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Last week the Capitol Riverfront BID announced the lineup of its 6th annual Friday Night Concert Series at the Yards Park, starting on May 20 and running through September 2.
In addition to passing along the news that this year the concerts will be located on the "great lawn" on the west side of the park rather than the past location along the boardwalk (which might be tied to the expected construction later this year of the new District Winery building), there was this tidbit:
"This year, Modelo and Corona will be the exclusive beer and wine vendor, featuring beverages for every taste. A variety of food vendors will be onsite in The Yards tailgate area, or attendees can pack a picnic from the 32+ neighboring restaurants. In order to maintain the beauty of Yards Park, reduce its environmental footprint, and provide a clean and safe environment for all to enjoy, no outside alcoholic beverages may be brought into the premises, and security officers reserve the right to inspect all items brought into Yards Park, including coolers."
As one might imagine, this isn't going over well with some longtime attendees, and there's already a Change.org petition with more than 1,100 signatures asking the BID to reverse the decision, with a lot of very pointed comments from signees about the choice of a non-local sponsor, the impact on the family-friendly atmosphere of the events, and more.
UPDATE: Here is a letter from the BID in response to the displeasure about this move. As one observer posited in this comment thread, the crowd size was indeed one of the concerns, with attendance now "routinely" topping 3,000 attendees, causing problems with the park's insurance and cleanup, as well as raising concerns about safety. As for not going with a local beverage offering for the concert sponsorship this year, the BID says that Bluejacket declined an opportunity similar to their role as a 2014 concert sponsor--and that the sponsorships "directly support ongoing maintenance, repairs, or programming in the park."
Comments (15)
More posts: Events, Yards Park
 

On Feb. 18 the Zoning Commission unanimously approved the submitted plans for a new-construction building at the Yards on the southwest corner of 4th and Water Streets, SE, that is to be home to District Winery, DC's first-ever winery (at least, as far as the owners can tell).
Brian Leventhal, one of the owners of both Brooklyn Winery and the coming DC venture, told the commission that this will be a full commercial winery, processing fresh grapes brought in from various US locations (including Virginia).
And since "you can't have wine without food," there will also be a 90-seat interior restaurant open seven days a week, which will also have outdoor seating.
In addition, the 2nd floor will be an events space, which the winery hopes will become a "very coveted wedding space," as well as a location for corporate and political events. There will also be tours of the winery, and bottles will be available for purchase (with "Bottled in the District of Columbia" on the labels).
Leventhal also showed some slides of Brooklyn Winery's operations to the commission, which you can see here.
Forest City's Jonathan Gertman testified that the company is targeting June 1 for the start of construction, and Leventhal said that they are hoping to be open by September of 2017. A liquor license is already in hand.
I posted a few weeks ago the early designs for the building, which will be a sibling of sorts for the Lumber Shed (and eventually there will be a third retail pavilion nestled between the two). The image at the top of this post is a slightly more realized version, though note that the red dots and lines aren't actually part of the design (I grabbed it from the zoning filings). The entrances will be on the wall facing west toward the Lumber Shed, and the restaurant will be on the south end of the building, where outdoor seating will look toward the Anacostia River.
Other than concerns about whether a winery would be a permitted use or an associated use under the zoning overlay, and some small frustrations about not being exactly sure what the differences were between the original approvals back in 2009 and the new case, all the zoning commissioners were enthusiastic about the project and the design. Michael Turnbull said that "I think this is going to be such a cute little building, and I think it'll be a fun place to go," while Robert Miller called it a "very exciting project, a very attractive building, a unique activating use in this Yards area," and that he looks forward to sampling it.
The commissioners felt no need to request additional information or changes, and with the Office of Planning recommending approval, and with ANC 6D's unanimous vote in support earlier this month, the commission took final action and approved the case 5-0-0.
 

I escaped town for this past week, so apologies on being late on this, but if you've wandered by the Yards Park this weekend and saw either a bunch of scaffolding or a big show, it's Light Yards, which through March 6 will be "melding light, sculpture, and music to create wonder!"
The large "Point Cloud" and its sibling "Cube" seen in the image provided by the organizers were designed by New York-based light artist and architect John Ensor Parker, and will be joined starting on Feb. 27 by "giant luminescent rabbits," with a special family-friendly event from 3 to 6 pm that Saturday, "to delight in the sight of the enormous glowing bunnies, while enjoying children’s activities, including a giant Lite-Brite."
Also on Feb. 27, from 6 to 10 pm, there will be another light show set to music, performed by electric violinist DC Manifesto.
It's free and open to the public.
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More posts: Events, The Yards, Yards Park
 

