A look at what's going on in Trinidad, on H Street, and in the larger area north of Capitol Hill.
Monday, November 14, 2011
More on Xclusive's Concept
A promo video for Taste Lounge
Chris Nwaeze interviewed at Taste Lounge
The contact name on the ABRA application for Xclusive (a new restaurant coming to 707 H Street) is Chris Nwaeze. Until very recently Mr. Nwaese owned a place called Taste Lounge. It looks like Xclusive is basically the same concept with a different name. In the second video he talks about the food, target audience (25 and older for men, and 22 and older for women), and atmosphere at Taste Lounge (previously located at 1812 Hamlin Street NE). He also had a Taste Lounge in Baltimore for a few years, but I don't think it's open now. Here's a few reviews of Taste Lounge. Info from their facebook page after the jump.
After months of redevelopment, Taste Restaurant and Lounge is finally ready to open its doors to you. Located just 2 minutes from MD/DC line of Rhode island Ave north East DC at 1812 Hamlin Street, NE. Taste Lounge aka Taste International is a world class, International ultra sexy Restaurant and lounge with the best West African dishes you can find in the DMV. We invite you to come and experience Taste | Lounge.
-Best African food in the DMV
-World Class customer service
-7 HDTV plasma TV's including men’s room
-Ultra sexy all white VIP room
-State of the art sound system
-Plenty of parking / including Valet parking
Tuesday - Sunday
4Pm - 10pm
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This is exactly what came to mind as soon as I heard the name Xclusive.
I give this place a 1-2 year shelf life.
"VIP lounge sections provide the ultimate in discreet experiences..."
This place sounds a lot like the lounge (I think it was called Club 400 or something) that occupied the Tru Orleans building before Tru Orleans got there.
If memory serves, they were basically operating as a go-go club under the guise of a "fine dining establishment and lounge." They were shut down in a year or so due to fact that they were operating without proper licenses I think...but it was amazing that they were allowed to even start their business. They were nothing but trouble (to both the neighbors and the cops) from day 1.
Another great H street addition. Anybody know whether discounts will be offered to the Loree and SS residents?
Racists have an "Ultra sexy all white VIP room"
Tony Cornish proposed a similarly-styled "lounge" when seeking a CT license for 401 H. He also described his establishment as 'upscale' and 'fine dining,' but it really just amounted to another nightclub.
Fortunately, neighborhood opposition and financing challenges caused his to abandon those plans.
We now have a terrific neighbor in Ethiopic, which never would have happened if we succumbed to the mindset that anything goes.
Will they have a kids menu?
The unpleasant truth is that this place will cater towards pure thuggery, plain and simple. Save the racist arrow from your quiver, people, and someone please suggest to us with a straight face that this place is not going to be a magnet for mindless fighting, stabbings or shootings over some trifling point of pride. It's depressingly predictable, and yet totally unnecessary. Exhibit A: XII Lounge. But by all means, let's run this experiment again and expect different results.
is that a crotch shot on the screen cap of the first video?
TRASH! I hope it doesn't last long...
These comments make me sad. Give the place a chance before you judge.
I think I just had a seizure from that video (even without sound). Not bad for someone's first attempt at a rough draft using video editing software. That might have actually been done in Powerpoint. Wait what, you mean someone paid for that video and proofwatched it before posting it online?
Catering to 22 and older women???
Why draw the line there when the law draws it for you at 21?
Does that year of maturity make a difference?
So many questions
Does anyone know what we can do to fight this place? I am going to get in touch with my council member, but in addition to that, is there an ANC meeting we can attend to voice our opposition? I am a little new to this process?
Will there be a 20002 discount?
Message to Jordan and anyone else freaking out about this place:
Do you really want to go to your Councilmember to stop them from opening? Is all of that really necessary? Come on, people. Let's collectively take a time out. Is this place my cup of tea? No, but there is room on H Street for ALL types of places. I have no idea why anyone would assume this place will be a breeding ground for violence. It actually looks nice based on the seizure-inducing video. Should we fight the opening of new sushi bars too because Sticky Rice has had knuckleheads cause problems there? It saddens me that many have prejudged this place and are calling for it to be shut down before it has even opened. I say give it a chance if the owner shows security is tight and he contributes to the H Street security detail like other H Street nightspots do.
