Tuesday, October 09, 2007

No mo' Dremo

The era of Bardo Rodeo/Dr. Dremo's funky draft house is coming to an end.

From Dr. Dremo's website today:

Dr Dremo's will close the doors at the current location on Sunday, Jan 27th, 2 AM. We are actively scouting for a new location. The Dr Dremo and Taco Bell property has been sold to Elm St Development. Plans call for 141 residential units and 34,685 sf of ground floor retail.

"Thanks to all who have helped make Dr Dremo's a success. From the patrons to the staff. Hope to see you soon."
-the Doctor

Dr. Dremos to close January 2008.In the early 1990s, Bill Stewart opened Bardo Rodeo in a closed car dealership, with a car imbedded into the front window as if crashing through (with the jukebox in the front seat), a brewpub, inside sandboxes, a 'Free Tibet' ethos (hence the names), and a lot of good beer. James Brown Ale, a strong dark ale, was a crowd favorite.

From a reader:

My recollection is that Bill Stewart and his then-wife, Alice Despard, who together previously operated the BBQ Iguana club in DC, first opened Roratonga Rodeo on Wilson Blvd in the location that is now Galaxy Hut. It had many of the unique features seen later at Bardo: great draft selection (esp for that time), a car for a bar, long voodoo canes for tap handles, and wild art. They split, and Bill Stewart opened Amdo Rodeo, with similar decor and beer almost directly across the street, in what is now Iota. (For a while, you could get draft Anchor barleywine on both sides of Wilson). Some time later, Amdo closed and Bardo opened down the street in the former car dealership. Amdo became Strangeways and then Iota. Roratonga became Galaxy Hut at some point.

Bardo's brewing equipment was eventually removed under a legal cloud, and the establishment renamed Dr. Dremo's. Bill's father and his brother, Andrew, have operated the bar for several years now. They do state that they are actively searching for a new location.

So long Bardo Rodeo/ Dr. Dremo's ... and thank you for all the funky fun; thank you for all the good beer.

**************
  • Alice Despard sold Galaxy Hut in 2005 to long-time employee, Lary Hoffman. It remains open.
  • UPDATE 2009.11.08: Word of possible re-opening, in 2010.
  • More photos here.

3 comments:

  1. Wit Memo Jeff10/11/07, 2:54 PM

    Tom - As an old timer on the far side of 50, I think you have the sequence of bar openings a little off.

    My recollection is that Bill Stewart and his then-wife, Alice Despard, who together previously operated the BBQ Iguana club in DC, first opened Roratonga Rodeo on Wilson Blvd in the location that is now Galaxy Hut. It had many of the unique features seen later at Bardo: great draft selection (esp for that time), a car for a bar, long voodoo canes for tap handles, and wild art. They split, and Bill Stewart opened Amdo Rodeo, with similar decor and beer almost directly across the street, in what is now Iota. (For a while, you could get draft Anchor barleywine on both sides of Wilson). Some time later, Amdo closed and Bardo opened down the street in the former car dealership. Amdo became Strangeways and then Iota. Roratonga became Galaxy Hut at some point.

    I was always fond of Bardo's Graceland Imperial Stout. It'll be sad to see the place go. It was unique, and a definite alternative to increasingly upscale establishments.

    Thanks, Jeff

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  2. I drank beer (and obviously too much!) at Iguana, Roratonga, and Strangeways. The stories and memories disappear quickly. Thanks for the corrections. Alice was still running Galaxy Hut until 2005 or early 2006. Some day I'll tell my story about Anchor Old Foghorn at Bardo Rodeo.

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  3. So sorry to see Bardo go under. Many a pint of Tibetan Sasquatch were consumed in the pub near Reston, VA, when I was traveling on business. Brought tears to my eyes to see how close to SN's Bigfoot Barleywine this was.

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