Adams Morgan, Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

Friday Happy Hour: Roofer’s Union

Welcome to the rest of your spring and summer, people. You’re going to be spending it with me, going out in Adams Morgan. I was skeptical, just like everyone else, when I heard 18th Street was undergoing a bit of revival, but then I went to Roofer’s Union and I finally saw the light.

Good food, good drinks, friendly staff, great concept, you know the deal. The team from Ripple isn’t messing around. The drinks menu reads like my wish list–sour beers, Gansetts (Rhody pride!), amari, quinquinas–and the food is certainly a step above Jumbo Slice. Though one thing they have in common is I’m certainly going to start craving that andouille at three AM.

But what sealed the deal for me was when “Too Afraid To Love You” came on the radio. I was relaxing at the bar with beer before work and realized this would be my new go to spot if I lived around the block. Which is exactly what Adams Morgan had been missing for so long, a low key spot to hang out.

I’ve spent too many nights drinking too many whiskies at Jack Rose, followed by pints next door at Blaguard, and a bleary-eyed brunch at Cashion’s. But that was all that could get me up to Adams Morgan for a long time. Now there’s Smoke & Barrel for even more whiskey and even more pints, Dram & Grain for fancy cocktails, and mainstays of the neighborhood like Bourbon and Tryst. Slowly Adams Morgan is changing from a destination neighborhood to a more central hub, like 14th Street or Shaw.

And Roofer’s Union is going to play a big part in changing Adams Morgan’s image. I really digged everything I had there, the food, the drinks, the vibe, but what stood out to me was the downstairs bar. All the drinks are the same–beer, wine, cocktails–but there’s no food. That means less of a wait during weekend dinner rush and less of a crowd during happy hour. Which is great news for those of us just interested in the drinks and not the crazy Adams Morgan crowd.

Most people will file into the downstairs bar and have a few drinks while waiting for a table to open up upstairs. But if you’re really there for the drinks, downstairs is where you want to camp out all night. Continue reading

Adams Morgan

Stop it with this fake neighborhood crap, people

Before I launch into this, let me assure you that under no terms am I a Hatchardian neighborhood purist. I believe that some dividing lines are, in fact, nebulous, and that while that may be so, there is no need for neighborhood names to get a tenth as crazy as they’ve gotten.

The new from Dan Silverman that the vicinity south of Adams Morgan, and west of U street is to be called SoMo, well, I just about lost my shit. We are a bridge too far, here, people, and we run the risk of other unfortunate bastardizations that are just too unpalatable to consider.

We’re not calling Barracks Row SoCaHi, nor are we calling Brightwood NoCoHi, nor are we going to call the area of Shaw by Howard HoHoHo, or the space between Georgetown and the West End WeEnTown, because names are serious things, and this whole SoHo revolution so completely bogus that I can’t even begin to quantify the problems with it.

I was already fairly unhappy with NoMa, but given the original name (Swampoodle), it’s certainly reasonable to have looked for an alternative to a combination between DC’s worst attribute and an ill-tempered dog. Couldn’t the folks at the BID there have looked for a famous resident to grace the moniker of their neighborhood, instead of jumping to its obvious geographic feature? Must we be so derivative in a city rich with history and culture?

Since I don’t want to just bitch without proposing a solution, here are a couple names that would represent our city better:

  1. Shepherd Corner, named for Boss Shepherd, who ran DC with an iron first after the Civil War and was responsible for a fair amount of the development Dupont Circle and points north toward Mount Pleasant.
  2. Douglass Row, named for Frederick Douglass, who lived on 17th Street near the intersection that’s mentioned. The early voice of civil rights, Douglass fought for causes that would go unaddressed for a century. That there already isn’t a neighborhood named for Douglass is a travesty
  3. Coolidge, named for President Calvin Coolidge, who lived in nearby Dupont in the 1920s when the White House was being remodeled.

Given all the options available, could SoMo really have been the best choice?