Looks like a good place to get mah shake on!!! All you single mommas, raise yo hands up up
Actually there isn't room on H St. for "all types of places". Clientele behavior profiles matter, and violence-prone, thug hangouts aren't wanted by ANYONE. The skinny jeans set at Sticky Rice or (fill in the blank) don't shiv each other if one of them buys a PBR for an already-spoken-for indie bunny. Instead they get passive aggressive, perspire, then mumble to themselves dejectedly. Yet the crowd that will flock to Xclusive, it can be MORE than fairly assumed, will behave quite differently in those circumstances. This is a logical and legitimate instance of pre-judging a book by its cover. More pointedly, it's an observation about culture, and the uncomfortable truth that some people don't want to acknowledge.
TL;DR: Thug Life on H St. Redux
Oh Goodie, Thanks for playing into the Wash Post's next crappy gentrification story. You're the grain of truth that keeps that bunk alive.
I already knew what the comments were going to veer towards before I even read them...the idea of complaining about a business "before" they open seems completely ingenuous. Unless, you have a valid argument against the owner (i.e., previous business practices), what would be the basis for the complaint? If you don't like the music, clientele, or food...then vote with your dollars and patronize the other establishments along H street. Not even going to comment on the racial/socio-economic undertones that many seem intent on using to justify their arguments.
As for the shiv-ving comment, there was in fact a "stabbing" at Sticky Rice not so long ago...
They seem to be targetting the exact same clientele as "X2." have there been a lot of problems there? If not, let's wait and see what happens. I'm so not a fan one racially divided clubs, but it our own fault for not making them integrated in the first place.
I guess we should get a group of 100+ hipsters to go to the club some night to order PBRs.
Your best hope is to get the ANC Commissioner (Tony Richardson) to negotiate a strong Voluntary Agreement between ANC 6C and Xclusive.
However, your chances of winning the lottery are much higher than getting a strong VA with Xclusive. Oh well, the residents voted him into office, so they don't have anyone to blame but themselves.
I doubt I will ever end up there unless it is for a friend's birthday party, since in the video the promoter describes their current location as a spot for Professional Africans and their friends visiting from Africa. But am I really supposed to keep a business I won't frequent or don't think I'll like from opening up?
I'm not sure I see what's wrong with it other than it looks very similar to XII, and I don't think that place has added anything positive to the neighborhood.
Does anyone know if they've had trouble at their Hamlin St. location, or the one in Baltimore? That's probably not a bad way to get some insight into its future.
Also, maybe this place does fail. But before doing so it completely remodels a building which will later be bought by someone who can turn it into something that works in the neighborhood. That would be a pretty good scenario.
Bunch of white people freaking out about a place for black people to party.
You NIMBY jerks seriously need to check yourselves.
XII, on the other hand, should be crapping bricks.
If Ghanaian cuisine is as good as their films, Xclusive will be a hit on H Street.
Amazing to compare the comments for this place to Tru's. Is it racism or just more vocal neighbors?
Totally. I mean Tru's turned out to be such a gem and nothing like the bust it was expected to be.
Another little blurb about the Murray's sale here: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/housingcomplex/files/2011/11/H-STREET-PROJECTS.png, which also has a nice little map. Looks like that property is even bigger than the Steuart/Giant space.
Can't say I'll be too sad to see the Murray's gone, though it would be nice to have it around until the Giant opens. But there's also the daycare center behind the store. I don't know anything about it, but it's very tough to find space for a center, and it just got tougher.
I "get" where many of you are coming from but it comes from a place of fear and limited experience with establishments outside your normal comfort zone. I for one, as someone who has spent some time in Africa, would very much welcome food, music, and dance stemming from the African Diaspora. West African food is the BOMB and I can tell you from experience that African and Caribbean pop/hip-hop music usually lead to most fun evenings. Granted, the name and overall concept are a little hokey/played, but how many of you have actually spent time in African or African-owned establishments? You might be surprised - don't lump every brown-skinned person into one category just because you don't have enough experience to differentiate cultures.
