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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

Spring market readiness: buyer’s edition

Get ready for more inventory and faster sales

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The spring market technically gets underway next month.

Here in the D.C. metro area there are historically two cyclical “busy” times in the market. Spring market, which falls between February through June/July, and fall market, which is around August until about November. Honestly, the D.C. metro market is historically always pretty active, however the spring and fall markets are those times where we see an increase in inventory, open houses attendance, open house traffic and properties selling quicker. As we are heading into the spring market time (historically begins after the Super Bowl, aka the Rihanna concert for my non-sports folks that is Feb. 12) I wanted to go over a few tips to do NOW in order to make sure you are ready to go.

PICK A QUALIFIED REAL ESTATE AGENT

It is vital to work with a real estate agent that you can trust. I often tell my clients that we are about to get real intimate and basically start dating. The home buying process involves many late night phone calls, weekends spent driving around looking at properties and learning truly what a client wants. For this very reason you should feel comfortable with your agent. You need someone who will speak your language as well as speak the language of negotiating and get you into a home.

Where do you start looking for a real estate professional? For starters, I am sure you know one real estate agent in D.C., but if you don’t, look to friends and family. Ask if they know of a great Realtor and then go from there. It’s not always the agents that are plastered all over bus stops or grocery carts that you should gravitate to; do some homework and seek an agent who writes for the Washington Blade, was voted Best DC Realtor by the Washington Blade readers (aka me – and this is totally a joke – maybe).

PRE-APPROVAL

This is almost more important than selecting a real estate agent. Find a lender who will fight for you. One thing as a listing agent that I love to see is when a buyer’s lender calls me when a purchase offer is submitted to tell me how wonderfully well qualified their clients (aka you) are and that they will fight to keep the transaction on the estimated timeline. This illustrates that you have a team behind you that supports you and your goal of purchasing a home. When I get a call from a buyer’s agent that they have submitted an offer for their clients and this is why they are the most well-qualified buyers and love the home right before I get a call from a lender who speaks highly of their buyer clients and the buyer’s agent — chef’s kiss — it truly does make a difference.

Where do you start looking for a lender? Well once you meet an amazing real estate agent, ask who they would recommend. Please note that we as real estate professionals are not allowed to receive any kickbacks from lenders or service providers. I always provide a list of lenders that I have worked with in the past that have performed well – it’s your duty to research and speak to those lenders, and more, in order to select the one that is best suited for you.

UNDERSTAND YOUR CURRENT LEASE

This is one that is often overlooked. You should have a look over your current lease. Reviewing your lease will give you timeline info as to when you can start your search and what timeframes you are working with. For example, if you are on a month-to-month lease currently then you can begin your home search now. You will need to give your current landlord a 30-day notice that will likely line up with a 30-day closing period, which is pretty standard here in the D.C. metro market. If you have a lease with a few months left, it’s important to understand what a possible lease break would look like from a financial perspective or if you are not willing to break your lease then it will give you a timeframe of when you can start the home buying process.

DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF THE GOAL

This is super important. While the market has changed in the past few months, we are still not out of the water completely. The ripple effect of COVID and the constraints on the housing market will be seen for a while longer. While you might not have 15 offers on a home it’s likely you could still expect two or three. Even though we are heading into the spring market where there is historically an increase in inventory, we are in such a shortage currently that it’s even more vital now than ever before to ensure you are ready to rock and roll.

The home buying process can truly be a fun process. By following the steps above and ensuring that you are well equipped and positioned to start off the spring real estate market there is little doubt that you will meet your goal of becoming a homeowner this year.

Justin Noble is a Realtor with Sotheby’s international Realty licensed in D.C., Maryland, and Delaware for your DMV and Delaware Beach needs. Specializing in first-time homebuyers, development and new construction as well as estate sales, Justin is a well-versed agent, highly regarded, and provides white glove service at every price point. Reach him at 202-503-4243,   [email protected] or BurnsandNoble.com.

