Thursday, January 26, 2012

Skew Works Didn't Work

Owly Images
Thanks to Twitter user @kscrivs for the photo!
Ah, Skew Works, we hardly knew ye. The Asian grill on Wayne Avenue, which opened less than a year ago, has closed its doors. Can't say I'm particularly surprised - it was alright, but with all the other options around it didn't really distinguish itself in any way. I only went once myself.

Hopefully this space will soon be occupied by a worthwhile tenant whose color scheme will not cause severe eyeball pain. (Perhaps the last proprietors were fans of "The U"?)



104 comments:

JS said...

I actually liked their design. Their food... not so much.

Anonymous said...

The effing Crescent is such a shitty building and pulled back so far from the street I doubt anything can be really successful in the space. Honestly, whoever was the architect should be kicked in the balls every time this space inevitably goes vacant.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I are semi-new owners in the Crescent. The deep setting from the street is definitely a bit odd especially when trying to support a retail space. Back when I lived on Spring St I remember when Crescent Cafe opened and knew immediately that it wouldn't work. Skew Works opened right after we closed on our place, and we were hopeful it would be decent. We ended up eating there once, and my wife thought the food smelled so bad she made me throw it down the garbage chute instead of our actual garbage can.

A little color on the closing. My wife and I were walking to CVS on MLK day and noticed there was a paper sign taped to the door saying "WE ARE CLOSED". My wife assumed it was just closed for the holiday, but I though the sign was odd. Next day I walked by again and they were closed..figured something was up. Last weekend a new paper sign went up that said they were closed but left a number to call for inquiries...the for sale/for lease signs went up yesterday.

While I'd love something like Taylor Gourmet in that space, I realize that's a ridiculous longshot. I do believe whatever goes there needs to be an established chain of some sort, regional or otherwise. These one off, brand new restaurants with no fanfare probably have no chance.

Anonymous said...

If the library ever opens, the space might do well as a coffee shop or something like that. Unless they build that confounded bridge, in which case foot traffic will go right over it and nobody will ever know it's there.

Anonymous said...

I think the library is already designed to have a coffee shop on ground level. I may have made that up though.

Gregory said...

My wife & I definitely enjoyed Skew Works...it wasn't busy at first, but seemed to get more popular as time went on.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it sucked. And even the stuff that was interesting was terrible.

As for the crescents design I think it's unfortunate that the cafe part is sunk so far back in. Ideally anything in that space should be switched with the garage entrance so the space would benefit from whatever street traffic the hair cutter, beer joint and indian restuarant generate next door.

sad, but that's typcial of silver spring. No planning, no foresite, retail failure.

Anonymous said...

I do also agree that the design was incredibly ugly.

Anonymous said...

Space in front of the building so that you can sit somewhere in the city without having to purchase something and then be assaulted by crummy loud canned music while you eat, is BAD? I don't get it. A green space would be better out front but any place to sit is good by me.

Adam said...

I think they design may have been part of the problem. At a glance, or especially in peripheral vision, their color scheme and the stripes make it look like a 7-11, not a restaurant.

mike said...

Some blame the design? You're delusional. Especially considering it was on the ground floor of a residential building. Talk about convenience for a built-in clientele. If the food and service is good and a perceived good value, it survives. Period. There are plenty of examples of restaurants nearby that don't look attractive from the outside, but have done well.

Patrick Thornton said...

Quarry House Tavern proves that building design doesn't stop a great place from thriving. Yes the Crescent wasn't designed well, but something could do well there. Perhaps when the library is completed one day and there is more foot traffic it will be a much more valuable piece of real estate.

The library is getting a coffee shop but that doesn't mean it won't be overrun.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with the building being set that far back, but the 'plaza' in front is such a hodge podge of crap--odd planters, site furniiture, etc.--that it is not a unified space. And the entry structure--the convex crescent arbor-- compresses the entry feel, negating any clever marketing benefit of having an architectural element reinforce the name of the building. All combined, it's just not a good space and putting a 7-11 themed restaurant behind it was doomed from the start.

ForestGlen said...

God I hated that place. Greasy and disgusting. I know the library is supposed to get a coffee shop, but at the rate construction is going.....I'd like to see an independent coffee shop in that space.

Perry said...

You'll never notice Fenton Cafe from the street, but they have awesome crepes and business is doing really well.

Anonymous said...

Qua? A thousand+ people walk by Fenton Cafe a day and probably 90% of them glance into the window and plenty of those people are intrigued and subsequently stop in at some point. Exactly zero people can see into this Crescent space - it's no secret why every business there fails. I think a delivery chain (e.g. Dominoes) is about the only thing suitable for the crappy space. Think of how much better Wayne would be if the Crescent Condos didn't try so hard to be a complete dead zone and the Wayne Garage was put underground with retail/apartments above ground...oh well.

Isayaah Parker said...

