Millie & Al’s For Sale in Adams Morgan

by Prince Of Petworth January 27, 2016 at 1:30 pm 45 Comments

millie and al
2440 18th Street, NW

Thanks to all who sent emails about the Washington Business Journal report yesterday:

“The home of Millie & Al’s, 2440 18th St. NW, is for sale, according to a postcard we received Tuesday from Josh Feldman of Marcus & Millichap. The list price is $1.8 million for the 2,562-square-foot building on a 2,719-square-foot lot.

Most importantly, from the broker: The building will be “delivered vacant.”

I’ve emailed the owner for official word and am still waiting to hear back from her. In April 2013 to celebrate their 50th Anniversary the owner wrote A Brief History about Original Owner Al Shapiro – definitely worth a read if you missed it. Updates as soon as more info is known.

Millie and Al’s in the early 70s courtesy of owner Barbara Shapiro

  • Anon

    Please please please another whisky bar!

  • Dan

    This is devastating. I hope we can get one more karaoke night in!

  • Rich

    People have been saying that Adams Morgan “is over” for about 20 years. this is the sort of thing that makes that real.

    • I hear ya for old Adams Morgan maybe – but Mintwood Place, Pop’s Seabar, Bourbon, Cashion’s, Songbyrd, Jack Rose etc. Still quite a bit life there.

      • Rich

        Plenty of life, but not the kind of life that returned the neighborhood to vitality in the 70s and 80s. I mostly just heard about it, but that Adams Morgans was still evident when I moved here for the first time in 1990.

      • Pontor

        But has any neighborhood remained gritty decades after a successful revival? I think Adams Morgan has held on longer than most and is actually transitioning naturally into something more upscale but still distinct.

      • Yes, plenty of life, but Millie & Al’s was unique. Cool people, good drinks, great pizza and an easy path to sin.

  • gdrea0318


    Ok so Dan’s Cafe is really the only dive bar left in Adams Morgan. Anyone know when Millie and Al’s will officially close? I do not think Adams Morgan is ‘over’, it’s just been overshadowed by H, 14th Street and U Street corridors. The closings of all these old establishments makes me worry that bars/restaurants that are the ‘flavor of the month’ right now will move in and be gone in five years and we will start to see more vacant buildings than businesses.

    • Rich

      That’s probably what will happen. Adams-Morgan began to be considered “over” as the retail disappeared from 18th and U Street began to emerge as the next big thing. Without long-term anchors, it will solidify itself as second string trendy and probably start trying to entice more foreign tourists or other groups who get wooed when a place no longer appeals as much to locals.

    • The OP Anon

      Blaguard, Shenanigan’s, and Peyote are still grimy dives.

      • Petworth dude

        Blaugard and Peyote – yes.

        Shenanigan’s is more Chuck E. Cheese

    • Anonymous

      It always seemed as if Adams-Morgan as a business district fell victim to the same problems as the DC cab commission: it focused on money and not on keeping customers. It took advantage of visitors by shirking on safety and cleanliness (remember all of the stabbings that resulted in cars being blocked from 18th?), which resulted in 14th Street developing into an area that people felt safe in. DC cabs also ignored customers, and now Uber and other car sharing services have taken cabs out at the knees. Once the customers leave it’s really hard to get them back.

      • textdoc

        “(remember all of the stabbings that resulted in cars being blocked from 18th?)” — I don’t recall this being the case. I thought cars were blocked from 18th because the Friday/Saturday night traffic on those blocks was almost at a standstill. (I remember often getting off the bus 1-2 stops before my actual stop, because I could get there faster by walking than by staying on the bus.)

      • textdoc

        And 14th Street did not develop because people felt “unsafe” in Adams Morgan — it developed for other reasons.

        • jd

          14th street developed for the virginians. easy access to the city and quick escape back to the commonwealth.

