When Meridian Pint opened in 2010, it was a big boon for DC’s budding craft beer scene. But in the years since, owner John Andrade says the city’s beer hubs and restaurants have become oversaturated, and the Columbia Heights gastropub is no longer the destination it once was. With a lease coming to an end next year, Andrade has decided to close the business. As Popville first reported, its last day will be April 21. Meanwhile, Andrade’s previously announced Dominion Pint, coming to Arlington in May, will change its name to Meridian Pint.
“We just don’t have the cachet that we used to,” says Andrade, who also owns Brookland Pint and Adams Morgan’s Smoke & Barrel. “Yeah, we’re still busy. We still do millions of dollars in revenue a year, but it’s a 6,000-square foot space with a lot of staff and big rent.”
Andrade says it’s become harder to compete with all the new spots continuing to open pretty much every week, especially with rising labor costs. At the same time, beer events and brewer meet-and-greets that used to pack the house don’t draw the same crowds. Andrade says people aren’t as interested in, say, West Coast brewery releases anymore; They’d rather head to their favorite local brewery to get the latest greatest brew. While he sees that as a “wonderful evolution,” it’s been tough for a big space dependent on big events.
Although those problems extend beyond the District’s borders, Andrade has picked a spot in Arlington—Dominion Hills—that’s removed from the saturation of Clarendon and Ballston. It doesn’t hurt that he lives nearby.
“This is a community that is very starved for a neighborhood gathering place,” Andrade says of the small neighborhood between Ballston and Falls Church. “Why am I going to want to open more places in DC? Nobody’s anxiously awaiting for a Meridian Pint in their neighborhood. They already have 50 new restaurants that are opening next week.”
The new Meridian Pint will resemble the original in menu and design—but with half the space. “That to me is the evolving model for where things are going. Smaller, yet big enough to sustain itself,” Andrade says. Jace Gonnerman will continue to be the beverage director.
Andrade says he has found a buyer for the DC location: “I can’t definitively say what the concept will be, because it’s their concept. But the rumor is it’s going to be something Malaysian.”
If you want to catch Meridian Pint before it disappears from Columbia Heights, the restaurant will host its final Easter brunch on Sunday, April 21 then close at 4 PM.