NFT Washington DC Chevy Chase

Chevy Chase

This extremely wealthy pocket of upper northwest DC and suburban Maryland is green, well manicured and lily white -- reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell cross-stitch. It's picture-perfect in spring when cherry blossoms drop pink petals all over your car, and drivers obey the 30 mph speed limit on Connecticut or get caught by the camera. And no, the town is not named for the star of Fletch.

The retail strip along Connecticut in DC boasts fantastic liquor stores, cute cafés, and the treasured Avalon Theatre. North of the border, Martin's Additions offers an independent grocer, pharmacy, and fancy French inn, La Ferme.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

The Tasting Room
Friendship Heights is the land of fur coats, high-end boutiques, and ladies who lunch. And Wisconsin Place--the new office / condo / retail space that replaced Hecht's--has taken the neighborhood to the next level. Its tagline is "the best of everything," and it includes a Bloomingdale's, Capital Grille, BCBG, and more. So surprise, surprise, someone decided that this luxurious upper NW hood needed a wine bar. The Tasting Room is a bite-sized oenophilic dream, and unlike others that are more for bourgie mingling, this wine bar is truly focused on the wine. There are no imported bottles of beer (go to Rodman's down the street for that) or mixologist cocktails; there is only wine. As a tasting room for Boxwood Winery from Middleburg, VA, they carry a number of their bottles, but also offer various domestic and foreign choices. Order from the bar staff, or booze on your own terms with their vino vending machines. Patrons load money onto an "enocard," and then select a one-, three-, or five-ounce pour from temp-regulating machines. Perfect for oenophiles and/or antisocial boozers.

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Courtesy of The Avalon

Avalon Theatre
This accusation might be out of line, but I'm pretty sure Bethesda Row cinema put all the independent, artsy movie houses of upper NW out of business. I distinctly remember cringing at my first Todd Solondz movie at the Outer Circle and craning my head around columns to read subtitles. And then Bethesda Row appeared, and suddenly an interest in documentaries didn't exile you to a world of tiny screens, sticky floors, and infrequent showtimes--and all the bourgie moviegoers got stadium seating and Dolby Digital Surround EX and gourmet concessions and... parking. I suppose this all happened so long ago that my complaint is really more of a grudge. But anyhow, the Avalon--in all its pre-multiplex, vintage Hollywood glory--is the last man standing; it's the oldest surviving movie house in DC, having opened 85 years ago, when folks could watch a silent film for 30 cents. And from its vertical neon sign to lavish interior with Corinthian pilasters, festoons, and rosettes to its selection of independent, foreign, and documentary films to the fact that it was saved by the community in the face of corporate mergers... we all know the Uptown is the place for big-screen blockbusters, but the Avalon is the spot for the rest.

Posted By:  Hunter Gorinson
Photo:  Hunter Gorinson

Potomac Video
This local chain may have multiple locations around the metro area, but there's only one like the Avalon store. With over 60,000 titles in their encyclopedic stock, this is by far the largest video store in DC and is thereby putting on a pretty strong showing for largest on the East Coast. It's not like you're bound to run across a Werner Herzog or Takashi Miike section lining the shelves at the neighborhood Blockbuster anytime soon. If it was ever released on DVD or VHS, they probably have it here somewhere in their sprawling underground video catacomb. Hell, there's more porn in their backroom than are flicks at the average movie joint. This place should make the ol' "kid in a candy store" adage spring to life for any self-diagnosed film buff.

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Montgomery County, Maryland’s beer, wine, and liquor laws are intense, and the taxes on a stiff drink are severe. The result is that on the bits of upper Northwest that border MoCo, there are some wonderfully gourmet liquor stores, drawing in all the bibulous suburbanites. Calvert Woodley and Magruder’s are the big boys of fancypants booze—but Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits is a small gem on its own. Inside this one room, you will find every variety of hard liquor a snobby drunk could ever dream of, as well as a good selection of wine and beer. More important, there is a staff of charming older gentlemen who know their sauce, and will be happy to steer you in a head-spinning, bullshit-flowing, alcohol-induced giggly direction. Just do it with class.

Posted By:  Molly V Strzelecki
Photo:  Molly V Strzelecki

American City Diner
Just shy of the circle at the top of Connecticut Ave you’ll find the American City Diner. It’s a pretty standard diner, evoking that ‘50s feel, with good old diner fare, from burgers to blue plate specials to breakfast served all day. There is something deliciously sublime about their chocolate milkshakes that can’t even be put into words, so be sure to try one. (You can thank me later.) But what really sets this diner apart is the movies they show for free every night at 8 pm on the “movie deck,” i.e. the front porch of the restaurant. Come rain or shine, cold winter or hot summer, all year round the diner shows classics stretching back to the black and white era as well as newer hits. Upcoming movie showings this week include Psycho on February 3 and The Seven Year Itch on February 6.

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