A Gentrifiers Guide to a Crazy Great Weekend on H Street AKA Atlas by Melissa Krodman (aka Oui Oui Non Non, and all around firecracker)
all photos: Jessica Arce
Remember those consecutive three days last week when you decided enough with DC! I’m moving to Brooklyn like all the other cool young people do and maybe then I’ll be happy!! Remember that?? Well please don’t go. Brooklyn, New York is HERE on H street! It’s awesome!!!! We don’t have Jews in sable hats, true, but we do have a socio-economic dichotomy, obnoxiously persistent road construction, several thrift stores, a dozen conspicuously pricey restaurants, several dozen themed bars with tattooed, converse sneaker-wearing patrons, and all of the other ubiquitous signs of gentrification. It’s totally Brooklyn! It’s got all the adorable rag-tag grit of an “up-and-coming” neighborhood, but no one really gets stabbed or shot anymore which is really great. The hard work has been done on H Street and now it’s time to eat pie and party!
H street: It’s not that freaking far. Take the metro to Chinatown and exit at 7th and H. Walk 10 feet to the bus stop and wait 2 minutes. Get on bus. Ride bus. Take note of the utter lack of care for the road, evidenced by the bus’ hydraulic-like-effect of the pothole-inspired seesawing. Draft mental letters to Mayor Fenty complaining. Request stop at desired destination. Get off bus. Ta da!!!
The Atlas Performing Arts Center. 1333 H Street NE.
The H Street Playhouse. 1365 H Street NE.
They say that the first signs of gentrification are incoming coffee shops and artists. In Atlas the artists came first. I have no idea how those skinny little starving artists survived without coffee. They must have been that new model of humans who can run off of no caffeine for up to weeks at a time. Or maybe they made some at home, although that’s almost too difficult to imagine.
H Street is like a mini-mecca for the performing arts. In what other neighborhood can you take a date to see The Mikado and then literally cross the street for a romantic bucket of chicken at Popeyes. (P.S. the person who takes me on this date is bound to get luckier than a three-breasted whore at a rodeo).
Dress nice for the theatre and wear a big feather hat so when you sit down the person behind you goes “NO!!” and then when you finally take it off they go “AHHHH.”
Joy Of Motion. 1333 H Street NE.
I took ballet for years and really hated it. But now I know what was missing. Beer! That’s why the Atlas JOM center is SO AWESOME!! Finally ballet and beer meet. Dancing is soooo much more fun after beers! And have you ever seen what ballet does for the ass?? If so, then surely you will join me when I begin classes in July. You may be like “why do I have to go all the way to H street to take dance classes?” but clearly the answer is because afterward you can go eat Popeyes and/or show off your new, taught ass at any one of the neighborhood’s gentrifying bars.
SNACKS – FUELING UP FOR THE NIGHTLIFE.
Sova. 1359 H Street NE.
Coffee and Wine. Without these things there is no reason to live. I LOVE Sova. I maybe don’t love their coffee, but whatever. Really no one can touch D&D and yet D&D doesn’t have free internet. Or luxiouriously cushion-y vintage seating. Or an upstairs wine bar. Or frequent live music. Or DJs on Friday and Saturday nights. Or totally manageable crowds that thin around midnight leaving a near empty space to turn into your own private wonderworld. In short Dunkin Donuts has amazing coffee and Sova has good coffee and amazing everything else.
Philadelphia Water Ice. 1204 H Street NE.
Frozen Water. Sugar. Extraterrestrial coloring. I don’t know what Philadelphia has to do with anything but I don’t care, this shit is ca-ra-zy good.
Dangerous Pies. 1339 H Street NE.
I think we can all agree that there is no such thing as bad pie. Not even pie that costs 7 bucks a slice is bad. In fact it may even be better for costing so damn much. And what’s totally cute is how pie makes people – even complete strangers – want to talk to one another! DP takes the prize as the happiest place on H street!!
