The Outrage, the female-founded shop that sells apparel for progressive activists on 14th Street NW, is gearing up to open a membership-driven cafe, bar, and community space in the back of its building by the end of April.
Known for products themed around various resistance movements — the store sells shirts supporting Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and NFL quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick — the Outrage has become a natural place to congregate before marches on the National Mall. The idea to sell drinks happened organically.
“All these women and men wanting to get merch to march also wanted to come and stay — looking for a place on the couch to kick it for their feminist book club or workshop X, Y, and Z,” says Michelle Howell, the store’s director of community and branding.
A new 100-seat community space is scheduled to emerge by late April, hidden in the back of the store behind a curtain wall. The area is designed as a safe space to discuss current-day dramas like climate change and wage disparities, or simply just hang out and work. It will open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily (and likely later on weekends).
Following self-serve coffee and tea during the day, the cafe will evolve into a bar at night, serving beer cans and wine to start (permitting with ABRA is under way). The opening alcohol list is being sorted out now, with lots of local players (specifically, female and minority-owned brands) in the mix. Liquor could join the lineup down the line, pending approvals.
“We want to be a comfy space and oasis from the world and inspire and empower youth to have conversations,” Howell says.
Along with “playful” events like Feminism Fridays, comedy nights, and pajama parties, she’s also hoping to host large panels and political speakers. Portions of apparel sales go to various movements already. Drinkers can donate a portion of their wine or beer tabs by plunking tokens into cups for causes such as Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Monthly membership fees run on a sliding scale ($30, $50, and $75) to accommodate different budgets. Howell says membership capacity is already halfway full, declining to disclose what that figure is. The public will also be able to access the space by using day passes or attending events.
The industrial-styled setup sports skylights and concrete flooring. Hundreds of plants blanket the ceiling, and walls are splashed with social justice-themed artwork.
One area is filled with couches and coffee tables. Another corner is taken up by a large 13-seat table. There’s also a bar area with stools and cafe tables. Modern and midcentury lighting fixtures hail from Portland, Oregon maker Cedar and Moss.
Howell isn’t ready to reveal food options yet, but people can expect packaged goods like granola bars.
The Outrage started as a pop-up in Adams Morgan in 2016, then gained steam after partnering with the Women’s March on the day after President Donald Trump’s Inauguration. It moved into permanent digs at 1722 14th Street NW last year.
D.C. has another female-driven membership model with The Wing in Georgetown, which recently played host to a conversation with Stormy Daniels.