Old Timers Holding Steady

Four years ago, GM documented all the shops and restaurants that had been holding on in Georgetown for at least 30 years. Surprisingly, the list came to 23.

It’s been a tough four years for Georgetown shops and restaurants, with rents continuing to climb before the pandemic impacted everyone. But surprisingly, only one of the old timers closed over that time period: J. Paul’s. And this closure was born more of Capital Restaurant Concepts winding down than a drop in business or a landlord dispute. And among the old timers, J Paul’s was actually one of the younger establishments, having opened in 1983.

The oldest shop on GM’s list in 2017 was Scheele’s, which opened in 1894. But he egregiously overlooked W.T. Weaver and Sons, which has operated in Georgetown since 1889. GM also missed Ristorante Piccolo, which opened in 1986, La Chaumiere, which opened in 1976, Bicycle Pro Shop, which opened in 1958, and Wisemiller’s, which opened in 1953. And at least one shop has reached the age of 30 since 2017: Georgetown Frame Shoppe was opened 1989.

So Georgetown has no fewer than 28 shops and restaurants older than 30 years old. With approximately 500 shops and restaurants in Georgetown, that means over 5% of them are truly old timers.

Here is the amended list:

  • Martin’s Tavern: It’s the oldest tavern in DC, having started pretty much the moment prohibition ended. Opened 1933.
  • The Phoenix:A third generational family affair, the Phoenix was opened in 1955.
  • Clyde’s: Inspired by a New Yorker cover that still hangs on its walls, Clyde’s was opened in 1963.
  • Safeway: Originally opened as a Sanitary Grocery, the grocery store in Georgetown has been also under the name Piggly Wiggly.
  • Bridge Street Books: Opened before Barnes and Noble and outlasted the behemoth. It’s been selling books in Georgetown since 1980.
  • Blues Alley: The legendary jazz club has been around since 1965
  • 1789/The Tombs: These two establishments have been feeding GU students (and their parents, in the case of 1789) since 1962.
  • Mr. Smith’s: This is a close call, since Mr. Smith’s closed its original location on M St. a few years ago and simply took up residence at Chadwicks. But either way, it’s been open since 1962.
  • The Lantern Bookshop: The used book store has been open since 1977, although GM is not sure if it’s always been in Georgetown.
  • Georgetown Tobacco: This store has been selling cigars in Georgetown since 1964.
  • Wedding Creations and Anthony’s Tuxedos: Owned and operated by former ANC Commissioner Ed Solomon, this formalwear shop has been opened over 32 years.
  • 7-11: The 7-11 on P St. by Rose Park has been opened at this location since 1964.
  • The Christ Child Society Opportunity Shop: This secondhand store has been selling Georgetowners’ old jewelry for 60 years.
  • Georgetown Floor Coverings: This is another family-owned business. It’s been in Georgetown since 1954.
  • Potomac Wine and Spirits: It’s been in a couple different locations, but this liquor store has been open since 1969.
  • Sara’s Market: This market has operated continuously since 1919 (although it operated originally as “Jenkins Market”)
  • Scheele’s Market: It’s been open since 1894.
  • Georgetown Wine and Spirits: This neighborhood-serving liquor store has been open since the 1930s.
  • Morgan’s Pharmacy: Another neighborhood-serving relic, this store opened in 1913.
  • Haagen Dazs: GM is not sure how long this ice cream shop has been open in Georgetown, but he does know Henry Rollins and Ian McKaye worked here in the early 80s, so it’s at least that old.
  • Thomas Sweet: Another ice cream shop that’s been around since the early 1980s.
  • Dixie Liquors: This liquor store has gone through a bunch of owners over the years, but it’s been open (on and off) since 1934.
  • W.T. Weaver and Sons: Selling hardware since 1889.
  • Ristorante Piccolo: Open since 1986
  • La Chaumiere: Lighting up M St. since 1976
  • Bicycle Pro Shop: Changing flats since 1958
  • Wisemiller’s: Giving GU student’s the greasy food they demand since 1953
  • Georgetown Frame Shoppe: Reached 30 years in 2019


Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “Old Timers Holding Steady

  1. Don’t forget:
    Chichi’s Canine Design & Grooming (42 years)
    Ching Ching Cha (30 years)
    Filomena Ristorante (38 years)
    Focus Optician (40 years)
    Just Paper and Tea (32 years)
    Peacock Café (30 years)
    Solbiato (established 42 years ago)

  2. Pingback: The Morning Metropolitan | The Georgetown Metropolitan

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