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H Street Life – November 2017

The District is not generally a place blessed by extended autumn weather. It’s often an open question whether Halloween night will be summery or will have a serious chill in the air. But that cannot change the fact that fall is a time of transition. This fall we say goodbye to a long-time H Street NE eating place and we eagerly anticipate a local bike shop’s springtime move to a new and larger home. As the days grow shorter, we can take comfort in the fact that the approaching winter brings familiar delights like the annual Krampusnacht celebration on H Street NE.

Krampus returns to H Street NE on Dec. 2. Photo: Elise Bernard

Krampusnacht Returns to H Street NE on Dec. 2
December might seem far away at the moment, but it will be upon us before we know it. When there’s a chill in the air and the calendar turns to the final month of the year, you’ll know it’s time for Krampus once again to prowl the H Street NE Corridor.

Krampus is a legendary figure who roams the streets of Alpine towns in search of naughty children to spirit away to his lair. But for the past several years, Krampus has also visited H Street NE, giving unsuspecting passersby a thrill and raising money to benefit local foster kids. Krampusnacht DC 2017 (www.krampusnachtdc.com) will kick off with the Santa’s Cause DC Benefit Reception.

Santa’s Cause DC (https://www.facebook.com/SantasCauseDC) is a donor project for the nonprofit Family Matters of Greater Washington (https://familymattersdc.org). All donations and proceeds from this event will go to benefit approximately 75 local foster children in the care of Family Matters of Greater Washington. In previous years, funds have covered birthday and holiday gifts for the children as well as school supplies. Last year, they were able to purchase laptops for recent high school graduates or GED recipients entering college or a qualifying work-training program.

The reception at Gallery O on H (www.galleryoonh.com, 1354 H St. NE) is open to all ages. The performances from Dance Afire and the Foggy Bottom Morris Men add to the festive pre-walk atmosphere. There will be activities and a costume contest for kids, and Santa and Mrs. Claus will make an appearance along with Krampus before joining the procession down H Street NE.

While the Krampus walk is free, tickets to the reception and after-party are $15 (children 12 and under are admitted free with a guardian). The ticket cost benefits a great cause, and the show is independently worth the price.

The Krampus Walk (Krampuslauf) is a sight to behold as costumed Krampusse of all types descend onto H Street to the delight of all. Posing for photos and generally lifting spirits, they prowl up and down the length of two blocks in search of those who’ve been naughty. Adults looking to unwind post-walk can enjoy the 21-and-over-only after-party. You can purchase tickets for the after-party only ($10), but it would be a shame to miss the reception.

The Daily Rider Looks to the Future
Local bike shop the Daily Rider (http://thedailyriderdc.com) remains open at its current home at 1110 H St. NE, but the store’s future space in the Apollo building at 600 H St. NE is coming along nicely. The drywall is going up, and the owners hope to move into their new digs sometime in March 2018. As co-owner Loren Copsey explained when announcing the move, the little shop has been such a success they needed more room to expand. The move will nearly double the Daily Rider’s current 1,300 square feet, enabling more inventory and providing more freedom to hold future classes and events.

Liberty Tree Bids Adieu to H Street NE
Local restaurant Liberty Tree (https://www.libertytreedc.com, 1016 H St. NE) served its last dinner patrons on a recent Friday, having announced in the weeks before that it would cease operations at the end of October. The closure, the statement explained, was the result of the owner having received the sort of offer “that you just can’t turn down.” Liberty Tree, which opened in 2010, has charmed many a neighbor with its New England-inspired menu that offers lobster rolls alongside brick oven pizzas and a standout Brussels sprouts appetizer.

Owner Scott Hamilton will reportedly bring some of Liberty Tree’s popular menu items to his Hamilton’s Bar & Grill (233 Second St. NW). It’s not yet clear what might become of Liberty Tree’s former home.

The Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse made the Bib Gourmand list, but the downstairs market is a prize too. Photo: Elise Bernard

Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse Makes Michelin Bib Gourmand List
Popular Cambodian and Taiwanese restaurant Maketto (http://maketto1351.com, 1351 H St. NE) and farm-to-table Bidwell (http://bidwelldc.com, inside Union Market at 1309 Fifth St. NE) kept their spots on Michelin’s 2018 Bib Gourmand list, and were joined by newcomer the Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse (http://ivycitysmokehouse.com/tavern, 1356 Okie St. NE). To make the list, the 22 restaurants must serve high-quality food at a relatively affordable price. Michelin requires that a patron be able to order two courses and either a glass of wine or dessert without crossing the $40 mark before tax and tip.

Any of these restaurants deserves a visit, and Ivy City Smokehouse has a delightful seafood market downstairs that’s a definite must for anyone who enjoys preparing their own fish.


For more on what’s abuzz on and around H Street NE, you can visit my blog at http://frozentropics.blogspot.com. You can send me tips or questions at elise.bernard@gmail.com.

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