I agree, Wayne is a complete DEAD ZONE, as if they planned Wayne to be that way. The parking garage monstrosity across the street, doesn't help the already poor set-back design of the Crescent. The Wayne Ave garage could've at least had ground floor retail like the Ellsworth garage to maintain CONTINUITY. I ALSO THOUGHT THIS PLACE WAS A 7-11 when I would glance at it. I don't see anything surviving in that space other than something like a LAUNDROMAT, something practical like that. You don't see MONSTROSITY PARKING GARAGAES ALL OVER BETHESDA with buildings set back far enough to put a football stadium. That's why Bethesda will always be more profitable when it comes to RETAIL. Bethesda is more aesthetically pleasing to PEDESTRIANS.

Anonymous said...

I live in the Crescent, and yes the design was poor but the space isn't THAT far off the street. You people make it sound like it's a mile walk from the curb to the door. Plus Silver Spring is not NYC...

Anyhow, as for the retail space, I for one am glad to see Skew Works gone. The food wasn't good, the owners were jerks (wouldn't make change for me one day unless I bought something...seriously?), and the color scheme looks like it was designed by Ray Charles.

A good, local coffee shop would be awesome, but if the library has that covered already, then how about a tea shop like Bethesda's Zen Tara?

Anonymous said...

They really need to fix the main floor of that parking garage and convert it to retail and then add 2 more floors to said garage.

Raze and gut all the stupid hair cuttery joints on that street and start retail all the way from the dead building on the corner of Wayne and Georgia all the way to the Crescent.

With the impending purple line and library - that would be the smart plan.

Stupid moron Silver Spring "planners"

Anonymous said...

Forget a coffee/tea shop, can we get a decent burger joint in DTSS? I think Wheaton Mall has one but I aint going there when I live a hop-skip-and a jump from DTSS. I know a burger place has been discussed on this blog a while back but so far I havent seen any movement in DTSS. And it doesnt matter the location, if the place is good ppl will come. Shoot, make it just a carryout place, since the place doesnt fit that many ppl.

Bonnie said...

OMG a Taylor Gourmet would be GREAT there. Or a burger place as someone else mentioned.

Rebecca said...

The Crescent is a perfect example of why architects should always consult urban planners/designers when designing buildings. When you look at the site by itself, sure, the plaza thing in the front probably looks good. But when you look at the site in the context of its surroundings, you'd know in two seconds that the retail on the ground level would never work because it's too far back from the street, and is actually hidden thanks to that metal pagoda thing in the front. Grrr. As an urban planner, it's really irritating to see buildings that could have been great additions to the neighborhood if the developers had taken the time to incorporate basic principles of urban design. Anyway, the garage on Wayne Ave. is another example of terrible urban design. I'm also still confused as to why there are so many parking garages in downtown Silver Spring, but that's a whole other conversation...

Anonymous said...

I'm holding out that a Bubba's opens up here. It doesn't matter where you good bbq, people will find it.

Anonymous said...

I notice how everyone is saying "once the library is built thigs will be great..blah blah blah” These are the same people who wouldn’t know what an actual book looks like if it hit them in the face. i.e books are becoming obsolete so the idea of building a library is another example of MOCO wasting its money. (Btw, I don’t like the idea of books becoming obsolete, but it is what it is). Example, who among you will actually go to the library to read an actual book? You’ll go there to sit in the coffee shop and type on your ibook or whatever. And do we really need ANOTHER coffee shop in silver spring? We already have like 33 of them. Point is something so much better could be placed there. How abouty a 5 guys? Or something non-yuppie

Patrick Thornton said...

@Rebecca,

It's not entirely the architect's fault. Montgomery County forces buildings to build "pocket parks." That's what you are seeing in front of the Crescent and that's why it is set so far back. Every new building in DTSS has one of these stupid pocket parks, ostensibly designed to give the public more public space, but in reality they are just wastes of space. People want real parks, not tiny spaces in front of someone's apartment building. That's the fault of urban planning and county restrictions.

No one uses these pocket parks, and yet the county keeps requiring them. In this case, the pocket park did a lot more than just waste space.

Isayaah Parker said...

I have to agree with an earlier comment. There are WAY TOO MANY coffee shops in the area not to mention the 500 7-11's that offer cheap but good coffee. Not sure why everyone in this area is so aroused by the inundation of coffee shops. I am SHOCKED that a FIVE GUYS hasn't come to downtown silver spring, but also indifferent since I think 5 Guys is discusting. Pocket Parks are hindering the growth of Silver Spring as well as the 500 MONSTROUS parking garages. If you think about it, THERE ARE PLENTY OF REAL PARKS IN SILVER SPRING, there is no shortage of green space. Not sure why every building has to have a CONCRETE pocket park that no one but skateboarders use. Finally, I have to sadly agree that the Library is a COLOSSAL waste of money. Libraries are a dying breed and more nostalgic than anything else. The original library couldv'e been renovated. But to move it and spend millions on something that essentially will be built for aesthetics and not functionality is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

"so the idea of building a library is another example of MOCO wasting its money."

