If we are going to be chatting like this, I find it imperative that I let you in on a little secret of mine. It’s not something that I’m proud of. It happened so fast; it’s truly been a whirlwind. I ask that you not judge me for it. You see, I’ve got the trends. That is, I’m quite trendy. You might even call me a trendy son-of-a-bitch.
Now, if you’re still reading and you don’t find me a complete douchebag, allow me to explain why. I grew up in one of those “Leave It to Beaver” type neighborhoods. You know, the ones with lawns and trees and kids and all that jazz (a real snooze fest). College didn’t help much. If you’re unaware of American University’s location, suffice it to say Joe Biden lives one neighborhood over and we are where he travels when he wants to escape the hustle and bustle. After I graduated I wanted a change, a neighborhood with excitement and flavor. I was out on my own and I wanted my Mary Tyler Moore hat in the air moment.
I chose to forego the Dupont Circles and Logan Circles of the city. Not because they were too expensive, but because holy crap were they way too expensive. Unwilling to promise away my first-born for a place on U Street, I ended up on H Street. And so it began, my foray into the most trendy of trendy neighborhoods.
Most Washingtonians worth their weight in SmartTrip fare have, at the very least, heard of the H Street Corridor. Typically when I tell people where I live it is met with one of two nuanced responses. Response number one: “ohhh, H Street” with upward inflection signifying genuine interest in such a mystical land. Response number two: “ohhh, H Street” with downward inflection and a Lucille Bluth facial expression signifying genuine concern for my wellbeing. Full disclosure, H Street ain’t for everybody. It’s neither the safest nor the cleanest neighborhood in the city. While, I happily call it home, it took me a while to get used to my surroundings. Nonetheless, it is truly one of the most interesting neighborhoods in the District.
There’s a common misconception that H Street is inexpensive, it’s not. It used to be. That is, until people like me started writing about how cool it was. Within a five-minute walk from my home, there are four new luxury apartment buildings under construction. While this might come as a surprise to many, the reason is simple. The H is trendy, and trendy don’t come cheap (just ask someone from Brooklyn). But why? What makes this mystical enclave, across that bridge with the multicolored dancing kids, so trendy?
Let’s start with the food. The corridor is a food lover’s dream (especially if you’ve got foodie taste buds on an Applebee’s budget). Depending upon what you’re in the mood for, you might stop by Toki Underground, which boasts the best Japanese Ramen I’ve had in the city. Or perhaps you’re jonesing for a slice (or a few) and decide to stop by H & Pizza for your own pie covered in toppings such as shrimp and goat cheese. If you’re feeling fancy, the Atlas Room has you covered with a multi course menu and a “mixologist”, ‘nuff said.
That brings me to nightlife. Hipster-phobes be damned, it’s probably not your scene. But I have to admit, I have had some pretty great nights dancing at Little Miss Whiskey’s, playing mini-golf at H Street Country Club and chatting with friends at the Biergarten Haus.
Now when you are finally ready to go home, be forewarned, it isn’t Dupont Circle. The closest metro is Union Station and most would tell you you’re better off taking the bus. If you’re afraid of the bus, stop being afraid of the bus. If you don’t know how the bus works, learn how the bus works. If not, you can always walk (with a buddy, or four).
Trendiness is subjective. Since I’m the one writing the article, I’ve decided that I am trendy and thus qualified to tell you why (see above). But, in a nutshell, the H Street Corridor is really just about being young and willing to try new things in a new environment. You owe it to yourself; it’s a must for any beltway twenty-something.