Anon 4:38pm -- that's sarcasm, right? (sorry, we didn't get much sarcasm in my family)
I go out a lot on U street. There are several clubs like this that target the Ethiopian population of the city. If you walk around 9th and U you will hear the music throbbing in these clubs and see the target audience going there. I have never heard of any issues with these places. If this bar owner hasn't had problems in the past, we should give him a shot. The more people are on the street, the more people are eating. The more people are spending money. The more stores and restaurants get built.
okay okay okay. not that i was totally against this place, i just liked critiquing his awful powerpoint youtube. i just started to watch the video and because this guy clearly isnt from this country, his use of the name Xclusive is a little bit more OK in my book.
i feel like his designs for this place are much different than those of someone who is more fully aware of american night life culture.
this guy should just name his place West African Cafe and public support for it would increase 10x. there did appear to be some pictures of decent food in the powerpoint animation.
this is all just a giant misunderstanding and i think if people rewatch the videos after having done so at work with the sound off, many concerns will be allayed.
the cheesyness of things like "ultra sexy room" is so much more understandable and ok now.
this is not sarcasm. i am that shallow, that an accent can sway me. although if the accent was eastern european my opinion of this place would drop a bit
I said it before and I'll say it again. This will be a strip club.
Exhibit A: use of the letter "X" in the name.
Exhibit B: crotch shot on promo video.
Also, not everyone who is against another Club XII is White. Just sayin...
And if you're going to bring up violence at the establishments, I hardly think the one stabbing at Sticky Rice compares to the recurring fights/shootings/whatever else that goes on at Club XII.
looks like a place cabbies will hang out in
Just as a side note, if the music played at this proposed joint is anything like what's played at the beginning and end of the interview video (the second one on the page), count me IN! Zouk music - whether from the West Indies or Congo - always gets my vote.
What is everyone afraid of? This place looks fine.
i'm more scared of the comments than of this place.
welcome urban refugees. for those folks that left DC, but want to call this district home, you have a place to hang out. just please, PLEASE don't double park like you do at those churches do on sundays, when you make the hike to chocolate city to claim it as your own.
sorry. but it's true.
I just don't want it to be like the intersection at 8th and H, which is very uncomfortable to walk through with all the loitering.
I was going to write something really mean spirited about you racists folks on here, but me and my IVY LEAGUE black friends who own homes here laugh at you guys! Thanks for the equity! If you're not happy here, move on! Oops, i forgot..most of you went to state schools and make about 30K a year! You can't afford to move! Oh well! Welcome to the hood! LOL!
If we all left, you wouldn't have any equity.
Wow!! IVY LEAGUE black people use a LOT of CAPS and EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! I wanna be SMART TOO!!!!!11!
To Anon 9:40, settle down. No need to boost affirmative action.
Anybody who touts Ivy vs State school differences is an instant d-bag.
I'm an Ivy alum too, and can't stand people like you.
Read the three reviews for which Inked posted links above. Those reviews are all sterling (I take particular note where the reviewers discuss quality customer service, especially from the bouncers, and restroom cleanliness, the basic things that indicate competent management).
I think this place will make a welcome addition to the street.
The only thing I will say is, make sure we have some kind of soundproofing inherent in the voluntary agreeement. I hear plenty of music leaking out of our current H Street bars on the 1200 block. I hope our fellow neighbors in the 700 block of I miss out on *that* "experience".
Keeping guys under 25 out is a plus, too. Mature guys = less problems.
The 22 year old limit for women is probably meant to keep college girls out?
Everyone calmed down when it was revealed this was an African place, not an African American place. Interesting.
Anon 11:32--what about people who ostentatiously point out the d-bagittude of someone else boasting Ivy League cred whilst simultaneously making sure everyone knows he/she is himself/herself Ivy but doesn't need to boast about it? Seems indirectly boasty and sadly desperate in a way.
Not really, Tily. Africans immigrants usually don't glorify the "ghetto lifestyle". They aren't burdened by any cognitive dissonance if they don't "keep it real" by embracing some "authentic" street posture. And the friction between African immigrants living in the US and native born Blacks (sorry, can't use African-Americans here as that would be confusing) is a well-documented phenomenon. Not trying to be offensive here, just explaining why some people may have a different attitude about this place.
