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Boundary Stone Public House - A Great Neighborhood Tavern on Rhode Island Avenue and T Street in Bloomingdale


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Wow, no thread yet? You guys are slacking......

To go along with the fantastic coffee shop down the street (where I spend a decent amount of time on my weekend days), Bloomingdale now also has a really good neighborhood bar where I can spend a good amount of my weekend nights. No offense to Rustik, who deserves respect for being the first to step out and open a bar in a gentrifying neighborhood during difficult economic times, but they have always missed the mark during my visits (overambitious food and stale draft beers). Enter Boundary Stone, a small but comfortable competitor not 100 yards away whose strengths are well executed, simple food and a small but carefully selected list of draft beers. The fare is typical pub grub in the nicest possible way; not fancy or contrived but familiar and well seasoned. If you're looking for something a little elevated from burgers and wings, they have proper entrees which revolve from week to week depending on what they get from their suppliers. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the Carrot Fennel Soup and Braised Pork Shank were a few weeks back. They were much better than they needed to be, if that makes sense.

I don't know that this place is a destination spot like Big Bear for residents of DC, but it appears that it has become that given how crowded it has been every time I have been there. Selfishly, I want to keep this place to myself and the other residents of Bloomingdale, but I think it's great that it has gotten some positive press and has done a good deal of business in it's opening couple months. Another very positive step in the right direction for neighborhood.

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1st and Rhode Island Avenue is called "Bloomingdale?" I was born in the old Sibley hospital on North Capitol street near there and never-in all of my years on earth-knew that this was called "Bloomingdale." I also drove a cab in D. C. in the late '60's and never heard a disptacher call this neighborhood "Bloomingdale."

Serious: Bloomingdale?

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1st and Rhode Island Avenue is called "Bloomingdale?" I was born in the old Sibley hospital on North Capitol street near there and never-in all of my years on earth-knew that this was called "Bloomingdale." I also drove a cab in D. C. in the late '60's and never heard a disptacher call this neighborhood "Bloomingdale."

Serious: Bloomingdale?

If it weren't for the members here, I wouldn't know about Bloomingdale either - bloomingdaledc.org is a nice little website that will get you up to speed quickly.

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1st and Rhode Island Avenue is called "Bloomingdale?" I was born in the old Sibley hospital on North Capitol street near there and never-in all of my years on earth-knew that this was called "Bloomingdale." I also drove a cab in D. C. in the late '60's and never heard a disptacher call this neighborhood "Bloomingdale."

Serious: Bloomingdale?

Yep. One interesting thing with the re-development and investment in centrally located District neighborhoods is their old names are coming back into light. Growing up around here, I didn't know specific area names like Bloomingdale, Eckington, LeDroit Park, Swampoodle, Carver Langston, etc. Sadly, they were all lumped into the 'places to be avoided' category in the 80s and 90s. sad.gif

Back on topic, I really need to check out Boundary Stone. Sorry, don't live in the neighborhood, but I'll keep quiet about it and come with few guests wink.gif

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Back on topic, I really need to check out Boundary Stone. Sorry, don't live in the neighborhood, but I'll keep quiet about it and come with few guests wink.gif

I knew one of the fellow neighborhoodies would say something after I posted. I totally get it, I would like to be able to go here whenever I want and get a seat without a wait, but I also want to see them survive beyond this first year after the new car smell wears off, so hopefully a little internet press now will help when that happens.

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1st and Rhode Island Avenue is called "Bloomingdale?" I was born in the old Sibley hospital on North Capitol street near there and never-in all of my years on earth-knew that this was called "Bloomingdale." I also drove a cab in D. C. in the late '60's and never heard a disptacher call this neighborhood "Bloomingdale."

Serious: Bloomingdale?

It's been called "Bloomingdale" at least since the mid-80s, when I first heard it.

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I knew one of the fellow neighborhoodies would say something after I posted. I totally get it, I would like to be able to go here whenever I want and get a seat without a wait, but I also want to see them survive beyond this first year after the new car smell wears off, so hopefully a little internet press now will help when that happens.

I was just being an ass smile.gif I wish nothing but the best for Boundary Stone and am thrilled that they are pulling in great business night after night. We were sitting outside last week and marveled at several cabs stopping to drop off passengers in our little corner of the city at 6:00. Even a couple years ago that was pretty uncommon. As long as I can hop off the G8 and grab a post-work beer without drama I'm happy.

The food here is a pleasant surprise. It took them a couple weeks to get their legs under them, but they've come on strong. Soups in particular have been a high point.

Joe - I think it's pretty common for neighborhoods that have undergone a "revival" (now that's a loaded word!) to take on the monikers they once sported. When people start developing a sense of community they naturally want to put a name to it. What better than to dig into history to find one?

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Earlier this week, I met an old friend for drinks, and given that it was a Monday, our options were limited. We started checking off places, "Just went," "Nah," "Closed," etc., and then Boundary Stone was presented to me as an option.

"Yes!"

On an icy-cold Monday, when I froze trying to find the place despite getting a great parking space, my friend had come early and snagged a couple seats at the end of the bar. Interestingly, she'd met a husband and wife who are just about to start an independent coffee roasting company here in DC - I'll find out some more information about this when I can.

I was adequately warned that Boundary Stone isn't a threat to win any culinary awards, but, especially given the frigid, windy weather outside, I was there for one reason and one reason only: whiskey.

They had a Willet single-barrel selection advertised on the chalkboard for $9, and I ordered it, and drained them dry - there wasn't even a full pour left, so my (fantastic) bartender gave me a break on the price.

Wondering what to order next, he told me that Boundary Stone had recently bought an entire barrel from Woodford - 180 bottles worth which were stored in six-pack cases on top of their bar. A little worried about the price, my mind was put at ease when I found out it, too, was $9. (Incidentally, there's a City Paper article about this here.)

I'm not necessarily the biggest Woodford fan there is, but since they hand-selected their own barrel (and these guys are serious about whiskey), I was comfortable ordering a glass. And a second. And a third. While I tend to steer towards the rye end of the spectrum, at one point I unselfishly said to the bartender, "I have to support my friends," while selfishly enjoying this smooth, ample, fine Bourbon. One of the glasses was comped.

A little problem became a bigger problem, as I hadn't eaten all day. The people next to us had ordered several things, one of which was Boundary Stone's Chili Cheese Half Smoke ($12), the half-smoke itself made by our own 13th Street Meats, and topped with house-made chili and aged Vermont cheddar. Doesn't this sound like a great sandwich? Well, it was pretty darned good, in a slutty sort of way, and came with a mound of fries. I knew this wasn't going to be enough food for me, so I ordered a second one, hold the fries - I didn't get a discount, but I did get offered a substitute (which I politely declined - at this point, I was in chili-dog scarfing mode, and I wasn't about to let a salad stand in my way).

Okay, Boundary Stone serves not much more than good quality pub grub, but as a bar? Especially as a neighborhood whiskey and beer bar? It's everything you could possibly ask for. And it's for this reason that I'm raising Boundary Stone to Italic in the Dining Guide. This is a great local tavern.

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