Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunny Saturday Perfect for Columbia Heights Day

I knew Columbia Heights Day was going to be big this year, I just didn't know it was going to be this big. The new Harriet Tubman Elementary Field was a great addition, as was the separate performance area with bleacher seating. And there were plenty of things to do, especially for families. But what I liked best was that much of the soccer field was open so people could just hang out. Or play with hula-hoops, which was my favorite.

The festival seemed to be a boon to local businesses, as well. As activities were winding down on the field, I stopped by Red Rocks, Room 11, and the Wonderland -- all of which were packed. And I have heard the same about The Heights (before they closed) and Pete's Apizza.

Check out our photos from Columbia Heights Day below. And did you hear a sheep escaped from the petting zoo? Someone caught it on video.

Sheep on the loose!

Also, we and a few others were tweeting from the festivities.

How did the after-dark events go? Let us know in the comments below.

Activity at Thai Tanic II

As we learned at Columbia Heights Day, Thai Tanic II is hoping to open the second week of September. From the look of it - that seems wholly possible.

There are tables inside and even on a Sunday night, it was bustling with activity and people doing work inside the space. The sign is lit up and ready to go and judging by the doors and sidewalk space, looks like outdoor seating will be available.

Anyone Get Social?

Anyone tried Social yet? It's been open two whole days! Someone must have. If you made it over there, share your thoughts in the comments section.

There's also a lively discussion about it over at the CH forums. And here's the Yelp page.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Violent Night in CH

According to MPD's Jacob Kishter there were two shootings last night in the neighborhood.

A woman was fatally shot around 9:35PM on 14th and Harvard.

Another shooting occurred on the 1400 block of Park Road at 3:20AM. Two men were shot.

Anyone with info is asked to call the Metropolitan Police Department on 202-727-9099.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

No Water Closes The Heights

BREAKING: A water pipe break in Kenyon Square has shut down The Heights, which was already suffering from no A/C today. So if you were craving a bloody mary or the steak salad, go somewhere else.

Thai Tanic II Opens Second Week of Sept.

Live from CH Day, the guys from Thai Tanic II tell us they are opening
the second week of September in their new location at the Allegro.
They are also serving up some great Thai iced tea.

Just saw Sergio, one of the CH Day directors, and told him they
knocked it out of Harriet Tubman field this year.

Happy Columbia Heights Day!

It's here it's finally here!

Happy Columbia Heights Day!

The Heights Life will be there doing a little video project! If you want to participate, just ask everyone you see the following question, "Are you The Heights Life?" You'll find us eventually!

And you'll almost definitely find me around the 10:30AM Pet Show and the 3:30PM Cupcake Contest. Because both of those things are very funny.

A preemptive thanks to all the CH Day volunteers!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Social Opens on Saturday

Room 11 only had about a week to be the new kid on the block, as Social on 14th Street is set to open this Saturday evening (first reported by PoP). They will also be featuring an "After Dark" drink special to coincide with Columbia Heights Day.

Social was promoting their opening big time last we heard from them. This time though they seem a bit quieter. I checked in with their PR person who said they are expecting a big group for a birthday on opening night, so they will likely be slammed. Alas, if you are bothered by big crowds, then mid-week might be a better time to try the place out.

You can prepare for your visit by perusing their website here.

Also, PoP has some details and pictures over here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Columbia Heights Cat Wins Coveted Title

A local Columbia Heights cat won a coveted title today, Coolest Cat in PoPville, awarded by the Prince of Petworth.

Ike the Thumb Cat, already famous from his appearances in such high profile pet magazines as, had this to say about his victory, "Meow. Purrrrr."

Coming in a close second and third were Ike's look-alike Oreo and another Columbia Heights local, Oliver the Cat.

Ike will now face stiff competition against the "Other" and "Dog" categories for the title of "Coolest Pet in PoPville."

Still unclear is the fate Twizz, a liquor swilling cat whose owner had this to say about the contest, "Vote for Twizz or I will put him down."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

16th and Spring Street Shooting

Another mid-day shooting in the neighborhood, this time at 16th and Spring. DCist has some details.

DCCH Conducting Local Business Survey

The Development Corporation of Columbia Heights is looking for neighborhood residents, workers, business owners, and visitors to take a short online survey. They want to learn what additional businesses and services you desire in the neighborhood and what you think about existing businesses in the neighborhood.

I just took the survey and noted that I spend 80% of my grocery shopping expenditures in Columbia Heights and think that a book store, City Sports, and sushi restaurant would be good businesses to open up.

Click here to take the survey.

