By Esther Hidalgo, Host Committee Member
Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Marriott Wardman Park is Adams Morgan, a historic, multicultural neighborhood with commercial appeal. Nested at the intersection of 18th Street and Columbia Road in Northwest Washington, DC, the area has historically been an enclave for predominantly Latinx, African American, and international communities. The main thoroughfares of 18th Street and Columbia Road offer small international businesses, cafés, bars and restaurants offering a variety of ethnic flavors. The peaceful side streets are lined with brick row houses and boasting architecturally charming accents and colors.
Wander the neighborhood on your own, or take a self-guided tour of the Adams Morgan Heritage Trail. The walking tour, produced by Cultural Tourism DC, begins at a sign located on 16th Street and Florida Avenue NW. For more information about the tour and to download a trail map and booklet, go to https://www.culturaltourismdc.org/portal/816.
What follows is a selection of noteworthy establishments, but we encourage you to wander the neighborhood and find the places that speak to you.
Songbyrd Record Cafe, at 2475 18th St NW, offers coffee, snacks, and a calm ambiance during the day. Browse their menu, which they offer to patrons in old record sleeves, or browse the crates of LPs that line the wall by the entrance. In the evenings, Songbyrd transforms to a bar and music venue, with performances and listening parties happening almost every night. http://songbyrddc.com/
Lapis Afghan Bistro is a family-owned establishment at 1847 Columbia Rd NW. The menu features craft cocktails and delicious dishes based on family recipes that have been passed down over generations and migrations. http://www.lapisdc.com
Idle Time Books, a member of the Washington Antiquarian Booksellers Association, is a must for all literary or music aficionados. The cozy shop boasts two floors of used and out-of-print books, records, and periodicals. Browse to your heart’s content – maybe discover that used LP of Will Powers’ “Dancing for Mental Health” that you didn’t even know you wanted! Or lounge in one of the comfortable chairs tucked throughout the store. http://idletimebooks.com/
Churreria Madrid, located at 2505 Champlain St NW, has been operating since 1973. In addition to being one of the oldest Latin food restaurants in the city, it also boasts of being the “first and original Churreria in Washington DC”. https://twitter.com/churreriamadrid
Left your organic hemp floss at home? Fear not, Yes! Organic Market, at 1825 Columbia Road NW, is here to save the day. The locally owned franchise offers fresh-pressed juices, organic produce, coffee and pastries, vegan delights, and earth-friendly toiletries. http://www.yesorganicmarket.com
Full of colorful Himalayan imports, Tibet Shop, at 2407 18th St NW, offers an eclectic selection of arts and crafts, including singing bowls, beads, clothing and accessories. Visitors are greeted and serviced by the friendly and knowledgeable Tibetan staff. (202) 387-1880
The Potter’s House, at 1658 Columbia Road NW, is a nonprofit bookstore, cafe, and event area which has operated in Adams Morgan since the 1960s. According to their website: “In our rapidly changing city – one in which development so often means displacement – The Potter’s House is a deeply rooted space where we can build relationships across our differences, envision just alternatives, and grow the movements that will make them possible.” http://pottershousedc.org
Perry’s, a multi-level restaurant located at 1811 Columbia Rd NW, within view of the 18th and Columbia intersection, has been operating for over 30 years. The place is as famous for its gorgeous rooftop as it is for its legendary, long-running drag brunch! https://www.perrysam.com
Smash Records, which originally resided on M Street in Georgetown for over 20 years before relocating to Adams Morgan, has been a destination for punk/alternative music and vintage clothing since 1984. (Note: Call the shop directly for hours or stock inquiries, per the following notice posted to their website: “disregard the old store hours at bottom right. this website is so old that when i tried to change it the whole site got F’d up”.) http://www.smashrecords.com/wordpress/
Unique gifts or funky threads can be found at Meeps Vintage, located at 2104 18th Street NW. Their selection of vintage clothing, costumes, and accessories is stylish and well curated. http://www.meepsdc.com
The Diner, located at 2453 18th St NW, is among the few 24-hour establishments in DC. Their late-night breakfast food hits the spot. https://www.dinerdc.com
Finally, a recent addition to the neighborhood is Pitchers DC, a multi-level sports bar for the LGBTQ community and allies. The roomy bar includes a rooftop,friendly staff, and RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties! https://www.facebook.com/PitchersDC/