Good lord. Seriously? You think people don't use libraries anymore? Not to mention, in addition to being a regular library (books, ebooks, movies, audio, study space, meeting space, children programs, computer lab, etc.), ours will also have a coffee shop, art gallery, county offices, etc. The notion that the library is a waste of money is absurd.

Very good point, Patrick, re: pocket parks. Though a number of other buildings have successfully integrated their public areas w/ the larger urban fabric and others have elected to pay $$ to fund public space off-site. I think the blame is still on the shoulders of the horrifyingly unimaginative architect.

Anonymous said...

lets face it, libraries are a dying breed. i dont agree with it, i would like them to stay relevant, but as long as e-books and e-anything or i-anything are popular, libraries will go the way of soda-shops. and plus there already is a library in silver spring, so there is no need for a second one and an even bigger waste to move it. point is, so much better could be put in that spot.

again, i'll repeat my question; for all those advocating a library, how many of you will actually use the library other than going to the coffee shop to read an e-book or type on an i-pad or do something NON-book related?

Anonymous said...

"Let's face it," no matter what anyone says you'll just repeat how you don't use libraries and everyone else will keep not caring. Yes, people still use libraries for a multitude of reasons. There are always a gazillion people in the nice Rockville library. There were always a gazillion people in DTSS Borders. What logical reasoning could there be to assume people wouldn't be interested in this new library? It's a rhetorical question - I'm not actually going to bother writing any further about the merits of a freakin library. At least you can't possibly think a bridge is needed, since supposedly no one will use the thing anyways.

Patrick Thornton said...

I've only been to the current DTSS library once, and that's because it was so crowded. There clearly is demand for a library in the DTSS area.

People use them as quiet places to study and do work. Others use them to access the Internet and fill out forms (not everyone has computers). Others like to go there and read books or reference materials.

Libraries can loan out ebooks, audio books and other electronic media. Paper books are dying -- no doubt about that -- but the concept of a shared space for public knowledge isn't. I don't know if this new library will be built as a true modern library that focuses on current needs or as a traditional shrine to books, but I think most communities can still benefit from libraries.

The real question will be whether or not this library meets public needs. I don't know, and I'm rather sad to see how behind this project is. If the county thinks a new library is necessary, why don't they actually build it in a reasonable amount of time?

Anonymous said...

Lol @ "discusting"

Clancy said...

I can't wait for the newer, larger DTSS library. Until we had kids, I never even stepped foot into the present library. But since, I've been there quite a bit. It's a fantastic resource for the community (and not just for its children). Between it, the Purple Line, and the new restaurant going in on the corner of Georgia and Wayne, foot traffic should increase along that side of the street. Undoubtedly, that will help whatever business occupies the ground floor of the Crescent.

Anonymous said...

Since I have no blog of my own I thought people might be interested in this little tidbit. The corner of Thayer and Fenton is going to auction. Right now it is the just closed auto repair shop and the lot that sold pumpkins two Halloweens ago (there was building there previously that, I think, caught fire and was later demolished.) Anyhow, valuable land. Here is a link - www.atlanticauctions.com. If you want to bid make sure you have $100,000 certified check.

Mr Wang said...

A small family run deli would do good in the Crescent. And I hope 5 guys does not come to DTSS. More like BGR.

Anonymous said...

God no. A 5 guys? I live in the Crescent and that would stink the entire joint up fierce.

To all those whining about the Crescents design: What about IKKO sushi. On east/west? Its hidden from the street. Food dead zone. No walking area, no shops all massive ugly buildings. It does fine?

maybe the FOOD just SUCKED at Crap works. I gave it two shots and it was horrible.

I think the problem again is the stupid parking garage design and the ghetto strip mall next door.

Lets face it, most of Silver spring was designed by a special needs task force and the purple line and library are just going to make Wayne avenue worse. Hopefully they convert that first floor parking garage into retail and add two more floors on top.

If the pathetic backward county liquor laws were pulled finally or updated: maybe a nice bar could open in the Crescent.

Mike said...

Re: pocket parks. Under certain methods of development, builders can get additional density in exchange for public amenities. Often, that has meant a pocket park, usually because it's easy to build (well, not build, but create) and the developers have no imagination. Public art would serve the law'spurpose better, make the street more attractive and interesting, and get entryways closer to the street. Advocate for that.

And yes, if the food sucks, you have no chance of survival. If it's good, people will find you anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Last Anon - I would assume IKKO relies very, very heavily on the thousands of daytime workers on its block. This Crescent space doesn't have that to rely on. Also, how on earth does a bar make sense for the space if it's a pedestrian "dead zone"? Not to mention there's no where near the proper space/layout.

In the mid-term, the Purple Line and library and nice apartments/retail scheduled for the church site will help liven this area a lot. Until then...at least there's Ghar-E-Kabab and it's easy to walk everywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I'm happy the Thayer/Fenton site is being auctioned off. It's a great parcel and it's too bad the current owner can't or won't get it off the ground. Hopefully a larger and/or better developer grabs it and moves quickly. The neighboring Silver Spring Towers' vacancy rate is effectively nil.