CH Pizza Victories!

Pete's Apizza and Red Rocks both advanced in Washingtonian's Pizza Pool, beating out NoVa in the process. You can follow the pool here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chat with Columbia Heights Day Executive Director

Countdown to Columbia Heights Day: T-minus 4 days! Sergio L. Herrera, president and executive director of the Columbia Heights Day Initiative, took a few moments to answer some of our questions over e-mail. August 29 looks to be bigger, bolder, and better than ever.

The Heights Life: How did Columbia Heights Day first start?
Sergio Herrera: Here’s an article written by one of our volunteers that gives you the genesis of the festival.

[Ed note: Go ahead, read the article. We’ll wait.]

THL: Columbia Heights Day also seems to be the de facto ribbon-cutting for the new Tubman Elementary turf-field, are you going to miss the old dust bowl?

SH: Of course we will. We’ll just have to stand close to the old Metro buses to get our fill of air toxins. The dusty field was of symbolic of how we organized the festival. And now the new field is a good reflection of how far we’ve come along!

[Ed note: We’ll wait again for you to read this WaPo blog post about the official ribbon cutting and how the new field got a 30-yard wide logo with Mayor Fenty’s name on it.]

THL: Why should a neighborhood resident attend Columbia Heights Day?

SH: It’s just the most organic and hands-on festival in DC. For Columbia Heights, by Columbia Heights … Did I mention that it’s free, it’s fun, there’s actual stuff to do. And if you don’t like it, you can join the planning committee for next year’s festival!

THL: Why should a random DCUSA shopper attend Columbia Heights Day?

SH: DCUSA donated money again this year (as well as Wonderland, Chatel Real Estate, BB&T … to name just a few). So in essence, it’s like the shoppers donated. They should come see where their money went!


After you spend all of your money at DCUSA’s various shops, you can come to the festival and not spend a dime (and get more than your money’s worth!).

THL: What are this year’s Columbia Heights Day highlights?

SH: To make a few:
  • Live music and performances
  • 2nd Annual Cupcake Eating Contest (Sponsored by Sticky Fingers)
  • Petting Zoo and Kids Zone
  • Columbia Heights Day After Dark
THL: In a city full of distinct neighborhoods, what do you think makes Columbia Heights so unique?

SH: We hear the term “melting pot” all of the time, Columbia Heights residents are the chefs adding the essential ingredients to that recipe! Our neighborhood is the most diverse, funky mix of people/business in all of DC. What’s really so fun about Columbia Heights is that we are still making it the neighborhood we want it to be ... it’s a cooperative work in progress.

Jim Graham Tames the Shrew

Councilmember Jim Graham is bringing us free Shakespeare. See below if you'd like to join him:

Dear Friends:

I am happy to host a FREE night of Shakespeare for Ward 1 residents.

The performance is on September 11 at the Shakespeare Theatre Company will perform The Taming of the Shrew at Sidney Harman Hall at 610 F Street NW. The play will begin at 8 p.m.

Sidney Harman Hall is conveniently located a half-block from the Gallery Place Metro station on the Green, Yellow and Red Lines.

Vouchers that can be redeemed for tickets will be given to residents on a first-come-first-served basis. Only several hundred tickets are available. To request vouchers, please call Jeanne Locher in my office at 202-724-8181.

Limit 4 per person.

I thank the Shakespeare Theatre Company for its generosity in helping Ward 1 enjoy the arts.

Bests, Councilmember Jim Graham

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pizza Pool: Vote Local with Pete's and Red Rocks

Pete's Apizza is being put to the vote as we speak and the Red Rocks poll opens shortly.

Visit the Washingtonian's Pizza Pool site to keep our local fare in the running!

And also, a vote for Pete's is a vote against Northern Virginia. Double win!

Crappy Crossing Addendum: 14th and Irving

A few weeks ago I wrote about the "Crappy Crossings" of Columbia Heights, aka the worst intersections. At the time, 14th and Park won and several commenters agreed.

But now... with the pitiful two-lane road and mass of construction to fuel our new fountain... is there anything worse than 14th and Irving? It's perpetually blocked by buses and backed up traffic. Pedestrians have to weave through traffic to find a way through, no matter which corner they leave from. And the drivers are angrier than ever.

The only upside: our fountain is looking lovely and more of that construction seems to wrap up on a daily basis.

Highlights of the Mount P Farmer's Market

I don't even really like peppers, but aren't they beautiful? The Mount Pleasant farmer's market is overflowing with fresh heirloom tomatoes, peppers and peaches.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Only in DC: Phone Out = Totally Cool

A picture of a group of DC friends hanging out at Room 11 on a Thursday night. Phones out, ringers on, totally socially acceptable. Only in DC.

