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Best of Gay D.C.: Nightlife

Town, Nellie’s and Freddie’s among favorites again this year

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Town Danceboutique, gay news, Washington Blade, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Dance Club: Town Danceboutique (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Dance Club: Town Danceboutique
2009 8th Street, NW

Karaoke, Freddie's Beach Bar and Grill, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Karaoke Party: Freddie’s Beach Bar weeknights (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best non-D.C. bar & Best Karaoke Party: Freddie’s Beach Bar
555 23rd Street South
Arlington, VA

Nellie's Sports Bar, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Happy Hour: Nellie’s Sports Bar (Washington Blade photo by Pete Exis)

Best Happy Hour: Nellie’s Sports Bar
900 U Street, NW

Ladies of Town, Ba'Naka, Shi-Queeta Lee, Lena Lett, Town Danceboutique, drag show, drag queen, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Drag Show: Ladies of Town (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Drag Show: Ladies of Town

Black Cat, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Gay-Friendly Straight Bar: Black Cat (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Gay-Friendly Straight Bar: The Black Cat
1811 14th Street, NW

Adam Lambert, 9:30 Club, gay news, Washington Blade, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Live Music: the 9:30 Club (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Live Music: 9:30 Club
815 V Street, NW

Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Stripper: Matthew King (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Hottest Stripper: Matthew King
Secrets
1824 Half Street, SW

BARE, LURe, Cobalt, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Women’s Party: BARE by LURe at Cobalt (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Women’s Party & Best Place to Meet Women: BARe by LURe at Cobalt

Bare is a monthly lesbian event happening every third Saturday of the month, presented by the Ladies of LURe at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.), which celebrated its third anniversary this year.

Karen Diehl reached out to Cobalt about holding a party in early 2009, but it wasn’t until that August that things really got moving and two months later, Bare was born.

Bare also has an annual White Party and Pride kick-off party. They’re co-sponsoring “Queer the Vote,” an election night party at the Fillmore Silver Spring (8658 Colesville Rd.)

For more information on Bare and the Ladies of LURe, find the group on Facebook. (JE)

Bare
Cobalt
1639 R St., N.W.

Best Neighborhood Bar: Larry’s Lounge

Upstairs, downstairs or on the patio, it doesn’t matter where you sit, Larry’s Lounge is still our favorite neighborhood bar where you can comfortably get together with a group of friends, relax and have a drink. And when the weather is nice, the patio offers great opportunities to people and traffic watch.

Almost every night, Larry’s offers drink specials on already low drink prices. Most nights you can grab an Absolut for about $5. This low-key establishment opens its doors to everybody for either a quick drink or a night relaxing with friends. (JH)

Larry’s Lounge
1836 18th Street NW
202-483-1483

Best Men’s Party: Mixtape

For anyone who hasn’t danced the night away to one of their eclectic set lists, Mixtape is the gay and straight-friendly alternative dance party that is taking D.C. by storm. The monthly dance party generally takes place on the second Saturday of each month. It’s hosted by gay DJs Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer.

Bailer and Van Horn play an eclectic mix of electro, alt-pop, indie rock, house, disco, new wave and anything else audiences want to dance to. Set lists and samplers are available on their website.

Their nomadic queer dance party has been venue hopping all over D.C. since September 2008. In recent months, they’ve been spending a lot of time at Town and The Black Cat, but they’ll be mixing things up for Halloween. They’re hosting a spooky Mixtape Halloween Party at the historic Howard Theatre. Van Horn invites audiences to party with them in their slutty new costumes. (BTC)

Mixtape

Blue Moon, Rehoboth, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Rehoboth Bar: Blue Moon (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Rehoboth Restaurant & Best Rehoboth Bar: Blue Moon

Celebrating 30 years in business, the Blue Moon is the cornerstone of Baltimore Avenue. The restaurant — under the direction of chef Lion Gardner — continues to deliver innovative and award-winning cuisine, like Maine lobster spaghetti and wild boar bolognese. Dinner is served daily starting at 5:30 p.m. and there’s a popular Sunday brunch served from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. For a real deal, don’t miss Tasting Tuesdays when Blue Moon offers three courses, each paired with wine, for just $40.

After dinner, head over to the Blue Moon’s bar side and grab one for the road. The friendly staff and regular lineup of live entertainment always make for a fun night out. The fabulous Pamala Stanley has already announced plans to return for the 2013 season; she performs Sundays through Thursdays during the summer and her Sunday show is always a raucous dance party to close out the weekend. The fabulous Mona Lotts hosts “Karaoke and Martinis with Mona” on Thursday nights through the fall. (KN)

Blue Moon
35 Baltimore Ave.
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Duplex Diner, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Place to Meet Men: Duplex Diner (Washington Blade photo by Pete Exis)

Best Place to Meet Men: Duplex Diner

Might have something to do with the strong drinks and the tight bar space, or maybe it’s the comforting effect of meatloaf like mom used to make. Whatever the reason, Blade readers say Duplex Diner is the best place to meet men.