Mortis Olaf said...

Something was going up on that Thayer/Fenton site. I found a picture of the building, but no information. I think it was actually going to be a somewhat interesting, LEED certified, mixed-use building. Silver Spring Scene did a write-up about it back when he was around. Anyone got any info currently?

Anonymous said...

This is what was supposed to go up at the Thayer/Fenton site:
http://dcmud.blogspot.com/2008/12/silver-springs-adele-likely-to-get-ok.html
The banking collapse surely shelved the project. Why it has stayed on the shelf is anyone's guess.

Isayaah Parker said...

I think it's safe to say that the overall REDEVELOPMENT/REVITALIZATION momentum in downtown silver spring has SLOWED DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY. A lot of shelved projects, stalled projects (transit center, library, purple line) and lack of interest by new retailers while currents ones close up shop. Most of it is a result of poor planning and all the silly hurdles developers are put through by Mont Co. I.E. pocket parks, height restrictions, licenses...makes no sense that people are FLOCKING to downtown SS for the Fillmore, AFI and Discovery, yet there's not a lot of retail/BARS to support these places. Silver Spring needs more of a night life if it's going to have the fillmore. But hey, we can't even build a concrete transit center much less open up some new sports bars/clubs.

Anonymous said...

What's the new restaurant going in at Wayne and Georgia?

Anonymous said...

Unrelated topic, but this is a link about the new development at 8021 Georgia Ave. Nothing that we didn't know though.

http://www.prcpllc.com/The_Heritage_At_Silver_Spring

Anonymous said...

"Raze and gut all the stupid hair cuttery joints on that street and start retail all the way from the dead building on the corner of Wayne and Georgia all the way to the Crescent."

Those "stupid hair cuttery joints" actually have customers. Perhaps they aren't the sort of places you patronize, but they are service a part of our community.

Anonymous said...

" A lot of shelved projects, stalled projects (transit center, library, purple line) and lack of interest by new retailers while currents ones close up shop."


The transit center and library aren't stalled. They're making progress on both. The transit center had some problems crop up (previously unknown hazardous waste on the site, now poorly poured concrete that's being fixed). Both buildings, however, are still actively underway.

The purple line is moving through it's long planning process. It's going to be a while, but anytime you're affecting peoples' homes and businesses it will take time.

Vagrarian said...

Actually, there's only one hair salon left on that block of Wayne Ave; one moved and the other went out of business. I kinda miss mocking that strip for literally having every other business be about haircuts. Ghar-e-Kabab expanded into one space; the other is currently empty.

Anonymous said...

Isayaah, you obviously don't live in downtown Silver Spring if you think momentum has slowed. There are literally thousands of residential units currently under construction, including the tallest building in Silver Spring which is 60%+ completed, and an even taller building that's also begun construction. Honestly, our only possible problem is that of growing too fast, but with our vacancy rate at an insanely low 3% it's a good guess that the thousands of units will be gobbled up no problem. Thanks for the baseless pessimism, though. It's always appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Anon, it's a La Madeline bistro prototype that's going in at Ga. and Wayne. Outdoor seating will be great for that underutilized pocket park.

http://www.streetsense.com/lamadeleine.html

Not as exciting as the Society Lounge going in a few doors down:
http://www.societyss.com/

Thank goodness all these businesses don't have the insight Isayaah has about our decline.

royela said...

Dunkin Donuts!

Sligo said...

No, bring MONTGOMERY DONUTS back to Wayne.

Isayaah Parker said...

Looks like I have ruffled some feathers...However, Oscar the Grouch failed to actually COMPREHEND what I wrote. I never said that Silver Spring is not BOOMING and GROWING. All that I said was that the momentum behind our current major projects and luring in new retailers for one, has slowed down from a few years ago when they were literally fighting to get on Ellsworth, now we have a few vacancies on Ellsworth with not a lot of interest. Momentum slowing down has nothing to do with a couple of highrise residential buildings...Silver Spring as well as DC will continue to GROW. Isayaah, in all of his stupidity and pessimism, humbly suggested that a lot of CURRENT PROJECTS like the purple line, transit center, library, City Place renewel, are basically stalled, No matter what excuses you give on behalf of the county. (How many plans have we seen of "the gallery" aka Shitty Place and when was the last time you've seen a HARD HAT?) No I don't live downtown but I live around Burtonsville, sorry if that is against the law. Yes I work downtown Silver Spring and I know more about what's going on than you think considering where I work. Which I won't disclose. I enjoy when people don't fully read what you write. I was stating that we need more of a NIGHT LIFE and more retail/entertainment to support the new projects that are being built and the MOMENTUM behind that effort has slowed. I don't see how that is not OBVIOUS to you. With all the surplus of residents we have here, it would seem the momentum would be STRONGER that it is now. There has been a lot of progress in downtown and I too am excited about Society Lounge and other SLOW projects, but that does not negate the fact that OVERALL, the momentum has slowed compared to say, 2003. A lot more could be done by Mont. Co to ensure Silver Spring becomes even more of a destination and with all their stupid seemingly anti-growth restrictions placed on developers, they are hindering the momentum. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

Anonymous said...