Columbia Heights Day Needs Volunteers

CH Day is looking for a few good people.

Here's the info:

Columbia Heights Day Needs You!

Volunteers receive a free shirt and raffle tickets for the Columbia Heights Day After Dark Party. There are many times and activities when we will need your help.



Attend a volunteer meeting at the Wonderland Ballroom:

* Sunday 8/23 @ 5pm
* Thursday 8/27 @ 6:30pm


Register at the Volunteer Check-in booth on the Saturday, August 29th at the festival.

Columbia Heights Day Schedule Revealed

We have talked about it and talked about it. And now Columbia Heights Day is just seven days away. What are you going to do next Saturday? Take some morning yoga. Get your face painted with the DC flag. Take full advantage of all-day happy hours. Check out the schedule below to plot your day.

Columbia Heights Day
Saturday, August 29
Harriet Tubman Elementary School
11th and Kenyon streets, NW

11:00-11:30 am Greg Roth & the Bargains
12:15-12:45 pm Buster Brown
1:30-2:00 pm Clube do Samba
2:45-3:15 pm Imperial China
4:15-4:45 pm Lucky Dub
5:30-6:00 pm Flex Mathews with the Crimestoppers

Second Stage
10:00-10:30 am Free Yoga by Quiet Mind Yoga
10:30-11:00 am Best Pet Show
11:45-12:15 pm Capoeira performance by the International Capoeira Angola Foundation
1:00-1:30 pm Mixed Martial Arts demonstration by the Beta Academy
2:45-3:00 pm Jam Session
3:45-4:00 pm Cupcake Eating Contest by Sticky Finger’s Bakery
4:45-5:00 pm Belly Dancers

Here are the important items--food and drink specials:
  • Wonderland Ballroom: Happy Hour all day
  • Red Rocks Pizzeria: Happy Hour all day
  • CommonWealth Gastropub: $5 Columbia Heights Cocktail & Food Sampling on the field
  • Tonic: $4 Yeungling & $0.50 wings (minimum 6)
  • Pete’s Apizza: $5 Pint & Slice
  • Room 11: Food Sampling on the field & Frozen Drinks on the patio
  • Rita’s Water Ice: Buy One Get One Free
  • Tivoli North: A sampling of taquerias and papuserias on the field
There's also an after-party event with even more drink specials throughout the neighborhood. Click here for more information.

Columbia Heights Countdown: Best Burger

One half of THL used to sell meat for a living, so today we're counting down the best burgers in Columbia Heights.

5. Burger Cookies - Giant
Ok, so this isn't meat. But come on - they are pretty clever! And I'm not going to put a bad burger on here (cough cough - Wonderland) when I could put a coookie!

4. Turkey Burger - The Heights
Did you know that in the midwest the "turkey burger" is non-existent? You don't miss it 'til it's gone... then you realize that The Heights has a good one.

3. Salmon Burger - The Heights
The salmon burger was recently added to the weekend brunch menu. For something different but still with the heft and joy of a burger, this one is pretty darn delicious.

2. Cheeseburger - Five Guys
I like mine with grilled onions. Obama approved Five Guys is delicious and even gourmet fast food, but still - fast food can't top a slow cooked ground beef patty with something fancy on it. Therefore, Five Guys is second of five. And now...

1. The Uncommon Burger - Commonwealth
The grass fed beef at Commonwealth makes for a delicious regular burger, but the "uncommon burger" daily special rotates and never lets you down. Try the Juicy Lucy. And try it with the nose-clearing Coleman's mustard. I know, it's also the most expensive burger in Columbia Heights. But in this case - I think you get what you pay for.

Disagree? Share your own list in the comments section.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

THL Endorsements: Coolest Pets

The Heights Life has decided to get pet-litical and issue endorsements in the Prince of Petworth's Coolest Pet Contest. I know for most pet owners in the area this is salt in the wound because your ferret Mickey or kitten Simba didn't make the finals.

Alas, if you can't see through your tears to cast a vote for someone else, you can just take our advice. Or you can fight with us about it in the comments section, that's totally cool.

First up: The Freak Pets. Oh, I mean... the "Other" category. THL endorses... drum roll... THE GUINEA PIG - Cladius. Check him out and vote for him here.

And for the cat category we had to think. One cat has no hair, but the other has thumbs and is wielding a fork. Also we know where thumbs lives and we think he can open doors, so we're too terrified to pick anyone but IKE THE THUMB CAT.

