Housing Complex

Is Petworth in Danger of Becoming “Hipster?”

The former Island Cafe, soon to be the Petworth Citizen.

The former Island Cafe, soon to be the Petworth Citizen.

The alarm sounded yesterday on the Petworth email list: The neighborhood is at risk of becoming "hipster."

I've heard rumors on the street that the people who are opening Petworth Citizen on Upshur Street (formerly Island Cafe) have also purchased the building next door (formerly Hair Impressions) and the empty building across the street next to Huff Cleaners, as well as the Murrell Building (at Upshur & Georgia Avenue).

Word also has it that Petworth Citizen will have dancing in the basement of their Bar.

Since this is a small neighborhood made up of a great mix of small businesses and residents I think a meeting with the owner(s) of these establishments and the existing businesses & residents is warranted, to provide input and discussion on future plans for the neighborhood.

No, no one prefers unused, empty buildings in the neighborhood!  but we also do not want this neighborhood to become "hipster".

The poster wrote a followup note to add that "the building on Upshur, formerly Mona's Hair Braiding has been purchased by the same group."

"Again," the poster continued, "this is word on the Street, on Upshur Street."

The word on the street does not appear to be correct. City property records don't show any recent sales of these buildings. Paul Ruppert, a partner at Columbia Heights' Room 11 and Mount Vernon Square's The Passenger who's opening the Petworth Citizen bar at 829 Upshur St. NW, says he hasn't purchased any buildings on the street. He's signed a lease for the Petworth Citizen space, as well as one for the building across the street at 828 Upshur St. NW, which he says will be a "neighborhood restaurant" opening sometime in the new year.

"Those are our only current plans," Ruppert says. "We’re looking at other spaces."

So what about those other buildings on Upshur? Ruppert says he's "looked at them," but nothing has been signed. No word yet on whether anyone will be inspired to dance there.

Image via Google Maps

  • Native Daugter

    TOO late, DC is already Hipster. Most number of single folks above drinking age & gayest, what more do you need?

  • NE John

    Sounds good, that portion of Upshur Street has always been unfriendly. But there is a great old school shoe repair place nearby.

  • Miss Lu Lu Hogg

    Is hipster a code word for white?

  • petworthy

    The guy that wrote it owns the antique shop across the street. Bentleys. Do drunken hipsters buy antiques?

  • Kevin

    (1) A place doesn't become "hipster"; it becomes "hip."

    (2) So any development means it's time for anti-hipster snark? Gimme a break.

  • Eric

    Wasn't the term hipster over like 3 years ago? People use it for any single white person under the age of 40 living in the city.

  • Dave B

    Instead of saying what they dont want Petworth to become, they should say what they want it to become.

    What are the options?

  • JJ Turner

    I find it amusing what people in DC consider "Hipster". That apparently applies to anyone under 35 who enjoys cheap beer and doesn't wear tight polos and flip flops. The hipster influx in DC is minimal at best. Try Baltimore or Philly.. and then come back here complaining about "hipsters".

  • Anonymous

    The original person who posted this needs to do a bit more research before publicly posting something like this.... Typical community ListServ, right? I for one and all my friends welcome any and all development to the Petworth neighborhood. I am not a hipster, but don't hate hipsters. The great thing about Petworth is its diversity. Development does not hurt diversity. The more retail eateries and businesses that come into the neighborhood as well as condo developments, only increases the monetary and every day life value of the neighborhood.

  • Andy

    Aww, I was just checking that area out last week for convenient places to lock my fixie.

    I guess I'll hang out somewhere else.

  • NoPBRforMe

    I'm pretty sure Petworth went hipster about 10 years ago. Now its attractive to yuppies and the hipsters need to find someplace else.

  • Boozehound

    I thought hipsters were terminally broke and unemployed artistic types in the early twenties with thrift store clothing, tattoos, crazy haircuts, body piercings, and a penchant for drugs, cigarettes, and cheap beer. Whenever I go to "hipster" spots in DC, all I see are clean cut young white people in semi-preppy clothing with a few occasionally sporting a t-shirt with a band's name on it, all while shelling out a good chunk of cash for pricey booze and food. Do you folks at the Citypaper actually know what a hipster is, or are you just afraid to call a yuppie a yuppie?

  • DC Guy

    If hipster is code for putting property to good use, adding people to the streetscape and having fun and good places to catch a bite along the way, then sign me up.

  • Hal9000

    The City Paper should give Anthony Wiener's little brother more challenging assignments. Like how many hipsters take selfies of their privates for their lady hipster friends.

  • notacocktologist

    DC is like a game of telephone, for real. Also, according to my painfully hipster friends the essence of being a "hipster" is living as simply as possible (with the obvious exception of smartphones, what with all that tweeting etc). According to said hipster friend that is why they prefer organic veggies, fixed gear bikes, and PBR--it's more or less utilitarian and it's all about the basics.

    Based on the aforementioned denotation of the word "Hipster" the title of this article is actually sort of an oxy-moron. It is decidedly "unhipster" to even GO OUT for drinks let alone how "unhipster" it is to buy up a whole bunch of specific-use space that you don't intend to use for it's specific use.

    (also, the internet could be wrong but from what i can tell, most buildings up there don't have basements--just fyi.)

  • Old Fartster

    Like a lot of residents of the block, methinks Bentley's concerned with noise and craziness. He both lives on the block and has a small antiques shop and is probably understandably afraid of being priced off the block. The front of his shop is a pleasant hangout for longtime residents and new, an inclusive spot thanks to his genuine warmth and sense of civic mindedness. I believe Bentley will see the common ground he has with restauranteur Paul Ruppert and his customers. Hope so. Does "hipster" mean the people paying $700,000+ for homes in Petworth and have jobs that have them flying all over the planet when not spending money in the neighborhood? These terms get tiring and so uncreative, kinda like "native Washingtonian" which I interpret to mean "This is MY DC, not yours!/Get Out!"

  • drez

    As others have said, Petworth is half-past the hipster phase and full into the b/yuppie phase.
    Hipsters don't buy $700K houses.

  • Chris Allen

    It seems that every group of people has some sort of fear of another group(s) of people coming in and redefining the neighborhood. Any attempt to control the "type" of people to move in should be discredited and ignored.

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