Qua? I don't believe there's a single vacancy on Ellsworth. Public projects like the "purple line, transit center, library" aren't in any way stalled either. Unless you're counting a terrible PM at the transit center causing delays a "stall." Don't see how someone's screwup is indicative of the area slowing down though. Also, there are a lot more than a "couple of highrise residential buildings". I can think of 7 apartment buildings currently under construction right off the top of my head.

We can both agree that hopefully Society will be badass. We can also agree that more nice bars/lounges like that would be great for the area. MoCo changing its liquor laws would certainly make that easier.

Anonymous said...

Isayah said I think it's safe to say that the overall REDEVELOPMENT/REVITALIZATION momentum in downtown silver spring has SLOWED DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY. A lot of shelved projects, stalled projects (transit center, library, purple line) and lack of interest by new retailers while currents ones close up shop.

Dude no one is being Oscar the grouch. They are just calling you out on exactly what you posted. You CAPITALIZED slowed down significantly and then referenced specific projects that have neither slowed down nor been shelved. The much more minor point you made had to do with retail which, I agree, has slowed down but that's because the FP development is built out. There are about ten very large projects under construction in DTSS, spread out across the entire CBD. There are several more that are supposed be ready to come out of the ground any day now. Within 18 months, there will be thousands of new residents in DTSS within walking distance to local businesses. If retail is the egg, then the chicken (customers) is coming first and very quickly. Don't think that retailers don't notice what's going on here and see the changing demographics. Given that we're in the middle of the worst imaginable recession, it's understandable that retailers wouldn't open new stores speculatively. They wait until the customers are already in place (or certain to be), then they act.

Isayaah Parker said...

I guess I am just wrong and everyone else is right. I will concede. One of the anonymous people seems cordial so I will shake hands with you and also hope that Society will be a "badass", I hope we can go there together...I'll buy a round of drinks! (Although I suspect it will be few earth revolutions around the sun before that happens) The other anonymous, if it's a different person, is still misreading what I said. Quoting me doesn't change that. Projects like the Civic Center were constructed much faster and went through the process with Mo. County faster it seems than these new projects. In my opinion, WHICH I HAVE THE RIGHT TO, the purple line, transit center, library are all STALLED. The transit center is a project that includes two large mixed use office buildings and that portion of the project is either stalled or shelved right now. YOU EVEN ADMITTED that the economy is not great right now and retailers are waiting out the storm, so guess what that means? That means that retail development has STALLED. You basically are agreeing with me. We are both in agreement that some amazing things are happening like increased population density and higher income people moving in, the fillmore is a GREAT ADDITION to our community. But with this new "tourism" silver spring has, i think regardless of the economy, PROJECTS SHOULD MOVE FASTER THAN THEY ARE CONSIDERING THE AMOUNT OF INCOME/TOURISTS THAT WE HAVE. I love the changes that have occured. But you must be a bit delusional if you think this library is being constructed at a reasonable pace. If you think City Place is being managed well and the whole renewel of it is right on time. If you think the Purple Line is anything better than a fiasco. The Library could have been renovated at the very site that it sits on, but o no, we had to waste all of this money to re-locate it and spend THOUSANDS OF HOURS in meetings debating about a bridge. In my God fearing opinion, THAT CONSTITUES A STALLED PROCESS. A stalled process is that auto repair shop lot thats just now going into auction after years of it being SAT ON. No vacancies on ellsworth? Look again. Some of you seem to be ok with Silver Spring being like northern virginia, A LARGE EXPANSE OF HIGHRISE LUXURY APARTMENTS without sufficient retail to compliment them. Thank you and Goodnight!

Anonymous said...

No, seriously, where is there a vacancy on Ellsworth? Peterson literally has kicking out multiple businesses to make room for other, higher paying businesses. What am I missing (other than the Borders' space which I believe is still a short-term lease, but that's obviously not vacant)?

Library construction is on schedule. The reason it's taking years to be built is because people (like you) were complaining (rightfully or wrongfully) about the cost. Of course it could be built faster if the accepted bid was for a larger crew/faster completion - can't have it both ways. That's not a stalled project in any way, shape, or form. Ditto for PL, which is proceeding as expected. The transit center delays are FP's fault, not MoCo's (except in that MoCo accepted FP's bid, but they're respected enough that you can't really fault MoCo for thinking they'd be able to handle the project).

Sincerely,

The guy who hopes Society is badass

Anonymous said...

Also, the library construction schedule is EXACTLY as Montgomery County said it would be the day they broke ground. They specifically said it would take more than a year for all of the utility relocation and that actual library construction wouldn't start until early spring 2012. Now, it did take for freaking ever to get to the groundbreaking because, as the last poster hinted, Montgomery County pays a LOT of attention to "the community", who could make molasses go slower if they thought it needed to.

