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Miscellaneous

Best Of winners database

Every winner since the inception of the Blade readers’ poll in 2001

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2001

Best brunch
Readers — Gabriel
Editors — Perry’s

Best overall dining
Readers — Annie’s
Editors — Mimi’s American Bistro

Best dessert
Readers — Marvelous Market
Editors — Sweetlicks Ice Cream Shoppe and Cafe

Best value
Readers — Trio
Editors — El Tamarindo

Most romantic
Readers — Two Quail
Editors — The Inn at Little Washington

Most trendy
Readers — Laurio Plaza
Editors — Thaiphoon

Tried and true
Readers — Cafe Luna
Editors — Duplex Diner

Best dance club
Readers — Nation
Editors — Badlands

Best country bar
Readers — Remington’s
Editor’s — Sheridan’s 1874 Old West Steakhouse

Best lesbian bar
Readers — Hung Jury
Editors — Phase 1

Best neighborhood pub
Readers — Townhouse Tavern
Editors — Mr. Henry’s on Capitol Hill

Best happy hour
Readers — JR’s
Editors — Hamburger Mary’s/Titan

Best leather bar
Readers/editors — D.C. Eagle

Best drag show
Readers — Ziegfeld’s
Editors — Feygele Feud

Most interesting crowd
Readers — JR’s
Editors — Club Chaos

Best place to meet people
Readers — JR’s
Editors — The Fireplace

Best DJ
Readers — Michelle Miruski
Editors — Scott Henry

Best bartender
Readers — J.J. Engbert (Annie’s)
Editors — Andreas Ocando (Omega)

Best drag queen
Readers — Lena Lett
Editors — Xavier Onasis Bloomingdale

Best drag king
Readers — Hunter
Editors — Ken Las Vegas

Local hero male
Readers — Frank Kameny
Editors — Phil Pannell

Local hero female
Readers — Annie Kaylor
Editors — Susan Hester

Up and coming local businessperson
Readers — Peter Alexas (Annie’s)
Editors — Rocky Scott (Rocky’s Cafe)

Dynamic couple
Readers — Elizabeth Birch and Hilary Rosen
Editors — Steve Gunderson and Rob Morris

Committed activist — female
Readers — Kathleen DeBold
Editors — Cheryl Spector

Committed activist — male
Readers — Wayne Turner
Editors — Carl Schmid

Best coffeeshop
Readers — Xando Cosi
Editors — Soho Coffee and Tea

Best gym
Readers — Results
Editors — The Fitness Company

Best bookstore
Readers — Lambda Rising
Editors — Kramerbooks & Afterwords
Honorable mention — Sisterspace and Books

Best video store
Readers — Washington Video
Editors — Video Americain

Best art gallery
Readers — Corcoran Gallery of Art
Editors — Kitchen

Best clothing store
Readers — universal Gear
Editors — The Leather Rack

Best theater
Readers — Studio Theatre
Editors — Source Theatre Company

Local artist
Readers — Nicolas Shi
Editors — Sonda Tamarr Allen

Local musician
Readers — Mary Chapin Carpenter
Editors — Arthur Loves Plastic

2002

Best brunch
Readers— Gabriel
Editors — Perry’s

Best overall
Readers — Annie’s
Editor’s — Mercury Grill

Best dining value
Readers — Hamburger Mary’s
Editors — Pepper’s

Most romantic
Readers — Two Quail

Best trendy
Readers — Foodbar DC
Editors — Thaiphoon

Tried and true
Readers — Lauriol Plaza
Editors — Duplex Diner

Best late night
Readers — The Diner

Best dessert
Readers — Afterwards

Virginia restaurant
Readers — Freddie’s Beach Bar

Maryland restaurant
Readers — Cheesecake Factory

Best dance club
Readers — Nation
Editors — Badlands

Best country bar
Readers — Remington’s
Editors — Sheridan’s 1874 Old West Steakhouse

Best neighborhood bar
Readers — JR’s
Editors — Polly’s Cafe

Best lesbian bar
Readers — Phase 1

Best leather bar
Readers — D.C. Eagle

Best happy hour
Readers — JR’s

Best drag show
Readers — Ester Goldberg’s Big Show
Editors — Ella Fitzgerald and the Ladies of Illusion at Zeigfeld’s

Most interesting crowd
Readers/Editors — Lizard Lounge

Best place to meet men
Readers — Cobalt
Editors — 30 Degrees

Best place to meet women
Readers — Liquid Ladies

Best live music
Readers — 9:30 Club
Editors — The Black Cat

Best gimmick
Readers — Feygele Feud at JR’s
Editors — Shirtless Thursdays at Green Lantern