Check him out and vote for Ike here. We also found this photo of Ike (cats - they're just like us!):

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A bar website launches and cupcake eaters wanted

The things that turn up in my Facebook feed:

Meridian Pint writes: "Definitely a work-in-progress, but we now have our website up and running..."

Columbia Heights Day writes: "WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE 2nd ANNUAL STICKY FINGERS CUPCAKE EATING CONTEST???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? We have 10 at-large spots to fill..."

That's a lot of question marks, but Sticky Fingers cupcakes are quite delicious. And glad to see Meridian Pint moving along towards its opening, even though it's a few months away.

I Really Like Giant These Days

So tonight I made myself a delicious dinner. Baked salmon, a spinach salad, and fresh blueberries. And my delicious dinner? It came from Giant in Columbia Heights... the result of a Sunday shopping trip.

As any longtime CH shopper knows, Sundays at Giant are usually obscenely crowded and wholly problematic. I do suppose a few weeks ago I had just such a Sunday experience, but this Sunday it was quite the opposite.

The store was clean, well-stocked, the produce selection was solid, the line moved fast, there was actually a bagger there, and they have cookies that look like hamburgers. I hear this is because of new management (all the improvements, not just the cookies). And hey - it seems to be working. For a while I was doing all my grocery shopping in the frozen foods aisle at Target, but no more!

Any other Giant shoppers noticing an improvement in their shopping experience?

Photo by Mr. T in DC

Room 11: A Welcome Addition

Room 11 is off to a strong start. The new neighborhood wine bar was consistently full on a Monday night this week. And with good food, great wine and a truly welcoming atmosphere, I'm not surprised. A few notes about the Room 11 experience:

  • Seriously, these people couldn't be more excited to have this place and be part of Columbia Heights. They're kind of beaming.
  • Get the cheese and meat plate. The cheese servings are substantial and the speck was fantastic.
  • Try inside and out. Inside is very community, outside is table-centric. Both are solid. And outside you might overhear the awkwardness of a CH first date. We were privy to two.
  • Check your bill though - they are computerless and the hand-tabbing has its flaws.
  • Go back and things may have changed - notably, the menu. ArtBart visited Room 11 on Friday and again on Monday - the menu had already morphed.
  • And finally, The Heights Life is aware that rose' wine is totally pink and obnoxious. And we like it that way. The Room 11 rose' is a lovely shade of rouge and perfect for the 90 degree days.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wireless service coming to the CH Metro stop

WMATA announced today that wireless service is coming to its 20 business Metro stations this Fall, Columbia Heights among them. Beginning on October 16, riders who have phone service with Verizon, Sprint Nextel, AT&T, or T-Mobile will now be able to use this new wireless network to make phone calls and access the Internet in Metro stations. The 20 underground stations are: Ballston, Bethesda, Columbia Heights, Crystal City, Dupont Circle, Farragut North, Farragut West, Federal Center SW, Foggy Bottom-GWU, Friendship Heights, Gallery Pl-Chinatown, Judiciary Square, L'Enfant Plaza, McPherson Square, Metro Center, Pentagon, Pentagon City, Rosslyn, Smithsonian, and Union Station. 

This is great news for iPhone users like myself who sadly gave up Metro cell service, via Verizon, for a cooler phone and a cheaper plan. Once this network is up and running, Metro said it will work on expanding it to the remaining underground stations by the end of 2010.

Read more from WMATA's press release or on DCist.

Countdown Columbia Heights: Beer Selection

This could be controversial. Today, I'm counting down the best beer selections in Columbia Heights.

Several factors came into consideration as I pondered this. Draft v. bottle ratio. Diversity. Price. Prettiness of the tap. Ok, maybe not the last one. Anyhow... here they are, COUNTDOWN Columbia Heights: Beer Selection. (I let a Mt. P locale slip in here after calculating its proximity to CH and determining it acceptably close.)

5. Tonic (beer list)
4. Red Derby (beer list)
3. Wonderland (menu)
2. Red Rocks (beer list)
1. Commonwealth (beer list)

And now, some justifications...

The Brits know their beer and Commonwealth always has good drafts in extra large sizes, specials, and even flights. Red Rocks frequently brings in an interesting new brew. Wonderland just had a lot of beer and for a dive bar their draft options are solid. Red Derby has great options, but the lack of drafts hurt them with me. And Tonic's list includes Bud Light. Your thoughts?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Someone Invented Beer Week. Someone Smart.

