Thursday, February 04, 2010

Sneak Peek at Future U Street Pub


Ian and Eric Hilton, the minds behind restaurants and popular night spots, Marvin and the Gibson, are hoping to replace a U Street eyesore with a new English-style pub, the Brixton. Current plans call for a "Gastropub" (a bar with food) offering fish and chips to the U Street crowd, just around corner from the 9:30 Club. Though the vacant structure appears to sit deteriorating on the northeast corner of 9th and U Streets, NW, from the inside it is clear that rehabilitation is under way. Before the year is out, the Hilton's will have succeeded in converting the space into yet another lively neighborhood bar, with rooftop deck.

Ian Hilton told DCMud that the property owner for Marvin approached the restaurateurs about 901 U Street, offering to buy the property, if they'd get their hands dirty and deliver another hot spot. Hilton joked, "he likes to get us to rehab his old properties." The building's interior has already been gutted during surface demolition and construction could begin in late February or early March, depending on permits. Hilton refused to tempt fate by predicting an opening date, but did indicate construction should take six to seven months and that he'd like to open "when its still warm out." The general contractor for the project is MasterBuilt.

When finished, the interior will offer 4,800 s.f. of space with likely seating for 130 people. "We're kind of famous for our small kitchens," said Hilton when asked how much of that 4,800 s.f. will be closed off. The rooftop deck will boast 2,000 s.f. and, as of right now, will offer some seating and a rooftop bar with food available, though the menu may differ from the downstairs restaurant. Even as the restaurateurs are ironing out details for the menu and design, they have applied and received approval for a liquor license for the space. Full speed ahead is an impressive feat in times like these.

The soon-to-be Brixton building was originally built in 1882 as a two story brick structure, which was later combined with other buildings on 9th Street. As much of the older structure has been altered over the years, architects at FORMDesign worked with HPRB to identify a few original design elements to preserve. Hilton said the group has been working to refine the final design, but HPRB has given approval to move forward. Dario Davies, CEO of MasterBuilt and Principal at FORMDesign, said the design is meant to reflect an English Pub, it's "very neighborhood and community friendly; someplace to spend the evening."

Just last week the restaurant group was at a ground breaking for their new Georgia Avenue restaurant. With their new U Street location under way, the Hilton brothers continue to take unloved, deteriorating structures and turn them in familiar community watering holes.

Washington, DC real estate development news

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

These people can do no wrong. You forgot to mention that Eric Hilton is also part of the duo from Thievery Corporation, some of the best music from the past decade. This looks like it will be another great restaurant for what is one of the best areas of DC.

Anonymous said...

*yawn*

are these actual project images, or stock photos? id rather leave it vacant and wait for someone with a better vision then to see this mediocrity. Wake up DC!

Shaw Rez on Feb 4, 2010, 3:42:00 PM said...

I am SO excited about this place!

Que said...

How many bars do we need; can we get something different than another place for f**king drunks

Anonymous said...

An English Gastro-pub at the intersection of Black Broadway and Little Ethiopia? I mean it doesn't have to be a braid shop but the renderings and concept seem very vanilla.... In fact, the term "gastro-pub" makes me want to vomit....sounds like an intestinal disease. How about something culturally interesting/unique that also serves alchohol or not?

Tom A. on Feb 5, 2010, 8:26:00 AM said...

Cant' wait to see all those ghosts hanging around the place!

Anonymous said...

This Architecture firm is really good .....

http://formdesign.net/fd/projects-restaurants?g=arbys4

at doing Arby's retaurants in suburbia.

dcshaw said...

This is great news and I'm really glad these guys are around to provide our city with some great places to eat and drink. What's up with the negative responses. These are probably the same tired folks who always put up a fuss when a bar or restaurant is trying to come to our hoods. I'm really tired of these folks who think we need a "cute little bookstore" or "independent card shop" to open. Wake up folks.....you're living in a city. If you want suburbia....move to Reston!

Anonymous said...

dcshaw,

The complaints are precisely that this bar would fit in Reston perfectly, right next to the Pizzaria Uno.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 11:57AM:

These people have been pretty successful with Marvin, Eighteenth Street Lounge, and Local 16. I'd give them the benefit of the doubt.

bamoll on Feb 5, 2010, 2:56:00 PM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bamoll on Feb 5, 2010, 2:57:00 PM said...

DCShaw, right on! This is one of the best things to happen to the 9th/U area (Nellies, DC9, 1905 etc. have also helped). The design is okay, not great but certainly not awful.

Anons #1-#5 (or maybe the same person, who knows), how about you get off your you-know-what and open up your own restaurant/bar/uniquely significant place if you don't like what's going on here? There are PLENTY of opportunities/spaces in the area. Please stop the annoying blog criticism unless you're actually doing something about it.