Recent zoning filings are giving interested observers (i.e., me, and most likely you) a watercolor'ed early rendering of the new Yards Park "pavilion" expected to be home to District Winery, a "boutique" winery/restaurant/event space on the southwest corner of 4th and Water Streets, SE.
As described in the filings, the winery "will produce premium small batch wines served on the premises and occasionally sold in bottles for patrons to consume elsewhere. Guests will be able to tour the winery, taste wines at the wine bar, have dinner at the restaurant and reserve the second floor venue for a private event, such as a wedding receptions, corporate event or private function." It will have a capacity of 750 persons, with 450 seats.
The filing goes on to say that the winery, the "first of its kind" in DC, is expected to open in the fall of 2017.
The drawing above is the view as seen from the Yards Park, on the southwest side of the building (so, as if you are walking east from Osteria Morini). Here are slightly less impressionistic but still early drawings of the elevations from all four sides (click to enlarge):
There will eventually be a third pavilion positioned between the winery and the Lumber Shed--the filing says that Forest City is "working on securing a retail tenant(s)" and that it will "most likely be a restaurant."
The zoning hearing for the winery is scheduled for February 18. This plan was supported by ANC 6D in a 7-0-0 vote on Jan. 11, "contingent upon the execution of a mutually agreed construction management plan."
Comments (22)
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, winery, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning
 

The long-planned Yards marina, spanning much of the waterfront of The Yards from the pedestrian bridge east to the border with the Washington Navy Yard, is moving forward, Forest City is announcing today.
On-site work is set to begin within the next few weeks, with completion expected in spring 2016. (Fabrication of some of the marina's components has apparently been underway off-site for a few months now.)
There will be approximately 50 slips, half of which will be "designated for short-term transient use" (i.e., less than 10 days), and the other half will be for long-term use on a seasonal contract basis. As for sizes, Forest City says that most slips will be able to handle boats up to 60 feet long, but that "there will also be limited dockage for boats up to 125 feet in length." Slips will have electrical outlets and water supply hookups.
And the marina won't be just for boat owners: there will also be a water taxi dock, a "paddler dock" for kayakers and other "human-powered watercraft," and an "education dock for use with river-focused experiential instruction." The walkways and dock surfaces will be floating concrete structures.
The marina was designed by Moffatt & Nichol and is being built by Bellingham Marine.
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More posts: boats, marina, The Yards, Yards Park
 

Rumored a few months ago after a liquor license application appeared in the pipeline, it's officially being announced today by Forest City Washington that the owners of Brooklyn Winery will be opening DC's first "urban winery" in a new 16,000-square-foot pavilion on the southwest corner of 4th and Water Streets SE in the Yards Park.
It will be named District Winery, and is to "feature the most popular components" of the Brooklyn version--it will be a full-service restaurant, and will also have a wine tasting area, a private events space with an open-air terrace, and, "of course, an impressive collection of wines, crafted and aged onsite." The Brooklyn operation is also apparently a quite popular venue for weddings.
The new pavilion's design will apparently be quite a wood-and-glass look that will echo the nearby Lumber Shed and the Yards Park itself. When I wrote about the rumors back in May, I included some 2009-era imaginings of what the pavilion could look like from when the Yards Park was going through its approvals process, but my understanding is that the design has evolved considerably, with District Winery's input. (No new renderings are being made available just yet, however.)
Forest City says it expects to start construction in the spring of 2016 and that the winery would open in the fall of 2017.
Comments (19)
More posts: districtwinery, Restaurants/Nightlife, Yards Park
 

It's a fairly sizeable lineup of events on the neighborhood calendar over the next few days:
* BIKE TO WORK DAY: The forecast looks swell for DC's annual Bike to Work Day, on Friday, May 15. Canal Park is one of the pit stops, from 7 to 9 am, at which there will be refreshments and food, plus you'll have a chance to win prizes if you have registered. (Looks like the free t-shirts are all already claimed, though.) Read about commuter convoys, ride buddies and more at the official web site.
* FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERTS: The Friday night Summer Concert Series at Yards Park kicks off this week, with the R&B stylings of Jimi Smooth. The concerts begin each week at 6:30 pm, and the Grassy Knoll fills up pretty quickly, so arrive early!
* OPERA IN THE OUTFIELD: Saturday is Cinderella Day at Nats Park, thanks to the the return of the annual Opera in the Outfield simulcast. Gates open at 5 pm, with a slew of pre-performance activities and entertainment, including a Royal Parade that will allow "kids of all ages" to arrive in costume and march around the lower concourse. The actual simulcast begins at 7 pm, and it's all Rain or Shine, and all free and open to the public. Note that sitting in the outfield now requires a wristband handed out on a first-come first-serve basis. More details here.
* GLUG GLUG GLUG: This most assuredly is not free, but Canal Park on Saturday will host "ABV," an afternoon of "outdoor imbibing" of the "finest craft beverages," put together by Greg Engert and friends. It will run from 3 to 8 pm, rain or shine, and tickets are $20 at the door or in special advance packages. The full list of beer, wine, and spirits to be available is here.
* FITNESS IN THE FRONT: Technically not a weekend event, but you may need to toss in a workout session or two after a big weekend--and just your luck, the lineup of outside summer fitness classes gets underway on Monday, May 19. Brought to you by VIDA Fitness and DC BFIT and located in Yards and Canal Parks, the classes range from Yoga to Zumba to "high energy" to Boot Camps to a once-a-month family fitness session. The schedule is here, and classes are free and open to the public.
* MARGARITA WARS: In case you didn't get your fill of drinking in a neighborhood park at ABV, City Paper's third annual Margarita Wars is slated for May 21 at 6:30 pm at the Yards Park. "You be the judge as the region's top mixologists compete for your vote in a winner take all battle for 'rita supremacy." Tickets are $25 and include unlimited margarita tastings. Also included: one of those extra-special tequila-fueled hangovers. (But you'll want to recover by May 30, when the Tour de Fat extravaganza returns to Yards Park.)
Comments (1)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Canal Park, Events, Yards Park
 