It's DC Beer Week! The first DC Beer Week ever! And you can participate without even leaving Columbia Heights.

Check out the DC Beer Week story and participating bars here:

Commonwealth is on board:

"Drink to Victory Party" - August 19
Commonwealth will be offering Beer & Food pairings, Beer Flights, limited release seasonal Victory beers, and two delicious Victory beers on cask. (5-10 pm)

But there are some conspicuous absences on this list. Wonderland and their beertastic beer garden didn't opt in. And where's Red Derby? With their many beers in many cans?

Put on your dancing shoes

On Saturday, August 22, the Dance Institute of Washington will be hosting a community open house. The dance studio located at 14th and Monroe streets is planning an afternoon of free classes for children and adults, special performances, and informational sessions about its programs. Here’s the schedule of events:

12:15 pm — Free 30 minute classes: Ballet (youth), Hip Hop (youth), Pre-Dance

12:50 pm — Special presentation

1:10 pm — Free 30 minute classes: African (youth), Modern (adult), Pre-Dance

1:45 pm — Performance by DIW Pre-Professional students

2:05 pm — Free 30 minute classes: African (adult), Jazz (youth), Pre-Dance

2:40 pm — Performance by DIW Pre-Professional students

3 pm — Free 30 minute classes: Hip Hop (youth), Ballet (adult), Tap (youth)

3:35 pm — Closing performance by the Washington Reflections Dance Company

For more information, visit

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Classical studies at area bars

I am beyond excited for the new season of Mad Men—season three premieres on Sunday! Since it's one of the booziest shows on TV (I still claim that BSG holds the No. 1 spot), let's take a look at where you can get some classic and otherwise not-so-classic cocktails in Columbia Heights.

The beer or wine list at Commonwealth always distracts me before I have a chance to even review the cocktails. But what I have seen and ordered is always good. Check out its take on classics such as Pimms Cup or Hendrick's Haze. All specialty cocktails are $2 off during happy hour and late-night happy hour.

The Heights
The Heights advertises 14 specialty cocktails for $7.95, or selected ones are $4.50 during happy hour. All are more tropical concoctions and not all are good, but the ginger margarita is quite delicious.

Red Derby
Four nights. Four classic drinks. Take your pick: Sidecar Sundays! Manhattan Mondays! Tom Collins Tuesdays! White Russian Wednesdays!

They serve limoncello. And it is good.

Room 11
My photo of the Room 11 cocktail menu is a bit out of focus, but since the drink menu is not on its website yet this is all we have. First plus, all are under $10. Second plus, the words "house-made" appear often. I am looking forward to having a pisco punch on the patio there soon, but the Andy Murray with Compass Box Asyla Scotch Whiskey and house-made lemon barley water or L'Enfant Lemonade with Laird's Applejack, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice, sugar, and mineral water also sound great.

This place isn't opening up for another week or so, but the full drink menu is online. Like other bars in neighborhood, you will find a cocktail with your drink of choice. I am on champagne-kick, so the $12 French twist with Lillet Blanc, Grand Mariner, and champagne might be my first order.

A sturdy pour of Jameson or a strong mixed-drink? You bet. Red Pill shots that I have to take to catch-up with friends? Yep. But cocktails? Not really Wonderland's thing from my perspective, but you will still find me in the beer garden most weekend afternoons.

What's your favorite place to get a cocktail in the neighborhood or elsewhere in the city?

New Restaurants, New Websites

The neighborhood grand opening spree is underway (we hope) thanks to Room 11's launch this week.

Along with these new restaurants come their websites, and here's where to find them...

Room 11:


Meridian Pint: Will be, currently

Tynan Coffee: Can't find one - anyone know if there is one?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

From the Mail Bag: New Wings!

A helpful reader sent us this note about a new place:

I just wanted to give you the heads up about a new wing place that just opened up this week near the corner of Euclid and Georgia Avenue called J. Bell's.  It's right up the street from Banneker so it's very convenient after getting in some pool time (my friends and I were starving after the pool Saturday and stumbled on this place). The owner, Julius, has his industrial grill literally parked on the street between 2 cars.  He's a very interesting guy from Buffalo who spent about 10 minutes explaining to us the subtleties of what makes a good wing.

We haven't had a chance to check it out yet (I'm actually on vacation halfway across the country), but it's high on the list. Let us know if you agree that it's good.

Welcome to the Neighborhood

As we've previously noted on this blog, lets you learn more than you probably should about who is moving into your 'hood.

I have no idea where they get this info so I won't repost it, but hey - some new comings and goings in CH for you (including home prices showing the impact (or lack of impact) the housing crisis has had on the neighborhood). This is the latest story, and if you scroll down there are a few more CH links.

