H Street NE folks these days are trying to push through a ban on single sales of beer at certain outlets, a gentrifying tradition of sorts in the District. The NIMBYs along H are following the lead of like-minded revitalizers along the city’s gentrification belt—-including, of course, those in Mount Pleasant and along Georgia Avenue—-in taking aim at people they believe are dragging the ‘hood down. Bums, that is, whose lifestyle they believe would take a hit if they couldn’t access single beers.
Well, I’m gainfully employed, and I love the single beer. I must confess that years ago, I didn’t see the point. If I bought beer, it was either in a six-pack, case, or keg. That’s because I was generally consuming it with friends or at a party. I agreed with the activists that the single was for folks who’d most likely down their beer out on the street.
Now, though, I am married, and a big can of Corona or Heineken has become a perfect dinner libation for the Mr. and Mrs. At least five times over the past year, I’ve picked up singles from either Cairo Liquor or Best-In Liquors, in Dupont and Logan Circles, respectively. I could buy a six, but that’s too heavy and cumbersome and expensive, and I don’t need to keep the fridge stocked with beer. I could buy a keg, but I don’t have a bar, entertainment center, or tap, so that’s not an option. I want my singles. And if I should ever move to H Street, I’ll want my singles there as well.
In the mid-’90s, a big debate within City Paper unfolded over just this issue. I argued that the ban was reasonable. A colleague of mine, the astute John Cloud, responded, “Sometimes, you just want one.”