One of the anchor establishments of lower Adams Morgan, Duplex Diner has consistently attracted gay and lesbian patrons and their friends since it opened almost 15 years ago. With its laid back décor, the space says casual, but that fancy chandelier screams this isn’t your ordinary diner. The photo booth en route to the Madonna-themed restroom reiterates the point. And despite a change of ownership several years ago, the popular restaurant is still going strong.

In addition to good drinks and reasonably priced food, the diner boasts consistent bartenders, friendly servers and a cute crowd. Undoubtedly Thursdays — the diner’s big social night when the place is packed with men — is an excellent time for meeting new friends.  (PF)

Duplex Diner
2004 18th Street, NW
202-265-7828

Bear Happy Hour, D.C. Bear Crue, Town Danceboutique, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Alternative Party: D.C. Bear Crue Bear Happy Hour at Town (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Alternative Party: D.C. Bear Crue Happy Hour at Town

Once a week, Town attracts a slightly different crowd: It’s a bit older and a lot scruffier. Beckoned by the promise of cheap beer, no attitude and hairy men, they show up for the popular D.C. Bear Crue Happy Hour, each Friday from 6-11 p.m.

At Town’s bear happy hour, these scruffy guys (also known as bears, otters and cubs) and their admirers chat, eat free pizza, imbibe $7 pitchers, and later in the evening when DJ Christian Gerard turns up the volume, they even dance (yes, dancing bears). There are theme nights and guest performers.

D.C. Bear Crue is the brainchild of Nicholas Baatz, a former Marine who is known on the bear scene as Charger Stone. In addition to its popular weekly happy hour, Stone runs D.C. Bear Crue’s other events like yoga classes and fundraisers. He also manages Unleashed Massage Studio in Northeast Washington. (PF)

 

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Real Estate

Renovations in the time of COVID

Clean and de-clutter your home before listing

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cleaning house, gay news, Washington Blade

What do I need to do to make my house pretty and ready to sell in the time of COVID?  Some people are telling me that I don’t have to do anything, that it is a sellers’ market. Well, maybe. Do you know your market? Do you know the idiosyncrasies of your market? In many places, homes are flying off the market “as-is.” But in many places a much more nuanced home is getting the attention.

I am seeing more movement in the single-family home market. So, a seller might get by with doing basic repairs and some sprucing up/de-cluttering to get their house ready for the market. Then again, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so when in doubt, clean it out. (Paint it out, stage it out, etc.)

If you want to do renovations, you might want to get estimates from multiple sources, and see who gets you the best deal. I am hearing some stories that there is a backlog in the supply chain for hardwood and some other materials. Also, many contractors are booked up right now, or have been scheduled to get work done for months now. If timing is going to be an important part of the puzzle, you might want to double check that the work can get done when you need it to be done, especially if you live in a building where you have to get permission to use elevators, do work between certain hours of the day, etc.

At the very least, find a good house cleaner to get in and do a good job on the type of cleaning that is not done on a normal basis. For many reasons. In the time of a pandemic, cleanliness is almost the number one thing people are looking at. Also, we all know that the carpets get vacuumed, the windows get cleaned, and the shelves get dusted. But what about deep in the corners and under the counters and in the air vents and filters?

That being said, there seems to be a shortage of homes on the market right now for the amount of buyers that are looking. A lucky seller right now might not have to do a total renovation and might want to leave some decisions to the next buyer, but I would still advise that they err on the side of cleaning, de-cluttering, and getting it photo ready to maximize their return on their investment.

 

Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with The Rutstein Group at Compass. Reach him at 703-587-0597 or [email protected].

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Real Estate

Real estate opportunity still knocking

Short- and long-term benefits for both sellers and buyers

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COVID-19 real estate market, gay news, Washington Blade

The last year has been challenging across the board, but one area that has continued to thrive is the real estate market.

Low interest rates and a year filled with unique changes have prompted people to think differently about where they live – and they’re taking action. As of late, the housing market is chock full of opportunities for both sellers and buyers. Regardless of whether one is taking the leap into homeownership for the first time or prepping to downsize for retirement, this is a market anyone and everyone should consider tapping into.

There has never been a better time to sell your home than right now. Thanks largely to low interest rates, buyer demand continues to soar. At the same time, inventory is historically low as many would-be sellers have opted to stay put in the last year. According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average house is now receiving 4.1 offers after just 20 days on the market. Buyers are clearly eager to purchase, and because of the shortage of inventory available, they’re often entering bidding wars. This is one of the factors keeping home prices strong and giving sellers leverage in the negotiation process.

