Young and Hungry

The Pour House Will Close Next Month

pour house

If you like bocce ball or skeeball, the Florida Gators, or the Pittsburgh Steelers, you probably want to sit down before you read this. The Pour House, a Capitol Hill bar which has been a second home of sorts for social sports leagues and game watching, will close on April 30.

The decision to close came abruptly on Sunday, says bar manager Andre Priest, who's worked at the Pour House for the last nine years. “It’s been a long time here, and it’s been a good run. We’ve been glad to be a part of it,” he said.

The Pour House opened on Capitol Hill 11 years ago. The lease ends next month, and the building, located at 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, is being sold by nightlife proprietor Joe Englert, who also co-owns nearby Capitol Lounge and a handful of other bars in D.C.

The Pour House owners Mark Menard and Mike Schuster are also involved in several other bars, including Star and Shamrock, Trusty’s, Barrel (opening next month in the former 18th Amendment space), and Compass Rose (coming to 14th Street NW).

In the last few years, Capitol Hill’s dive bars have taken a hit, especially on Pennsylvania Ave. SE. A close neighbor, The Tune Inn, burned down in 2011 and was quickly rebuilt, thanks in part to community support. In the same year, Hawk ’n’ Dove, one of Capitol Hill’s longest running bars—open for 44 years—closed and eventually reopened under new ownership with renovations that erased any hints of its divey past. Last summer, 18th Amendment bit the dust.

Really, The Pour House is three bars in one building: the basement bar, the main bar (first floor), and Top of the Hill (second floor). The Pour House also has plenty of mementos hanging on the wall, including New York Yankees, University of Notre Dame football, and Pittsburgh Steelers memorabilia. It’s still unclear whether or not these items will be auctioned off to the public before the bar closes, Priest says.

Word spread quickly this week between staff and the bar’s closest clients. In an emailed statement, Menard and Schuster said:

As some of you have now heard, we want to confirm that the Pour House and Top of the Hill are closing at the end of April.  We couldn't have asked for a better ride and we want to express our sincere gratitude to the neighbors, patrons and staff who have become our extended family over the past 11 years. While our decision was a difficult one, we look forward to remaining a part of the Capitol Hill and DC community through Trusty’s and Star & Shamrock, and the soon-to-open Barrel and Compass Rose.

With that being said, we’ll save the goodbyes and salutations for a bit later — we still have a month and half left, and we're looking forward to one last March Madness and a great send-off in April.  More details about upcoming events will follow shortly.

CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, this story initially misidentified Mark Menard as Mike Menard.

Photo via Pour House

  • Lucy

    So sad to see the PH go...but for dive bar fun and familiarity, go the Mr. Henry's at 6th & Penn, SE.

  • Anon

    What makes Mr. Henry's a dive bar? Ok, ok, you're right, the bathrooms are disgusting. But that's about it. I think of it as a gay-lite bar that's family friendly.

  • Derek

    The loss of Lil' Pub was tragic. A true dive bar on the Hill.

  • Arthur Delaney


  • me

    What makes a restraunt thrive?
    The wait staff and bartenders.
    If management can't hold onto its talent,
    it doesn't matter how good the food is.
    I luve on Penn Se and im ashamed at the area.
    It is turning into upscaled Applebees.
    All the joints look the same and all the food comes from sysco.

  • Stephanie

    I've really hated to see to see over the past year or so the slow, painful death that has befallen the once-great Capitol Hill bar scene. Everything now is all about "gluten free","family friendly", or overpriced frou-frou cocktails.There are still a good many of us who want to get stinkin' drunk on cheap beer at 11 am and then sober up with something deep fried and covered in bacon.(Sigh) RIP, Penn Avenue dive bars, you will all be deeply missed.

  • wanda

    I'm sad to see this place close. Sharky is a jackass and maybe they should close him down. I usually visit on Saturdays, but made the mistake of visiting on Friday, March 28. It was a horrible experience and the the bartender is the reason why I don't frequent Trustys. Not to play the race card, but to play it...I think he is racist and has mistreated me one too many times. Management needs to check him.

  • Cat

    Thank god. I was roofied there by the mgr.

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