Shaw Streets – February 2017

Compass Coffee opens at the Washington Convention Center. Photo: Pleasant Mann

The Inauguration Hits Shaw
Barricades went up and commerce shut down in Shaw during the presidential inauguration this January. The week of the inauguration, chainlink fencing started to appear along Shaw’s Seventh and Ninth street commercial corridors, constraining pedestrian traffic along the sidewalks and limiting people to crossing the street only at the corners.

Inauguration day brought even greater restrictions. Barriers and checkpoints were set up and streets actually closed down to traffic. The popular pastrami restaurant Smoked and Stacked at the Convention Center was shut down. Problems arose on the 1300 block of Eighth Street when police insisted that only local residents could walk down the sidewalk. AirBnB guests on the block, in Washington for the Women’s March scheduled the next day, had problems proving residency.

It also was an issue for businesses on the block, such as Halcyon Salon. Proprietor Gwen Fields related how she had to escort each client from the street to her salon that morning. Her alley was barricaded, preventing her from parking in the back of the building and stopping the daily commercial trash pickup. Eventually the police suggested that she just close her shop, requiring her to cancel the rest of the day’s appointments. “I wouldn’t have minded if they had told me in advance,” Fields said.

Compass Coffee Moves into the Convention Center
The Washington Convention Center and Events DC proved they’re walking the talk and supporting local businesses when a Compass Coffee concession opened in the Convention Center in January. The shop, which replaces one managed by a national coffee chain, is a significant move for the “Made in DC” effort, with a large illuminated sign proclaiming the motto gracing the center’s soaring lobby. As Events DC Chair Max Brown explained at the opening, “We are committed to the success of our local businesses.”

The Compass Coffee at the Convention Center represents the fifth outpost of the Shaw business created by Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez. It carries a range of coffee drinks, specially roasted beans and blends in cans, and locally produced sandwiches and pastries.

The Washingtonian Loves Shaw
In its latest issue Washingtonian magazine shows its love for Shaw in a number of ways. First, its annual list of the 100 best restaurants puts Shaw in a prominent position. Two Shaw establishments, Kinship (at No. 4) and The Dabney (No. 7) made the top 10. Other Shaw restaurants on the list, which covers eateries from Annapolis all the way to Virginia’s Rappahannock County, include Metier (No. 14), All-Purpose (No. 15), Convivial (No. 22), Hazel (No. 52), Kyirisan (No. 60), and RPM Italian (No. 92). With eight out of the Washingtonian’s 100 best, Shaw’s status as a restaurant destination is confirmed. Last year, there were only three Shaw restaurants on the list. The number of prominent drinking and eating (including sushi!) establishments set to open this spring will only strengthen Shaw’s prominence.

This month’s Washingtonian also has Shaw-related articles on the history of U Street and a guide on places to visit in Logan Circle and Shaw.

Charlie Visconage Show at Wanda’s Closes
Monday night, Jan. 30, saw the closing of the Charlie Visconage art installation at the salon Wanda’s on Seventh. The show was part of an ongoing effort sponsored by Shaw Main Streets to encourage the broadening of the arts into commercial spaces. Visconage, a performance artist who moved to creating paintings in a raw style, had over a dozen of his boldly colored works on view at the hair salon since September’s Art All Night festival. Several examples of his work are on permanent display at The Passenger.

One Love Massive Benefit on Feb. 16
One Love Massive, the arts, entertainment, and studio collective at 631 T St. NW, is holding a benefit concert across the street at the Howard Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 16. The concert, “Bring the Noise,” will go from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. and feature an all-star lineup of local talent including the Crossrhodes Band and the DC legends Rare Essence. The concert will aid the collective’s current crowdfunding campaign to improve its recording studio.

Shaw Hosts DC Distillers Event
Long View Gallery, 1234 Ninth St. NW, will be the venue for the first DC Distillers Festival on Saturday, Feb. 25. The ticketed event will feature more than 20 regional distillers with over 60 varieties of whiskey, rum, vodka, and other craft spirits. The list of distillers includes such well-known names as Catoctin Creek, Joseph A. Magnus, and One Eight, as well as Filibuster Bourbon, which got its start in Shaw. The event will include a Roaring 20s-themed jazz band.