Young and Hungry

Songbyrd Music House Opens Tuesday With DJs, Live Music Venue To Come

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The owners of Songbyrd Record Cafe will open a music-centric bar and restaurant on Tuesday, next door to their Adams Morgan sandwich, coffee, and vinyl shop. The new addition, called Songbyrd Music House, will feature DJs and vinyl in its street level space. Later this summer, a live music venue will open in the basement.

Co-owner Joe Lapan says the place aims to be for music lovers what a sports bar is for sports lovers. The establishment will center around soul, funk, jazz, alternative, and indie rock.

"The music will always be a focal point, not just background," Lapan says.

That doesn't mean the decibel level will rupture your ear drums. The venue has been outfitted for "club quality sound," Lapan says, with absorbing panels and equipment that allow for crisper, more robust audio.

Even the staff is made up of music fans: "One of the things we asked on any employment application was, 'What are you listening to right now?'" Lapan says.  Read more Songbyrd Music House Opens Tuesday With DJs, Live Music Venue To Come

Last Night’s Leftovers: Ben’s Edition

1169745130_cover0126aBen's Chili Bowl opens on H Street NE on July 8. [Frozen Tropics]

Longtime Off the Record bartender John Boswell has retired. [Eater]

The best queer nightlife in D.C. [DCist]

Budding restaurateurs compete for facetime with D.C. restaurant bigwigs. [WBJ]

Slash Run, a bar with a hair-metal theme, coming to Petworth. [Post]

Vidalia ending lunch service on July 1. [PoPville]

Four new liquor licenses snatched up in Georgetown. [Georgetown Metropolitan]

Where to celebrate Independence Day [Drink DC]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Colombian-ish Restaurant The Royal Now Open in LeDroit Park

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While there's still much to bemoan about the District's breakfast scene, there's now a place to get a stuffed arepa with fried egg on a weekday morning. The Royal, which opened yesterday from Vinoteca owner Paul Carlson, will open as early as 7 a.m. with Counter Culture coffee, eggs, roasted plantain bread, Nutella pin-wheel pastries, and more.

By noon, the LeDroit Park restaurant will change over to a lunch and dinner menu with a Colombian bent. Carlson's mother (who's also involved in the business) is Colombian, and his father was in the foreign service. Carlson moved to the U.S. when he was 16, having lived in Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Honduras, and Guatemala.

But the Royal isn't a Colombian restaurant, per se. Chef Lonnie Zoeller will prepare empanadas and choripan sausage sandwiches, but there's also a burger and grilled squid. Many of the dishes—including morcilla sausages and charred vegetables—are cooked on a custom-made, wood-burning grill.

"We wanted the place to be an expression of the things that we liked to eat," Carlson says. In many cases, that's the Colombian dishes he grew up with, and sometimes, it's not. "For a long time, restaurants were placed in categories based on cuisine. It's less the case now." Read more Colombian-ish Restaurant The Royal Now Open in LeDroit Park

Where to Drink to the Supreme Court’s Marriage Equality Decision

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The Supreme Court's decision on marriage equality calls for celebration, and D.C. bars and restaurants are on it. Here's where you can toast the historic moment this afternoon and into the evening. If you know of other specials or festivities, email jsidman@washingtoncitypaper.com, and we'll update the list.

Beuchert's Saloon
623 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

The Capitol Hill restaurant is offering a complimentary mead toast. Happy Hour drink specials last from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Brabo Restaurant
1600 King St., Alexandria

Mention "love wins," and get half-off all sparkling wine all weekend.

Cobalt
1639 R St. NW

There will be a toast with free Champagne tonight at 12:30 a.m.

Dino's Grotto
1914 9th St. NW

The Shaw restaurant will offer a free glass of prosecco or Lambrusco this evening beginning at 5 p.m. "By the way, the offer extends to Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito even! Welcome to the 21st century!. After all, equality is equality," the business tweets.

Nellie's Sports Bar
900 U St. NW

The bar opens early at noon today. Get ready for some dancing too.

Number Nine
1435 P St. NW

The bar opens at 4 p.m. today with a two-for-one drink deal until 9 p.m. Bulleit and Absolut are $5 after that.

Pinea
515 15th St. NW

Sip an "equaltini" for $10 at the restaurant and downstairs bar, Root Cellar, before 7 p.m.

Ping Pong Dim Sum
900 7th St. NW; 1 Dupont Circle NW

Mention "love wins" for a complimentary round of sparkling wine with rainbow popping tapioca pearls. Chinese happy hour lasts until midnight.

Republic
6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park

This afternoon/evening, the restaurant will host a pop-up of its LGBT happy hour called Alegre, which normally happens every Tuesday. From 3 to 7 p.m., get rainbow beads along with $5 pints of Denizen Brewing Co.'s Born Bohemian, French 75s, vodka collins, and Prosecco.

Sudhouse
1340 U St. NW

Beginning at 4 p.m., a shot and a beer are $5.

