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Another Wave of D.C. Bars Will Go Into Winter Hibernation

Plus, restaurants in Maryland are fighting in court over COVID dining restrictions

Electric Cool-Aid’s 4,000-square-foot lot has room for 19 socially distanced tables Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

More bars in D.C. are choosing to shut down temporarily rather than try to ride out a rough winter with cold temperatures and COVID-19 capacity restrictions. The Washington Post’s Fritz Hahn tweeted a rundown of bars announcing seasonal closures recently, and Shaw looks hit especially hard.

Electric Cool-Aid and Pearl Street Warehouse closed for winter hibernation last weekend, while DC9, La Jambe Shaw, and Garden District will shut down for the season after this weekend. Garden District will close December 20 and reopen January 8. Left Door is closing up on December 21 for the winter, as is Sonny’s Pizza, which will remain closed through January. Solly’s will close on Christmas Eve and reopen in March, and Tyber Creek wine bar is currently in winter hibernation.

The Passenger is another one: the bar posted an Instagram explaining the situation yesterday, writing: “Unfortunately, due to this damn COVID, it is time for The Passenger to go into hibernation. We’ll be closing after this weekend, hopefully to see you all again this spring. We love y’all, now come help us drink up all this beer!!”

Earlier this winter season, places like Smoke & Barrel, Last Call, and Boundary Stone decided to close down temporarily in the face of D.C. capacity restrictions on bars and restaurants amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.

In other news...

  • Restaurants are challenging Maryland’s recently implemented indoor dining bans in court. Bethesda magazine reports that the Restaurant Association of Maryland and at least 35 restaurants are filing an injunction in Montgomery County to ask a judge to rule that the county go back to its 25% capacity rule for indoor dining.
  • The news follows a big legal win for a group of restaurant owners in Anne Arundel County. Capital Gazette reports that a county judge there approved an injunction against County Executive Steuart Pittman’s executive order, allowing restaurants to continue serving diners at 25% capacity inside and 50% capacity outside.
  • There’s more than 250 locations of Japanese barbecue chain Gyu-shige in Asia, and soon there will be a location in Fairfax. Northern Virginia magazine reports that the luxurious restaurant devoted to wagyu beef and tableside grilling will open next month at 2980 District Avenue in the Mosiac District. The menu will also include sushi and an extensive list of Japanese sakes, whiskey, and beer.
  • Winter Restaurant Week is still a go in D.C.: the promotion will run for two weeks on January 18 to January 31, with lots of takeout and delivery options and more flexible pricing, according to Washingtonian.
  • DC Councilwoman Mary Cheh’s car was stolen yesterday while she ran into Bread Furst bakery yesterday afternoon, WUSA9 reports.
  • PoPville posts signage indicating that Pret a Manger will temporarily close its shops through the end of the year.
  • A new ghost kitchen opened last week in Gaithersburg: Secret Sauce Barbecue from Bottleneck Management is now operating out of Old Town Pour House’s kitchen at 212 Ellington Boulevard. Open for delivery only, dishes include meats off the smoker like baby back ribs, hot links, pulled pork, and jumbo smoked chicken wings, all served with white bread, spicy pickles, and a choice of two sides like grits, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, chipotle coleslaw, and maple bacon baked beans. Barbecue pork tacos, hot link queso dip, mac and cheese, and a burger with pulled pork and bacon onion relish round out the menu. Secret Sauce’s hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday: check out the website for ordering info.
Photo: Secret Sauce Barbecue