It’s a bad day for Pittsburgh Steelers fans and University of Florida alumni: The Pour House and Top of the Hill, which have offered sports fans and bocce and kickball teams a home on Capitol Hill for more than a decade, will close at the end of April. Owners Mike Schuster and Mark Mernard made the announcement via e-mail and social media overnight:
“We’ll save the goodbyes and salutations for a bit later. We still have a month and a half left and we’re looking forward to one last great March Madness and an even greater sendoff in April.”
The building at 319 Pennsylvania Avenue SE has had many names over the years, including Slick Willie’s and Duddington’s, but it more recently found fame when D.C. bar magnate Joe Englert and his partners – including Matt Weiss, now owner of Union Pub and 201 Bar – turned it into Politiki, a politically themed tiki bar, in 1998. The main floor became the Pittsburgh-themed Penn Ave. Pour House in 2003, and then just the Pour House in 2004, after Englert sold the bar to Schuster and Mernard while retaining ownership of the building.
Englert said this morning that the bar and the building were sold to an unspecified development company in December. “Everybody decided to move along, because there was money to be made on both ends,” Englert said. “Life moves on.” He’s not sure what the new owners have planned for the space.
If the Pour House is reborn as something fancier, it will join a litany of Capitol Hill hangouts that have disappeared in recent years: The divey Lil’ Pub closed in January to become an extension of the neighboring CVS. The 18th Amendment closed last year and is turning into a bourbon bar and Southern restaurant called Barrel, which is expected to open this spring. (Matt Weiss and the owners of the Pour House are involved in this venture.) The Hawk and Dove, a fixture on Capitol Hill for 40 years, reopened in 2013 as a decidedly glossier restaurant and saloon.
In the meantime, the bar will be open for this week's conference championships -- Florida is the top seed in the SEC tournament -- showing games on its 25 TVs and offering $16 pitchers of craft beer.
The Pour House, 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. 202-546-0779.