Adams Morgan, Entertainment, Music

Well that should be good for a few more bids

YouTube Preview Image

If you were up up in the air about whether you wanted to buy that diner on ebay maybe it being the site of a music video will help tip you over. It’s set entirely at the Cap City Diner – the logo is clearly visible in a few shots as singer Flo Anito comes in and out of the door – and it’s a fun little visual story and a good song.

I’m sure some of you will hate that the car in it has a Virginia license plate but hey, without the diner to go to maybe she’s fleeing the city. If so she didn’t stay gone long – she and our own Rachel Levitin are amongst the performers tonight at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room if you’re in the market for a little live music.

Adams Morgan, Food and Drink, The Features

First Look: Mintwood Place

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

I hear it all the time from chefs in the business and friends alike: “DC needs more casual, neighborhood places.” You know, the type of place that you can walk in, grab a table and get a good, decently priced meal. The kind of place where you can become a regular. Well, Mintwood Place might just fit the bill.

The newest restaurant to hit Adams Morgan comes from Saied Azali, the owner of the next-door and popular, Perry’s. The warm light from the coils of exposed bulbs, wood paneling and antique tin ceiling make for a cozy and hip atmosphere. Just walking by the place and seeing that glow pour out onto the street is enough to make you want to go inside. There’s a decent-sized stretch of bar next to the bright, open kitchen (bonus design points for the cool old sink knobs which serve as purse/coat hooks under the bar) with a few high-top tables that you can eat at if you haven’t managed to snag a reservation. By the way things look with buzz getting around town about this place, you will most definitely want a reservation.

Opened in late January, executive chef Cedric Maupillier (who previously was at Central with Michel Richard and worked with Fabio Trabocchi of Fiola back in his Maestro days) and his team serve up an eclectic menu with a noticeable French influence with dishes such as the cassoulet or the hanger steak and frites with bordelaise sauce. But then you’ll also find dishes such as the tagliatelle bolognese, a whole dorade with braised fennel or the lamb tongue moussaka. This is not to say the menu isn’t focused; rather, there’s something to please every diner in the crowd. And every dish is executed quite exceptionally.
Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Hanger steak and frites at Mintwood
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
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Adams Morgan, Food and Drink, Special Events, The Features

We Love Food: Speak Easy at L’Enfant Cafe

Photo courtesy of M.V. Jantzen
Le Soir courtesy of M.V. Jantzen

The French get it. At least when it comes to food and romance. Mix Paris with a little New York and you have yourself a seriously original duo. Enter L’Enfant Cafe, a tiny bistro in Adams Morgan, and you see that America à la France at its greatest. It boasts only 16 tables, but dishes out some serious french fare that transport you to a cafe in the center of Le Marais. On a weekend, it is a great spot to find a croque madame and espresso, and on a weeknight, a perfect date spot for intimate conversation and glasses of rouge. This place is just as one imagines a Parisian bistro to be: effortlessly fabulous.

But that’s just the half of it. L’Enfant is so much more than just a restaurant. Co-owned by Christopher Lynch and Jim Ball, two New Yorkers who wanted to bring the art-y to Party, L’Enfant has turned into an institution of fun fare. Known for their yearly Bastille Day French Maid Relay Race, as well as their infamous Saturday Le Boum brunches, these guys keep it coming. Now, they are making Sunday the new Funday with a one of a kind dining experience. What does that entail? One word: Cabaret.

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Adams Morgan, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

Drinks Special: Cocktails at Jack Rose

Photo courtesy of
‘Mai Tai at Jack Rose’s Tiki bar’
courtesy of ‘Jenn Larsen’

Jack Rose Dining Saloon has been opening in stages, overlooking the seemingly interminable construction at the intersection of 18th Street and Florida Avenue NW. Now that the dust is finally clearing from the brand new sidewalk outside, its long-awaited dinner menu has debuted as well and is being served seven nights a week in the downstairs dining room and bar. The upstairs patio has been in full swing for most of the summer and is due to continue the grilling and swilling through the fall, including a Tiki bar on the back porch that served me up some killer classics two weeks ago when I visited for the official debut of the downstairs menu.