      • Pontor

        I’m with Textdoc – Why would keeping crushing traffic out of the area be bad? I never heard any link to violence from it. Why people decide to drive into Adams Morgan on a weekend night is still baffling to me, and 14th Street’s development was definitely unrelated aside from some Adams Morgan staples moving East when Adams Morgan became too expensive.

      • Anonymous

        I believe that there was a spike in violence on 18th Street in 2008.

        Well, we also still have DC cabs despite having car sharing services. It took too long for 18th Street to expand sidewalks and improve safety, though 14th Street developments were going to happen regardless of what 18th Street did. The trick is that 14th Street created an environment that drew people in, and it is going to be very hard to get the same volume of people to come back. There have been several new bars and restaurants, which is great, but I think that the area will wind up having to do more with less.

        • Pontor

          Back in the 90s, there were two nightlife options: Adams Morgan or Georgetown. So if that’s what you think is not coming back, of course not. The city as a whole has evolved.

          14th Street is more central, closer to Metro and downtown. It’s easy for happy hour meet ups. Many people walk through on their way home.

          It’s fundamentally different from Adams Morgan, which has thrived and struggled simultaneously for many years on its “isolated in the middle of everything” dynamic.

          • textdoc

            “Back in the 90s, there were two nightlife options: Adams Morgan or Georgetown.” You forgot Dupont Circle.

          • textdoc

            (At least for the late ’90s — I can’t speak as to the early/mid-1990s.)

          • a

            and gallery place. and u street. and the navy yard.

          • Sadly, this. So many other neighborhood options now. I use to go to Chief Ikes when I lived at 14th & Columbia – now (at 14th & Irving) I have a dozen options closer. (Well, 11 since The Heights ended their happy hour!)

      • AG

        When was traffic on 18th blocked? I only remember when construction was happening. Honestly, I stopped hanging out on 18th Street cuz I grew up and wanted a few more sophistimacated type bars, more of which were popping up on U and 14th. Despite the creepers who’d leer at anything in a skirt, I never really felt unsafe on 18th and I’m pretty paranoid.

        • Philippe Lecheval

          I think it was around 2007 or 2008, and it didn’t last long. Maybe a year.

  • The Other Jason

    This place has been my comfort go-to since I moved to DC 8+ years ago. I might not have been back on a Fri-Sat night for some time, but Millie’s is/was, in my opinion, the quintessential dive-bar in DC. From football Sundays to riding out hurricanes and Snowmageddon, to them even hosting the premier of my episode of House Hunters (we even filmed there), Millie and Al’s will always be true DC, and true Adams Morgan to me. One of the first words I add to every new cell phone is “M&A”! You will be missed! Best of luck to Barbara, Ted, and all the current staff.

    • I am more fascinated by the tidbit that you had a House Hunters episode. How many homes did you pass on because you couldn’t get past the paint color?

  • trebb

    UGH. I love cocktail bars, whiskey bars, and the likes…but I’ve had a lot of my most fun nights in the city at Millie & Al’s. Such a fun, gross, divey, no-fucks-given, no judgement bar. My best friend and I would sit at a booth, pick some songs on the juke box, and get drunk as hell for a cheap price while chowing down on some lovely drunk food.

    A lot of my friends bag on Adam’s Morgan for being a ‘college’ place, and it definitely can be that. However, there are so many locations in there that are awesome. I’ll be quite sad to see Millie & Al’s go.

  • CoHi

    I love Millie & Al’s and have been mourning its possible closure all morning, but I have to disagree with all this talk about Adams Morgan being “over.” There is a ton of new stuff that has come in in the last couple of years – Roofers Union, Bicycle Space, Pop’s SeaBar, SongByrd – and I don’t think the neighborhood is going anywhere. I only recently moved in to the neighborhood (although I’ve lived in DC for several years) and have been delighted with the character, shopping, and dining options. Things change, and M&A’s has had an amazing 50-year run. I’m going to hold out for someone to buy it and continue to operate it, but even if that’s not what happens, Adams Morgan will keep going strong.

