Young and Hungry

No Gimmickry or Overpriced Beers for Brightwood Bar & Restaurant

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A no-frills neighborhood spot called Brightwood Bar & Restaurant is on its way to 5501 14th St. NW this fall. "This is not going to be a destination place. Kids aren't going to come from Potomac and McLean to swill from expensive beers," says first-time restaurateur Michael Stone, who’s background is primarily in law and in government. "This is people and their kids walking over to have a good meal in a good environment."

Stone plans to serve standard American fare "done right" at reasonable prices. He wants to have plenty of options for vegetarians, plus some healthier alternatives to the typical deep-fried foods. As for drinks? Expect something equally simple. "I see bars and they've got every bourbon under the sun," says Stone. "I think we'll have a couple." Stone isn't setting anything in stone yet; he wants the place to adapt to whatever the neighbors ultimately want.

The two-story space will be made up of exposed brick, steel, and "cool lighting." The first floor will have a dining room with a community table, banquettes, tables, and an open kitchen. Upstairs, there will another bar and skylights—"light and easy and comfortable," Stone says. He anticipates he'll be able to sit more than 100 people inside and an addition 100 outside. He's looking to have a bar that's integrated into the window downstairs to help serve the patio. He's also considering a play area outside for kids under five, so parents can entertain their children while they have a beer.

Assuming all goes as planned, Stone aims to open Brightwood Restaurant & Bar by Thanksgiving.

Photo via Google Maps

  • Sancho

    That sounds great! I live close to this location and sometimes lament that there is not a bar I can go to and get shit-faced and walk home.

  • Myron


  • Kwah

    Psyched about this.

  • aaron

    despite the name, it's 16th St Heights, not Brightwood. Brightwood is a cooler name, but less accurate.

  • Brahmin

    Actually if you check the traditional map, it is Brightwood. 16th Street Heights is what the real estate agents call it. But I am incline to say it is because it is south of Missouri Avenue and should be something else.

  • aaron

    i promise i'll leave this alone after this post. according to DC's OTR, the address is listed by the city as 16th St Heights. My wife and I moved in a block up Colorado last year and while we prefer the name Brightwood Park, or Brightwood, our neighbors, some of whom have been in the area longer than we've been alive told us Brightwood Park is bounded by GA Ave on the West and Missouri on the North, while Brightwood proper is the northern side of Missouri. Personally, I think Brightwood and Brightwood Park both sound better and are less of a mouthful than 16th St Heights when describing where we now live, but given how much place names and neighborhood boundaries mean to people and what some folks hope for them to signal... I don't really want to mix it up. Your point that most neighborhoods don't have officially defined boundaries and have identity thrust upon them by the real estate trade based on presumed status is well taken.

  • Mary

    Wow, a new gay bar way up there. Whodathunkit!
    I wonder if they will have a dark back room like in the 70s where where all the "straight" alkies can sneak off to. When they ditch the fish.

    I hope they respect Transgender Equality!

  • Lee

    So excited this is coming to the 'hood! Can't wait for it to open!!

    Mary - where did you get that it's a gay bar?

  • Brenda

    It sounds interesting but I understand that they are asking for 295 people for the liquor license and plan to be open until 3:00 in the morning. As someone who lives down the street and has already had to deal with inebriated folks in my flower beds, I have a problem with the burden on the surrounding neighborhood.

  • Ben

    First of all, as an about-to-be Brightwood resident, I think this sounds fantastic. Low-key, no frills, comfortable...he's definitely piqued my interest. The neighborhood could use a few places like this, and I hope it works out. (Although I do read "first-time restauranteur" and it makes me a bit nervous.)

    Secondly, this is for Brenda: It is virtually guaranteed that this place will not either get their 3 AM hours wish or their occupancy permit for 100 people outdoors. However, the inherently adversarial liquor license application process pretty much assures that every applicant will always ask for the maximum allowance of everything permitted by law. This is to give them an advantageous negotiating position with the ANC, ABRA, citizen's associations, etc.

    So, fear not. There won't be 100 drunken revelers screaming at you at 3 AM from the patio, will most certainly be much more reasonable. Just do what I do, and look forward to what will hopefully be a fun, relaxing and welcoming neighborhood joint.

  • around the corner

    I cannot wait!! Please hurry up and open soon!

    Also, to Aaron and Brahmin, this is in 16th St Heights, not Brightwood. You can search an address' neighborhood on the DC government maps website.

    Brenda, I'm not sure I follow the logic of your flowerbed concern. There are no bars or restaurants nearby now so I'm not sure why this is relevant. Maybe your nextdoor neighbors have an alcohol problem you should talk to them about?

  • neighbor

    Live across the street. Super excited about this. Cannot happen soon enough. This intersection needs some cheer, especially after the incident at the corner store. If Mr. Stone is reading, people in the neighborhood are thrilled, especially with your intent to make it a family-friendly establishment. My concern is with the dumpsters. Hope those get placed / covered in some way so that they are not a big eyesore. Can't wait.

  • Kennedy St

    I'm so excited! I live down the block, and think this is so wonderful. That there might be a play area is so thoughtful of our neighborhood. My family will definitely be regulars here!

  • Ann

    Has this been scuttled?