The anonymous who quoted Isayaah

Anonymous said...

nightlife? what nightlife? the nightlife in silver spring is a sad pathetic joke

Anonymous said...

I live in Crescent. I still maintain that yes, the front of the building doesn't help but good food works.

While I'm not a fan of Ghar E, they prove that good food will keep people coming back.

Simply put Skew Works was a disgusting half ass attempt at food. The yelp views were unbelievable: I'm convinced that the people who liked it have never eaten out before outside of the Red Lobster, and Macaroni grill.

And agree with the above about the lack of nightlife in silver spring.

Anonymous said...

I don't know Isayaah (and I haven't posted yet) but I think his main point is that Montgomery County's ridiculous bureaucratic way of doing business is hurting Silver Spring's growth. If that's his main point I completely agree.

We have a nationally recognized music club next to a chicken joint and a cell phone store. That's absurd. There should be bars/restaurants opening up every other week nearby on Colesville. That's not happening because of MoCo's crazy strict liquor laws and anti business environment.

Concerning the transit center - heads need to (but of course won't) roll over this delay. Put the damn thing up and get the buses in there. This upcoming delay in finishing it will be very long if you read news reports on it. The county may sue, which may bring the entire thing to a halt. One person from the county with a clipboard paying attention during construction could have prevented this.

I think Silver Spring is continuing to grow in an incredibly tough time which is a huge victory for all of us that want it to succeed. We need the county to help and not hurt this progress or else things could backslide. Start by loosening up the liquor laws and other red tape so that businesses can open up and thrive.

Anonymous said...

"To all those whining about the Crescents design: What about IKKO sushi. On east/west? Its hidden from the street. Food dead zone. No walking area, no shops all massive ugly buildings. It does fine?"

IKKO is next door to the NOAA buildings and gets a lot of lunchtime business.

Anonymous said...

"No walking area, no shops all massive ugly buildings. It does fine?"

Those "massive ugly buildings" are all full of young, urban professionals with money who like sushi. Ikko is packed during the day for lunch and at night is usually full either with in house diners or fairly busy for take out.

Also this food area "dead zone" is a 5-7 minute walk to Georgia ave with the increasing options there. Silver Spring is more than Ellsworth, and in fact GA ave is the increasingly the future of the area. Ellsworth is Disney land like,whereas Georgia ave. has the feel of a real urban area.

Anonymous said...

"We have a nationally recognized music club next to a chicken joint and a cell phone store. That's absurd. There should be bars/restaurants opening up every other week nearby on Colesville. That's not happening because of MoCo's crazy strict liquor laws and anti business environment. "

THIS.

Anonymous said...

"Also this food area "dead zone" is a 5-7 minute walk to Georgia ave with the increasing options there. Silver Spring is more than Ellsworth, and in fact GA ave is the increasingly the future of the area. Ellsworth is Disney land like,whereas Georgia ave. has the feel of a real urban area "

Ummm, how far was Skew Works from Georgia Avenue?

Anonymous said...

Wha wha wha? That "chicken joint" rocks. All the food offerings on Colesville are real good. That said, hell yes I want skid row to stop looking so skid-like and for bars to move into the cell phone stores.

Anonymous said...

"Ummm, how far was Skew Works from Georgia Avenue?"

Not that far but ummmm the food was disgusting. I'm not one of the anon's that complained about its location. Probably not the best but it didn't close because of that. It closed because the food was terrible, like 99 percent of restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Not that far but ummmm the food was disgusting. I'm not one of the anon's that complained about its location. Probably not the best but it didn't close because of that. It closed because the food was terrible, like 99 percent of restaurants."

Thats been my point all along. I live in Crescent. It doesn't have the people that IKKO does as captive audiences? Fine. It still has a ton of people, theres a friggin garage right there. If the food is better than sub par crap, something there will work.

That said: how the hell are those ghetto red lobsters and getto Macaroni grills still in business?

And while the chicken joint rocks, next to a seedy clothes store, more hair cut joints, boarded up stores, and cell phone stores in a nasty strip mall where EVERYTHING (including the food choices) closes at 9pm or 10pm far before the concert let out: you have an embarrassment of an area around the concert venue.

Anonymous said...

The point of the county bringing the Fillmore to that strip was to revitalize it. Don't worry - I'm sure the good stores will last and the crappy stores will be pushed out by the higher rents the area can now command. Doesn't magically happen over night, but it will inevitably happen.

Anonymous said...

If they really want to revitalize things: CHANGE THE STUPID LIQUOR LAWS. Support bars and nightlife.

Also: Learn to zone and plan.

Vagrarian said...

Yup...it's amazing that people gripe about the lack of bars and nightlife, but the real problem is MoCo's liquor laws that don't allows bars to be opened. To be a bar you have to have most of your income from food sales (I forget the exact percentage). The reason there aren't bars in Silver Spring is the same reason there aren't bars anywhere in Montgomery County: the liquor laws.

Anonymous said...

Vagarian:

there are bars and a nightlife in bethesda

Bethesda on weekends (union jacks etc) is far more crowded and vibrant than anything in Silver Spring.

