Category Archives: Neigborhood Businesses

Brookland’s True Value Hardware Store Has Special Sunday Frankenstorm Hours

Hardware Store Supplies NE Washington DCJust in case you need batteries, flash lights, and the like to prepare for the coming “frankenstorm”, our neighborhood True Value store will be open from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm this Sunday. (Normally they are closed on Sundays.) The store is located on the corner of Monroe and 12th Streets, NE. Thanks True Value!!

Frankenstorm Hurricane Sandy Supplies NE Washington DC

Brookland Bids Farewell To Col. Brooks’ Tavern

Crowd at Col Brooks On Closing Night Brookland NE Washington DC
Colonel Brooks’ Tavern was packed for last night with patrons wanting one more hurrah

Last night was the last chance for those wanting to bid farewell to a Brookland institution, the much storied watering hole Colonel Brooks’ Tavern. I have only lived in Brookland for 3 years, but in that time I grew fond of the place. It was the only place I have ever gone where the bartender would be preparing my drink (a Stella Artois draught) as I approached my bar stool, before words were exchanged. Last night the house was packed with revelers telling stories of pitchers of beer following long nights of studying at Catholic U, of first dates there that resulted in marriages, of federal employees who would trudge there through snow storms when their offices were closed for the day. Life is about never-ending change, sometimes all you can do is honor the best of our past and look forward to the future. Many thanks to Jim Stiegman and the crew at the Tavern for serving the community for so  many years!

Here are some photos we have taken of the Tavern in the weeks before it closed.

Brookland’s List – A Great Idea Idea Goes Underutilized

If you read the Brookland listserv with any regularity, you notice that like clockwork there are repetitive posts requesting recommendations for roofers, plumbers, veterinarians, etc. One industrious reader decided to solve the need for this type information by creating “Brookland’s List“. It is a spreadsheet on Google docs where Brooklanders can add reviews of local services such as handyman, electricians and the like. Given that there are thousands of people living in the area, and most of us living in older homes, one would think this idea should have taken off like wildfire. In any case, just though we would pass along if you hadn’t heard about it yet.

Brookland’s Own Chocolate City Beer Interviewed On CNN

You may have heard that the White House has been brewing beer, causing a stir from home brewers and micro-brew lovers who are clamoring for the recipe.  Today the story hit home as CNN visited the good guys over at Chocolate City Beer and asked them to weigh in on the issue. Check out the video here. Way to go CCB!

Chocolate City Beer Obama Story
Gratuitous photo of President Obama sipping beer

Excel Pilates – A New Vision Includes Yoga, Zumba And More; Take A Free Trial Class!

I heard about Excel Pilates for years, but not knowing much about Pilates, never ventured inside. That is, until I heard about their new Yoga and Zumba classes. After trekking across town for Yoga classes, I am so excited to now have classes here in my own backyard.  Then I tried the Zumba class, and was hooked. This September, Excel is offering free trial classes in Pilates, Yoga and Zumba ahead of their fall class schedule. This is your chance to get to know this neighborhood gem and start getting in shape before the holidays! We caught up with Lesa McLaughlin, the owner of Excel Pilates and learned about the history of the studio, pictured below, and her vision for its future.

Lesa has deep roots in our community, having either worked or lived in Brookland since 1986. She originally taught dance at Dance Place, and was the Associate Artistic Director until 1997. In 1995, she began to teach Pilates in a very small studio inside Dance Place. A few years later, she moved to the current location as business grew. Two things come across very quickly with Lesa; she wants Pilates be as accessible as possible and she loves Brookland.

Lesa informed me that “Pilates is a method of exercise invented by a gentleman named Joseph Hubertus Pilates in the early 1900’s. He called it Contrology, “the study of control.” The method consists of over 600 exercises using five major apparatus. The most popular are the Reformer and Mat.” Lesa explained that it is a full body workout which focuses on the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, inner thighs and gluteals, creating stability of the spine for efficient movement. Excel studios offers a variety of options in Pilates, including:

  • Sessions by appointment that use all of the Pilates Equipment, including Mat, that are offered One on Ones, Duets and Trios
  • Six week pre registered classes in Pilates Mat  (beginning through advanced-no equipment required).  
  • Small group Reformer classes
  • Wall Unit classes (a combination of Mat and an apparatus using springs and bars)
  • Wunda Chair classes.
  • Pilates “sampler” classes (coming this fall)

Excel recently expanded their class offerings to include Zumba and Yoga. I asked Lesa the reason behind this move. She explained that over the past year she began to formulate a vision for studio expansion, and providing a variety of methods of exercise that are complimentary to Pilates. The Yoga classes and Zumba are just the start of that expansion. Lesa adds, “Pilates is my passion and my expertise. Pilates will always be my primary focus. Part of this vision is to bring in experts from these other areas to create a space that not only offers Pilates but a variety of forms not typically found in a traditional gym. This fall we will be offering Pilates,Yoga, GYROTONIC®, and GYROKINESIS®” and some other offerings in the works as well.

Free Trial Week will be Tuesday September 4th – Saturday 8th (All classes are Beginning level.) Here’s the rundown:

  • Tuesday, September 4th – 7:30pm – Free Yoga with Hermione
  • Wednesday, September 5th – 7:00am – Free Yoga with Kate
  • Wednesday, September 5th – 6:15pm – Free Pilates Mat with Tatjana
  • Wednesday, September 5th – 7:00pm – Free Pilates Wall-Unit with Tatjana
  • Thursday, September 6th – 6:15pm – Free Gyrokinesis with Francesca
  • Thursday, September 6th – 8:00pm – Free Zumba with Tatjana
  • Saturday, September 8th – 9:30am – Free Pilates Apparatus with Daniela

For all Free-Trial classes call (202-269-3020) or email ( the studio to sign up. If you call, leave a message of which trial class(es) you would like to sign up for, your name, phone number, and email address. Space is limited so first come, first serve. For Excel’s current and upcoming class schedules go here.

Lastly, we asked Lesa if  she could dispel one misconception about Pilates for our readers. Her answer: “that Pilates is just for women…It is not…after all Joseph Pilates was a man!”