Meridian Pint will close in Columbia Heights after nearly nine years, the bar and restaurant announced today, delivering a gut-wrenching blow to families who frequented the outdoor patio for sustainably sourced pub food and drinkers drawn to a deep list of American craft beers.
The business on 11th Street NW will host its final service for Easter brunch on Sunday, April 21, then relocate to Arlington. Owner John Andrade tells Eater that a new Meridian Pint is expected to open by mid-May at 6035 Wilson Boulevard, a site he had reserved for a project called Dominion Pint. Andrade says another restaurant has taken over the remainder of the lease that expires next year, but he declined to comment on the parties involved.
Popville first reported news of the closure by sharing a statement from Andrade. He confirmed the news to Eater, citing factors including the imminent end of a 10-year lease, the saturation of the D.C. restaurant market, and rising operating costs related to the city’s minimum wage and the advent of the Affordable Care Act.
Andrade says he supports the latter measures, calling a livable wage “critical,” but says it was a challenge to bear the brunt of the costs as a business owner. D.C.’s minimum wage will increase from $13.25 per hour to $14 in July. Virginia’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. A D.C. ballot initiative to gradually increase the minimum wage for tipped workers passed last summer, but the city council repealed it in the fall.
The rapid rise in the popularity of craft beer made special events at Meridian Pint less of a draw than they used to be, Andrade says, noting that people no longer show up to meet with brewers who visit from the West Coast.
Since Meridian Pint opened in the summer of 2010, Andrade has watched the D.C. restaurant scene build up in Petworth, Shaw, downtown, and on the Southwest Waterfront. Next-door, he’s seen the popular Kangaroo Boxing Club turn into the Good Silver, then make way for Queen’s English, which opened just this last week. Neighborhood Italian restaurant Maple also closed at the end of March.
“The problem is also that 11th Street [NW] is no longer a shiny new object,” Andrade says, “... It’s just hard to compete.”
Andrade says that very few Meridian Pint employees have opted to make the move into Virginia, but all have been offered a chance to stay on with his restaurant group.
Andrade and his brother founded the Asylum bar in Adams Morgan before converting it into Smoke & Barrel. Andrade opened Meridian Pint in the summer of 2010 and expanded into Northeast D.C. with Brookland Pint in 2014. In 2017 he opened Rosario, an Italian restaurant that transformed into a taco joint, in Adams Morgan. It closed last year.
Brookland Pint will keep its name, Andrade says, but future beer-centric restaurants will all be called Meridian Pint. He says he ran into some legal challenges with the Dominion Pint name, and it made the most sense to stick with the already established brand.
Executive chef Logan McGear and beverage director Jace Gonnerman will retain their posts with Meridian Pint as part of the move.
Eater reported Andrade’s plans to expand into Northern Virginia as far back as December 2017. The new restaurant in Arlington is right around the corner from his house, he says, and the move represents a return to his roots because he grew up in the area.
“I’m going into what I think is a stable environment,” Andrade says. “[It’s] more family-friendly out here. This is my community out here. It’s a lot more family-centric environment when people are sticking around for 15 or 20 years.”
- BREAKING: After 9 Years Meridian Pint Closing in Columbia Heights (Sunday 4pm) and moving to Arlington [Popville]
- Meridian Pint Crew Preps Its Debut Beer Bar in Virginia [EDC]
- D.C. Council Repeals Initiative 77, Blocking Hikes in Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers [EDC]
- Columbia Heights Gets a Hong Kong-Style Kitchen With Two-Day Golden Chicken [EDC]
- A Taqueria Is Replacing Short-Lived Italian Eatery Rosario [EDC]
- Brookland Pint’s Owners Talk Challenges and Rewards of the Neigborhood [EDC]