2007. A cold night.
Back then, I was working at a saloon. I was a bartender who was on his way to work when I stumbled on a cool, unoccupied spot on 9th street. It was big. It was vacant. And it felt special enough to do well for the new restaurant I was hoping to open. I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to make it happen, or what I was going to name it, but this spot – it felt like just the place.
Help – from Friends
One night at the saloon, a few of my regular customers walked in around 11 p.m. for drinks and the kind of conversation you could always come to enjoy at a bar. My customers back then, like the ones who come in now, were from all over the world. And once Irish Tom, Roberts the Frenchman, Dr. Werner from Germany, Kaleab from Ethiopia, and Smitty, my fellow American heard about the new space that I’d found, well, everyone I knew wanted to help name it.
We didn’t decide just then. But we made memories that I will never forget. The friendships I’ve made in my time as a bartender are ones I wouldn’t give up for the world. And the stories that come with them—namely of Smitty, who is no longer with us, are priceless beyond imagination. At times, when you visit our new bar in Petworth, DC for a crisp, international beer you’ll hear Tom, or Roberts, or Kaleab talk about Smitty. His stories are the best. And to him, I dedicate this bar.