What’s dangerous is how close I live to this goddamn place. I will likely have to pawn my first four children to pay for the debt I’m going to rack up here. The strawberry cream pie is totally fucking disgusting in an ungodly creamy and delicious sort of way, and the cherry pie makes me want to kill myself it’s so good. I don’t know what their savory pies or any of the other sweet ones taste like because I stopped at cherry.
THE BARS and THE RESTAURANTS
There are lots of empty storefronts on H street. Luckily these seem to be rapidly turning into bars and restaurants where I can spend a great deal of my money drinking heavily and eating really great food that I am completely incapable of concocting myself. There many places from which to choose down H street but I’ve focused my attention on a few in the one block area between 12th and 13th for two reasons: they’re close to my house and they’re close to my house.
The Pug. 1234 H Street NE.
This darling little den features a boxing theme and generally a clientele that looks like they’ve been collectively hit in the face. Actually that’s not true, it just seemed funny to say. Actually, the one time I was at the Pug I spent the evening talking to a guy so hot I drank my beer with a side shot of my own drool. But really the thing that will continue to bring me back to the Pug is my ulterior motive of gradually convincing the staff to concede to my demands for female on female mud wrestling. I think it just makes good business sense. Apparently The Pug has a pool table and free cheeseballs too, neither of which I noticed because I was too busy being awkward in conversation with the blindingly gorgeous dude. But it’s worth mentioning. And btw, if you don’t have boxing gloves to bring out for drinks try a pair of Hulk Smash gloves – them shits are hilarious to smack things with.
The Palace of Wonders. 1210 H Street NE.
I have a soft spot for the Palace because they were the first establishment to actually pay me for taking my clothes off while dancing instead of just kicking me out like other places would. Sure, there are some things wrong with this place: they rarely have soap in the bathroom soap dispensers which is not only potentially hazardous for one’s health, but in a place where the performers have to cleanse themselves of glitter and boob glue, it’s just fucking annoying. BUT I am hard-pressed to think of anything wrong about an establishment that features décor like weird dead shit in jars and near nightly line-ups of people eating swords, hammering nails into their nostrils, and lighting various circus objects on fire, all while gorgeous girls sensuously and/or humorously disrobe down to nothin’ but sparkly little pasties. AND they have free Internet. Palace of Righteous!!!
On Saturday, June 12 at 9:30 and 11:30 pm the unbelievable Johnny Porkpie, the supposed “Burlesque Mayor of New York City” is performing with his Whistle Stop Tour of Burlesque. THIS. DUDE. IS. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.
Sticky Rice. 1224 H Street NE.
I. LOVE. STICKY. RICE. I know this place is not new for people, and if it is you should feel very, very ashamed of yourselves. My personal calling on this planet is to eat Sticky Rice’s sticky rice balls and tater tots forever and ever until there is world peace. Sure, they have karaoke on Tuesday nights, okay, great. But the MAGIC happens (apparently, who knew?!) on the weekends. MAGIC. It has been years since I’ve had the kind of fun out dancing that I had last weekend at Sticky Rice and I still have the leg bruises to prove it. Total madness. Best part: there was the official Krodman requirement of a 4 foot radius for going full out, and lots of strong dudes to climb on as one’s own personal jungle-gym. Lady Gaga and Rhianna on freaking rotation with the music videos playing in the background. PERFECTION. Watch out though, seriously injurious.
BierGarten Haus. 1355 H Street NE.
Alert! Alert! Not owned by Joe Englert!! (I don’t think). What on earth – I mean literally WHAT on EARTH could possibly be better than outdoor patios on which to sit and slosh back vats of beer on a DC dog day while speaking about the good old days of Nazism in horribly offensive fake German accents? Nothing. I will be there all summer, possibly everyday drinking one oversized beer after another, watching grossly hot men on TV play that adorable little game with their feet and the ball, and then I will have another, and another, thanking God for the German corset and drinking another and another vat of beer still. And when I gain 75,000 pounds from all of the joy that fermented yeast brings, I will tell you to verpiss dich und lassen sie mich.