Anonymous said...

Bamoll,

I am anonymous 11:57, and for the record, I am quite pleased that that space will finally be renovated and developed, and I wish the owners success.

My post was merely to point out the delicious irony of dcshaw presuming to have cornered the definition of what is "urban" and telling people he disagrees with to move to the suburbs.

As others have noted, the owners of these places are doing quite well, and can probably handle a little dissenting online opinion about their rather vanilla meat markets.

Anonymous said...

I would be anon#3 and I have put my money where my mouth is for the last 10 years in shaw, grew upin DC as well....I still think the concept and design is REALLY LAME AND SUBURBAN and doesn't fit well into the neighborhood....seems to me that most of the people excited about this are 20-something suburbanite boneheads who recently decided to become "urban" and now need a place to gather and get drunk.

Anonymous said...

i am anon 3:16–

design concept images posted here mean that they are open for debate, criticism, or praise- hence the variety of comments. what exactly is your problem with honest critique?

i would hope you are not implying that those who get up off their butt and open their own restaurant are the only ones qualified to critique bad design. thats just silly.

whether one is an architect, anc member, dc native, or a simple laymen, they all have the right to say how wonderful or terribly awful (ahem) this concept is.

Anonymous said...

Putting a restaurant there is a great idea. But a british gastro-pub? Really? First of all, as noted above, the term "gastro-pub" is pretty repugnant. Second, is not Britain somewhat infamous for its bad food? Third, there are already scads of Irish pubs all over the damn place.

I think the location is good. I think having food, and not just booze, is great. But British "gastro-pub" is uninspired and uninspiring. Might as well put a Fuddruckers or McDonalds there for all the creativity the gastro-pub is showing.

Anonymous said...

What a tough crowd.

Its a restoration/renovation of an *existing* FormStone covered low/middle of the road urban building. Not even modifying the form all that much.

It's not as if they're tearing it down and putting up an EIFS-covered Arby's with a drive-thru.

It's appropriate, urban, perfectly ok, and a definite improvement upon what exists. The building is simple and adaptable enough that it can accommodate many more uses over it's lifespan, which is far from over.

otavio on Feb 7, 2010, 10:09:00 PM said...

Well, I like the concept of renovating an existing structure and putting it back into productive use within the fabric of a popular urban neighborhood. What a concept! By gosh, I think we need more of these.

But, let's be careful not to turn our urban neighborhoods into the suburbs with places like English Gastro-pubs and the like. lol. Of course, access to transportation, density, street grid, and how buildings meet the street have nothing to do with urbanity at all.

By the way, the renovation rendering looks perfectly ok to me. And, like another commenter noted, it's definitely an improvement over what's there now.

And, yes. There are plenty of other empty storefronts in the corridor to bring your culturally interesting project to, for those that think this concept is too "vanilla". There's nothing like a diversity of offerings in a neighborhood to spice up life. I think U Street has succeeded in that area, at least.

Have a nice week.

Gerry Widdicombe said...

Isn't this building located on the norhtwest corner of 9th and U as the HFA headquarters is at the northeast corner?

Daniel in Brookland on Feb 8, 2010, 8:31:00 PM said...

The fake stone and old effect is so interestig. How dull to change it to such a generic building. Add some stained glass windows and don't drain it of all it's interest. Developers in DC are so unoriginal and show no appreciation for the architecture

Disgusted in DC on Feb 9, 2010, 3:02:00 PM said...

Formstone makes the baby Jesus cry. Thus, in my view, the design is an improvement, full stop. The bar is unlikely to fail, but if it does, at least it'll renovated so someone else can move in quickly without too much effort.

Anonymous said...

I think this is place is going to be a great next step in revitalizing this part of the Shaw neighborhood. With the addition of The Jazz condominium buildings on 8th and Florida, demand for a place like this should be pretty good too. Plus, we could use another roof top dining option in this part of DC. Lets just hope the food is as good as the music at all of Hilton's venues tends to be.

Restonian said...

LMAO @ the Reston stabs. Yes, I agree that Reston has no clue what it is like to be "urban." It's a total shame.

Anonymous said...

This is Eric Hilton. I see many negative comments on this blog. Fair enough. Wait and see. then judge. I love DC and I believe in it. Could have left along time ago. Friend's, family and memories keep me here.

There's a lot a lot speculation, but it's all based on a fairly generic account of what my friends and I are trying to do. There are over 200 people employed in our various endeavors and DC and it's people always come first. In other words, this is hard work and our intentions are positive.

Bob Marley famously said, "Some say, but they can't do". Judgement always seems a bit like that.

Ken on Mar 4, 2011, 5:39:00 AM said...

Eric,

Thanks. DCMud would love to do a preview of the space, feel free to contact me, Ken@ dcmud.com

 

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