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Bought for a buck, sold out from under him: The Last Days of The Black Rooster

Last night DC Beer went to The Black Rooster as part of the ‘Save the Black Rooster’ push that we heard all about on Twitter. From what we understand, the bar is not allowed to continue in the space because the government decided to end the bar’s lease after 39 years in operation and expand the Peace Corps’ conference space. As you’ll see from the photo below, the bar is a beautiful old pub style room that would probably fit one conference table. The Black Rooster Rub was established in 1970 and features a back bar imported from England, authentic stained glass ceiling panels and the extensive collection of beer and whiskey mirrors from the British Isles. They’ve also got 200-year-old welsh carvings behind the bar.

A traditional pub atmosphere

We got to talk with the owner of the bar, Jody, who has been overseeing the place for about 39 years. He started off as the bouncer for the bar’s previous owners after getting out of the Marines and eventually worked his way to a management position. One day the old owners were looking to get out of the business and they sold the place to Jody for a buck. Seriously cool story. Most of his adult life he’s been taking care of his regulars at The Black Rooster and some bureaucrat in a government office signed a piece of paper that is going to write his business out of existence. Jody is a gracious host and someone who just takes joy in running his pub. It’s sad to see him dealt such a hand of bad luck.

Given only a month to evacuate, Jody doesn’t think he will be able to find a space to serve his regulars in the future. The even sadder part is that the imported British bar, the 200 year old  Welsh wood carvings and the authentic imported stained glass fixtures will probably all go to the auction block. The authentic neighborhood pub feel would really do another neighborhood well, and I wouldn’t mind seeing The Black Rooster move into the U Street or Columbia Heights area. It’s feels like a less uptight Saloon and with the right craft beers on draft, I wouldn’t complain. Reps from Otter Creek and Magic Hat were there last night with JT from Flying Dog under-the-weather but still able to bring the limited addition Flying Dog brew. Such a show of craft brew solidarity means the bar could have quite a following if it reopened somewhere else.

The Black Rooster is trying to fill the pub for the rest of the week and I was told repeatedly that I don’t want to miss Friday– the last day the pub will be open. Hopefully they will have some of that Flying Dog Ragin’ Bitch Belgian-style IPA still on tap because went perfect with my nachos last night. They will be pouring Otter Creek, Flying Dog, Magic Hat beers. I believe they also have Red Hook and Widmer beers to drink as well. This is one of the few places to get Ragin’ Bitch so stop by and give the bar some support while having a glass of awesome beer.

The Black Rooster is located at 1919 L Street NW, Washington. If you have a way to help these guys or know of a good location for them give them a call at 202-659-4431.

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