Best Virginia bar
Readers — Freddie’s

Best Maryland bar
Readers — The Hippo

Best theater
Readers — Studio Theatre
Editors — Cherry Red

Best art gallery
Readers — The Phillips Collection

Local hero male
Readers — David Catania
Editors — Brett Parsons

Local hero female
Readers — Eleanor Holmes NOrton
Editors — Carlene Cheatam

Committed activist: male
Readers — Blake Humphreys
Editors — Rick Rosendall

Committed activist
Readers — Kathleen DeBold
Editors — Ellen Kahn

Best drag queen
Readers — Lena Lett
Editors — Aubrey

Best DJ
Readers — Wess
Editors — DJ Kostas

Best bartender
Readers — Reggie Tyson (Nation)
Editors — Mike Ferens (Badlands)

Best drag king
Readers/editors — Ken Las Vegas

Best committed transgender activist
Readers pick — Earline Budd
Editors — Riki Wilchins

Best coffee shop
Readers — Xando/Cosi
Editors — Sparky’s Cafe

Best gym
Readers — Results (Dupont Circle)
Editors — Results (Capitol Hill)

Best bookstore
Readers — Lambda Rising
Editors — Kramerbooks & Afterwords

Best video store
Readers — Empire Video

Best clothing store
Readers — Abercrombie & Fitch
Editors — Universal Gear

Best music store
Readers — Melody Music
Editors — DCCD

Most effective non-profit
Readers — Whitman-Walker Clinic
Editors — The Mautner Project

Best spot to cruise
Readers — Dupont Circle
Editors — Whole Foods

2003

Best overall restaurant
Readers — Lauriol Plaza
Editors — 15 RIA

Brunch
Readers/editors — Perry’s

Dessert
Readers — Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe
Editors — Cake Love/Love Cafe

Value
Readers — Duplex
Editors — Mr. Henry’s

Most romantic
Readers — Two Quail
Editors — Russia House

Most trendy
Readers — Health Bar
Editors — Helix Lounge

Best late night
Readers/editors — The Diner

Pizza
Readers/editors — Pizzeria Paradiso

Tried and true
Readers/editors — Annie’s

Dance club
Readers/editors — Velvet Nation

Country bar
Readers/editors — Remington’s

Lesbian bar
Readers/editors — Phase 1

Neighborhood pub
Readers — JR’s
Editors — Polly’s Cafe

Happy hour
Readers — JR’s
Editors — 30 Degrees

Leather
Readers/editors — D.C. Eagle

Drag show
Readers/editors — Ziegfeld’s

Most interesting crowd
Readers/editors — Lizard Lounge

Best place to meet men
Readers — Cobalt
Editors — Green Lantern

Best place to meet women
Readers — Mautner Project dinner
Editors — Between Friends

Live music
Readers/editors — 9:30 Club

Special night
Readers/editors — Club Five “Mass”

Maryland bar
Readers — The Hippo
Editors — Grand Central

Virginia bar
Readers/editors — Freddie’s Beach Bar

DJ
Readers — Rob Harris
Editors — Ed Bailey

Bartender
Readers/editors — Mike Izeta (JR’s)

Drag king
Readers/editors — Ken Las Vegas

Drag queen
Readers — Aubrey
Editors — Ella Fitzgerald

Local hero male
Readers — Frank Kameny
Editors — Paul Smith

Local hero female
Readers — Eleanor Holmes Norton
Editors — Esther Katzman

Businessperson
Readers — Richard Zapata
Editors — Ron Henderson

Dynamic couple
Readers/editors — Deb Price and Joyce Murdoch

Committed activist
Readers — Wayne Turner
Editors — Mark Meinke

Committed activist female
Readers/editors — Elizabeth Birch

Committed transgender activist
Readers — Jessica Xavier
Editors — Mara Keisling

Straight ally male
Readers — Mayor Anthony Williams
Editors — Rev. John Bryson Chane

Straight ally female
Readers/editors — Carol Schwartz

Coffeeshop
Readers — Caribou
Editors — Sparky’s Espresso Cafe

Gym
Readers/editors — Results

Bookstore
Readers/editors — Lambda Rising

Video store
Readers — Empire Video
Editors — Video Americain

Music store
Readers/editors — Melody Record Shop

Clothing store
Readers — Universal Gear
Editors — Pop

Non-profit
Readers — Food & Friends
Editors — The Mautner Project

Spot to cruise
Readers — Dupont Circle
Editors — Whole Foods

House of worship
Readers — Metropolitan Community Church of Washington
Editors — National City Christian Church

