It’s quite common to chat with someone who grew up in the DC area and hear stories about how M Street in Georgetown and the main drag in Adams Morgan used to be some of the only spots in the city known for quality restaurants, a pulsing nightlife and the always sought-after hip factor. But the nation’s capital is experiencing a cultural and culinary renaissance, and neighborhoods such as the H Street Corridor, Ivy City and Capitol Riverfront are emerging as sought after locales.
At the same time, DMV neighborhoods more known for residential living such as Merrifield/Dunn Loring and Bethesda are undergoing major transformations with thriving town center areas like Mosaic District and North Bethesda. We highlighted some of the cool things happening in each of these neighborhoods, and caught up with a few of the people living and working in them to get their take on why you may want to call them home too.
AMP by Strathmore
Music and dining is combined, with neither outshining the other at AMP, a venue overseen by the Strathmore. The gorgeous venue space allows you to come and get a delicious meal and cocktails thanks to an above par menu, and listen to a live act without needing to make other plans. The venue benefits from the Strathmore connections with musical talent, showcasing a variety of classic rock, blues and jazz artists, as well as urban R&B and Latin. Notable acts that have come through include the late Chris Cornell, NRBQ and Noah Gundersen. 11810 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda, MD; www.ampbystrathmore.com
Barrel & Crow
A good/excellent review from Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema was well earned back in 2015, when Barrel & Crow opened in Bethesda, and not much has changed since. The restaurant’s elevated Southern coastal cuisine includes such highlights as fried Amish chicken and waffles with seasonal fruit compote; spiced roasted moulard duck breast; and quail and andouille gumbo. For cocktails, you can’t go wrong with the Golden Rule: Filibuster bourbon, Meyer lemon, ginger-honey syrup and Cointreau. 4867 Cordell Ave. Bethesda, MD; www.barrelandcrow.com
Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club
Built in 1938, this intimate concert hall underwent an $8 million renovation to now accommodate 300 seats for dinner and live music, along with an additional 200 seats for performances. Featuring an impressive array of blues and jazz performers, along with some talented tribute performances (hello, Billy Joel), the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club is a truly unique place. Regular concertgoers can take advantage of their loyalty reward program. 7719 Wisconsin Ave. Bethesda, MD; www.bethesdabluesjazz.com
Pike & Rose
This complex combines retail, restaurants and living all in one, and is expanding just as rapidly as it is growing in popularity. The Residences at Pike & Rose offer three apartment communities for rent, while 930 Rose are condominiums for sale, both of which are steps away from everything. Nearby shopping includes REI, Nike and Francesca’s, while popular eateries include local favorite &pizza and Del Frisco’s Grille, with a “second phase” of development bringing even more restaurants and retail. There are always outdoor events and community gatherings in the complex, and for an amazing music and dining experience, head to local hot spot AMP. 11580 Old Georgetown Rd. North Bethesda, MD; www.pikeandrose.com
Summer House Santa Monica
The tastes and feel of Southern California comes to North Bethesda at this popular restaurant, with relaxed beach décor and fresh, seasonal dishes. An open kitchen gives a view of the wood-fire grill that serves up center-cut filet, rainbow trout and prime burger. Other highlights of the menu include ahi tuna and watermelon tostadas; local burrata with tomato jam and grilled bread; and caramelized Brussels sprouts. For cocktails, try the In-Sandiary: jalapeno-infused tequila, watermelon syrup and lime cordial. 11825 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda, MD; www.summerhousesm.com
Q&A with Sam Brumbaugh
Director of Programming, Strathmore
On Tap: How would you describe the atmosphere at AMP by Strathmore?
Sam Brumbaugh: It’s designed in a way that you are able to enjoy a nice meal and see a show, and the two things aren’t mutually exclusive; rather, they blend into one great experience. You are there the whole night. You can go after work, grab a drink, sit down, and then stay for dinner and a show.
OT: How does AMP fit in with the neighborhood?
SB: Besides Strathmore, geographically there really isn’t a live music venue around here where you’re going to get pretty serious artists on a very intimate scale. We draw a lot of different crowds at AMP, and the music program brings a lot of different groups into the Pike & Rose complex. People will come, walk around a bit, grab a drink and then come in for a show.
OT: What do you look for when booking musicians?
SB: You have to get on the map locally before you can nationally, in some ways. We’ve always stressed a lot that if you build your audiences locally, that’s your first building block. We do a lot of tributes and local R&B. We have a biannual Luther Vandross tribute that is hugely popular, and all of that is a building block with different audiences and genres.
OT: What is your go-to spot in the area when you have downtime before a show?
SB: The cookies at Summer House [Santa Monica] are amazing. You can split one between two people, they are so big. When I’m over there at sound check and I get two minutes, I’ll run down there and get one. The best are the oatmeal and apple or cheesecake cookie.
AMP by Strathmore: 11810 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda, MD www.ampbystrathmore.com
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