Bistro Bohem, the Czech-style bar and cafe in Shaw that poured Pilsner Urquell alongside hearty beer hall dishes, has permanently closed after eight years of business in Shaw. A letter posted to the door of the shop this week says it won’t reopen for patio service this week “due to circumstances beyond our control” and “it’s no longer feasible to remain open during these times.”
Owner Daniel Sidzina confirmed the news to Eater in an email shortly after Popville shared a reader’s photo of a farewell letter posted to the front door of the business at 600 Florida Avenue NW. Bistro Bohem styled itself as a Central European bistro that offered rib-sticking favorites that could be tough to find in the District: beef goulash, hulking pork shanks, pork or chicken schnitzel club sandwiches, pierogies, potato pancakes, and old fashioned apple strudel. The bar served Slivovitz, an eastern European plum brandy, and a daytime “kafe” served coffee and tea. Prague native Jarek Mika opened the bistro with Czech chef Robin Jurek in 2012, and turned over the business to Sidzina and his wife, Vendula, in 2016.
Bistro Bohem offered curbside pickup after D.C. enacted a dine-in ban to prevent the spread off the novel coronavirus in mid-March. It reopened for patio dining in late May. As of Tuesday morning, a Resy site for the restaurant was still accepting reservations for Thursday through Sunday.
When reached by Eater, Sidzina says the owners were working on canceling service. “We [tried to] make this work [as] long as we could but unfortunately did not make any sense to continue be open,” Sidzina wrote. He said he was “just having a little hard time right now to swallow it.”
Rob Hein, a partner and general manager at neighboring Shaw’s Tavern, wrote on Facebook that he and his staff are sad to see Bistro Bohem go: “Thank you for so many years of being a place to get a drink, a great meal, to share stories and to help each other out when we needed it most. We will miss you and DC will miss you.
Columbia Room owner Derek Brown wrote on Twitter that the ideas for his company’s previous bars in the neighborhood, Mockingbird Hill, Southern Efficiency, and Eat the Rich, were all “cooked up” at Bistro Bohem.
Here’s a copy of the letter Bistro Bohem posted to its door:
“Dear patrons, community and friends,
With a heavy heart, we would like to share that we will not be reopening due to circumstances beyond our control. Unfortunately, it’s no longer feasible to remain open during these times.
We appreciated the opportunity to share a bit of Czech and European culture through our homemade food and handcrafted cocktails over a decade. We loved serving you and the community and we will treasure all the Pilsner Urquell and Slivovitz toasts with many of you! We were honored to share so many special events in our customers’ and friends’ lives.
Thank you for your support over the years and all the great memories!
Daniel, Vendula and the Bistro Bohem staff”