The key visual of Jack Rose is certainly its downstairs dining room’s wall of scotches, bourbons and spirits – 1400 bottles lining the bar in bookcases of booze. Between liquor, wine and beer the catalog of offerings can be a bit staggering, but the elegant room invites relaxed sifting through the menu while sipping some Ardbeg at the long bar, watching bartenders climb up ladders library-style to fetch bottles. Turn a corner at Jack Rose and the atmosphere can instantly change – every space here has its own feel, so give yourself some wandering time before deciding where you’d like to perch for a while.

Upstairs is divided into several sections, including a front balcony overlooking 18th Street off a small lounge bar complete with fireplace, the main open-air deck with a wood-fire grill and bar, and the small back bar that’s slowly turning into a Tiki spot. I started back there and almost never left, as a friend sipped a perfect Painkiller. After watching the moon rise off the back porch with a classic Mai Tai (orgeat syrup? yes please!) it was time to head downstairs and sample some whiskey cocktails from the excellent selection crafted by Rachel Sergi. Continue reading

Adams Morgan, The Features, We Love Arts

Greetings from DC!

For fifteen years, the West-facing wall of Mama Ayesha’s restaurant on Calvert Street stood bricked and barren, save for a narrow painted banner of Middle Eastern desert. In 2007 it was time for a tune up, decided manager Mohammed Abu-El-Hawa, whose family has owned and operated the Adams Morgan icon since 1960.

Originally founded as Calvert Café by Ayesha Abraham, a Palestinian immigrant who arrived in Washington in the late ‘40s, the restaurant has “served ambassadors, foreign dignitaries, and U.S. officials,” according to its website, and found a regular in one DC institution in particular: reporter Helen Thomas.

The distinguished (and now controversial) White House correspondent seemed the perfect fit for his DC venue, and Abu-El-Hawa envisioned a mural of Ms. Thomas interviewing every president since the start of her career, beginning with Kennedy and on through, at the time, George W. Bush.

He just needed an artist. Continue reading

Adams Morgan, Food and Drink, The Features

Tryst $365 Giveaway from Scoutmob

Adams Morgan sure has it good with Tryst. I’m always in envy of my friends who live in close proximity to this classic coffeehouse – as they lounge around, using it as their office so often they get sandwiches named after them. It’s hard to believe Tryst’s been in operation since 1998, one of the pioneers of the cafe/bar/lounge hybrids that have become so deservedly popular. When you can hang around pounding down well-poured Counter Culture coffee morning til afternoon and then switch over to happy hour and sip well-crafted cocktails, all the while randomly meeting up with friends and catching up spontaneously, that’s a true “third place.” I love it.

Tryst’s beverage director, David Fritzler, not only knows his coffee but can mix up a daring Blue Blazer, as we learned in a Drinks profile last year. He’s also started up Tiki Tuesdays with ten new cocktails and a fiery Volcano Bowl (wait, trend alert! Tiki must be in, as Tryst is following in the footsteps of The Passenger’s popular Tiki Tuesdays. It’s only a matter of time before we’re all Tiki bar-hopping in hulu skirts!). Plus as it’s Rickey Month here in DC, you can try his version of DC’s official cocktail – the Summer Lovin’ Rickey.

Just as in love with Tryst is Scoutmob, newly launched in DC last week offering deals that are exclusively from locally-owned restaurants and boutique shops. As we’re all about local here at We Love DC, we’re happy to partner with Scoutmob as they showcase what’s unique about our city. Today they’re offering a 50% off discount to Tryst, which would certainly help a cappuccino obsession like mine. It’s free, like all Scoutmob’s deals. But in addition they’ve got a special giveaway for our readers – a $365 Tryst giftcard! You’ve got a week to enter for a chance to win, just by joining the mob and signing up for their email alerts. Seriously, $365 of Counter Culture coffee drinks, housemade sodas, craft cocktails, not to mention all-day brunch and the Ben sandwich and… ok, I’m heading over now. Meet you there.

Adams Morgan, The Features, We Love Arts

A True Adams Morgan Original

All photos by the author.

From a lofty brick throne, a voluptuous redhead rules over Adams Morgan, watching and goading all manner of revelry like a contemporary Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. Her territory spans the 18th Street strip; her image an iconic symbol of throbbing crowds, vodka cranberries, and Jumbo Slice pizza.

