Chances are high that you’ve spent a lot of time—and we mean a LOT of time—with your significant other since the coronavirus pandemic began. But how much quality time have you spent together? Discussions about groceries, unloading the dishwasher, and homeschool do not count.
Forget about the insurmountable laundry pile, close your work laptops, and take a few hours to add some fun, and dare we say romance, to your routine. The North Capitol corridor offers an array of ways to get your dates started.
Sunset Wine & Spirits
Prior to your date, swing by Sunset Wine & Spirits to pick up something special for a romantic evening in or a nightcap when you get home. While some may refer to it as the corner liquor store, Sunset is much more. Yes, you can find everyday spirits, but there are also unique liquors, craft beers, and a variety of wines. Plus, at Sunset you get Bobby—the store owner who will help you find exactly what you want and maybe what you didn’t even know you needed.
What people are saying:
“Great local place with a huge selection! I was able to find a Japanese whisky that was not available in my local area. Bobby and Harris were friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. This store has become my go to place for hard to locate wine and spirits!” – L.G. on Yelp
“This is hands down the best liquor store in the district. You can get hard liquor imported from India, the Caribbean, etc. – I’m not talking about the Bacardis and the Captain Morgans, I’m taking about the unheard of stuff that goes down extra smooth. Plus . . . (drumroll) . . . it’s at a great price! Also, the guys that run the place are extra nice.” – Simone on Yelp
About Sunset Wine and Spirits
Sunset, located at 1627 1st St NW, is family-run. Bobby purchased it six years ago and his two children and wife help with the business. Growing up his parents owned a retail store, so friendly customer service comes naturally to him.
Bobby describes Sunset Wine and Spirits as a unique store. “We have a lot of domestic and international liquors and lots of craft beers that you can’t find in big grocery stores.” Sunset is where locals go to buy hard-to-find beer or when they want to try an international liquor or an interesting bourbon. Bobby says, “Lots of people say I am lucky to find this. People are surprised when they walk in and see how friendly we are. We have a huge selection of wines and bourbons.”
Owner recommendation: Bobby offers his advice for a special drink for a date night. “People should try my small batch craft beers—many are very hard to find. People beg me not to run out. They should try the Pinot Noirs from Oregon and the Malbecs from Argentina. They are very popular and people really like them. We also have local bourbons from DC.”
Not only is there goodness inside, Bobby also brings joy to all who pass his store. Outside you’ll find a chalkboard with inspirational quotes picked by Bobby himself. “I do it to motivate me not to give up. I am showing I am part of the community too. We should care about each other. We should love each other. I care about people. This is who I am.”
Discover New Art & Conversations at 11:Eleven Art Gallery
Grab your honey and try something new. Visit 11:Eleven to explore and admire unique contemporary and urban art. If you think art galleries are too stuffy, think again. 11:Eleven prides itself on being a community art gallery that is inclusive to all and exclusive to none. The laid-back vibe and music will help you feel comfortable. Founder of 11:Eleven gallery, Nicola Charles’ warm welcome will let you know you belong.
What people are saying:
“I want everything in your gallery. You really do have the best selection.” – Ods.X on Instagram
“Our students had a wonderful time! Thank you for taking the time to show them around and educating them on the power of art! – YouthBuild PCS on Instagram
Located at 10 Florida Ave NW, 11:Eleven gallery specializes in United Kingdom (UK) contemporary and urban art. Nicola engages with guests to tell them about the artists, the styles, the techniques, even the framing—depending on the interests of the visitors. She explains, “The techniques and aesthetics behind the artwork is different than any other art you see in DC. Talking about art strikes up different and new conversations. There are so many things to discuss around art and discovering something new.”
Nicola was living in the UK when she decided to quit her job and travel for six months. She decided to open an art gallery, and when she visited Washington, DC she knew it was the perfect place to do just that. She moved to the United States in June 2019 and five months later the doors of 11:Eleven opened.
The gallery is physically open Wednesday-Friday 1 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.. and on Saturday-Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. The space, which includes two rooms, makes social distancing easy. No appointments are needed; however, Nicola will absolutely schedule one with you if that’s your preference. Insider tip: Stay tuned to the gallery’s Instagram for information about upcoming virtual art events.
Nicola wants you to know that new art is coming in all the time and there is always something new to see. She wants members of the community to see the gallery as their space. “Don’t be intimidated. We are not a museum. This gallery is not like others. It’s very much for the people. All the people.” She invites you to swing-by and enjoy yourself. “Let’s make the best of the rest of this year!”
Enjoy Your Favorite Cocktail—With a Twist—at Truxton Inn
Step into the Truxton Inn and allow the warm lighting, loungey décor, and overall sexy vibe transport you away from “real life” for a few hours. The knowledgeable and fun staff can perfect your all-time favorite drink. Or opt to try a unique beverage such as the JFK on a Vaca, which is a play on a daiquiri with a mix of rums, pineapple, lime and passion fruit.
Whether you choose to imbibe sitting indoors (at a socially distanced table) or at one of the ample (pet-friendly) outside spots, Truxton Inn will make your date night special. If you prefer to have a nice night in, pick up cocktails to-go. You’ll be provided with bottles, mixers, and offered assistance, so you can play bartender at home.
