Shaw Rules in City Paper ‘Best of DC’ List
When a new co-working space opened recently in DC, a potential member gave location as her reason for declining an invitation: “If they’re so up-and-coming, feminist, hipster, it should be in Shaw or H Street.” Shaw’s hipster credentials remain solid, according to the City Paper’s new “Best of DC” list, made up of a readers’ poll augmented by staff picks.
Shaw remained strong in its most competitive category of Food & Drink establishments. Right Proper Brewing Company won the poll for Best Brew Pub, while Nellie’s Sports Bar was declared the Best Gay Bar as well as Best Sports Bar in DC. Maxwell Park won the top position for Best Wine Bar and Best Wine List, while also receiving the staff pick for Best Wine Bar. Beau Thai won the poll for another year as Best Thai Restaurant, while Farmers and Distillers got its first designation as Best New American Restaurant.
The City Paper staff gave additional kudos to the speakeasy at 600 T (Best New Bar), All Souls (Best No-Frills Cocktail Bar) and Unconventional Diner (Best Home Cooking Upgrade, for its meatloaf).
The quirkier awards included The Dabney (Best Free Bread Service), Haikan (Best Ramen Sidekicks) and Dacha Beer Garden (Best Excuse to Mix Beer and Another Drink in the Same Glass, for their radlers). Megan Barnes of Espita Mezcaleria was the staff pick for Best Bartender in DC.
In the category of entertainment, the 9:30 Club came in first again for Best Music Venue, while Town Danceboutique won the poll for Best Night Club. Lee’s Flower and Card Shop won the poll for Best Flower Shop, while also getting a staff pick for Best Non-Alcoholic Happy Hour for its Friday Flower Power Hour.
Off Road DC won the poll for Best Indoor Cycling Studio, an honor it has gotten for a number of years. Warby Parker (Best Place to Buy Eyeglasses), uBreakiFix DC (Best Place to Get Your Cracked Phone Screen Fixed) and Violet (Best Clothing Boutique) also came out on top of the readers’ poll.
City Paper staff named Cherry Blossom Creative as Best Place for Bullet Journalism Enthusiasts, in other words, for its selection of pens, paper and other stationery items.
Events DC Updates the Neighborhood
Events DC held a community meeting the night of April 11, led by Events DC CEO Greg O’Dell, to give an update on the status of the Apple Store at the Carnegie Library, along with plans to expand retail and improve the space around the Washington Convention Center.
As people may have noticed, the Carnegie Library is being renovated to house a new Apple store. The Apple Store in San Francisco’s Union Square offers the closest example of what the finished Shaw store will look like. The target date for the completion and opening of the store is Thanksgiving 2018.
All the retail space at the Convention Center is now leased out, but a reconfiguration could allow the creation of additional retail space. There are also plans to enliven the center’s exterior space. Right now, the neighborhood faces a blank wall around the perimeter of the center, with almost no activity along the sidewalks. Even the treeboxes are inadequate, being too small and shallow to provide nutrients to the trees.
Plans are to activate the exterior by installing artwork on the façade, installing pop-up retail in the building’s niches and creating raised treeboxes that will provide seating for visitors.
Perhaps the most dramatic feature will be a rooftop deck on the N Street side of the center, accessible by an outdoor stairway. The exterior plans have been approved by the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts, although some details have to be worked out with the DC Department of Transportation before work can begin. Plans are to start construction in fall 2018, with phased delivery stretching from 2019 through 2021.
Shaw Main Streets Holds Taste of Shaw Gala
Shaw Main Streets held its annual gala on the night of April 18 at the Howard Theater. Themed “A Taste of Shaw,” the gala featured 23 neighborhood establishments, ranging from fine dining and craft cocktail bars all the way to sandwich shops, providing samples of what they had to offer to the hundreds of gala attendees. Entertainment was provided by Yehunie Belay, one of the most prominent new Ethiopian music entertainers in the world. He electrified the crowd at last September’s Art All Night celebration and had everyone on their feet dancing at the gala.
During a brief ceremony, Shaw Main Streets Board Chair Gretchen Wharton and Executive Director Alexander Padro welcomed attendees and outlined the organization’s plans for strengthening the commercial corridors of Shaw over the next year. Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen came to express his support for Shaw Main Streets and its work in supporting the economy of the city. Then Kristi Whitfield, director of the city’s Department of Small and Local Business Development, spoke, noting that the gala illustrated the enthusiasm and support of the community for the work of Shaw Main Streets.
The last task of the night was presenting the organization’s Shaw Champion Award, given this year to the Marriott Marquis Hotel, represented by Dan Nadeau, its general manager, for the Marriott’s support of the organization and the Shaw neighborhood.