College or university
Readers — George Washington University
Editors — American University

Art gallery
Readers — Phillips Collection
Editors — Art-O-Matic

Movie theater
Readers — Loew’s Georgetown 14
Editors — Landmark Bethesda Row

Theater
Readers/Editors — Shakespeare Theatre

Theater company
Readers/editors — Cherry Red

Artist
Readers — Nicholas Shi
Editors — Gordon Binder

Musician
Readers/editors — Outskirts of Town

2004

Best overall restaurant
Readers — Lauriol Plaza
Editors — David Greggory Restau Lounge

Brunch
Readers — Gabriel
Editors — Cashion’s Eat Place

Ethnic
Readers — Thaiphoon
Editors — White Tiger

Vegetarian
Readers/editors — Vegetable Garden

Best value
Readers — Chipotle
Editors — The Cafe Menu at Palena’s

Dessert
Readers — Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe
Editors — Cold Stone Creamery

Most trendy
Readers — Komi
Editors — Firefly

Late night
Readers — Annie’s
Editors — Sette Osteria

Best new restaurant
Readers — Rice
Editors — Palette

Tried and true
Readers — Annie’s
Editors — Duplex Diner

Most romantic
Readers — Two Quail
Editors — Obelisk

Best dance club
Readers — Velvet Nation
Editors — Cobalt

Best lesbian bar
Readers/editors — Phase 1

Best lesbian night
Readers — Liquid Ladies
Editors — Merge

Neighborhood pub
Readers — JR’s
Editors — Duplex Diner

Happy hour
Readers — JR’s
Editors — Helix

Best drag show
Readers — Ziegfeld’s
Editors — Chaos

Best place to meet men
Readers — JR’s
Editors — Apex

Best place to meet women
Readers/editors — Liquid Ladies

Most interesting/diverse crowd
Readers/editors — Lizard Lounge

Best special night/party
Readers — Excursion Tea Dance
Editors — Taint

Best Maryland or Virginia bar
Readers — Freddie’s Beach Bar
Editors — The Hippo

Best new bar/club
Readers/editors — Halo

Local non-profit
Readers — Whitman-Walker Clinic
Editors — Equality Fairfax

Bookstore
Readers — Lambda Rising
Editors — Candida’s World of Books

House of worship
Readers — Foundry United Methodist
Editors — Bet Mishpachah

Theater
Readers — Signature Theatre
Editors — Arena Stage

Coffeeshop
Readers — Caribou
Editors — Sparky’s

Gym
Readers — Results
Editors — Body Smith

Video store
Readers — Empire Video
Editors — Netflix

Clothing store
Readers — Universal Gear
Editors — Commander Salamander

Movie theater
Readers — Loews Georgetown 14
Editors — Landmark E Street Cinema

Music store
Readers/editors — Melody Record Shop

Best spot to cruise
Readers — 17th Street
Editors — Whole Foods

Local hero male
Readers — David Catania
Editors — Adrien Alstad

Local hero female
Readers — Cheryl Jacques
Editors — Janet Miller-Jenkins

Best straight ally
Readers — Carol Schwartz
Editors — Sam Brooks

Drag performer
Readers — Cookie Buffet
Editors — Ella Fitzgerald

Local businessperson
Readers — Eric Hirschfield
Editors — Ron Henderson

Best DJ
Readers — Rob Harris
Editors — DJ Wess

Best bartender
Readers — Mike Izeta (JR’s)
Editors — Darren Phillips (Logan Tavern/Lizard Lounge)

2005

Best new restaurant
Readers: Merkado Kitchen
Editors: Hank’s Oyster Bar

Most romantic
Readers: Two Quail
Editors: Grill from Ipanema

Best Vegetarian
Readers: Mark’s Kitchen
Editors: Great Sage

Best ethnic
Readers: Rice
Editors: W Domku Bar & Cafe

Best brunch
Readers: Annie’s
Editors: Logan Tavern

Best dessert
Readers: Kingsbury Chocolates
Editors: Kramerbooks

Tried and true
Readers: Annie’s
Editors: Duplex

Best value
Readers: Lauriol Plaza
Editors: Coppi’s

Best late night
Readers: The Diner
Editors: Annie’s

Best dance club
Readers: Apex
Editors: Velvet Nation

Best lesbian bar
Readers/editors: Phase 1

Best lesbian night
Readers: Chaos Wednesdays
Editors: A Different Kind of Ladies Night