I think a lot of it is the type of people the area attracts.

Vagrarian said...

And that's the point of the Fillmore and other things like that. Let's not mince words, DTSS was a dump and a war zone for a long time. It's improved remarkably in the last 10 years but Bethesda's trendy areas have been around much longer. Things take time, we can't have Bethesda's level of "bars and nightlife" overnight. Honestly, I'm sick of seeing people whine about how DTSS's "bars and nightlife" scene isn't what they feel it should be. You don't like it? Get a business license and start your own bar and improve things. Be proactive!

Anonymous said...

Vagarian:

Unfortunately I think it's not just opening a bar up.

I live in the Crescent and if you look at a space like Mcgintys, the upstairs I mean: it should be packed. it should be vibrant and fun but it never is.

The Galaxy pool hall could be nice but it's filled with seedy drug dealers and tons of fights. You cannot bring a woman in there at night because she will be heckled.

Look at Austin Grill? Compare the scene and the "nightlife" of the one in Rockville to the one we have on a Friday night.

To me, this is not a product of the bars themselves but the people and the type of people the area attracts. So opening up a new bar, may not unfortunately do any good.

I think for now, Silver Spring attracts a very different crowd: some would argue that it's primarily families, others would argue that its multicultural, others would say its a diverse socioeconomic crowd.

But none of those things should automatically preclude a good nightlife.

Anonymous said...

And I think the best form of proactive is probably to start a protest/citizens actions group to get the liquor laws in Montgomer county changed.

We are not living in some burb of Tennesse and I don't appreciate my social life being impacted by archaic Christian laws.

Anonymous said...

"Bethesda is more aesthetically pleasing to PEDESTRIANS."

In the area of Bethesda Ave and Elm, but not up in the triangle between Wisconsin and Old Georgetown.

Anonymous said...

Really? I'm always surprised how full Austin Grill is. It's like THE place to be for 21-35 y/o black people, based on the couple of times I've found myself there (I've only been there as a last resort when trying to watch a game and every other place in DTSS is already packed).

Anonymous said...

hmmm, guess I'm never there because I'm not black. Lol.

But that being said, I don't mind a black crowd, I just never thought young people went there. Just ridiculously older people that probably should not be as drunk as they are.

Anonymous said...

*slow claps* It's amazing what people will say when behind the guise of anonymity.

Anonymous said...

What? I sure hope you're not taking my observation that AG seems to be "THE place to be for 21-35 y/o black people" as something negative.

Anonymous said...

oh, time to slow clap if people tend to not hang out with certain crowds. Whatever. I don't really have any issue with the type of people, I just havent observed closely enough.

It just seemed seedy from the outside. For the record I enjoy quite a few black clubs in DC that are not seedy and grimey like Austin Grill is.

Patrick Thornton said...

If you are complaining about a lack of activity in bars in SS, it's probably because you haven't looked beyond Ellsworth. The two best bars in the DTSS area are by far Quarry House Tavern (which is usually completely packed) and Jackie's Sidebar. Two of the best bars you'll find in the DC region. The first is a laid back intentional hole in the wall and the other is a nice martini bar.

Yes, wouldn't it be nice if McGinty's was more packed, but that will come in time when more housing near Ellsworth comes online. It was a mistake not building apartments above Ellsworth (or turning City Place into housing), but there are a lot of units coming on line in DTSS this year and next. That will add thousands of urban people to the area who will want to go out and be merry.

And not to anger anyone, but there would probably be more 20-30 something people on Ellsworth on weekends if there weren't so many tweens and teens hanging around, often being obnoxious. Add in that Peterson insights on blasting crappy music, making it unenjoyable to sit outside much of the time. But Ellsworth will get better as more apartments, condos and townhouses near it come on line. If City Place could ever been redone into something nice and urban, all of that area would take off.

Hopefully Skid Row will revitalize with a nice bar or two on that street. I'd hate for that street to be the only exposure to DTSS an outsider has. Besides The Fillmore and Ray's, that's a pretty bleak area.

Change will come in time. Until then, I highly suggest you check out QHT or Jackie's. I know I will be this weekend.

Anonymous said...

"Besides The Fillmore and Ray's, that's a pretty bleak area."

I'd have to add AFI which is the best movie watching experience I've ever had, and that includes several years living in L.A. and NY. Other than that I completely agree with your post Patrick, especially the high praise for GA Ave. bars Quarry and Jackies Sidebar. I wish FS1 wasn't such a dud though.

The only time I go on Ellsworth is if I'm really craving Chipotle or... yeah that's it now that Borders is gone.

Patrick Thorntonq said...

@Anon,

AFI is a treat too. I wasn't counting that because it was across the street, but it probably should count. With AFI and the Fillmore that block could really shine in a few years. They just need to get the other stuff around it better. As a SS resident, I know to hit up QHT before a Fillmore show, but people from outside the area probably won't know that and may get a bad impression of SS based on what's around the Fillmore.