ANC Fight: Unpaid Bills, Minutes, Bylaws

An internal fight among the ANC spilled out into the Columbia Heights listserv.

Unpaid bills seem to have started it. Then there was a complaint about the minutes, causing the fight to go public. You can read most of the exchange if you go bottom to top here:

Some choice excerpts...

William Jordan: "ANC1A is in administrative meltdown"

Lenwood Johnson: "Cliff (and the whole ANC), 'shut up and drive!'"

Mr. Jordan and others weigh in over on the Columbia Heights form. You can check it out here:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Vote for Pete's in Washingtonian onlinepool

We just got an urgent message from our favorite neighborhood pizza
shop. Cast your vote now so Pete's can advance in Washingtonian's
pizza pool. First round is versus Ledo's.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

A not so lazy Sunday

Two events in 11th Street this evening. BloomBar welcomes a
performance from Jeremy James and others. Doors open at 7:30 pm. And
raise a glass to the Wonderland Ballroom, which is celebrating its 5-
year anniversary.

Anything else? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at
theheightslife on Twitter.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Room 11 is Ready to Open its Doors

Room 11 held a preview night Thursday evening and The Heights Life checked out the new spot at 11th and Lamont streets. The wine and dessert bar opens to the public on Monday, August 10.

As the photos illustrate, the place is quite small. I don't know if I have ever been in such an intimate bar in DC. The owners -- Dan Searing, Paul Ruppert, Nick Pimentel, and Ben Gilligan -- are extremely enthusiastic about their new business and are glad to be part of the Columbia Heights community.

In the slide show below you can see its choice menu of meats and cheeses, paninis, small bites and desserts, as well as a solid selection of wines, beers, and cocktails. It's great to see Paisley Fig's awesome goat cheese cheesecake on the menu.

I chatted with Ben Gilligan about preparing the menu. He is really proud of the salami selection, all U.S. purveyors, and he noted that Room 11 is on the waiting list for Seattle's famed Salumi. The cheese selection will focus on local farms and will be available not only on the cheese plate but incorporated into the rotating panini choices, as well. In fact, the words "wine and grilled cheese" were actually used when describing the initial spark behind the menu. Keeping in mind the limited space, all menu items are designed to be eaten with a fork at most. No steaks here.

Some people may know bar manager Dan Searing from his days at Temperance Hall or Warehouse Theatre's Punch Club series. In this video he previews what you can expect from Room 11's bar, with a unique, seasonal selection of wines and equally impressive cocktails among its highlights. And I was especially excited to hear that Punch Club will be revived once the place is up and running. Happy hours specials have not been announced yet but they are in the works.

So about that space? That's what Paul Ruppert and Nick Pimentel share in their videos below. Paul notes that they will be adding heat lamps in the cooler months so patrons can enjoy the outdoor patio. And Nick talks about the pine tile flooring and the gothic bathrooms. Five words: vampire bats and venus fly-traps.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Columbia Heights Day announces t-shirt specials

This month you can purchase 2009 Columbia Heights Day t-shirts for just $10 at select locations throughout the neighborhood. You can also purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a Guitar Hero gift pack, a HDTV, or a new computer on Columbia Heights Day.

Aug. 9 from 5-8 pm at the Wonderland – 11th and Kenyon
Aug. 10 from 7-10 pm at Duffy’s –Vermont and V
Aug. 14 from 6-8 pm at the Columbia Heights BB&T bank – north side Metro escalators
Aug. 15 from 11 am – 1 pm at the Columbia Heights Giant – 14th and Park
Aug. 20 from 8-10 pm at the Looking Glass Lounge’s Trivia Night – 3634 Georgia Ave.
Aug. 21 from 6-8 pm at the Columbia Heights BB&T bank – north side Metro escalators
Aug. 22 from 11 am – 1 pm at the Columbia Heights Giant – 14th and Park
Aug. 27 from 6-10 pm at the Wonderland’s CH Day pre-party – 11th and Kenyon

And of course t-shirts will also be available for sale at Columbia Heights Day on Saturday, Aug. 29 – Tubman Elementary Field, 11 am – 5 pm.

For more information on how you can support the festival visit

Save Our Post Office! (And Add Another!)

As I mentioned two posts ago, the "Columbia Heights" post office is on the chopping block.