Neighborhood pub
Readers: JR’s
Editors: Duplex Diner

Happy hour
Readers: Halo
Editors: 30 Degrees

Drag show
Readers: Ziegfeld’s
Editors: D.C. Kings

Place to meet men
Readers: Cobalt
Editors: D.C. Eagle

Place to meet women
Readers: Mautner Project Gala
Editors: Liquid Ladies

Most interesting/diverse crowd
Readers: Halo
Editors: Fuego

Best special night/party
Readers: Cobalt’s flashback
Editors: Taint

Best suburban bar
Readers: Freddie’s
Editors: De Lounge

Best DJ
Readers: Jason Royce
Editors: Rob Harris

Local male hero
Readers: Robert York
Editors: Phil Pannell

Local female hero
Readers: Kathleen DeBold
Editors: Wanda Alston (posthumous)

Straight ally
Readers: Adrian Fenty
Editors: Revs. Dennis and Christine Wiley (Covenant Baptist Church)

Best bartender
Readers/editors: Mike Harrington

Local businessperson
Readers: Rob Kingsbury
Editors: Mike Weber

Drag performer
Readers/editors: Ella Fitzgerald

Best non-profit/activist group
Readers: Mautner Project
Editors: Equality Maryland

House of worship
Readers: MCC-DC
Editors: Unity of Washington

Best movie theater
Readers: Landmark E Street
Editors: AFI Silver

Best theater
Readers: Studio Theatre
Editors: Shakespeare Theatre Co.

Coffeeshop
Readers: Caribou
Editors: Sparky’s Cafe

Best gym
Readers: Results
Editors: Bodysmith Personal Training

Clothing store
Readers: Universal Gear
Editors: Pop

Bookstore
Readers: Lambda Rising
Editors: Candida’s World of Books

Music shop
Readers/editors: Melody Records

Best video store
Readers: The Video Rack
Editors
Video Americain

Best spot to cruise
Readers: Dupont Circle
Editors: 14th Street

2006

Best new restaurant
Busboys and Poets

Most romantic
Two Quail

Best brunch
Shi-Queeta’s Illusion Champagne Brunch at Onyx

Best vegetarian
Asylum

Best dessert
Afterward’s Cafe

Best late night
Annie’s

Best ethnic
Thai Tanic

Tried and true
Annie’s

Best pizza
2 Amy’s

Best dance club
Apex

Best drag show
Bachelor’s Mill

Best lesbian bar
Phase 1

Best Maryland bar
The Hippo

Best Virginia bar
Freddie’s Beach Bar

Best place to meet women:
A Different Kind of Ladies Night

Best neighborhood bar
Best place to meet men
Best happy hour
Halo

Best women’s clothing store
Meeps

Best spa
The Grooming Lounge

Best place to take a first date
L’Enfant Cafe

Best hair salon
Bang

Best gym
Results

Best day trip
Great Falls

Best home decorating store
Go Mama Go!

Best men’s clothing store
Universal Gear

Best bookstore
Lambda Rising

Best house of worship
MCC-DC

Best cruise spot
Dupont Circle

Best video store
The Video Rack

Best live music venue
9:30 Club

Best place to take mom
The National Portrait Galler

Best non profit
HRC

Best music store
Melody Record Shop

Best theater company
Actors Theatre of Washington

Best movie theater
Landmark E Street

Local hero female
Darlene Nipper

Local hero male
Brett Parson

Best DJ
Jason Royce

Best bartender
Mike Harrington (Apex)

