The Georgetown Metropolis

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2700 block of P St.

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Pianos, Pianos, Pianos Everywhere (But there’s a Catch)

Photo by Daniel Lu.

A couple weeks ago, word broke that Georgetown’s mainstay piano bar, Mr. Smith’s, was closing. Who knew that now instead of marking the end of the last piano bar in Georgetown, we’d be talking about two different piano bars?

Washington Business Journal reported yesterday that not only will Mr. Smith’s reopen on K St., but a group of ex-Mr. Smith’s staff and an accountant from Virginia are opening a second piano bar where the Modern was on M near 33rd.* Rebecca Cooper writes:

A group of partners, including a former piano player, a former manager and a former employee of Mr. Smith’s — whichannounced it would close last week — have teamed up to open Georgetown Piano Bar in the former Modern nightclub space at 3287 M St. NW.

The new spot, which is aiming to open Sept. 12, comes from Hunter Lang (the piano man), former Mr. Smith’s managerGene McGrath, former Mr. Smith’s employee Morgan Williams and his uncle,Bill Thoet. Another regular Mr. Smith’s piano player, Spencer Bates, will also be a featured player at Georgetown Piano Bar.

The article explains that since the bar plans to take over the Modern’s tavern license, they won’t even bother with food, but will be a straight bar:

“We’re a piano bar pure and simple, not a restaurant that has a piano bar,” he said. There won’t be any food, in fact; Georgetown Piano Bar was able to buy Modern’s tavern license, which means no food sales requirements under D.C. liquor laws.

Here’s the thing about that, though. Modern Lounge operates under a settlement agreement (what used to be called a voluntary agreement) that dates back to 2001:

Check out some of those agreement provisions:

  • The license holder needs to make its best efforts to build a kitchen and have at least 15% of its revenues come from food sales
  • The license holder will not provide live music

Oops.

(Also, there’s GM’s favorite voluntary agreement clause: no wet t-shirt or “beefcake” contests).

Either the folks behind Georgetown Piano Bar didn’t do their research or they plan to amend their agreement. It’s not beyond belief that such a change would be granted (and full disclosure: one of the agreement’s parties is CAG. GM is on the board of CAG and would likely vote on any amendment to the agreement.)

Either way, before cheesy 70’s schlock rock can be belted out by the suburbanites who still think Georgetown is the hippest place in town, a lot of t’s need to be crossed and i’s dotted.

*And who knew that the Modern closed? Honestly, GM was never sure it was ever open. Brit Swan, owner of the Modern and Serendipity 3, has not had a good year…

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The Morning Metropolitan

Photo by Lorenzo Tlacaelel.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

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The Georgetown Metropolis

3500 block of O St.

3500 block of O St.

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Why Not: Turn Wisconsin and M into a Rotary?

Wisconsin and M St. is the heart of Georgetown, yet it’s an incredibly unpleasant place to be. Whether on foot, bike or in a car, it’s an intersection that you just want to get through as quickly as possible. There are possible schemes that could address one type of user or the other, but most diminish the intersection’s utility to the other types of users. But is there a way to improve the intersection for all users? If there is, a rotary is probably it.

If you’re immediately skeptical, view the film above. It shows how an unusual traffic solution took an intersection at the heart of an English town-an intersection that had all the unpleasant characteristics of Wisconsin and M-and turned it into a shared space, where car speeds reduced, pedestrian access increased, and overall traffic flow was not worsened. It sounds impossible, but really just watch the film. Continue reading

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The Morning Metropolitan

Photo by Elvert Barnes.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

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The Georgetown Metropolis

1300 block of 30th St.

1300 block of 30th St.

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