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Real Estate

Affordable home renovations for successful selling

From paint to floors, a few simple fixes to boost value

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Refreshing your home’s paint job can add instant value.

Without question, the 2023 housing market is off to a slow start, particularly in comparison to the red-hot market that existed during the pandemic. This can understandably be discouraging for those who need to sell their home and hope to obtain a favorable offer. The good news is that one constant truth about the housing market is that it will change – eventually. In the meantime, there are steps that hopeful sellers can take to increase the value of their homes and their chances of obtaining the offer that they want. 

One step that some sellers consider is making minor upgrades or renovations that will increase the sale value of their home. This leads to the question – what are some fairly easy upgrades a homeowner can make without breaking the bank that may be appealing to potential buyers? Let’s take a look at a few options together.

Refresh the paint: This is a simple and very cost-effective option for giving your home a new, fresh look. A quick coat of paint can truly work wonders. It helps the home look brighter, cleaner, and newer, and can be appealing to the eye of many potential buyers. When considering which colors to choose, it’s important to keep in mind that selecting more traditional, neutral colors is often advisable. After all, you don’t know what a potential buyer may like, so choosing colors that appeal to many and are more subdued may be a wise choice. You may want to also consider repainting the trim and the ceilings to complete the fresh new look.

Make some easy kitchen upgrades: Many have heard that upgrading the kitchen is one of the most popular renovations to a home and one with the best return on investment. As the kitchen is often the hub of the house, this is certainly true. The good news is that homeowners often need not do a complete and expensive kitchen renovation to get some bang for their buck. Some more simple tasks like upgrading older appliances to newer ones, changing out light fixtures, or repainting cabinets and adding new hardware may go a long way toward increasing your kitchen’s appeal to potential buyers.

Landscaping: Landscaping is the literal “curb appeal” that many homeowners need to give their house that extra sparkle to attract potential buyers. Upgrading your landscaping may sound intimidating at first, but it can truly be a cost-effective option for increasing the value of your home. It may be worthwhile to pay for a consultation with a landscaper regarding some steps you can take to increase your home’s appeal from the outside. Often these options can be very simple – things like removing debris, planting a few shrubs here and there, pruning trees, and other similar tasks. After all, the first step to getting a buyer to appreciate the inside of your home is to draw them in from the outside.

Refinish hardwood floors: While replacing your flooring entirely is an expensive and time-consuming process, the good news is that refinishing your floors is a fairly simple and cost-effective option for increasing your home’s appeal. It can add extra shine and a little bit of wow factor, without breaking the bank. 

These are only a few options of many for cost-effectively updating your home. Regardless of the market conditions, there are always steps that potential sellers can take to add to the appeal of their home and hopefully catch the eye of potentially interested buyers. Another important step that sellers can always take is consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent who knows their particular community and what attracts buyers in that community.  At GayRealEstate.com, we are here to help you find the perfect agent to achieve your real estate goals.

At GayRealEstate.com We’re Here for You

The current real estate market may seem intimidating to those hoping to sell their home for the best possible price – and that’s understandable. While it may be intimidating, however, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By marketing your home well, investing wisely in renovations and staging, and finding the right real estate agent, you can greatly increase your chances of obtaining a favorable offer, even in a difficult market. 

At GayRealEstate.com, we’re here to help you find that real estate agent. You need and deserve an agent who understands the unique needs of LGBTQ home buyers and sellers, and who understands the market in your local community. If you’re ready to get started, get in touch with us today. We look forward to learning how we can help. 

Jeff Hammerberg is founding CEO of Hammerberg & Associates, Inc. Reach him at 303-378-5526 or [email protected].

