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Exploring Capitol Hill History: Barracks Row


February 25th, 2015

Exploring Capitol Hill History: Barracks Row


barraks rows poptarts

Barracks Row in Capitol Hill DC is the quintessential American revival story. Back in the 1990s, the neighborhood’s most storied stretch -- Eighth Street SE -- fell into disrepair. The sidewalks were cracked and storefronts were vacant, having been abandoned in the wake of Washington DC’s 1968 race riots.

According to, the National Trust for Historic Preservation used its Main Street Program to revitalize the downtrodden stretch of Eighth Street SE. With the rebirth of the area came a real estate surge, bringing new businesses and residents to the beautiful strip known as Barracks Row. Today, Barracks Row is one of DC’s most attractive and bustling little nooks. As one of the more aesthetically attractive sections of the Capitol Hill area and an important piece of the city’s architectural fiber, the micro-neighborhood stands out as a cultural and culinary hotspot in the heart of DC. Learn more about Capitol Hill Hotel’s favorite places to eat, drink, shop and spend time on Barracks Row: Hill’s Kitchen

This cleverly-named storefront is a multi-purpose shopping destination, culinary school, and community gathering center -- and there’s plenty here to feed your appetite. Hill’s Kitchen sells upscale kitchenware that adds pizzazz and functionality to even the most expertly appointed kitchen. The shop hosts a variety of fun cooking classes, making for great Capitol Hill date nights and outings. The shop is housed within an original 1884 extended townhouse in the heart of Barracks Row, adjacent to peaceful Market Park.

Hill’s Kitchen 713 D Street SE Washington, DC 20003
Banana Cafe & Piano Bar

This delightful Cuban and Puerto Rican cafe offers some of the best Latin food in Washington DC. Banana Cafe’s Cuban sandwiches and stuffed plantains are amongst our favorite items on the extensive and eclectic menu. The venue also doubles as a piano bar, supplying lively tunes to accompany the fresh food and drinks.

Banana Cafe & Piano Bar 500 8th Street SE Washington, DC 20003
The Chesapeake Room

The Chesapeake Room is a great example of just how drastically Barracks Row has transformed since the 1990s. This charming restaurant is the definition of upscale, serving delectable cream of crab soup, pan-seared scallops, and other high-end accoutrements. The Chesapeake Room doubles as Barracks Row’s best brunch spot, serving early-afternoon delights each weekend.

The Chesapeake Room 501 8th Street SE Washington, DC 20003

"We stayed at the Capitol Hill Hotel for 3 nights and LOVED our stay there! Staff was very accommodating, pleasant, and considerate!

Jainemh62, TripAdvisor

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