I'm agnostic on the question of whether it will be a net plus or minus on H. Hopefully it'll be a positive addition if its professionally managed and has proactive security.
The video and the name "Xclusive" make this place look like a joint Entertainment 720 would open.
Note to owner: It's illegal to discriminate against someone because of his or her age. You have to serve anyone who meets the legal requirement of being 21 and not hammered. It's also illegal to discriminate based upon sex (i.e. an older age for men).
I didn'teven realize i live right around the corner from taste. Maybe i'll open a pug up by them. See how they like them apples. Comin round here with their silly hip hop spelling, inciting all kinds of mayhem between state school kids and ivy leaguers, forcing whitey to show off their deep fears, and forcing middle class black folk to defend thugs. Yeah, i'll open a pug and i'll drive a wedge between the ethiopians and the eritreans. I'll try to stir up trouble between american african liberians and african africans. I'll even trick the ghanaians into thinking freddy adu will be relevant again. Yeah we'll show these damn immigrants. Ah who cares, as long as we can keep the internet discourse lively and the irish off of h street.
there's a difference between lively discourse and hateful ignorance. and too often the comments on this board are on the wrong side of that line.
Please. It's a cop-out to claim "hateful ignorance" without addressing any of the issues. Name calling is intellectual laziness. If you have an opinion, speak your mind and make a case. It's like freedom of speech or whatever.
(1) i dont cop out. and i don't need to make a case or prove anything. i could cut/paste all day to prove my point. or you could scroll up and see what others said about the continued insensitivity of the comments.
(2) no names were called. i described the discourse as hateful ignorance. which it is. now, the fact that these comments came from hateful, ignorant people is a different conversation. <THAT was name calling.
tiffanyc knows how to scrap. hot!
One of Tony T's best posts ever.
PS This place looks great - it wouldn't be out of place in S. Africa or elsewhere. I like the style
TOTALLY WANT TO DANCE TO AFRICAN MUSIC IN A CLUB THAT I CAN WALK TO!!!!
To the person who wrote that the intersection at 8th & H is scary because of so many people loitering there, I'd like to point out that the intersection is a connecting point for at least 4 major bus-lines. Many of those people are waiting for a bus.
Psst (to Anon 10:45 a.m.), it's only loitering when the people are brown
I think some folks should learn the difference between a fact and an opinion.
That's just your opinion.
anon @ 2:43
you're going to have to cite the law if you say something is illegal. loads of nightlife places in this town have age limits above 21 (mostly places where old folks do hand dances, but still).
what law are you referring to, the human rights act? be specific.
What's scarier, people who ride the bus, people with opinions, or people who know everything and anonymously educate us. No. The irish are the scariest, butthey're too drunk to ride the bus.
i wish i went to an ivy league school. state schools are for morons and pedophiles
Entertainment 720 all the way!
...forcing whitey to show off their deep fears, and forcing middle class black folk to defend thugs...
Good stuff. Though I'm sure for every upper middle-class black neighbor who thinks skepticism about such a place is symptomatic of racism, there are probably three who are skeptical themselves.
It's been my experience that my black middle-class neighbors have even less tolerance for trifling ghetto bullshit than my white middle-class neighbors.
Having said that, there's no reason this ultra-sexxy xxclusive club will necessarily be a trouble spot.
I wish Eastern Motors would open a lot on H Street.
Wow You people are idiots! All this commotion for a African lounge/bar/restaurant. Seriously?? I lived in DC my entire life and I can assure you that African lounges/bars/restaurants are not a common thug hangout spot.
this is the most pathetic fear mongering i have read on frozen tropics.
Anon 9:54 -- you must be new here.
no. i've been reading since the beginning.
so what thread of comments was worse? i don't remember.
At least this thread has taught me that it's not just black people in DC that are racist.
If you would like to voice your opinion about xclusive I believe they will be dicussing it at the ANC meeting on thrusday at 7pm at the heritage foundation.
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