h is for haute

posted by tom / May 22, 2006 /

So, the weekend. It happened, there's no denying that. On Friday I watched basketball and drank beer with Matt, Kriston and Charles, and it was good. On Sunday I saw The Da Vinci Code with Mark and Rebecca, and it was not (although it was good to see M & R). In between I somehow managed to pick up a cold and an accompanying case of nocturnal laryngitis: for the past two days I've lost my voice right around 8pm. Yesterday it occurred somewhere during the course of the movie, so it's not from overuse.

But, my fascinating symptoms aside, the big excitement of the weekend was making the trek to the Argonaut on Saturday. This has been on my to-do list for a while. I like U Street just fine, but there's no denying that its cachet diminishes a little bit more with every new trainload of prelaw girls crammed into tubetops. Not that, you know, *I* am an authentic participant in U's cultural offerings. It's just that I, too, own a Gap card. I've been on a GSA schedule. I drink light beer, and shop at Ikea, and have strongly-held opinions about olive oil. I'm sorry. I can't help it. But I find these things just as noxious in others as you do, and consequently try to avoid doing my socializing in the presence of too many similarly callow twentysomethings.

In order to achieve that goal I'll eventually have to identify the next bar scene ahead of time, so that I can enjoy it in its unspoiled state/get a head start on ruining it. The early indications have been that H Street is going to be that scene. It's got all the signifiers: climbing real estate prices; a new music venue and several bars that are threatening to open; race-baiting WaPo gentrification articles; and, of course, the neighborhood is terrible, aka "edgy". Surely this is where one ought to go to find the city's artists, poets, intravenous drug users and other creative types. In my mind I had pictured Paris cafe culture, only with more stupid t-shirts and public urination.

So on Saturday Kriston, Matt, Ian, Valerie, Sommer, Genevieve, Jon and I — fortified with sausages and beer — ventured out from the shadow of the Ellington, hailed a couple of cabs, and headed east. "That's right by my house!" said the cabbie. He didn't seem like the indie rock type, though.

Well, we went to the Argonaut, and it was pretty good. The Sierra Nevada-ish house beer was okay, and the prices were okay, and the jukebox was okay. But there was barely anyone there on a Saturday night. The only folks out on the street seemed to be in the process of a) waiting for the bus or b) getting arrested. We had a fine time, but I don't feel particularly compelled to go back.

The X2 makes it more convenient and awesome-sounding to get there than I would have guessed. But until some more stuff opens up and some more people start going, I don't see a particularly great reason to head to Trinidad.http://www.zunta.org/tomsblog/archives/005333.php


Uhm, also, don't forget that this summer, the H Street Playhouse gets DCeiver sanctified when Forum Theatre drops THE MEMORANDUM. Opening late June.

Posted by: DCeiver on May 22, 2006 11:34 PM

The Argonaut: the bar everybody is talking about but nobody is going to.

I think H St. will take off eventually, but it's still too early and the distance creates a barrier to experimentation. Meanwhile, Columbia Heights is growing by leaps and bounds and we still have only Wonderland.

Posted by: rcr on May 23, 2006 02:47 PM

Actually, the Argonaut tends to get extremely crowded when classes are in session at Galludet. It's really their local hangout at this point (the Tombs of Trinidad, if you will). My guess is that classes are done for the year, which is why it was empty. That said, I don't think that was the crowd you were expecting. I actually go to the Argonaut quite often, and the Galludet student to hipster ratio still seems to be about 25:1 on busy nights...

Posted by: Aziz on May 24, 2006 09:44 AM

The penultimate paragraph describes the unspoiled state of an up-and-coming neighborhood and/or specific bar. You are the vanguard. Go back and enjoy it while you can, especially so that you can complain later about how all of the latecomers are ruining it.

Posted by: Doug on May 26, 2006 10:04 AM

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