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The Park at Fourteenth, 14th & K Streets NW - Chef Lois Spencer Comes From Love Nightclub

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There was an article about it today in the Post's Weekend section. Sounds obnoxious. "Admission is, Van Stockum says, "invitation only," but don't be deterred. He says it's easy to get one. "Call our receptionist and speak to them. Look at the Web site. Make reservations. Reach out to us. See what we're trying to do. Nine times out of 10, people are welcomed." and "One of my guests said that if she didn't return, it would be because the bouncers made it such a hassle to go there, and we had reservations."

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I was doing some back research on a topic and found this article from 2011 about the owner of Park at 14th, Mark Barnes  The bar school has supplied him with bartenders since he first opened Republic Gardens.  According to the article that was at the beginning of the 90's.  We may have supplied his various places with up to thousands of bartenders.  Easily its been hundreds.   I'm not sure.  But oh my they hired tons over many years.

He has been one of the more significant food and beverage purveyors in the city for now over 2 decades.  If not known for the highest quality of each meal, than for the pure volume of sales he did year after year after year.  For a period Dream/which converted into Love was annually acknowledged as one of the largest volume clubs in the United States, year after year.  With that were enormous alcohol sales plus food sales.

He is a detailed oriented operator.  From our perspective he trained entire large security staffs in alcohol management year after year;  that is security and other staff besides bartenders.   With so many of our grads working for him over so many years we learned keen insights into his operations.

As the article described he has clearly been the "father" of the DC club scene, with so many of those who worked with him and for him over the years branching out with their own clubs.  Frankly the bar school is hugely appreciative to him as he hired so many of our grads and found a very significant reason for hundreds more of them being hired by other employers.  It helped us distinguish what we did and provide infinitely more and better employment opportunities for thousands of grads over the decades.  Frankly we learned from him.    Some of those club bartenders are now renown mixologists on both the DC scene and have been noted in various alcohol journals and articles across the country.

There have been times and places where great food was prepared and served in clubs but admittedly it is not where their focus is.  One thing interesting is that for a few years prior to Park opening and more dramatically now since it opened there are an increasing number of clubs located in more prime locations in downtown DC.  Regardless of all else they are popular destination places.  Many tend to come and go, his tend to stay.  He is no doubt a great club operator.   Its an interesting read into one aspect of the food and beverage industry in the city.

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Not food or drink related at all, but I once, on a trek from MacPherson Square Metro up to ChurchKey, passed a scene in which I witnessed an "urban" (i.e., black) couple (read the article, I am neither a bigot nor a racist)  having their picture taken by a professional photographer at what I thought (without much thought given) was to be their new condo in a really cool part of DC.  I later realized, after the Brandon Banks incident outside the club, that the couple may have met there or who knows what, and they were memorializing that.  The building, when dark inside, looked like a very expensive and small condo building, and at the time I was envious of this couple being able to live there.  What a rube (long time suburbanite) I felt like after realizing that this was a club, not a condo.

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