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When it’s cold and dark outside, the walk from the Anacostia metro station to the newly-opened Uniontown Bar and Grill on W Street seems like a drag. And then, when it’s closed until 9:00 p.m. for a private party and you’re forced to kill time with a walk around Good Hope Road, through the neighborhood, past the Frederick Douglass House, and back out on to Martin Luther King Avenue, irritation mounts.

When you get inside the bar, of course, all that melts away. On my first visit there this weekend, my little band of friends was totally satisfied; Councilmembers Tommy Wells and Sekou Biddle even stopped by to gladhand.

And if you think about it, the advantage of people being forced to walk from the metro to Anacostia’s first upscale bar is becomes blindingly clear: Though Uniontown is very much a boon to nearby residents, it’s also going to draw interest from west of the river. Every person who takes the metro there will pass by storefronts on MLK, and if foot traffic is the most critical component of a retail operation or restaurant, all of those spaces become more viable business locations. Every store open late makes the street feel more safe. Meanwhile, Uniontown already needs a sister bar to catch the overflow from people who can’t get a table—it’s almost inevitable that a nightlife cluster will start to develop around it.

In two years, I think that strip is going to look quite a bit different than it does today.

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