The historic Northeast neighborhood Trinidad is largely residential, with leafy trees and quiet rowhouse-lined streets. In recent years, however, the trapezoidal community has welcomed the arrival of a playful park, and the streets that make up its boundaries are beginning to percolate with an artistic and innovative spirit.
1200 Bladensburg Rd. NE
When it comes to describing his bar, "everyone's got an opinion," says co-owner Bill Stewart, 55. " 'It's like Austin.' 'Oh, it's like Portland.' " The vibe here is undoubtedly laid-back. The 15,000-square-foot outdoor space is speckled with picnic tables, corn hole stations and a screen hung on a boxcar that plays movies nightly. Bar Dawg, a tail-wagging Australian cattle dog with his own Twitter handle (@BardawgDC), freely roams.
A stroll around stacked boxcars at Bardo leads to this used-bike shop that began renting a small outdoor spot from the bar in April. It has more than a dozen used bikes for sale, as well as bike supplies and tuneup services, but the real focus of the nonprofit group is to empower people through cycling. "We're definitely a friendly community of cyclists who care," says 29-year-old co-founder Mychael Mims. For starters, the shop offers an earn-a-bike program in which participants learn the ins and outs of building a bike that they keep at the session's end.
1358 Florida Ave. NE
This oasis of art is housed in a former auto repair shop, where white walls and airy exhibition rooms let displayed contemporary pieces speak without distraction. The gallery's spare surroundings also don't allude to the impact its owners have had on the District's artistic landscape. This October, partners Leigh Conner, 51, and Jamie Smith, 50, will bring their fourth (e)merge art fair to the Capitol Skyline Hotel., The international contemporary festival draws thousands annually. http://www.connersmith.us.com
Tree House Lounge
1006 Florida Ave. NE
The musical offerings here vary widely, from R&B lounge to folk, with the acts skewing more melodic and mellow than raucous and loud. Although the crowds tend to be those supporting the rotating list of performers, owner Colin Hoss, 47, says he has felt nothing but support from the local community since opening in April 2013. http://www.treehouselounge.com
Joseph H. Cole Park
1299 Neal St. NE
The 34,325-square-foot park is more a sunny and expansive playground than a shady retreat. There's room for impromptu field tag forays on an oval turf field, while a pair of gleaming jungle gyms often bear youthful climbers. A quartet of brightly painted metal arches denotes a small spray park that provides whimsical relief to summer's sweltering heat.
For more areas to explore, visit StrollAround.com.
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