Photo by Ted Eytan via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Last Night’s Leftovers: Fireworks Edition

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Where to find a roof for Fourth of July [Post]​

Bardo pushes back opening of Nats Park beer garden. [WBJ]

How D.C.'s cat cafe compares to the Japanese original [Thrillist]

Rito Loco finally opens in Shaw today. [PoPville]

Ballston's Rus Uz expands with specialty Russian and Uzbek imported goods. [ARLnow]

Where to drink cheaply this summer [DCist]

ScratchDC will set up TinyGrocery, a gourmet vending machine, in your office. [Express]

Photo via Shutterstock

I’ll Have a Smoothie, Hold the Hairball

Everyone, freak out: D.C.’s first cat cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers, has officially arrived. Founded by 24-year-old Kanchan Singh, the Georgetown cafe (3211 O St. NW) will house as many as 20 cats—all of which come from the Washington Humane Society and available for adoption. (One has already found a home.) Here’s a glimpse inside the second floor play area of the feline fantasyland.

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Photos by Jessica Sidman

Underserved: The Valdez at Barrel

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Underserved is a recurring Y&H feature highlighting the best cocktails you're not ordering.

What: The Valdez with Goslings Rum, Campari, Velvet Falernum, and lime

Where: Barrel, 613 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

Price: $12

What You Should Be Drinking

You’ll have to take your uptight pants off to appreciate the name of Barrel’s summer patio sipper, the Valdez. It evolved from a trifecta of tiki cocktails, including one called Corn ‘n’ Oil (made with falernum and blackstrap rum). “I thought of birds and oil, and immediately the Exxon Valdez came to mind,” Bar Manager Parker Girard says. “It’s tasteless, but that’s okay.” The watermelon-hued punch also takes inspiration from a drink called Jungle Bird, which proved Campari could work in a tiki cocktail. “It’s kind of a douchey bartender thing, but it [Campari] really does work here,” Girard says. Campari prevents the drink from being cloyingly sweet from the Velvet Falernum, which is a simple syrup made more interesting with ginger, cloves, and other spices. Read more Underserved: The Valdez at Barrel

Are You Gonna Eat That? Brine’s Plankton Bucatini

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The Dish:
Plankton Bucatini

Where to Get It: Brine, 2985 District Ave., Suite 120, Fairfax; (703) 280-1000;
brinerestaurants.com

Price: $13

What It Is: Powdered plankton, coupled with toasted nori, is kneaded into the bucatini dough to give the pasta a deep green color. Clams, guanciale, brown butter, preserved lime, and chili threads complete the dish. Plankton, a superfood, is sold at health food stores, but chef John Critchley gets his more pure version online for about $1 per gram. “It gets pretty expensive,” he says. “But we only have to use a few grams per batch, because it’s that powerful.” Read more Are You Gonna Eat That? Brine’s Plankton Bucatini

Last Night’s Leftovers: Rooftop Bar Edition

IMG_2979 A guide to 42 D.C. rooftop bars [Thrillist]

Belga Cafe's new gin-focused rooftop patio is called Betsy. [PoPville]

Former Table chef Patrick Robinson moves to the Ashby Inn. [Post]

New restaurants in Bethesda [Eater]

Three cocktails to try at Prequel [DCist]

D.C.'s weirdest ice cream flavors [Express]

Photo of Masa 14 by Jessica Sidman

The Last Supper: Horror Stories of Breaking Up in D.C. Restaurants and Bars

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It was Valentine’s Day at Cashion’s Eat Place about a decade ago, and a guy was preparing to propose to his girlfriend. The evening started smoothly, and the couple was waiting on dessert. Co-owner Justin Abad, a manager at the time, was standing by with his nicest bottle of Champagne.

At last, the guy got down on one knee. By chance, Abad recalls the music was in between playlists, and the place got quiet. The entire restaurant looked at the couple’s table—in the middle of the dining room—and let out a collective “awww.”

“He’s got this huge smile on his face, and he’s got this beautiful ring presented,” Abad says. “She looks at him and turns completely white, does not say a single word, gets up from the table, and walks out the door.”

The guy remained frozen with a knee on the ground holding the ring out. The collective awww turned into a collective gasp. Abad left his tray with Champagne and two glasses on a table and picked the man off the ground by the arm. “I said, ‘Sir, why don’t you come to the bar with me,’” Abad recalls. “He had clutched in his right hand this ring—just clutched open in the box, just staring at it. And he was completely taken by surprise.”

Abad told the bartender that whatever the guy wanted to drink was on the house, as was his dinner. The man proceeded to get completely hammered. Then he tried to pawn the ring off as a tip. “He was like, ‘Well, I’m not going to need this, I’m sure of that.’ We were saying, ‘No, no, no, maybe...’ He goes, ‘No, she just texted me. It’s over. It’s done.’”

The man threw the ring on the floor. “We’re like, ‘Oh no, that’s not happening,’ so we grab the ring, put it inside his jacket pocket,” Abad says. They hailed the guy a cab and handed the driver $50, warning him not accept the engagement ring as payment.

“It was the most painful thing I’ve ever witnessed probably in my entire life,” Abad says.

He never saw the poor soul again.

Restaurants are privy to all sorts of relationship milestones: engagements, first dates, anniversaries. Breakups are no exception. While they’re not usually as frequent as other occasions, industry veterans have all seen someone left crying at a table or with a drink in the face. Being prepared for the implosion of human emotion is all part of the job. Read more The Last Supper: Horror Stories of Breaking Up in D.C. Restaurants and Bars

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