By ALISON McCUBBIN
“Barracks Row,” “8th Street,” “That Place Where All The Marines Hang Out” — call it whatever you want, just don’t call it boring. Barracks Row, named after the beautiful Marine Barracks that sits on the street among restaurants and shops, is the oldest commercial district in the city. However, it’s only been a couple years now that this area has been considered a “hot spot” for restaurants and local businesses within the city.
Many people that have ventured over to Barracks Row have come for one of Ted’s Bulletin’s famous pop-tarts and stayed for the adult milkshakes. This dangerously delicious combination, along with a classic American menu, won over so many loyal customers that a new location just recently opened up on the 14th Street corridor. Due to its popularity among Capitol Hill dwellers and non-Hill residents alike, you’re almost always guaranteed a bit of a wait for a table. So if you aren’t keen on waiting, Barracks Row offers lots of other dining options and all within a couple blocks.
If you’re feeling lucky, you can walk across the street to Barrack’s Row’s popular Belgian restaurant, Belga Cafe. It’s about as popular as Ted’s Bulletin, but Belga will take reservations, which is highly recommended. With almost a dozen different kinds of waffles, it’s a consistent crowd pleaser that will make you wish someone had told you sooner that stuffing a waffle with crabmeat is actually quite amazing (as is ordering “A Bucket of Bacon”).
But if you’re wanting to try out one of the newer spots on 8th Street, Roses Luxury should absolutely top that list. It’s a restaurant unlike any in the area, with a focus on simple food done to perfection, impeccable service and a romantic ambiance perfect for a date night. But as the snow melts and the coats come off, you might want to enjoy the weather a bit as you dine. And there’s no better place to do this than Pacifico Cantina. Head on up to the rooftop and share a bucket of Coronas as you enjoy the weather, or you can order one of their amazing fish tacos paired with a perfect margarita. Just don’t forget to check out the amazing interior of the bottom floor as you walk out — it definitely deserves a look.
And for those that need to satisfy their sweet tooth, look no further than The Sweet Lobby. As the winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, this boutique sweets shop not only has mind-blowing cupcakes, but they also have macaroons and Madeleines that are absolutely something to write home about.
And for those that would rather cook their five-star meal themselves, there is Hill’s Kitchen. It’s quite unassuming on the outside, but on the inside it’s a dream world for any chef of any level. You name the cooking tool, and they have it – and probably in every color. This boutique even has cookie cutters in the shape of every state (read: easy gift ideas). And for those who are dying to learn the proper way to brûlée some crème, Hill’s Kitchen provides all sorts of cooking classes. And while you’re in the learning mood, you might as well head down the street to DCanter, the area’s new, very chic, wine boutique. It has a great assortment of wines and beers, but also offers classes on clever topics varying from ‘The Grape American Road Trip’ to ‘The Dark Side of Beer’. There are also weekend tastings for those who are looking to switch things up this Saturday.
But with all this bacon and booze consumption, it’s probably a good idea to hit the gym. Look no further than Biker Barre, a boutique fitness studio specializing in spin and barre. This studio has a loyal clientele from all over the DMV that prefers to sweat to a fun beat. Whether you’re sprinting on a bike or “pulsing and tucking” at the barre, Biker Barre will leave you exhausted and sore, but proud you survived it. And if you happen to make it to one of the weekend classes, your hard work is often rewarded with a mimosa before you leave.
But we can’t talk about Barracks Row without mentioning the actual Marine Barracks. Aside from being a beautiful building swarming with handsome marines, it’s also the setting for the Marine Barracks Parade each summer. Every Friday from May to August, The Evening Parade is held at 8:45 p.m. and features a beautiful concert put on by the United States Marine Band. Ticket reservations can be made online, and done so quickly, as it’s a popular event that should not be missed.
As one of D.C.’s oldest and most charming areas, Barracks Row has become an increasingly popular spot for new restaurants and boutiques to set up shop. And as the spring approaches and temperatures start to rise, why not take the opportunity to go check them out (and maybe a few Marines while you’re at it).
Alison McCubbin is a sales associate with the Bediz Group, LLC at Coldwell Banker Dupont. Reach her at 202-642-9445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.