But just two blocks away from her Madam’s Organ palace stands evidence of a rich heritage that long precedes her reign. Near the corner of 18th and Adams Mill (and now overlooking a Zipcar parking lot), a community has danced, sung, painted and played in the faces of danger and greed for over thirty years, their history preserved in a three-story mural titled “A People without Murals is a Demuralized People.”

Originally painted in 1977 by Chilean brothers and artists “Caco” (Carlos) and Renato Salazar (the first of whom studied at the Corcoran and founded the now-defunct Centro de Arte organization), the work is touted as one of the oldest and largest of DC’s few remaining Latino murals, the last beacon of a wider Latino artistic movement in the city, according to Quique Aviles.

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Adams Morgan, Essential DC, Fun & Games, Interviews, Night Life, People, The District

He Loves DC: A Q&A with Christian Hunt

Photo courtesy of Christian Hunt

Once a month, on Saturday nights, Christian Hunt can’t be missed. He’s the guy in the bright red suit hosting the Capital City Showcase at the DC Arts Center in Adams Morgan. Hunt is a District native. He was born at Georgetown Hospital and raised in Glover Park.

“It’s funny because there are so many transients here that I’m like a white squirrel, because I was born and raised in DC, still live in DC, and root for all the DC sports teams, though I pretend the Redskins don’t exist. As cheesy as it sounds, DC is my home and it always will be,” Hunt said.

Hunt took a few minutes to give We Love DC the low-down on why he thinks his hometown is “the most beautiful city in the world.” He might have lived in Boston during his college years but according to Hunt, the District is far from being a tourist trap.

Rachel: So tell me about this Capital City Showcase. It’s an evening that showcases a variety of local performance artists. How did the project get started?

Christian: I’ve been performing since I was 10 years old. Whether it was doing plays, playing piano, or singing in chorus, I was always on stage. At the end of college, I started dabbling in stand-up comedy, but when I started working I put it all on the shelf. So after years of not performing at all, I started to get the itch again. I remember being up late and watching infomercials for The Midnight Special, which was a variety show from the 1970’s that featured the best acts of the time. And I thought to myself “Why doesn’t something like this exist anymore?”

I also grew up watching the old DC20 channel, which featured local programming, like all of the kids shows hosted by Captain 20 (if you grew up here you know what I’m talking about). And again I thought “Why is there no real local programming anymore?” So I figured it would be really cool to fill both of those voids with a live variety show that featured all of talent that DC has to offer. And The Capital City Showcase was born.

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Adams Morgan, The Daily Feed, Ward 1, Ward 5

Mt. Pleasant Temporium is a Hit, Adams Morgan Gets Their Own

Photo courtesy of
‘Temporium crowd’
courtesy of ‘neuefrau’

Pop-up stores, pop-up art exhibits, pop-up restaurants–I need to resist making the cliche that DC is literally “poppin’.” Moreover, all of these places seem to be having pretty successful runs.

Mt. Pleasant Temporium, which Rebecca Gross reported on earlier, took in $31,000 in sales in less than a month. The temporium was open from February 18th to March 13th and saw more than 6,800 visitors and hosted 23 events with storytelling, crafting and live music. Not too shabby, huh? Garment District in Shaw also closed their doors this past weekend. Though word on the tweets is they still have some pieces for sale that you can snag at Shaw Main Streets’ Annual meeting tomorrow at 7 pm.

Fear not if you didn’t get the memo on these last pop-ups. The AdMo Pop-Up Shop is opening this Sunday, March 27th at 2421 18th St. NW. The store’s run coincides with the National Cherry Blossom Festival (as it’s an approved Cherry Blossom partner) and will close on April 10th. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 12 PM – 9 PM and Friday and Saturday, 11 AM – 10 PM. Similar to the Mt. Pleasant Temporium, the AdMo Pop-up Shop will offer arts, crafts, entertainment and workshops. No events other than the opening ribbon-cutting ceremony and the closing wine tasting have been posted on their site yet, but you can keep tabs on them here.

