News & Politics

Where Braden Holtby Buys His Coffee and Gets His Beard Trimmed in Old Town

Holtby with one of the local rescue dogs the Caps raise funds for. Photograph courtesy of Washington Capitals.

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made his NHL debut at the Verizon Center in 2010 when he was just 21. Since then, he’s become one of the best goalies in the country, leading the league in both wins and shutouts. Along the way, he got married, had two kids, and settled in Old Town in 2013. We caught up with him after a morning skate to talk about why he and his wife chose this part of Alexandria, his favorite places—including where he gets his famous beard trimmed—and his hopes for the Caps season.

Why did you move to Old Town?

We like the family feel of it. Our friends the Chimeras lived here at the time. [Former Capitals player Jason Chimera left the team in 2016 for the New York Islanders.] We just like the community feel while still being in a city atmosphere—the history, the historic houses. The architecture is awesome. People are extremely nice and friendly.

Did you househunt in any other places?

We primarily focused on Old Town because we loved how walkable it is. There’s a lot to do without going very far.

What was it like growing up in Lloyd­minster, Saskatchewan? How does Old Town compare?

It’s definitely an adjustment, going from a small town in Canada to the DC area. Alexandria has a community feel, which is what it was like in Canada. Living here—with almost a small-town feel, while having close access to all DC has to offer—is really nice.

What are your kids getting growing up in Old Town that you didn’t get in your hometown?

I’m really happy with the number of museums, things to do, historical sites that my kids will have around them. You don’t get a lot of that in a small town in Saskatchewan.

Where are your favorite hangouts?

Coffee shop? Killer ESP. Restaurant? Oh, man, that’s a tough one. There are so many good ones. Virtue Feed & Grain’s always a good go-to. T.J. Stone’s is really good. I don’t do too much shopping in Old Town, but I like [Italian menswear store] Dash’s.

What’s a great date night in Old Town?

Restaurant Eve is a pretty good, quiet place. We’ll go for sushi at Momo. There’s that little live-music place, O’Shaugh­nessy’s—it’s kind of in a basement where you go in through the back door.

Where do you get your beard trimmed when it’s in full bloom?

The Gentlemen’s Club—is that what it’s called? The one by Starbucks on Union? [It’s the Gentlemen’s Quarters on South Union Street.]

How do you relax when you’re not playing or practicing?

We’ve had our whole back yard done, so we spend a lot of time there. But you know, we just like walking around, seeing the houses. You can walk everywhere. You walk a different way and see cool houses every time.

What are your hopes for the coming Caps season?

We lost some guys this off-season that were great teammates, but I really like the team we have. We all have the same desire to win, and any year can be our year.

This article appears in the October 2017 issue of Washingtonian.

Kim Olsen

Kim Olsen ([email protected]) is a freelance writer in Alexandria.