H Street Life

Foundry Showroom by Kate Warren. Image courtesy of Foundry

Finally, we are beginning to see a reprieve from the snow, and cold temperatures of winter. As the mercury climbs, and the days grow longer, we are seeing more businesses opening on H Street NE. If the list below is any indication, we are looking at a very exciting spring.

Three Sports Bars Headed to H Street NE

After years of no official sports bars opening on H Street NE, there are now three new ones hoping to set up shop here. The largest of the three is Sin Bin Sports Bar and Restaurant (1336 H Street NE). For the non-hockey fans out there, the sin bin is a nickname for the penalty box. Sin Bin will offer 200 indoor seats for patrons, with a total occupancy load of 400. They will also have a seasonal patio with seating for an additional 50. Expect a menu of burgers, appetizers, and sandwiches.

Next up is Halftime Sports Bar at 1427 H Street NE. Notably, Halftime comes to us from the owner of another bar down the street known as the Elroy, 1423 H Street NE). The third, as yet un-named sports bar is slated to go into the long vacant Micky’s space at 1362 H Street NE.

Foundry Combines Vintage Furniture & Menswear Along H Street

Previously based on U Street NW, Foundry Home Furnishings recently relocated to the H Street NE Corridor. Their new space is significantly larger than the old one, and owner Yvette Freeman plans to take full advantage of that fact by adding a production space, as well as introducing a new vintage clothing shop called Foundry Threads.  Foundry Threads will primarily feature men’s clothing, but will offer some women’s selections as well. The new 4,000 square foot space is in a carriage house (accessible through the alley) located behind 819 11th Street NE. According to Freeman, “as more condominium and apartment complexes deliver in the H Street corridor, the need for furniture and home accessories increases. Our move to a loftier showroom helps us display and showcase even more merchandise.” Frankly, I suspect current residents, along with her previously existing clientele, can provide an ample market in the mean time.

Clover Food Lab Considers an H Street NE Location

The Boston based restaurant and food truck chain Clover Food Lab (http://www.cloverfoodlab.com) recently floated the idea of opening a location at 1110 H Street NE. The chain is known for its vegetarian fare, and its emphasis on the use of local and organic ingredients.

INTERSECTIONS Arts Festival is Back

INTERSECTIONS Arts Festival (http://intersectionsdc.org) returns for a triumphant fifth year at the Atlas Performing Arts Center (http://atlasarts.org, 1333 H Street NE). The all-arts festival features over 100 groups strutting their stuff over an eight day period.  The performances include dance, music, film, opera, theater, and more. Performers may be established professionals, emerging artists, community groups, or student artists.

INTERSECTIONS offers a little something for arts fans of all ages, and interests.  The INTERSECTIONS organizers strive “to connect the broadest possible audience with the most exciting new ways of making community-inspiring art.” You’ll find jazz, hip-hop, classical, and a ton of fusion works. Virtually all of the events take place at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Many events are free or low cost. Though many events will likely appeal to a grown up audience, the festival also boasts plenty of offerings geared towards families, and younger budding arts enthusiasts.

Union Kitchen’s 2nd Location Adds to Culinary Scene in Ivy City

In a bit of truly awesome news for both aspiring small food businesses in the District, and also for the gritty neighborhood of Ivy City, the small culinary business incubator Union Kitchen, 1110 Congress St, near 2nd & L NE) has announced plans to open a second location in Ivy City.  

Ivy City, an area that is primarily industrial (but with limited residential components), has gotten a bit of attention recently. It is home to New Columbia Distillers, 1832 Fenwick Street NE), who produce the popular (and tasty) Green Hat Ginthat you can find in many local restaurants, bars, and liquor stores. Sample it in one of the signature cocktails at Boundary Road, 414 H Street NE). Typically it runs about $35 a bottle, but Trinidad’s Brother's Liquor (1140 Florida Ave NE) sells it for $30.

Atlas Brew Works, 2052 West Virginia Avenue NE Suite 102) also calls the neighborhood home. This local brewery produces a variety of craft beers, and recently hosted All Points West chamber orchestra as a special part of the Atlas Performing Arts Center’s, 1333 H Street NE) INTERSECTIONS arts festival.

Right now, Union Kitchen offers a low-cost, low-risk, full-service kitchen for local businesses to grow and establish their operations.” They strive to remove many of the barriers to entry, and growth, that many small businesses face. These barriers include the expense, and risk, of signing a long-term lease, purchasing equipment, and many more concerns. Union Kitchen streamlines the process by covering all operational costs for its members (such as trash collection, taxes, cleaning, ect.). The operation recently celebrated its first birthday. Union Kitchen’s current space is 7,300 square feet, and acts as a production space for 55 local vendors. The new space in Ivy City, should allow them to accommodate 70 additional members.  One of Union Kitchen’s co-founders also recently told the Washington City Paper that the Ivy City location will include an event space, a café, and a market for vendors to sell good made on-site. They hope to open in late 2014.

Impala Cantina & Taqueria to Open in March?

Though we’ve been teased before, the owners of Impala (1358 H Street NE) recently announced that they hope to open their doors sometime in March. Impala garnered much press a few years back when owner Troy Hickman and Erik Bruner-Yang (of Toki Underground) ran a summer pop up called Tacos Impala. Ever since that time, fans have been able to enjoy their Mexican offerings at various pop ups, as well as at a regular Taco Tuesday Night at the Pug, 1234 H Street NE).

For more on what’s abuzz on and around H Street you can visit my blog http://frozentropics.blogspot.com. You can send me tips, or questions at elise.bernard@gmail.com.