My first question when I heard that news was "what post office?" Then I thought about it and realized they are talking about the Georgia Ave. post office, which I've never even been to due to its utter inconvenience. Councilmember Jim Graham points out that not only do we want to avoid closure of the Georgia Ave. location, but we also need a new one around 14th and Irving - where we used to have one. Here's Jim Graham's argument and call for action:

Dear Friends,

This morning I received a media call indicating that USPS was considering
closing Georgia Ave P.O. at Georgia and Morton. It has been named "Columbia
Heights" since USPS closed the former location--on the 1400 block of
Irving-- in the 1990s and relocated it.

We need a new post office back at 14th and Irving, and we also need to keep
the post office on Georgia at Morton. The large number of elderly, alone,
along the 14th St and Ga Ave corridors justify these actions! In addition,
with its new residential and retail, 14th and Irving is vastly changed since
a decade ago.

Please express your views on this to our Congresswoman, Eleanor Holmes
Norton, by going to her website and sending an email. Click this link or
copy and paste it into your internet browser's address bar:

Bests Councilmember Jim Graham

The week in bars: anniversaries and openings

Today, August 6 - Commonwealth Gastropub turns one
Commonwealth is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a pulled pork sandwich and beer special for $12. Stop by between 5 and 11 pm. Happy hour runs from 4 to 7 pm and 10 to 11:30 pm.

Thursday - Room 11 preview
We'll be checking out Room 11 in the evening and will have photos, thoughts from the owners, and perhaps a punch recipe or two on Friday. The wine bar opens to the public on Monday, August 10.

Sunday - Wonderland turns five
Has it really been five years? I remember sitting at the bar and humbly drinking $2 Yuenglings like it was yesterday. Looks like I'll be doing the same this weekend. Matt tells The Washington Post:
"We're taking it back to when we first opened," with $2 Yuengling beers all day (including the pleasant Lord Chesterfield Ale), live music, and happy hour prices from 5 to close. Stick around for the annual toast with the champagne of beers.
Monday - Social preview
Once again, we'll post photos, menu previews, and whatever else we can get. The 14th and Meridian spot opens to the public on August 17.

Anything else coming up? Let us know in the comments or send an e-mail to

Countdown Columbia Heights: Crappy Crossings

So I was doing "Random Rankings" in the neighborhood each day. But then some commenter said that Americans don't want rankings - they want COUNTDOWNS like the Germans want the Hoff. This Hoff argument was pretty solid. So today I bring you: COUNTDOWN COLUMBIA HEIGHTS!

Today I am counting down the most annoying intersection for pedestrians in Columbia Heights.

Countdown Columbia Heights: Obnoxious Intersections!

5. 14th and Perry Place (a solid example of upper 14th where crosswalks are meaningless and buses blow by)
4. 14th and Euclid (a hill, a shifting road at the intersection, a gas station, and no way to predict where the heck a car is going)
3. 14th and Kenyon (this DCUSA inspired crosswalk is wholly vexing)
2. 16th and Columbia (too much, it's just too much)
1. 14th and Park (this light takes about two years to change and yet the traffic is also never given the green light, at 14th and Park nobody wins)

Weird Shootings, Post Office Pain, CH = Not Cool

These stories aren't brand new, but worth noting in case you missed them amid your August travels.

First is the news of a strange circumstance shooting on the 1400 block of Girard. As usual, the intrepid Jason Cherkis sums it up best over at the City Paper blog. According to the press release Cherkis posts, it sounds like some sort of mercenary police officer was the shooter.

And second is the news that our post office might be closing. I've heard complaints galore about the inconvenience of postal service in this neighborhood and do most of my mailing from work... this news, it is not good. NBC Washington is on the story.

Also - ArtBart liked the DCist take on the WaPo Target story. I, however, prefer this one: This Just In: Columbia Heights No Longer Cool (from We Love DC).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another word on today's WaPo article

As my friends know, ridiculing trend pieces in The Washington Post Style section is one of my favorite hobbies. (See: Laura Sessions Stepp, This article, GOG chats). Yet, last month when I received an e-mail from a reporter looking to talk to neighborhood residents who shop at Target I gladly agreed to be interviewed.

The writer pitched a piece about the DCUSA Target and how it's changing consumer behavior of city residents. It was to be a fun article. Did I know it was going to label all Columbia Heights residents as hipsters; those who are going against the grain by shopping at Target? No. She and the WaPo editors made that assumption. Do I think the paper's coverage, especially that of the neighborhood, is generally sucky? See above. This is the Style section, and that's what you get: 1,300 words that cause readers to often go "Really?" a few dozen times and tsk-tsk-ing it all.

