A look at what's going on in Trinidad, on H Street, and in the larger area north of Capitol Hill.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Best Bites: Biergarten Haus Owners to Take Over Sova

Will alcohol be verboten at the new H Street Coffeehouse and Cafe?

 Washingtonian's Best Bites blog reveals that those mysterious new owners of Sova are none other than the guys behind Biergarten Haus. Read all about their plans (which don't sound they involve a bar) here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those guys have wanted the SOVA space since they opened. As someone who's both worked and played at SOVA in the past and even today, I hope they can manage to keep the place inviting, neighborhoody, and unpretentious, while bringing in some well-deserved updates to the space.

Feb 12, 2013, 2:51:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the SOVA space is in dire need of some updates, but I think it's a mistake to change the name, especially if it will be something as unremarkable as "H Street Coffeehouse and Cafe". SOVA is well known, and has the recognition factor of an easy name like "Tryst".

Also, the food at Biergarten Haus has never been all that great and is wildly overpriced. It should be pretty straightforward to make the new SOVA a success:

1) Bring in somebody who knows coffee up and down, can upgrade the quality of offerings, and reduce the price (almost $5.00 for a latte?!)
2) Update the space, keeping what worked (the layout upstairs) and updating what did not (worn out sofas)
3) Curate live music and fun events in the space, and pipe decent, late era indie music throughout the day
4) Profit

The most important, by far, is #1.

Feb 12, 2013, 4:01:00 PM

Blogger Tom A. said...

I for one will continue to call it Sova. Saying "Lets meet at the H Street Coffeehouse" would also need additional information that you're not referring to Sidamo, or any future coffee houses that may be H street.

Feb 12, 2013, 5:37:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A locally owned business is being kept alive by local business people, and you all are bitching about the name. Remarkable.

Feb 12, 2013, 8:17:00 PM

Blogger Tom A. said...

Uhh.... the name of a business is EXTREMELY important. What if they decided to call every Starbucks "[Local City Street] Coffee House?"

Feb 12, 2013, 8:57:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

as long as they include a cross street, it means I'll know where to get a cup of coffee instead of wondering what a four letters and an inability to run a vacuum cleaner signify.

Feb 12, 2013, 10:57:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 4:01

Actually, if we're being honest here, the most important, BY FAR, is #4.

Feb 12, 2013, 11:06:00 PM

Blogger abovepov said...

W/out the alcohol would just make the new SOVA just a coffee shop. Frank's SOVA was much more. Live bands, art shows, open mics. It's difficult to believe that only coffee sales can generate enough profit to justify late night hours. Based on the info presented so far, it doesn't seem Biergarten Haus owners want to go in an artsy direction.

There's gotta be a way to keep something like Frank's Sova in the hood. Maybe Sidamo can do late night? I see some events going on at Gallery Oh from time to time. Or can something like Bloombars exist in or neighborhood?

If I spend money, I want to spend it locally, but drinking, dining, then going home doesn't do it for me.

Feb 12, 2013, 11:54:00 PM

Anonymous H Street LL said...

Eh, the way that article was framed makes it sound like they were only talking about the plan for downstairs. I can't imagine they would never offer alcohol upstairs. Will they maybe work on upstairs and roll out something in a couple months (a real strong concept)? That seems more likely.

Oh, and sad to see the copper countertops go. I love copper and am not a fan of granite. If ya'll gonna sell 'em put the contact info on here!

Feb 13, 2013, 8:22:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So long as we're all offering opinions, guys-- granite countertops are not the way to go. I suggest rustic concrete countertops, such as those at Baked & Wired.

That is all.

Feb 13, 2013, 9:43:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank always maintained that Sova didn't mean anything and he just sort of thought it up, but in Hebrew, "Sova" means "eat and be satisfied", so I always assumed that was actually the inspiration for the name. It would be nice if the new owners would allow for that small bit of continuity, but it's obviously their call.

Feb 13, 2013, 11:09:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never worked in the private sector, like everyone in the White House, but am choc full of strident opinions on how to run a business! Listen to me!

Feb 13, 2013, 11:14:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if the new owners are going to shift Sova to a restaurant model, and maybe share kitchen space.

Can somebody explain what the issue is with the counters? I go there every Saturday, and I've never noticed the counters either positively or negatively.

If we are voting for countertops, I like the counters at Batter Bowl. The whole place is nice and airy.

Feb 13, 2013, 12:10:00 PM

Blogger Campy said...

Argo is picking up the Thursday Night Bluegrass tradition that was so popular at SOVA:


Feb 14, 2013, 2:41:00 PM

Blogger Andrew said...

Yeah... something like Tryst or Arlington's Northside Social would be a great addition to H St, and fits well within the mold of what Sova started out as.

Feb 14, 2013, 3:58:00 PM

Blogger melville87 said...

I'd rather not go the way of Arlington. Or Tryst, really.

Feb 15, 2013, 3:03:00 PM

Blogger John said...

If I had a coffee shop to name, I'd name it "Fuel".

If I put concrete countertops in the bar upstairs from the coffeeshop, I'd call that place "Concrete"

"Fuel" and "Concrete"... can I get a free latte for those name suggestions?

Feb 15, 2013, 3:56:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will we finally realize a bourbon doughnut bar that only play the Rolling Stones?

Feb 15, 2013, 9:13:00 PM

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