Adams Morgan

We Love Food: Cashion’s Eat Place

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘M.V. Jantzen’
If there is one thing I have to thank Cashion’s Eat Place for, it’s that it single-handedly convinced my parents that Adams Morgan is not the hotbed of crime and dereliction it once was. It’s a completely different kind of hotbed than it was in the 70′s and 80′s, but that’s a discussion for another time. Though my parents weren’t previously in to the world east of Connecticut Avenue, they came in the name of my birthday a few years ago and after a great meal were quick to tell me that it was in fact their idea to come to Adams Morgan. Parents, so predictable.

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Adams Morgan, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Friday Happy Hour: Holy Molé Hot Chocolate

photo by author

It’s time for Friday Happy Hour, highlighting a drink we’ve recently enjoyed, every Friday at 4pm! Please share your favorites as well.

By all accounts, I could have gone in to the office after the big thundersnowstorm. Living pretty close to work, I do not have a hellish commute and anybody who has seen my closet can tell you I am well-stocked on boots and scarves for all situations. Nonetheless, I took advantage of my company’s liberal leave policy and good telework infrastructure and stayed home instead.

Working from home is great for my productivity and, in my case at least, the environment – but by the end of a day inside I tend to get antsy for human interaction. Besides, there was a beautiful snow-capped Washington to tromp around. I arranged to meet a friend at Tryst. Continue reading

Adams Morgan, Entertainment, People, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Dana Ellyn’s “The Art of Dating”

Elephant(s) in the Room. 20"x24" acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of Dana Ellyn.

Jose lays the check directly between us. He couldn’t have have centered it more accurately if he’d held a ruler. The Pilot and I glance at the pleather billfold like it’s the elephant in the room it’s about to become.
- from Rachel Machacek’s The Science of Single

Earlier this week Katie interviewed one of her favorite writers Rachel Machacek on her new book, The Science of Single. Tonight one of my favorite artists, Dana Ellyn, unveils several paintings inspired by the book at a happy hour at Tryst from 7-9pm. It’s a fun coincidence bringing all our worlds together. Coyly titled “The Art of Dating,” Dana’s work is directly inspired by quotes from Rachel’s book, as well as her own ongoing investigations into the challenging aspects of being a woman and the conflicting expectations modern society places on us (and those we place on ourselves).

“Rachel attended my painting classes a few years back while she was in the midst of researching/writing/editing her book,” Dana explains. After randomly seeing Rachel’s Facebook status about her book being completed this past September, Dana sent her a congratulatory note, to which Rachel responded with an offer of a preview copy - “The only caveat is that you have to tell lots of people :)”

Of course Dana went one better. “Would you be interested in me doing a series of paintings and/or drawings inspired by your book and we could do a joint event with art and book launch sort of thing?” she asked. And Rachel’s response? “I. Love. Your. Idea. LOVE IT.” In a way that kind of literary inspiration mirrored Dana’s banned books series. After brainstorming sessions and the involvement of Danielle Lanteigne from Tryst, the exhibit was born.

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Adams Morgan, Food and Drink, Interviews, People, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: David Fritzler

David Fritzler pours up a Blue Blazer cocktail at Tryst. Photo credit: Samer Farha.

We Love Drinks continues our series where we look behind the bar, profiling the many people – from mixologists to bartenders, sommeliers to publicans – who make your drinks experience happen.

I first met David Fritzler back in January when fellow WLDC author Samer and I watched him pour up an impressive flaming Blue Blazer at Tryst. You might think such pyrotechnics indicate a showy brash personality, but that’s far from the case. As I saw this summer when he served up his Rickey Contest entry, he’s a thoughtful crafter of cocktails. It was that Smokin’ Joe Rickey, somehow reminiscent of Lapsang Souchang tea, that made me want to learn more.

“The drink is never more important than the people enjoying it,” David says, “It’s not all about the cappuccino or the cocktail. It’s about the moment and memories that the drink facilitates.”

