Shaw Streets - August 2017

Capo Deli shows off its Backroom lounge during the Shaw Ribbon Cutting Jamboree. Photo: Pleasant Mann

Shaw Businesses Hold Open House

Shaw Main Streets held its spring Open House on Saturday, June 17. Participants were able to check out 26 businesses, restaurants, bars, barber shops and hair salons, fitness facilities, and other establishments in lower Shaw for four hours that afternoon. They received free #loveshaw T-shirts and refrigerator magnets and recyclable shopping bags, and enjoyed cocktail and food samples, caricatures, and other freebies.

The Open House ended at the French Quarter Brasserie and Oyster Bar (1544 Ninth St. NW), where over 150 participants assembled for drawings for 30 different prizes and gift certificates from Shaw businesses. Shaw Main Streets plans to hold another Shaw Open House in October, focused on businesses in the area north of Rhode Island Avenue NW.

Phyllis Wheatley YWCA Renovations Commemorated

On Friday, June 23, Mayor Muriel Bowser and a large group of dignitaries met at the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA to celebrate the completion of renovations to the residence. The $17 million effort provides 84 newly refurbished units to the low-income single women who call the building home.

After the group cut a red ribbon to mark the completion of the renovation, Mayor Bowser said that the event was evidence the city was starting to meet its promises to provide decent, affordable housing to its residents. Buwa Binitie, principal of Dantes Partners, the development company that led the project, said that the effort required nine different sources of financing and collaboration with five different DC agencies. Merrick Malone, director of capital programs at the DC Housing Authority, told the audience that the project, by mixing new sources of finance, rental housing subsidies, and green solar credits, provides a model that can be replicated nationwide of how truly affordable housing can be built.

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Alexander Padro reminded the audience that the renovation was a continuation of the mission of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, which started when members of the Booklovers’ Club decided to set up near Union Station to protect vulnerable African-American women coming to Washington for the first time. He summarized the effort by quoting Aretha Franklin, saying that the Wheatley renovation was an example of “sisters doing it for themselves.”

At the end of the ceremony, guests were invited to enjoy refreshments and a tour of the renovated building. Part of the renovations included offices and workspace for N Street Village, a nonprofit which will provide social services to Wheatley residents.

Game of Thrones Popup Bar Opens

The much-anticipated Game of Thrones popup bar opened in Shaw on the night of June 21. While this is not the first popup developed by Drink Company proprietors Derrick Brown and Angie Fetherston, it is the first that required using all three of their drinking establishments on the 1800 block of Seventh Street NW.

Visitors will find one room with a Forest of the North motif, a backroom devoted to Daenerys Targaryen’s three dragons, a Hall of Faces (with faces provided by still-living bar staff), and a King’s Landing Red Keep room with, of course, an Iron Throne. A long list of themed cocktails, some served in rugged horn mugs, adds to the Game of Thrones atmosphere.

Even Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin gave the popup bar a mention on social media. Given the crowds that have come to previous themed popups by the Drink Company, some neighboring businesses, such as Drift on 7th, are offering Game of Thrones snacks for people waiting to get into the popup.

More Eating and Drinking Coming Up

Speaking of popups, The Passenger (1539 Seventh St. NW) set up a new one upstairs, recreating the Hogo Tiki bar that had been on lower Seventh Street a few years ago. Besides a list of South Sea cocktails and volcano bowls to be shared by groups, Hogo features Hawaiian diner food items including tuna balls and spam musubi, a rice snack using canned meat product.

The much-anticipated Maxwell Park wine bar (1336 Ninth St. NW) has opened. The owner, Brent Kroll, has been running wine programs for a number of high-class DC establishments, most recently at Proof. The selling point of Maxwell Park is its 50 wines by the glass, kept at the appropriate temperature by an elaborate system of refrigeration.

And Capo Italian Deli (715 Florida Ave. NW) has opened to good notices. It is an attempt to create an authentic Italian deli, taking an inventive approach to a long list of fresh-made hot and cold meat sandwiches. Capo also sells all the requisite cut meats and cheeses that a respectable deli should have. The deli has garnered attention for its nondescript backroom bar, located in a former bank vault, which is open on Friday and Saturday nights.