! Just kidding. Seriously though, we took inspiration from a couple of sources, both of which subvert the more negative connotations of the word. The first source of inspiration comes from the colloquial translation of the late Nelson Mandela’s Xhosa middle name “Rohilahla.” Mandela and other historical figures like him are typically referred by their foes as “troublemakers” when all they are fighting for is a change for their people. Our goals are not so lofty but we are seeking to contribute to change.

The reputation of Adams Morgan is one of drunken debauchery, useless macho and chauvinistic displays coupled with destructive and self-destructive behavior, but anyone who spends any amount of time here during the day can see that it’s actually a pretty chill place. Many of the businesses that are open during the day have been here for decades and we’ve already become friendly with many of the local restaurant and shop owners. So the “trouble” we seek to make is simply to flip the script that’s been written about Adams Morgan. We intend on joining the many businesses that open their doors during the daytime when we begin to offer both freshly prepared, locally produced food as well as high quality coffee that’s been ethically sourced and roasted to near-perfection by established American roasters, international roasters as well as a few up-and-coming US roasters, looking for more exposure.

The second source of inspiration comes from Apple’s “Think different” campaign, paraphrased here:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

The idea of taking over an establishment like Pharmacy Bar — given its geography, given its history — and “daring” to change it, could be seen by our friends and family as crazy enough. But the bar, the name and its fifteen years of existence belong to Kristaps Kreslin, his employees and the loyal customers who kept the place afloat, many of whom are our friends. We have our own ideas, concepts and areas of expertise and it is in our best interest to employ them as best as possible. All we can promise is that we intend to make Troublemaker exactly the kind of space that we ourselves would love to hang out at. (And we do! Stop by any night and you’ll find either Frank Hankins, Chuck Roberts or myself, Reggie Elliott at or behind the bar.)

Yes, yes but why “Troublemaker?” Well, in some ways it’s sort of like those animals that are able to camouflage themselves or even alter their physical appearance so that they resemble a more dangerous creature in order to ward off potential predators, when in reality, these insects, birds, fish or whatever are quite harmless. Those who know us know what kind of people we are and we are definitely NOT “troublemakers” but given Adams Morgan’s weekend late night reputation, perhaps it doesn’t hurt to have a little camouflage of our own.”

And on a side note they’ve also applied for an outdoor patio:

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