Straight ally
Carol Schwartz

Best businessperson
Mike Fine with Tax Masters

Best drag performer
Shi-Queeta-Lee

2007

Best new restaurant
Jack’s

Best vegetarian
Vegetate

Best Indian
Indique

Best dessert
Kramerbooks

Best brunch
Beacon Bar and Grill

Best late night
Best steakhouse
Annie’s

Best romantic
Two Quail

Best thai
Thai Tanic

Best wine list
Hank’s Oyster Bar

Best dance club
Apex

Best Virginia bar
Freddie’s Beach Bar

Best lesbian bar
Phase 1

Best happy hour
Best neighborhood bar
Best place to meet men
Halo

Best Maryland bar
The Hippo

Best karaoke
Mama’s Trailer Park at Remington’s

Best drag show
Chit’s The Bowled & the Beautiful

Best dance party
Best place to meet women
Girl Confidential

Best gay-friendly straight bar
Republic Gardens

Best theater company
Studio Theatre

Best social Club
BeBar

Best day trip
Tie: Rehoboth Beach/Philadelphia

Best live music venue
9:30 Club

Best place to take mom
The Kennedy Center

Best women’s clothing
H&M

Best bookstore
Lambda Rising

Best home decorating store
West Elm

Best gym
Results

Best local blog
DCist

Best coffee shop
Soho Tea and Coffee

Best sports team
Washington Renegades

Best non-profit
Food & Friends

Best neighborhood
Logan Circle

Best spa:
Skin: Cosmetic Dermatology of Georgetown

Best hair salon
Blondie’s Spa/Salon

Best house of worship
MCC-DC

Best men’s clothing store
Universal Gear

Best movie theater
Landmark’s E Street

Best drag queen
Queen Bambi

Best abs
Harold Sanco

Local female hero
Cheryl Spector

Best lesbian actress
Holly Twyford

Best gay actor
Will Gartshore

Best DJ
Jason Royce

Local hero
Best straight ally
Adrian Fenty

Best gay politician
David Catania

Best drag king
E-Clef

Best bartender
Brian Sparrow (Cobalt)

Best businessperson
Mike Fine (Tax Masters)

2008

Best bakery
Tie: Firehook/Cake Love

Best brunch
Best non-D.C. bar
Best date restaurant
Freddie’s Beach Bar

Best burger
Five Guys

Best new restaurant
Cork

Best dessert/sweet shop
Gerogetown Cupcake

Best food store
Whole Foods

Best Indian restaurant
Tandoori Nights

Best late night
Best steak dinner
Annie’s

Best Thai restaurant
Mai Thai

Best wine/liquor
Bin 66

Best dance club
Best place to meet men
Best dance party
Best drag show
Town Danceboutique

Best lesbian nightlife event/bar
Best place to meet women
Phase 1

Best happy hour
Halo

Best cocktail
Mojito at Halo

Best live music
9:30 Club

Best neighborhood bar
JR’s

Most welcoming straight bar
Jack’s

Best pet retail
PetSmart

Best home furnishings
Go Mama Go!

Best theater company
Ganymede Arts

Best gay actor
Jeffrey Johnson

Best cosmetic treatment facility/spa
Skin Cosmetic Dermatology of Georgetown

Best sports team
Washington Renegades

Best hotel
Hotel Palomar

Best social club
Tie: The Academy of Washington/Capital Area Rainbowlers Association

Best art gallery
National Gallery of Art

Best auto retailer
Saturn of Alexandria

Best clothing store
Universal Gear

Best bookstore
Lambda Rising

Best local blog
DCist

Best movie theater
Landmark E Street

Best museum
Newseum

Best nearby getaway
Rehoboth Beach

Best non profit
Food & Friends

Best vet
Colonial Animal Hospital

Best gym
Results

Best house of worship
MCC-DC

Best cleaning service
A Cleaning Service, Inc.

Best weekend getaway
Guest House at Lost River

Best lawn care company
Branches Tree Experts

Best drag king
Xavier Bottoms

Best drag queen
Blair Michaeils

Best personal trainer
Mike Everts at FIT

Best DJ
DJ Wess (Town)

Best real estate pro
Bryan Talbott at Esquire Federal City

Best business person
Michael Fine at Tax Masters

Best local artist
Seroya

Local hero female
Carol Schwartz

Best hairstylist
Bryan Smith (Blondie’s)

Local hero male
Ed Bailey

Best straight ally
Jack Evans

Best bartender
Kymmr Barker (Freddie’s Beach Bar)

2009

Best dessert/sweets shop
Cake Love

Best hotel bar
Point of View at the W Hotel

Best new restaurant
Level One

Best brunch
Beacon Bar & Grill

Best wine bar
Cork

Best late night
The Diner

Best date restaurant
The Melting Pot

Best vegetarian
Vegetate

Best specialty cocktails
Halo

Best dance club
Town

Most gay-friendly straight bar
Black Cat

Best out-of-the-District bar:
Freddie’s Beach Bar

Best happy hour
JR’s

Best neighborhood bar/place to meet men
Nellie’s

Best place to meet women:
Phase 1

Best drag show
Ziegfeld’s/Secrets

Best lesbian nightlife event
Bare at Cobalt

Best theater
Studio Theatre

Best bookstore
Kramerbooks

Best hotel
W Hotel

Best art gallery
National Portrait Gallery

Best museum
National Gallery of Art

Best non-profit
Whitman-Walker

Best social club
Burgundy Crescent

Best sports team
D.C. Aquatics Club

Best home furnishings
IKEA

Best live music venue
9:30 Club

Best food store
Trader Joe’s

Best weekend getaway
Hotel Rehoboth

Gest gym
VIDA

Best auto retailer
BMW of Arlington

Best pet retailer
Dogs by Day

Best vet
CityPaws

Best movie theater
Landmark E Street

Best wine/liquor store
Barrel House Liquors

Best house of worship
MCC-DC

Best local blog
DCist

Best cosmetic treatment/spa
Bang Salon

Best clothing store
H&M

Local hero male
Matt Bamford

Best hairstylist Patrick Guarniere

Local hero female
Eleanor Holmes Norton

Best bartender
Dylan Davis

Best straight ally
Brett Johnson

Best businessperson
Ed Bailey

Best drag king
Xavier Bottoms

Best personal trainer
Mike Everts at FIT

Best attorney
Glen Ackerman

Best local artist
Glenn Fry

Best real estate professional
Mark Rutstein

Best drag queen
Ella Fitzgerald

Best DJ
DJ Wess (Town)