David was kind to sit down with me at Tryst this past weekend and let me sample a few of their new warming cocktails while discussing his drinks philosophy. Tryst has been an Adams Morgan neighborhood favorite since it opened in 1998, and it’s still going strong, recently winning Best Local Coffeehouse of 2010 in Express Night Out. For many of my friends it’s their “third place” – office, studyhall, living room – and it inspires a great deal of local love. David’s been there almost since the beginning, ten years of dedication.

As beverage director, it’s not all flash – at the end of our chat he was off to Open City to take apart the espresso machine. Continue reading

Adams Morgan, The Daily Feed

Black Squirrel, DCRA duke it out in tweets

Photo courtesy of
‘Black squirrel’
courtesy of ‘Pianoman75′

When Matt Ashburn of Cap City Diner & DCRA had their public spat two years ago over permitting problems and an architect gone wild, it wasn’t hard to see that this was the future of Twitter: a way to engage with your city government that is totally public, two-way, and mostly transparent.  Now The Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan is trying to do the same, albeit without any of the politeness and all the frustration.  DCist’s Aaron Morrissey has the whole story, with quotes from DCRA’s spokesman about plans that were contradictory and not complete, but Black Squirrel is now saying that any reference to a problem with the plans is bunk, and that they submitted proper documentation under conflicting advice.

The whole thing is deliciously sordid, wholly full of the sort of rashomon storytelling that is present in many crises, and absolutely worth a bag of popcorn and a lawn chair as it all unfolds.  At press time, The Black Squirrel says they’ve just done an interview with TBD, so I expect we’ll be hearing more.

Adams Morgan, The Daily Feed

High Heel Race needs volunteers

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘dbking’

These lovely ladies need your help.  Actually, they and all of their lovely lady friends, too.  The annual High Heel Race is looking for volunteers to help secure the course, and handle registrations, and yes, hand out prizes too.  The run down 17th street is an annual tradition that has taken on all manner of significance in DC, and now you can be a part of it!  Metro Weekly has all the details for volunteers to help out the race on October 26th.  Start practicing your high heel running, everyone, the winner of the race gets a $50 bar tab at J.R.’s after their win  We’ll see you out at the race!

Adams Morgan, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

Bathroom you’d best steer clear of: McDonald’s in Adams Morgan

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘pterjan’

We’ve all been there, out on the town when the urge strikes.  You can hold it, you can hope for a bathroom nearby, or you can run along home.  Today, we bring you the story of Chele, who tried to used the ladies’ room at McDonald’s in Adams Morgan in the case of a nigh-dire emergency:

After a full night of celebration at the rehearsal dinner, my Lilliputian bladder could not wait the remaining 10 blocks to the apartment before I succumbed to kidney failure.

I am not kidding. My Kidneys were locked in mortal combat with each other and sooner rather than later they were going to rebel and my insides would be shattered like an IED had exploded.

What happened next is a hilarious read, as Chele dukes it out with the Potty Cop at the Adams Morgan McDonalds late one night. Now, I know that McDonalds bathrooms are the last refuge of the desperate, but do you really need to berate and abuse the poor girl when she just needs to go pee?

Adams Morgan, Arlington, Dupont Circle, Food and Drink, Penn Quarter

Hibernation Schedule for D.C. Area Farmers Markets

Photo courtesy of
‘Late Season Harvest.’
courtesy of ‘leedav’

Now is that time of year when you wake up a little late Saturday morning and have that mental debate with yourself over whether to get up or roll over and sleep until it’s sunny again. Last year around this time I was having that very same fight, when I bribed myself to get out of bed by heading to the local farmers market…just to find out it had closed the weekend before. It’s tough to keep all the closing dates straight, so read on and find your local market and its closing date, or check out the ones that stay open even when it’s frigid outside. Everyone loves shivering in front of their veggie purveyor.

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Adams Morgan, Fashionable DC, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Indie, Crafty, Punk Rock Shopping

Photo courtesy of
‘Beth Baldwin (Tigerflight) at Crafty Bastards’
courtesy of ‘Carly & Art’

While today suggests the ground might still be soggy come Saturday, the seventh annual Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair is scheduled for this Saturday, 10 to 5, in Adams Morgan.
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