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Sparky’s Revenge? Cork Reportedly Closing Original Logan Location

by Prince Of Petworth May 10, 2017 at 3:45 pm 33 Comments

1720 14th Street, NW

One of the first pioneers of 14th Street 3.0 is closing later this year according to the Washington Business Journal:

“Cork will combine its wine bar and market businesses into the latter’s building at 1805 14th St. NW, according to a source with knowledge of the changes.”

Cork Wine Bar opened up in the former Sparky’s cafe back in 2008. They were also one of the first to start the District’s wine bar craze. Updates when more is known about the move.

1805 14th Street, NW. RIP Pulp too.

  • bruno

    Sparky’s! Oh how I loved that place! Thanks for the memories. I loved to get tea and sit in the big booths there. Just as 14th started to get hip but was still gritty and wonderful. Any chance Sparky’s will return? (Sparky was a German shepherd whose portrait was on the café wall).

    • textdoc

      One thing I did NOT love about Sparky’s was the fact that they allowed smoking — I can’t remember whether it was just their back room that was non-smoking. Ugh!

      • bruno

        And the baristas could be growly — oh, but I miss it.

    • anon

      that place was great, the interior wasn’t instagram perfect like so many places on 14th now, that whole area had a totally different vibe, remember hambuger mary’s?

      • God, I miss Sparky’s and the old 14th. I used to live nearby and was over there daily. Now, I live not to far away and try to avoid 14th except for forays to the Cat.

  • CatieCat

    Cork was one of the early 14th street places, so for that I will be nostalgic. (Plus that avo toast!) But the female owner is one of the miserable people I’ve ever encountered, and for that reason I will never go to any of their shops.

    • stcohi

      Right on. First went to Cork in 2009 and was treated so rudely by that woman that I vowed never to return, and I never have. Their “lawsuit” against the Trump hotel also reeked. Yeah, I’m certain your restaurant lost business to a mega-hotel on the other side of town, and it wasn’t because your service is bad and 200 new places opened nearby.

      • Pleasanter

        Was it the older woman with white hair or the younger one with dark hair – I’ve had bad experiences with both.

        • CatieCat

          She’s the owner, with her husband. Google the lawsuit and you can find pics. She literally should be working in ANY industry but hospitality.

      • Former_dcer

        Imagine being an employee there with their “attention” to hospitality. Some of the worst people I’ve ever had to deal with. Years later, and I’m still upset.

        • Billy

          I can attest to this. I was an employee back in 2011 and she was one of the rudest and most inconsiderate bosses I’ve ever worked for.

          I remember cheering when the male owner lost the election he was running for.

  • U st.

    I hesitate to post this in case it is mischaracterized as pro big T, BUT it almost seems like suing Trump was their last ditch effort to try and save that location/get-rich(er)-somehow. Possibly a misguided effort based on timing alone.

    • Anon

      I think you’re right – it just reeked of so much desperation. (Obviously they have no shot at winning, but perhaps they figured their vocal/public outcry would bring in some sympathetic business.

  • jaybird

    I will miss the avocado toast. But I can make that at home. I hope it doesn’t turn into another realty office….

    • MHillPark


  • My husband and I had been meaning to try Sparky’s for ages after we moved in a block and a half away…but it wasn’t until there was a major snowfall that we decided to check it out…and after walking in immediately fled the smoke. The horrible, horrible smoke. We never tried again.

    It’s interesting to imagine Cork trying to combine everything in their space on the 1800 block, but I wish them luck.

    • jaybird

      Can’t imagine where they put the resto and also keep the market.

  • anonymous 11

    I really didn’t like the coffee at Sparky’s but enjoyed Cork a lot when it first opened. As my habits changed, I don’t go much but am happy to hear the market will stay open. I really enjoy their wine selection and have always had helpful service at the cheese/meat counter. Also, the duck rillettes they make are (is?) really good.