General Manager Brian Nixon says staff take pride in serving their guests. “They are coming into our home. We will do whatever it takes to make them feel comfortable. It’s always been that way. We want you to have a good time.”
What people are saying:
“Found my new neighborhood bar. Low key, but classy. Service is prompt and friendly, and spot on with recommendations if you don’t know what you’re feeling. What’s not to love?” – Kaci P. on Yelp
“What a find! We sooooo wish this beautiful bar was in our hood! Gorgeous space, great seating options, dedicated bar talent. Charm that exists in verrrry few DC spots. Worth traveling to!” – Johnny K. on Google
About Truxton Inn
Some bars are known for upscale cocktails. Some are known for the engaging bartenders. Some are known for being the neighborhood bar. Somehow Truxton Inn has combined all of these “best of” qualities into one incredible cocktail bar and lounge. It’s the perfect place to spend quality time with someone you care about.
It’s not by chance that this Bloomingdale gem encompasses everything you love about various bar scenes. Owner Matt Weiss and Brian have a passion for drinking good spirits and enjoying quality cocktails in a fun nice upscale environment. They wanted to give that experience to the North Capitol neighborhood.
Matt, who is a DC native, shares, “This bar is done out of love of the products we offer and a love of the people who live and work in the area. We’re local people. We’ve been in the area a long time. We love DC and we love this neighborhood.”
The cocktail bar is open Wednesday-Saturday 5 p.m. until Midnight and on Sundays 3 p.m. until Midnight. Pro tip: Every day it’s open, Truxton Inn hosts a random happy hour, where they offer a unique cocktail at a special price. It only lasts one hour and the time and drink change each day. Tune in to Truxton Inn on Twitter and InstaGram at 3 pm daily to learn what and when the special will be.
The team at Truxton Inn is grateful for the support the community has shown them. Matt shares, “It makes a difference when people come visit us—not just from a business standpoint, but also from a mental standpoint. We’re in the business because we love people. Just having guests be here is nice. It’s our job to host people and show them a good time. We appreciate the support.”
Explore the Flavors of India at Glassey
Break out of your daily routine while discovering unique flavors at Glassey, a new modern Indian restaurant that specializes in Indian street food. Glassey fuses Indian and American flavors to bring guests original recipes that you won’t find in a typical Indian restaurant or anywhere else for that matter. Fan favorites include Crabby Masala Fries—lump crab meat in a tandoori sauce drizzled on a bed of fries and the Tikki Burger—fried potato patty topped with cabbage onion mix & chutney on a brioche bun.
Owner Taj Sohal says the restaurant has become a great, new date spot. “You get one-of-a-kind food that makes great conversation starters. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known your date for five days or 50 years, it is something to talk about. It’s unique and something out of the ordinary. Eating here is like going on a little adventure. It allows you to leave the hustle of your daily life.”
What People are Saying
“This is simply the best new spot in my neighborhood! The food – OMG the food. Fresh and delicious.” – Nalini M. on Yelp
“Best Indian food in DC, HANDS DOWN. If you are in the mood for some Indian fusion and are around the DC area I would 100% recommend you give them a try!” – Chloe on Yelp
Food is not all that’s unique about Glassey. How the restaurant got its start is nothing short of incredible. Taj opened the restaurant at the age of 22…in April 2020…during a pandemic. This makes her DC’s youngest restaurant owner—and maybe the craziest bravest.
Taj describes the restaurant as her “COVID-baby.” She says, “We set to open in March, exactly when the coronavirus pandemic hit DC. Everything was put to a halt and we waited and waited.” Two months passed and she turned her frustration into dedication. “I had made it through so much—permits, construction, doing it all as a 22-year-old woman. I had gotten over hardships and made it so far and decided COVID wasn’t going to stop me. I called my mom (Glassey’s head chef) and said “I’m not sure how, but we are going to open in 3 days.”
Glassey has outdoor seating with ambient lighting and a great vibe. Hookah is available too. You can opt to eat inside where every table is strategically placed to allow social distancing. Prefer to bring India to you? Grab takeout and order delivery through Grubhub.
The new restaurant brings another unique venue to North Capitol. Taj says, “I chose this neighborhood and location because we were lacking diverse cuisine in the community. We have such a vibrant and diverse neighborhood, but that was not evident in our food scene. I wanted to bring something authentic and foreign to our neighborhood.”
When you visit Glassey you are helping a woman-owned, minority-owned business. And Taj encourages people to “support the youth.” The restaurant is located at 1625 1st St NW, Unit A next door to Sunset Wine and Spirits, which happens to be her father’s business.
Taj encourages you to visit Glassey to escape reality and try something new. “We are going through such trying times; there’s nothing more comforting than a great meal. We believe in our food and flavor and want to bring that authenticity to our neighborhood.”
That’s a Wrap
This wraps up the last of our 5-part series highlighting the incredible businesses along the North Capitol corridor. We heard from restaurants, a barber shop, a sporting goods store, a music studio, and more. While the businesses themselves varied widely all of the business owners share a true love and passion for the community they serve. Support these businesses and the families behind them working harder than ever to keep the neighborhood so very special.