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Wet Dog Tavern, which opened this month near the 9:30 Club (2100 Vermont Ave. NW), features your average neighborhood bar beer list—except for one thing. Instead of describing Corona beer as hailing from Mexico, the menu reads that it’s from ‘South of ‘the Wall.’ All other beers simply include city, state, and alcohol by volume.
Despite what is obviously a reference to the wall Donald Trump proposes to build at the Mexican border, Wet Dog general manager Raj Lal says, “I don’t want to be political at all with this place. Politics stay outside.” He goes on to say that it’s meant as a joke and that the restaurant advocates neither for nor against it.
“My goal is to be a great, relaxed place to come and chill out, get away from everything, whether you like him [Trump] or don’t like him.”
It is unclear who owns or operates Wet Dog Tavern. Lal describes the owners are silent ones and declines to release further information. “We want people to come to the bar not because of who owns it,” he says, “but they’re here a lot.”
Filings with the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) list Frank Economides as a “managing member” of the restaurant. His family’s politics are less vague, judging by posts like these on his public Instagram account.
At a time when District residents are quick to profess they’re boycotting a restaurant based on the ownership’s perceived political leanings, it’s no surprise that the tavern already saw a brief flash of political blowback in (where else but) the PoPville comment section. When the blog announced the bar’s opening, the Economides family caught some heat.
“I decided to check out Constandinos Economides’ Facebook page to see what that was all about,” user deejay commented. “Sadly, I see he is a Trump supporter. He attended one of the Inauguration balls (Faith, Freedom, and Future Inaugural Ball), and he posted a pic of himself having a drink inside the Trump Hotel on Inauguration Day. In any other election cycle, belonging to or supporting one political party or candidate normally would not cause me to avoid your business. This year is very different, though. You support Trump? I don’t support you.”
Others came to the defense of Economides.
City Paper asked Lal to reach out to the mystery owners for comment, but none has gotten in touch.
Wet Dog Tavern, 2100 Vermont Ave. NW; (202) 234-3334; facebook.com/wetdogdc/