A Friday afternoon post over at City Paper's Young and Hungry site broke the news of a liquor license application for a "multipurpose facility" by the name of District Winery, saying that it would have "450 seats (with a total capacity for 750) plus dancing, a 100-seat summer garden, and a wine pub."
And that it would be at 385 Water St., SE.
Which is pretty cool news, except that right now there is no building with an address of 385 Water St., SE.
There were theories that it would be the first hint of retail leasing in the under-construction Arris, which is indeed in the 300 block of Water, but is on the north side of the street and so would have to be an even-numbered address.
The Lumber Shed is 301 Water--if all of the retail spaces in that building weren't spoken for, the notion of just a fat-fingering of the address could have been assumed.
But, 385 Water... Hmmm....
Many of you may not have been around back in 2009 when Forest City received approvals for its plans for Phase 2 of the Yards Park. This included approving the remaking of the Lumber Shed as a glass-enclosed retail pavilion--and also included the plans for two additional retail pavilions on what is now open lawn space between the Shed and 4th Street SE.
The drawings you see here are from 2009 and have actually been on my Yards Park and Lumber Shed pages since then--they show various views of all three pavilions, including a view from a deck on the easternmost pavilion looking toward the west with the Shed and other pavilion visible. (Click to embiggen.)
The larger, eastern pavilion, dubbed P2B (because this is Parcel P) would have a footprint of about 10,300 square feet, while the smaller middle one's footprint would be about 6,300 square feet. Each of them would be less than 40 feet high and would have "open roof terraces on the second story for outdoor dining." And, as the drawings show, they would have much the same glass-and-concrete look as the Lumber Shed does.
And it could certainly be possible that the larger eastern one could have an address of 385 Water Street. And it looks sizeable enough for a venture looking for 450 seats with capacity for 750, plus dancing.
Forest City, as always, makes no comment on tenant-related information when there is no signed lease. And so it's also interesting that District Winery (which City Paper says appears to be from the same folks behind the Brooklyn Winery in New York) has made the move to apply for a liquor license before any lease has been signed.
We Shall See on all of this, including what any potential timeline might be for the construction of one or both of these new pavilions, but at least it means there would appear to be some definite leasing interest for these spaces. Either that or I am terribly off base with all this pondering.
UPDATE: All that pondering, and I could have just read that yes, it is indeed a new building being planned."Plans are still in the early stages, putting an opening at least two years away[.]" (h/t @JES)
 

Cold enough for ya?
Looking to do something to pass the time while it's cold?
Want to be even colder?
Want to have fun while being cold?
Want to do stuff to warm up while being cold?
If you're 21 or older and answered "Why, yes!" to any of the above questions, head down to the Yards Park on Saturday, Jan. 17 for Ice Yards, billed as the "ice version" of the big Splash Yards party last summer.
With a "ski chalet vibe," the shindig will run from 2 to 6 pm and is slated to have ice bars, a "frosty beer garden," a DJ, live music, a "ski lounge," fire pits, hot tubs, "Absolut Snow Cones" (SOLD!), and interactive winter-themed video games.
The forecast for Saturday currently calls for a bit of a warm-up, to around 45 degrees, but if that temperature was cold enough to hold the NHL Winter Classic, I'm sure it'll be fine for a party.
It's free, but give them an RSVP at EventBrite or on Facebook if you think you're going (1,800 of your closest friends have already clicked "Yes").
Comments (10)
More posts: Events, The Yards, Yards Park
 

The Capitol Riverfront BID is announcing plans to host a "Washington Nationals Celebration" in Yards Park for the Nats' first two playoff games, on Friday Oct. 3 and Saturday, Oct. 4. These events will feature "favorite local bands, broadcasting from CBS Radio, and family-friendly activities to celebrate the Washington Nationals' home stand during the first round of the National League Division Series postseason playoffs."
On Friday, the festivities will be held post-game, where a not-yet-named local band will play on the boardwalk while food trucks and the nearby restaurants will offer eats for your picnicking pleasure. (The start time for Friday's game will not be known until after Wednesday's NL Wild Card game, but it is expected to be either 12:07 pm or 3:07 pm.)
On Saturday, the Natitude will start in Yards Park at 3 pm, "with a pre-game concert by fan favorite Hand Painted Swinger, family-friendly activities such as face painting, and broadcasting from CBS Radio personalities with Nationals-focused commentary and interviews." (And don't forget to walk the Riverwalk to the 1st Base Gate!)
All this is free and open to the public.
UPDATE: Since this just arrived in my inbox, I'll add that the Fairgrounds is offering "viewing parties" for all home playoff games on their 16x16 oudoor big screen, with full audio.
Comments (0)
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Events, Yards Park
 
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