The rebirth of the DC streetcar system has been nothing short of a big, giant mess. The planning has been in the works for decades and there are lots of details, budgeting and politics that affected its evolution.
The first set of tracks started being placed along the H St NE corridor in 2009. The hope back then was that it could open sometime in 2012. As a resident of Northwest DC, I was excited about the new transportation option, which would connect Union Station with the growing H St. NE corridor. Options like the crowded X2 bus or making a lengthy walk from Union Station metro meant the H St neighborhood was difficult to get to from many parts of the city.
That lack of accessibility was a shame, since there are many great bars and restaurants to check out. But that should all get a little easier when the streetcar finally opened for business on February 27th at 10 am. Here are five can’t miss places along the new streetcar’s route.
Atlas Arcade (1236 H St. NE)
Video games and beer. It’s hard to get much better than that. Atlas Arcade’s neighborhood feel is ideal for settling in for a game of pinball or classic arcade game action. The first Tuesday of every month is Rock Band night, so stop by and jam out with the whole setup. The beer list is relatively small but includes a few local options and budget-friendly choices.
Biergarten Haus (1355 H St. NE)
This spacious bar and restaurant channels the Bavarian region of Germany, offering lively indoor and outdoor seating for enjoying a stein of beer with friends. Order up a liter or half liter of German beer and get into the vibe. You might even catch some live polka music to really set the mood. The food is also solid enough. For a tasty snack, try the soft pretzels with beer cheese.
Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar (1104 H St. NE)
This bar is somewhere between a dive and just a low-key place to grab a beer (both craft or the cheap stuff) and a shot. Little Miss Whiskey’s is decked out in a fun, New Orleans-inspired decor and it hosts a number of events, including regular DJ and dancing nights on weekends. There is a never a cover charge for entry – a big plus. As a heads up, the bar is cash only.
Maketto (1351 H St. NE)
Maketto is a three-headed beast of awesomeness. The two-level space combines retail and dining, both with Asian flare that brims with hipster attitude. The upstairs cafe serves coffee, appetizers, pastries, snacks, and cocktails. It’s a nice place to mingle, get some work done or have a pre-dinner drink.
The main restaurant can get busy during peak hours, but the food rewards those who wait. A word on the entrees: they are large portions, enough for two to share. Go for the sweet and spicy Taiwanese fried chicken or the fragrant wok-fried noodles. The steamed pork bun appetizer is another can’t-miss item.
Rock and Roll Hotel (1353 H St. NE)
Sorry – there are no actual hotel rooms here, as cool as that might be. The Rock and Roll Hotel is the place to be for high-energy live music in an intimate venue. It’s a small space that caters primarily to local and indie acts and shows are usually reasonably priced. The bar also features a rooftop deck and hosts regular DJ nights on the second floor. The kitchen also turns out a modest menu bar snacks and sandwiches for hungry concert-goers.
So, get out there and take advantage of the new streetcar. Here’s hoping it enjoys a long, reliable life.