Used to be neighborhood bars came, more or less, in a handful of colors: The jock-oriented joint with lots of TVs and grease; the wannabe Bukowski watering hole with lots of grumpiness and grease; and the redneck hideaway, no outsiders allowed.
Leave it to Jackie Greenbaum and Gordon Banks to add a glitter-loaded color to that limited palette. Next month, the duo behind El Chucho and Bar Charley, along with loyal employees and minority partners Nick Nazdin and Ellen Cox, plan to introduce Slash Run, a self-described hair-metal neighborhood tavern. It's scheduled to open on or around July 8 at 201 Upshur St. NW in Petworth, just across the street from Hitching Post.
"The whole place is sort of glam. It's sort of hair-metal inspired," says Greenbaum, also a partner in Quarry House, the latchkey tavern in Silver Spring.
No matter how you view that era of towering, teased-and-sprayed lion manes, it produced a body of music that still inspires middle-aged fans to shake whatever hair they have left. These folks now have a neighborhood haunt where they can bang their heads without judgment from baby boomers and their endless Beatles-vs.-Stones arguments. The 100-CD jukebox will be well stocked with hair metal, among other genres, Greenbaum promises.
Who'd a guessed it: A 50-seat bar for those who grew up with Def Leppard, Poison, Ratt, Loverboy, Cinderella, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue (oh, sorry: Mötley Crüe) and countless others who piled on the guitar notes and the hairspray.
"Well, it is," says Greenbaum, with a deep laugh. "A little bit more so for Gordon, but also for me. That music represents a genre that, at one point or another, we were in love with. I mean, for me, if you go back, it's more like T. Rex or Mott the Hoople, because I'm so f-----g old."
Greenbaum turns nostalgic for a minute, thinking about her time living in Los Angeles.
"One of my favorite things about living in L.A. actually is the fact that eye-liner rockers were allowed to grow old gracefully," she recalls. "I remember I used to go to the Ralphs [supermarkets] all the time out there, and . . . they would come in in like black leather jackets and still have that '70s black shag, looking like they were out of Kiss."
"And I loved it," Greenbaum continues. "Nobody judged that. People got to be themselves forever. You didn't have to grow out of it. We may not quite look that way, but we've never really grown out of it, either. So for us, this place is just fun."
Slash Run, named after a major Rock Creek tributary, will glam out other aspects of the place, too, like the bar, which will be painted a high-gloss black and sprinkled with glitter. There will be a hot-pink beer tower, with 15 different draft handles, some dedicated to local brews. Even the menu — a collaboration among Greenbaum, Banks and Adam Harvey, executive chef at Jackie's — will sort of take a hair-metal approach to pub grub.
Greenbaum sheepishly calls it a "modern burger menu."
"I don't want to make it sound modern, like froufrou-y, but we kind of think of it as what the Quarry House menu would be if we were making it today," she says. It will include 12 different seven-ounce burgers, some more over the top (raise your fist in the air and bow your heads!) than others.
Slash Run will also have wings, hot dogs, appetizers (including one dedicated to Petworth neighbor Gordy's Pickle Jar), a pork schnitzel sandwich and a line of tuna sandwiches, including one called Curry on My Wayward Son, which kind of mixes two eras but who cares.
The bar will feature 75-plus bottled beers, a handful of cocktails (including two frozen drinks) and a very glam selection of bourbons and ryes, around 200 brands, available in one- and two-ounce pours. The smaller pours will help aging metal-heads keep their wits about them for work the following day.
The wild cards at Slash Run will be a few wonderfully oddball murals leftover from Chief Ike's Mambo Room, the Adams Morgan institution that closed earlier this year. Greenbaum bought the murals from former owner Al Jirikowic after his place fell victim to the "strollerified" culture of Adams Morgan.
There may be nothing glam about the mural below, in which a guitar-strumming Marion Barry rides a yellow lion through a tropical jungle, but it does call to mind a certain Poison song.
Slash Run, 201 Upshur St. NW, scheduled to open around July 8.