Honestly, that same block should have a really good bar to compliment the music crowd. The area could really use another good bar, because as more people are moving in, the few good ones are getting really crowded.

I agree on FS1. I keep going back hoping that it will live up to its promise, but it doesn't. Besides drinking beer with a large group, which FS1 can do well, it's not anything special. I haven't been there in awhile, and it's really hard to justify going there when so many other really good places are close by.

Anonymous said...

I'm confident that bars will startup on skid row in years to come. It's such a "duh" idea that someone is sure to take the plunge. Anyone know if Kao Thai is done with their expansion on skid row yet? Didn't seem like it last time I was on the block. Agree with everyone else that Sidebar and QH are amazing (not that they're that hidden - both make every "top bar" list i see for the DC area). FS1 basically gutted their very solid happy hour so now there is zero reason to go there. Such a shame. Somehow there are always people in there, so I'm not confident that it'll see the need to change itself for the better anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

I have to ask..what's FS1?

Patrick Thornton said...

Fire Station 1. It's a restaurant and bar that was made from an old firehouse. Cool concept, but the food doesn't match up to what it could be. The interior could be better too.

Anonymous said...

You know what area has incredible potential to have cool apartments/lofts/condos? Along Selim Rd (it runs between Jackie's and 410, parallel to the tracks). Currently it's just a bunch of semi-warehouse kinds of buildings and car-repair shops). If you havne't walked/rideden through there, check it out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:50

I am always telling my wife the same thing. I was thinking, in addition to condos and a cool restaurant/bar, a nice bike shop could take over one of the garage storefronts. This would make a ton of sense sense the Metropolitian Branch Trail will someday run right along that stretch of warehouses. Unfortunately I don't have any money to start any business ventures nor will I be living here long enough to see the forces at be actually extend the trail down that far.

Anonymous said...

QHT is usually packed but since when I sidebar packed? That place is a ghost town.

Also both places have the exact same vibe.

Face it, there are no normal functioning regular bars in this area. It is however a hipster bar paradise (QHT and Sidebar)

Anonymous said...

If QH is a hipster bar, what does a non-hipster bar look like? Are you talking about a sports bar or what? You keep saying the same damn thing over and over again month after month and I'm pretty sure no one understands what you're trying to say about hipsters and yuppies (you use the words interchangeably because you don't actually know what you're talking about).

And no, the vibes are completely different - like you said, QH is packed tables, jukebox, and high tempo while Sidebar is spread out sofas, no music, and relaxed.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing to contribute to this discussion, but though it important that a blog posting about silver spring got 90 comments. yay, congratulations to me I'm number 90! Can we get it to 100? The winner gets his/her choice of one of these fantastic signs: "leave the zone alone", "no train on wayne", "build the library bridge", or "Santorum 2012!"

Anonymous said...

LOL, post #90 is pretty epic.

Patrick Thornton said...

I was at Sidebar last Friday from around 6:15-8:15 and it was packed the entire time. It was so packed that the staff was overwhelmed. Sometimes there are less people there, but last Friday was incredibly busy, and I've seen it busy before. It's a real gem. Not many bars like it.

Anonymous said...

I think you're confusing me with another poster anon.

But yes a few sports bars that were not like Babes would be nice.

Have YOU ever tried to go to Babes?

As for QHT, I personally do really enjoy the place but it does have a hipster vibe. I can't speak for anyone who thinks that place is "yuppie". I would think of Bethesda when I think of "yuppie" not Silver Spring.

Anonymous said...

Check oout this happening silver spring nightlife!!!:

http://www.babessportsbars.com/apps/photos/album?albumid=11944260

Anonymous said...

Heck yeah, I totally hit up sports bars to get my grove on.

Vagrarian said...

I'm surprised to see people calling Sidebar a "ghost town." I like going there and it's always been fairly busy, and sometimes jam-packed. Ghost town? No way, unless in order to not be a ghost town it has to be deafeningly noisy and so crowded you're not sure whose drink you're imbibing, and that's if you were lucky enough to fight your way to the bar.

Sligo said...

There are lots of ghosts.

Anonymous said...

Sidebar is quite packed some of the time and quite empty during some non-peak hours. I'm fine with both vibes and the food/cocktails are second to none.

Anonymous said...

I also go to the sports bars for saturday nightlife.

Anonymous said...

And post twice to get the post count up to 100. 100!!!!!!!!!!!

Isayaah Parker said...

I really wish someone would go with me to Jackies as I have never been. Quarry House is way too crowded for my taste, I can't even hear myself think in there. Good tater tots but It's just not my scene. I think we should all continue this discussion at Jackies Sidebar!

Anonymous said...

I mean i visit once in while but always empty. Silver Spring is such a social black hole of suck.

Find me a bar with at least some attractive girls to watch. Is that too much to ask? good lord. It's like the Cantina from star wars around here.

Sligo said...

I think this post has more commenters than Skew Works ever had customers.

Anonymous said...

unlike skew works' food, this conversation is not expensive and shitty.