  • Deebs

    I live very nearby and like Cork. I’ve never had any bad experiences with the service, but sure, restaurants can sometimes be hit or miss so I don’t doubt others have been rubbed the wrong way. I’m sure it also helps that I’ve been going there for a few years and get the “good to see you again” kind of thing. My understanding is that they aren’t closing – they’re moving the restaurant to the building they own across the street that already has their market and big event space. The restaurant space is currently a rental property and their long term lease renewal increased rent substantially (as you said, that street has changed considerably).
    I also didn’t have a big problem with the lawsuit and am under the impression that it is/was an attempt at getting tax information in discovery or pressure the GAO to pull the trump lease – it’s a pro bono project for a couple GW professors and area attorneys.

    • WashingtonBullets

      hahaha you reek of cork ownership

      • Deebs

        I wish. Then I could pay off these student loans.

    • Anon

      Interesting angle at the T lawsuit.

      • Deebs

        I do unfair competition work and was interested as local scuttlebutt, so took a look at the fillings. They aren’t seeking monetary damages – divestment, resignation from office (ha!), or other action that would eliminate the issue. It seems to me like the attorneys had a theory they wanted to test and a connection somehow with the owners, so Cork was willing to be plaintiffs. I obviously have no idea if this is true or not.

  • IDontGetIt

    I fondly recall the grocery store that was formerly at the 1805 14th St Cork location. It smelled, the ceiling leaked but you could buy beer there at 7:00 am on a Sunday morning. Allegedly…

  • LT

    I hope the Cork Market is doing ok! They have really really good baked goods and sandwiches. That bacon cheddar scone… drool.

  • Mems

    FYI, the owners say this is false: https://www.washingtonian.com/2017/05/10/donald-trump-files-motion-to-dismiss-cork-wine-bar-lawsuit/

    Relevant portion of the article quoted below:

    Meanwhile, the Washington Business Journal cites an anonymous source this afternoon saying that Cork Wine Bar plans to close later this year and combine its wine bar with its market across the street. Gross says that’s not true, at least not at this time. She’s not sure who the anonymous source could be.

    “We have no definitive plans to move to the market right now,” Gross says. She explains their 10-year lease is about to be up, and they’re in the middle of renegotiating it. They’ve filed permits that would allow them to move if they wanted to. “We’re keeping all of our options open because we obviously want to be around for a while… But we have no definitive plans right now.”

    • Ben

      Above all else – we’ve got to find those leaks!!

  • Anon


  • Otis Gal

    OMG i loved sparkys – hard to believe the place smelled like cigarettes from the smoking section in the back. That I don’t miss.

  • MadMax

    Kind of surprising, it always seems to be doing solid business. I’ve always thought the food there was OK but overpriced, but the wines have rarely ever disappointed.

  • Wyane

    I think Jeff (the original owner) moved back to Florida in 2004? What an interesting guy. After he got out of prison he had the foresight to invest in real estate and a cafe in Shaw in the late 90s early 00s. Hopefully he kept some of the properties he owned. I can’t remember the Brazilian woman’s name who took it over but wow did she have some super heavy negative vibes that eventually permiated the place. Those were the best times on 14th st, lots of house parties, black cat & that goth club that was in the new black cat space, metro cafe and that warehouse next door that hosted parties, sparkies, first era St Ex, Islamabad cafe, Kafa House on U st, the OG meeps, zig zag cafe, gogo at the reevs center, state of the union, republic gardens, that place who’s sign read “night klob” by the midtown youth academy and interesting people everywhere. Oh and the prostitutes and pimps and hustlers and drunks and crack heads & houses.

  • No Bikes

    good riddance.

  • Jay

    I loved Sparky’s. I spent many hours there pretending to study. I went to Cork once. Behind the bar, they had wine glasses with Scoth tape wrapped around them to mark the fill levels. It was such a turn off to see the bartenders and servers try to match the Scotch tape levels. It was a stingy half pour too…


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