Best actor
John Moletress

2010

Best vegetarian restaurant
The Reef

Best ethnic
Rice

Best dessert
Hello Cupcake

Best hotel bar
POV at the W Hotel

Best brunch
Level One

Best wine bar
Cork

Best plae for food & wifi
Busboys & Poets

Best chef
Allan Javery of Level One

Best date restaurant
Floriana

Best late night
Annie’s

Best dance club
Town

Best out-of-D.C. bar
Freddie’s Beach Bar

Best happy hour
Thursdays at JR’s

Best place to meet men
Cobalt

Best drag show
Ziegfeld’s

Best place to meet women
Phase 1

Best cocktail
Cucumber Ginger Martini (MOVA)

Best gay-friendly straight bar
Cafe St-Ex

Best live music
9:30 Club

Best neighborhood bar
Nellie’s

Best house of worship
MCC-DC

Best movie theater
Landmark E Street

Best home furnishings
Room and Board

Best bookstore
Kramerbooks

Best hotel
The Dupont Hotel

Best art gallery
Gallery planb

Best non-profit
Food & Friends

Best local blog
DCist

Best spa
Bliss

Best place to get married
Hillwood Estate

Best wedding registry
Crate & Barrel

Best clothing store
Universal Gear

Best gym
Vida Fitness

Best theater
Studio Theatre

Best weekend getaway
Rehoboth Beach

Local hero female
Lynda Carter

Local hero male
David Catania

Best drag king
E-Cleff

Best realtor
Mark Rutstein

Best DJ
Chord Bezerra

Best drag queen
Ba’Naka

Best businessperson
David Franco

Best personal trainer
Tyler Sullivan (Vida)

Best gay TV personality
Tie — Roby Chavez/Paul Wharton

Best actor
Jeffrey Johnson

Best straight ally
Phil Hicks

Best Secrets dancer
Christian

Best bartender
Kymmr Barker (Freddie’s)

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. laurelboy2

    October 27, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Where’s Peter Rosenstein???

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Miscellaneous

The evolution of the open house

The more sophisticated the advertising, the more the events flourished

Published

on

From car giveaways in the 1950s to today’s QR codes and virtual events, agents have used diverse strategies to draw buyers to open houses.

In the early 20th century, there were no exclusive agreements between a seller and a real estate agent. Any broker who knew of someone wanting to sell could participate in an “open listing” by planting his sign in the yard of that person and competing with agents from other brokerages who did the same. To the victor who obtained a buyer went the spoils of commission.

The rules began to change in 1919, when being a real estate broker now required a license. An agent might handle only one property at a time exclusively, but an “open for inspection” period could be used to introduce a model home or new community to the buying population. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, Dallas homebuilder, Howdy Howard, hosted one of the most successful open houses of all time in the 1950s. During the first 12 days of the event, an estimated 100,000 people attended, drawn by free sodas and the ultimate prize for the buyer – a new Cadillac.

Soon, brokers began hiring additional agents who could handle multiple properties. Unlike Howard’s marathon open house, agents would now host them for a few hours at a time, usually on a Sunday, to whet the appetite of the buyer pool. 

Classified advertisements with a description of a property would be placed in a local newspaper and potential buyers would review them with their morning coffee to decide which houses to visit later in the day. 

Marketing in newspapers went from a few lines of black and white text to a photo of a home’s exterior, to a multi-page spread that included both photos of houses and the agents who represented them.

The more sophisticated the advertising became, the more the open house flourished as a marketing tool, not only for the home itself, but also for the agent and the brokerage. It allowed agents to prospect for buyers for that home and others, and converse with neighbors who might want to sell their homes as well. 

Soon, the sign-in sheet was born, used by the agent to capture the contact information of a potential client or customer and to let the seller know who had visited his home. While sign-in sheets or cards are still used, some agents have gravitated to electronic applications, using a tablet computer instead of paper for the same purpose.

