this post is dedicated to Ashley and Flora ❤As a young professional transplanting to DC, I was overwhelmed with all the little nooks and crannies that took on their own characteristic neighborhood vibe. Columbia Heights tasted like a $2 can of Pabst and pupusas. Georgetown smelled like brunch and breeze, with expensive perfume wafting in the air. And the Hill was strong coffee and late whiskey nights, for sure.
But as a California girl with a particular fondness for seeing the ocean every day, I needed a place with access to water and an undone attitude that belied the career driven ambition of the District. Enter: the SW Waterfront. DC’s smallest quadrant. Now don’t get me wrong, the Waterfront is notorious for being somewhat… vacant. But it makes up for what it lacks in general diversity, with its anonymity. In a city where you can and will run into everyone from exes to employers on a jumbling and boisterous Friday night metro ride, its a fantastic thing to feel incognito. Under the radar, as you stroll along the Riverwalk, past the hauntingly serene Titanic Memorial.Or come down to Nationals stadium (technically SE but by a stones throw) and watch the hometown heroes of no one’s home town–The Nationals–play some good old fashioned baseball. I always try to go to the games they play against the Dodgers so I can see my boys in blue and annoy the Washington fans.After the game you can always swing by the new restaurant Station 4 if you’re feeling like something a bit more upscale after sitting in the bleachers all day. I must admit, despite their close proximity to the SW Waterfront metro stop, I have never actually eaten here. But they do have Peroni in this beautiful, curvaceous Italian-sex-kitten tap.Last summer we saw Thievery Corporation perform at the pop-up tennis court Kastles Stadium at The Wharf. It was an amazing show and its always nice to hear live music by water.
The late, great Chuck Brown came out and joined them for a song. I’m so happy I got to see this DC legend in-person before he passed. Mad love to you, man.But the real star of SW is, of course, the rowdy and rockin’ Cantina Marina. For us So Cal types, it feels a bit like the grungy beachy vibe of Venice. The palm trees may be plastic and the view may be of the Anacostia River, but my goodness! With a drink in your hand and Bob Marley or the Chili Peppers blaring over the flirtatious chatter of the patrons, you might as well be anywhere you want to be. So maybe the water is always bluer just over the horizon. But for now DC’s sunny evenings and impending summer days have me heading to the SW Waterfront.
See you there cats and kittens!