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Autos

Mod makeovers: Kia Niro EV, Nissan Z

Carmakers add pizzazz without compromising function

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Kia Niro EV

I love New Year’s resolutions. There’s that anticipation of a fresh start — just like a first date, where everything is possible. Same for vehicle makeovers, where automakers must strike a tricky balance: Add plenty of pizzazz to an existing model, yet don’t alienate diehard purists who love their cars just the way they are. For 2023, two rides receive some spicy updates but without losing any of their old-school cool. 

KIA NIRO EV
$40,000
MPGe: 126 city/101 highway
Range: up to 253 miles on a full charge
0 to 60 mph: 7.1 seconds

For some time, Kia has been all charged up about electric vehicles. There’s the EV6 crossover, cousin of the award-winning Hyundai Ioniq 5. Both of these mid-priced, midsize rides debuted last year, and they look, whir, and pretty much drive like earthbound spaceships. Coming later this year is the EV9, based on the popular Telluride full-size SUV but with a boxy-yet-bold design straight out of “Transformers.” 

By 2027, Kia plans to offer a whopping 14 electric vehicles. Yet I still remember the thrill of driving a Niro EV— Kia’s first all-electric contender—three years ago when it arrived in showrooms. This compact four-door hatchback was fun, feature-laden and affordable. For 2023, the Niro EV gets a full redesign, with sassier styling and the same spunky performance that initially was so impressive. Battery range, which already was better than the competition, is now 14 miles more than the previous model. Using a DC fast charger, the updated Niro EV takes about 25% less time —or some 60 minutes — to charge up to 80 percent. Inside, the cockpit-like interior has been smartly revamped, with a sculpted center console, angled digital display panels and two-tone color scheme that’s vintage chic. 

Another plus: a slightly longer wheelbase means more cargo space and rear legroom. The original Niro EV offered an insanely long list of standard amenities, but this redo boasts even more goodies: smartphone integration, wireless charging, voice command functionality, forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and other creature comforts. Choice of two groovy-sounding trim levels: base-model Wind and more upscale Wave, which adds a sunroof, ventilated seats and power take-off. There’s also Kia’s impressive 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. “Niro” means “to rise” in Korean, and with so many splendid upgrades here, this latest EV does just that. 

Nissan Z

NISSAN Z
$42,000
Mpg: 19 city/28 highway
0 to 60 mph: 4.5 seconds

For just $28 million, you can own the most expensive car in production today. That would be the Rolls-Royce Boat Tail coupe, with a tapered rear that looks like, well, the back end of a 1930s yacht. This two-door beauty can be ordered with a pair of bespoke Bovet wristwatches, which can be used as pocket watches, desk clocks, or even the car’s dashboard clock — as well as a chic Montblanc pen in a hand-crafted case for the glovebox. 

Or you could ignore such extravagance and opt for a reasonably priced coupe that oozes sex appeal. That would be the redesigned Nissan Z, resurrected this year with a retro vibe that harkens back to the 1970s. Few cars stir your loins each time you slip behind the wheel (well, it certainly stirred mine aplenty). Perhaps the Jaguar E-Type—built from 1961 to 1975—is the only other two-door classic to evoke such nostalgic passion. 

With the latest Z, the dramatic design carries through to the interior, with its swooping dashboard, thickly padded steering wheel and bolstered sport seats. There’s a nice blend of old and new here, with conventional knobs mixed with a high-tech digital instrument cluster. And yes, for all you gearheads out there, the Z is available in a six-speed manual transmission. Alas, the nine-speed automatic actually shifts faster than any human being. Either way, stomp on the accelerator and this sports car thunders down the road. The suspension is extremely taut, as my keister can attest. Yet handling and cornering are so smooth it’s easy to be zipping along much faster than you realize. Standard features include keyless entry, 8-inch touchscreen, smartphone integration, Bluetooth and voice recognition. There also are some nice options, such as eight-speaker Bose stereo, user-friendly nav system and Wi-Fi hot spot. But if you’re expecting to find swanky wristwatches or a pricey writing pen, I’m afraid you’ll have to bring your own.  

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