Fast forward to the early 2000s in D.C., when open houses became the primary source of showing property. An agent would enter a property into the multiple listing service (MLS) on a Thursday, entertain no showings until Saturday, host an open house on Sunday afternoon, and call for offers either Sunday night or Monday. The open house allowed agents to send their buyers rather than accompany them and serve multiple clients at once.  

The delayed showing day strategy referenced above has since been supplanted by the MLS’s Coming Soon status. Agents can now email or text links to upcoming properties to their clients in advance of showing availability and the clients can view photos, read property descriptions and disclosures, and schedule future visits accordingly.

Enter COVID-19. Due to the proliferation of the virus and the subsequent lockdown, the real estate world had to accommodate new public health requirements. 

One of the first things to go was the open house. Even agent showings were constrained, with visitors limited to an agent plus two people and additional requirements for wearing masks and disposable shoe covers and gloves. 

Overlapping appointments were not allowed, showings were limited to 15 to 30 minutes, and bottles of hand sanitizer sprung up on kitchen counters everywhere.

Ultimately, technology and ingenuity provided new marketing avenues for agents that included 3-D virtual open houses, Facetime and Duo viewings, videos, property websites and QR codes. Many of these marketing techniques remain, even though traditional open houses are coming back post-lockdown.

But are they really necessary? Certainly not for all types of properties. 

I believe the days of using a public open house to procure a buyer are limited. Agent security has become a concern and the desire for in-person viewings during a specific day or time has waned. 

On the other hand, Internet marketing and social media have a much wider reach, so much so that some people now feel comfortable buying a home – probably the most expensive item they will ever purchase – without even stepping into it until after closing.

After all, if we can work in sweatpants or pajamas while Zooming corporate meetings, how can naked virtual reality house hunting be far behind?

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

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Miscellaneous

D.C. homebuyers face hyper competitive market

Sellers in driver’s seat as region faces record low inventory

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housing market, gay news, Washington Blade

With job growth rising during a period of aggressive government spending and historically low mortgage rates, the spring 2021 market sits at the lowest level of inventory since 1983.

Homebuyers in the D.C. area continue to face an incredibly competitive market. This is truly a seller’s market.

Lack of Inventory: Washington, D.C. has been in a gradually worsening housing shortage since the Great Recession. The area hasn’t had a six-month supply of homes for sale for almost 12 years. Now, we add a global pandemic that seriously altered what homeowners want out of their home, Wall Street on fire, and insanely low interest rates and we get a surge in motivated homebuyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of homes nationwide reached a record low in December 2020, with just 1.07 million properties on the market. The DC metro area is even worse off than the national average with only one month’s supply of homes. That means if new listings were completely dried up, there would be no homes available in four weeks. On average, D.C. homes have been selling within 11 days, which is 15 days faster than this time in 2020.

Seller’s Market: The time is now for Washington, D.C. homeowners to seriously consider selling their homes if they have played with the idea. Experts predict 2021 will be another strong housing market with an increase in demand from existing homebuyers in search of larger homes and buyers who delayed purchasing a home due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Zillow forecasts a nearly 30 percent annual growth in homes for sale in 2021. This would be the largest home sales growth since 1983. Zillow’s annual report stated, “Home price appreciation will reach its fastest pace since the Great Recession, as the inventory crunch continues to pit buyers against each other, competing for a scarce number of homes for sale.”

D.C.’s Current Market: According to the NAR, in March of 2021, D.C. home prices had increased 4.1% compared to March 2020, for a median price of $635,000. There were 1,004 homes sold in March 2021, an increase from 842 at this time last year.

We are seeing many homes receive multiple offers within just a few days in the D.C. area. The average home is selling a little above 1% of the listing price and many hot homes are seeing large bidding wars and selling for 3% or more above the listing price; 42.7% of D.C. homes sold above list price in March of 2021. That is a 13.4% increase from last year at this time. Active inventory for March of 2021 was 1,457 homes, down 9% from March 2020. March 2021 also saw 991 homes sell in the D.C. area, an increase of 31% from February of 2021. March 2021’s total homes sold had a 19% increase from March 2020.

Buying a Home: In the current seller’s market, buying a home can be like playing a chess match. You need to know the rules and be strategic. It can seem more like winning than purchasing a home right now. If you find a home you want to buy, chances are you won’t be the only one making an offer. It is a seller’s market everywhere in the country right now and D.C. is no different. Be sure you know what you qualify for and what you can afford.

Conclusion: The NAR and the Mortgage Bankers Association both project prices of existing homes to increase 5.9% in 2021. This may mean buyers will have to be more flexible than in the past. For example, making an offer contingent upon the sale of a current home may be harder than before. It’s also possible you will pay more than the list price. The D.C. real estate market is on fire and many homes are off the market within 24 hours of listing. For sellers, if you have been thinking of selling your home there is no better time than the present.

