It’s rumored that first lady Eleanor Roosevelt once called Blagden Alley “the most despicable alley in America,” but if she were to visit today, she’d probably see it differently. The historic alley, now restored, feels like a hidden world. An entire day can be spent in Blagden Alley without leaving — morning at the cafe, lunch at the sandwich shop, dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, and drinks on a rooftop bar.
Meet your local
Austin has lived in Washington since 2007. He grew up as an American in Russia, attended boarding school in Germany, has lived in Kazakhstan and China and has traveled to more than 60 countries.
Where I live: Fairlawn, considered the first suburb of the city now formally part of it. It’s a neighborhood where most people were born and raised in the same house they live in now and where porch culture is strong.
Best way to get around the city: Capital Bikeshare, one of the first bike-sharing programs in the United States.
Don’t leave without having: A conversation with a native Washingtonian to hear stories of a city in transition.
But the local favorite is really: Baked & Wired. Don’t get distracted by the TV glam of Georgetown Cupcake.
If I moved, I’d most miss: Congressional Cemetery. It represents all facets of D.C., encompassing history and politics, yoga and wine.
Even though it’s technically a bar, the word doesn’t do justice for a place that often makes “best cocktail in America” lists. If you want bites of food, you can order its four-course seasonal tasting menu.
Columbia Room, 124 Blagden Alley NW. Washington, D.C. 20001
Melina is a Washington Post photographer based in the District and spends her free time climbing, skiing, traveling and exploring. Her work is inspired by memories of her father, a CBS cameraman, and her passionate and loving Italian mother.