So, please, don't waste your time on posting rude comments on local blogs. I never labeled myself as edgy or hipster, the WaPo did. Sommer at DCist sums up my issues with the article best:

Nevermind what "hipster" means, what the hell is a "post-hipster" or a "quasi-hipster"? Hesse offers nary a single definition in her 1,300 word examination of how the young (and presumably mostly white) people who live in Columbia Heights feel about the changes in the neighborhood and the arrival of Target and the rest of the DCUSA retail complex and its affect on their spending habits.

It's not that this isn't potentially a valid subject for a Style story. The effects of having big box chain stores suddenly plop down in the center of the city is worth writing about. But Hesse's diagnosis of the situation starts out wrong and never manages to right itself.

.... but the idea that anyone ever moved to the neighborhood did so in order to "brag" about how much crime happens near their homes is just insane. Without even dealing with the fact that the vast majority of Columbia Heights residents are still non-white families who might well be happy about the convenience and low prices that Target and Marshall's and the like now afford, a number of actual reasons for choosing the neighborhood immediately spring to mind: convenient location and public transportation, affordability, charming rowhouses, or even, say, liking the vibe of the community. It seems safe to say however that no one, ever, in the history of gentrification, has moved to a neighborhood for the apparently more authentic experience of shopping at a CVS.

Now, if we want to have a real discussion, let's talk about the "city-soft" physique comment in the article. If everyone who lives in Columbia Heights is apparently a skinny "quasi-hipster" with flabby arms and knobby knees then why is the gym crowded all the time?

We like shopping at Target and the WaPo reveals all

This day would have to come eventually. A day where one of my deepest, darkest secrets would be revealed in just a few paragraphs in a widely-read newspaper. Yes, that is I proudly admitting to The Washington Post today that I sometimes shop at Target four times a week. (There have been days where I stop by twice.) But it's good to know that I am not alone, and that others love Ruby Tuesdays -- salad bar and all -- as much as The Heights Life does.

THL Random Rankings: Top Five CH Shoe Stores

Ok, so I can only really think of five places to buy shows in CH at all. But hey? Why not rank them.

Top Five CH Shoe Stores
1. Simply Soles, buy online or visit the store on Park Road
2. Payless, cheap - cute - convenient
3. Marshalls, picked over diamonds in the rough
4. Target, cause they usually have your size
5. Nash's Sports, a limited supply for my personal needs

What should we rank next? I'm thinking top five CH business question marks. The question mark being... how do these places stay open? Perhaps we'll do that one tomorrow.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's a Fountain Now!

Ok, so it's a dry fountain - but hey - at least we know what our fountain will look like. It appears it will be an attractive space to spend some time. I personally wish the area was a little more green and grassy, but I'll take it.

Wonderland = Party Bus Hub

Last weekend this blog noted the presence of a line and a party bus at the Wonderland.

Let's just say... All this has happened before and will happen again. And it did. This Saturday, yet another line and party bus at the Wonderland.

Is this the new schtick? Because when I think Wonderland, I don't want to have to think... party bus.

Alas, the Wonderland on Sunday afternoon was as informal and appropriate as ever, but until the party buses leave 11th Street, we suggest any locals try Tonic or Commonwealth for post-11PM line-free socializing on Saturday nights.

PS Prize for the first person to identify the nerdiest thing I said in this post. The prize is simply my admiration. Sorry to let you down.

THL Random Rankings: Best CH Salads

Pretty much every major DC publication spends some time each year ranking stuff. Best this and that in DC, yadda yadda. We've decided to join the party... however we're just going to rank totally random stuff, in Columbia Heights, whenever we feel like it.

The trick is we want YOU to join the judging and leave YOUR rankings in the comments section.

Our first installment of THL's Random Rankings: Best CH Salads. We have some good restaurants, so now let's tackle the nuance...

1. Crispy Goat Cheese Salad, Pete's Apizza
2. Steak and Blue Cheese Salad, The Heights
3. The Salad Bar, Ruby Tuesday's
4. House Salad, Pete's Apizza
5. Fried Chicken Salad, The Heights

Missing the cut: Anything at Red Rocks - the salads are good, but not top five good. Also the side salad at Commonwealth - good, but not very interesting. I realize the Pete's House Salad is totally simple, but it's still notably good.

So - any other takers? Top five favorite salads?

Peruvian Chicken: Readyish to Go

For a while now the Peruvian Chicken joint has appeared ready to go. There are the usual notices on the door, the coming soon sign in the window - and even tables. Alas, we still have one thing missing.... the chicken. And steak.

And whatever happened to those awesome IHOP rumors?