 

Khalil El-Ghoul is Principal Broker for Glass House Real Estate. Reach him at [email protected] or 571-235-4821. Glass House Real Estate is a modern, more affordable way to buy and sell a home in the D.C. Metro area. Learn more about what makes us different at glassshousere.com.

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Miscellaneous

Kick-ass crossovers

Still the hottest vehicles in dealer showrooms

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crossovers, gay news, Washington Blade

Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Crossovers keep wending their way into our driveways—and our hearts. After overtaking sedans, station wagons and minivans as the hottest vehicles in dealer showrooms, crossovers are now taking aim at the most quintessential of American rides: the muscle car. With naughty looks and hepped-up engines, the two dynamite crossovers below are sure to blow your mind—and just maybe your budget.

DODGE DURANGO SRT HELLCAT
$81,000
Mpg: 12 city/17 highway
0 to 60 mph: 3.5 seconds

For more than 20 years, the Dodge Durango has been a solid if nondescript family hauler. But this year the automaker jazzed up its midsize crossover with brawnier styling and the latest tech toys. And for the first time, Dodge is offering a limited-edition Durango SRT Hellcat—a high-test model with the same hellacious Hemi V8 engine in the Challenger super coupe and Charger sport sedan. With 710 horsepower, this blazingly fast crossover can kick some serious ass, outrunning many a Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The upgraded suspension provides more dynamic handling and cornering, as well as selectable steering for better grip. For straight-line acceleration and to prevent nasty fish-tailing, I simply flipped the “launch control” toggle switch. The massive Brembo brakes also were stellar, with stop-on-a-dime performance and flaming red calipers on each wheel. Another plus: the iconic Hellcat exhaust rumble could be heard blocks away—music to the ears of any auto aficionado. As with all Durangos, this bruiser has best-in-class towing capacity of 8,700 pounds.

Inside, there’s plenty of space, including more room than expected for third-row passengers. The steering wheel, dash, and trim accents now have trendy Euro styling, though it’s more VW than upscale Audi. And you can opt for flashy seatbelts and premium seats in a color Dodge calls Demonic Red, along with black velour floor mats and a soft-touch headliner. Other features include heated/ventilated seats, a large 10.1-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone integration and the ability to pair two Bluetooth devices at once. Options include a 19-speaker Harman Kardon stereo and rear-seat entertainment with Blue-Ray player. Alas, this is a limited-edition model and all 2,000 of these speed demons quickly sold out months ago. But there’s still hope: Dodge allocated some of the racy Durangos to select dealerships, so you can call around to see if any are still available. And you can always try social media to find a lucky Durango Hellcat owner who just might be willing to sell this rollicking ride, if the price is right.

LAND ROVER DEFENDER X
$85,000
Mpg: 17 city/22 highway
0 to 60 mph: 5.7 seconds

For decades, both the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover have been ubiquitous in the United States. Not so the smaller and less ostentatious Defender, often seen as a work-horse vehicle in BritBox reruns or action flicks like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. But last year the Defender returned to these shores after nearly a quarter-century hiatus.

Available in two- or four-door models, both Defenders start around $50,000. My test vehicle was the new top-of-the-line Defender X, which added—yikes!—another $35,000 to the sticker price. The look on these crossovers is boxy chic, which allows for a ginormous amount of headroom, legroom and cargo space. Land Rover also added extra stowage areas and cubby holes, as well as transom windows and a sliding panoramic sunroof to keep things airy. While the cabin may be sparse and full of solid plastics, the walnut trim on the center console and door panels is quite elegant.

Land Rovers have a somewhat infamous reputation for less-than-stellar electronics, but the 10-inch touchscreen was crystal clear and synced up seamlessly with the infotainment system. Tricked out with a jet-black roof, hood, and side cladding, the press vehicle I test drove was painted a haughty Eiger Gray Metallic. It also came with thick all-terrain tires, adding to a slightly menacing vibe. A full-size spare is conveniently mounted on the vertical tailgate, which swings completely open like a refrigerator door for easy access. The Defender X may not be as lightning quick as a Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, but it’s still plenty fast. And this brute can tackle the toughest of terrains, thanks to locking differentials, hill-descent control and a standard air suspension that can raise the chassis 11.5 inches above the ground. Overall, the Defender X can’t quite hide its refined roots as a tony Land Rover. But as with the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, this burly crossover flexes some serious muscle.

Land Rover Defender X

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