Homeowners who are in a position to sell shouldn’t wait to make their move. As our world inches closer to normal, more inventory will be hitting the market soon. By listing this spring, you will get your house on the market when conditions are still most favorable. With low inventory and high buyer demand, homeowners can potentially earn a greater profit on their houses and sell them quickly in the fast-paced spring market. Not to mention the opportunity to get by with that older water heater and home systems at large. Many buyers in this area tend to waive contingencies on their offer, clearing the path to a smoother and quicker closing.

While the challenges for buyers are very real, there is one massive factor to keep buyers motivated: interest rates. We’re continuing to see historically low averages in interest rates, and those rates are only projected to tick back upwards in the coming years. Last year saw interest rates come significantly down, and we’re still seeing an average of 3% on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. Compare that to just three years ago when we were a whole 1.5% higher with averages of 4.5%.

With low interest rates nationally and the D.C. area’s strong home value appreciation rates, the investment of homeownership is a real possibility for more people. Over the span of the next five years, homeowners in the District are presented with a great opportunity to grow their net worth by more than $100,000 based on the current average sales price of $699,732 and projected rates of appreciation over the next five years. These conditions won’t last forever though, so take advantage of the opportunity when you can.

After a year of shifting sands, the housing market has emerged stronger than ever – with some unusual quirks. Opportunity is lending itself to short- and long-term benefits for both sellers and buyers. If your situation allows, this market may provide uniquely profitable opportunities for your real estate transaction. For more information or to talk about buying or selling real estate, give me a call at 571-439-2515.

 

Zach Twigg is a licensed Realtor in D.C. and Virginia with Bediz Group, LLC at Keller Williams Capital Properties. Call or text him at 571-439-2515, email him at [email protected], or follow him on Instagram and Facebook

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Real Estate

How and why to build a raised garden bed

Accessibility, ideal soil conditions guarantee success

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Fairly easy to construct and even easier to maintain, raised garden beds are a great way to raise plants and vegetables in the comfort and convenience of your backyard.

In a recent episode of the Exmark Original Series, “Done-in-A-Weekend-Extreme,” landscape designer and show host, Doug Scott, spoke to organic gardener Joe Lamp’l of “Growing a Greener World” about the ins and outs of raised garden beds.

Here are some of the top insights and tips Lamp’l shared.

• Why use raised garden beds? A raised garden bed can help facilitate the ideal growing environment, as most people don’t have that perfect soil naturally in their yard. Their accessibility makes them easier to work in and maintain. Plus, they’re a nice architectural design element in any landscape.

• What’s the ideal size? The main rule of the thumb applies to width. The bed should be no wider than 4 feet, as you never want to compact the soil when working. Length however, is based on personal preference and needs. As far as height is concerned, you want the roots to be able to grow out and down as much as possible — 6-inches at minimum. While 12-inches is common, anything higher is a bonus.

• What materials work best? Treated lumber is the most readily available and economical material and will likely last the longest, however, being an organic gardener Lamp’l prefers untreated hardwood, as it lasts almost as long and doesn’t contain chemicals. Other materials you have around the home and yard, such as rocks, old tubs, etc., can work too.

• Where’s the best location? Build your raised garden bed on level ground, in full sun exposure near a water supply.
DIY Instructions:
To build a 10-foot x 4-foot x 18-inch raised bed, you’ll need:

• Nine 6-inch x 6-inch x 12-foot cedar timbers
• Tape measure, t-square and marking pencil
• A saw and extension cord
• One box of 10-inch heavy-duty exterior wood screws
• Ten 24-inch x 1/2-inch rebar stakes
• Twenty 10-inch galvanized timber spikes
• Sledgehammer
• Impact drill and long drill bit
• Level
• Hammer
• Shovels
• Hardware cloth, wire cutters and fence staples
• Work gloves, safety glasses and ear plugs
• Wheelbarrow (to transport soil)

1. Begin by cutting six, 6 x 6 timbers, each measuring 10-feet 6-inches in length. And six, 6 x 6 timbers, each measuring 4-feet 6-inches in length. Drill rebar holes in each timber.

2. Once the first layer of bed has been placed, leveled and squared in your desired location, fasten the corners using 10-inch wood screws. Secure the entire layer to the ground with 10 pieces of rebar.

3. Place the second layer of timbers, staggering the corners and fastening them with wood screws. Secure this layer to the first with ten 10-inch galvanized spikes.

4. Install galvanized cloth to prevent burrowing pests from eating earthworms and destroying plants.

5. Place the third layer of timbers (following above directions.)

6. Fill with soil and plants.

For more tips and complete build instructions, check out “How to Build Raised Garden Beds” by visiting Exmark.com/backyard. Exmark’s Backyard Life is part of a unique multimedia destination with a focus on helping homeowners make the most of their backyard. There you can also access other series, including “Prime Cuts” and “Dream Yards.”

For an amazing crop this season, take a cue from the professionals and build a raised garden bed for best results.

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