    P.S. It’s too far from a Metro station and hotels for tourists to take it over.

    • Anon

      Except for that new hotel going in at 17/Columbia. There are also plans to build a high rise development across the street.

    • Philippe Lecheval

      And the fact that the new hotel is nowhere near Metro may limit its appeal to a lot of tourists and business travelers.

      • Anon

        It’s roughly a 10 minute walk to CH, 12 to Woodley Park. The type of people who seek out boutique hotels aren’t likely to be too turned off by that. Besides, they’ll be right on top of all that historic Adams Morgan nightlife – who needs to travel? But yes, Adams Morgan won’t be vying for the top DC tourist destination any time soon.

      • The OP Anon

        Uber changed the game for many hotel goers. I don’t think you’ll see families there, but probably mostly business travelers and couples. And there’s 6 bus lines right outside the front door of the hotel for those travelers on a budget.

        • Pontor

          I don’t see many tourists taking many buses, and the ones that do probably already blend in pretty well to the Adams Morgan urban vibe so go undetected.

          I don’t think that hotel is going to change the functions of Adams Morgan. People will go to restaurants and bars but I don’t foresee new ones opening specifically to serve that pretty small clientele of boutique travelers.

    • MtP

      +500. Is this a sad sign of the times? Yes. Does it mean Adams Morgan is over? Absolutely not. I imagine most people moaning about Adams Morgan being dead and over haven’t been recently. All the places you mentioned and then some give it amazing life 7 days a week. Personally, I avoid it at all costs post-9pm on weekends, but I love going there every other hour of the week. It is an incredibly vibrant neighborhood, and I actually prefer it in many ways to 14th Street or Shaw.

      • Pontor

        Adams Morgan has both functionality as a neighborhood with amenities for residents and an authenticity lacking from 14th Street, all while evolving at a reasonable pace rather than transitioning nearly overnight into something unrecognizable like 14th did.

        • Rich

          Actually that’s the sort of thing I’ve heard happened in Adams Morgan c. 1981.

          • Nancy

            It’s exactly what happened to Adams Morgan. I moved there in 1980 and saw the sad transformation to Georgetown wannabe myself. Fortunately it did manage to capture it’s own character that wasn’t GTown, but it hasn’t been Adams Morgan for decades.

          • Pontor

            Is any urban neighborhood similar today than it was in 1980? That was really the depth of a long period of disinvestment in urban cores.

            1980, if I’m not mistaken as I wasn’t there, even predates Adams Morgan as a significant nightlife draw, no?

        • The OP Anon

          I live in the heart of Adams Morgan now and love it. Tons of great walkable amenities for residents that are literally within 500 feet of my front door. Things are much cheaper here than on 14th Street and this area seems to be the preferred home for low key, social locals. Not as scene’y as 14th….thank god for that. 14th Street feels like a fabricated “town centre” that a few developers tossed up overnight.

      • d

        Agree with all this. Can’t beat the combo of authenticity and options you get as compared to other neighborhoods. Weekend nights are to be avoided but thanks to other areas now pulling from VA/MD it has mellowed out considerably.

      • AMDCer

        Exactly – there’s a lot more to Adams Morgan than restaurants and bars, as some people seem to forget. http://wtop.com/dc/2016/01/few-us-neighborhoods-affordable-walkable-with-good-schools/

  • kd21

    RIP million owls, I’ll be pouring out a jello shot

  • Nancy

    When I moved to DC in 1980 it was to Adams Morgan. Lived in that neighborhood for the next 20 years. Millie & Al’s was home away from home. There were so many nights there with so many friends. It’s one of the places I missed the most when I finally moved out of the neighborhood. I can’t believe it’s going away, but again after losing the Red Sea and Meskerim, the hardware store & Ben Franklin’s, the Comet liquor sign … the only thing left from my early days is McDonald’s. A disgusting thought.

  • Tim



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