NFT Washington DC 16th Street Heights / Petworth

16th Street Heights / Petworth

It was only a matter of time before the neighborly charm of Petworth's ticky-tack rowhouses was "discovered" by upstarts. This incursion has led to spiking real estate costs and some grumbling from the old timers. But come on, where are all the liberals priced out of Logan Circle and Dupont supposed to go?

In rapidly gentrifying 16th Street Heights, Domku offers mismatched furniture and Scandinavian/Slavic food and drink nearly invisible elsewhere in the city. Sweet Mango's jerk chicken rates the best food near the Metro, at least until a nearby retail development arrives to ruin this solid neighborhood's old-time character.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Courtesy of

Sweet Mango Café
When I walked into this Jamaican spot in Petworth, a blackboard at the front told me they were out of curry shrimp. So I ordered ackee & saltfish, but they were out. So I ordered callaloo & saltfish, but they were out. So the lady recommended curried tofu, which I ordered, but they were out. So the lady then recommended King Fish, which I ordered... and it came, with beans & rice and cabbage & peas. And it was worth it. A huge portion of delicious food for a very reasonably price. I sat inside, with fans in every direction whirring at full speed, making an honest effort to fight the summer heat/humidity + kitchen, sweating and eating my spicy food with fruit juice. That was worth it, too--but next time I think I'll sit upstairs, on the outdoor patio. In conclusion: Come, but be flexible.

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Alfishawy Café
As an impressionable young thing, I had the good fortune to attend a lot of sweaty, basement shows with boys doing dropkicks and vocals being run through bass amps. I'm happy to see these traditions kept alive at Alfishawy Cafe (aka the People's Media Center) in Petworth, an Internet cafe/community center/DIY punx basement. The space is ghetto, hippie, and punx at once, full of piles of spare computer parts from the late 80s, curried food, and graffiti. Upstairs people quietly talk about grassroots socialism with foreign accents, and downstairs kids break strings, yell into pick-ups, and make your ears bleed. I mean, this Internet cafe is so punx, they don't even have a website. The word "Alfishawy" is not written outside, so if you’re a newcomer, look for hand-written signs on a door or some scraggly, patched, clothes-pinned youth outside. If you aren't vomiting on a suit, squatting, or drunk in a gutter right now--this is your chance.

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Courtesy of Red Derby

Red Derby
North of Columbia Hype, down 14th Street, sits the Red Derby. Anyone would be lucky to have a Red Derby as one’s neighborhood bar, and not just because they serve sweet potato fries. Or screen Charlie Chaplin flicks on the wall. Or have a pool table in back. Here, you can choose from a selection of high and low beers, some from “The Land of Pleasant Living” for as little as $2. You can plug in your MP3 player and listen to your favorite tunes. There are Sidecar Sundays, Manhattan Mondays, Tom Collins Tuesdays and White Russian Wednesdays. Every day, all day, you can get a can of Schlitz and a shot for $5. If you want more than that, all I can give you is a punch in the neck.

Posted By:  RP Wolosiuk

Few establishments in the metropolitan DC area can claim to be purveyors of fine Central and Eastern European cuisine. In fact I know of only one: W Domku- which translates to ‘the little house’ in Polish. Long ago, when a friend first told me about this place, I rolled my eyes and laughed. I had had my fair share of said cuisine and do humbly consider myself to be extensively authoritative in the delicacies of these regions of Europe. Upon my first visit with another friend, I was pleasantly surprised: the heartened effort to replicate many of the traditional and traditionally unknown dishes of the region does come through in the food. This style of cooking isn’t really covered in home economics class. The ingredients are fresh and carefully prepared. The spirit choices are a pretty good representation of what is available in this part of Europe. It is so hard to be critical of a place to which there is no comparison, but the reality is the food is pretty good. The supremely laid back atmosphere tucked away in one of the lesser traveled neighborhoods, makes for a good excuse to get away from the typical downtown grind.

Posted By:  Ashley Byrne
Photo:  Ashley Byrne

Lately as we've been enjoying sub-zero weather in DC, I bet you've had at least one night where you've thought to yourself: 'You know what would really hit the spot right now? A bowl of goulash washed down with a glass of steaming hot glog!' Yes, our friends in the frosty regions of Scandinavia and Eastern Europe know that nothing compliments an icy chill in the air like a diet heavy on stews, potato-foods, and vodka. District dwellers looking to embrace the seasonal freeze in a similar style will find ample means of doing so at Domku, where the Scandinavian/Eastern European menu is loaded with hearty items guaranteed to warm you up and give your personal trainer a heart attack. In addition to hot glog (mulled red wine with vodka) and aquavit (Scandinavian liquor infused with flavors ranging from rose petals to chili peppers) the bar offers a large selection of regional beers. All that coupled with a cozy, living room vibe makes Domku a highly appealing winter hideaway. And the best part? Now you can satisfy any sudden ligonberry cravings without the daunting prospect of a trip to Ikea.

Posted By:  Sarah Bloxham
Photo:  Sarah Bloxham

Carter Barron Amphitheatre
Do you have an old computer taking up space in a closet or a tv that doesn’t even work anymore? Take some time out this Earth Day, and take your old electronics to the e-cycling event at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre parking lot. An electronics recycler will break the machines down into their component parts and dispose of them safely. It’ll be better for the environment and better for your closet.

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