Best of Washington 2021: New Stores and Lounges
Best new place for plants
Jungle and loom | Reader choice
Plant stores are more than foliage these days. Buyers don’t just want to buy a philodendron, they want to be inspired by Instagram. The latest such vendor to set up shop in Washington DC is Jungle & Loom, which, between its studio in the Brookland Arts Walk and its kiosk in Union Market, sells not only houseplants and moss walls, but also vintage glassware and macrame hangers, items that owner Anna Johnston thinks complements the aesthetic she seeks. “For me, it’s important that plants are a fun hobby,” she says. That’s why each comes with a card explaining how to take care of it and answers questions on Instagram. 716 Monroe St., NE (open Saturdays); 1309 Fifth St., NE (daily); no phone.
Shopping district we couldn’t wait to see again
Georgetown | Reader choice
Online shopping is easy, of course, and was a lifeline during quarantine. But for some, surfing the web couldn’t replace rummaging through the shelves of a favorite store. Once the stores reopened, shoppers headed to Old Town, Tysons, and 14th Street. The region where readers were most eager to return? Georgetown, according to our Instagram poll.
Best New Way To Support Black Owned Businesses
The gift shop
When lists of black-owned businesses started circulating during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, there was no local place where people could buy exclusively black-owned brands. That’s until Gary Williams Jr. (right) and Tamon George opened the gift shop this year. The Union Market store features local manufacturers, such as Ron David Studio, District of Clothing, Small Wooden Box, and Black Pepper Paperie Co., focusing on groups that otherwise might not have had the chance to display their products in a mortar store. 1258 Fourth Street ,. BORN ; 202-892-3821.
Best new way to support women-owned businesses
Femme Fatale DC
Launched in 2016 as a series of pop-ups featuring products from women and non-binary designers, this creative collective has landed a permanent home in Cleveland Park filled with art and crystals. The retail space accepts brands at all levels, which means shoppers can support young local entrepreneurs as well. 3409 Connecticut Ave., NW; no phone.
Best New Store For Coastal Decor
Serena and Lily
Walking into this Bethesda Row store, dressed in cool whites and blues, almost feels like a vacation. As fans of the Californian company would expect, the showroom has it all for the beach house of your dreams: rattan dining chairs, colorful coffee table books, soak-dyed stools, neatly organized knick-knacks. and woven pendants. 7121 Bethesda Ln .; 240-531-1839; by appointment only.
Best new place to reduce your ecological footprint
Mason & Greens
This Old Town boutique is for people who yearn for a zero waste lifestyle, but even die-hard paper towel users can appreciate the high-quality cleaning and personal care products, not to mention the kombucha at pressure. The name of the store refers to both the glass jars you can bring or buy on site to take out your loose items as well as the organic vegetables sold at the back. 913 King Street, Alexandria; 703-829-0129.
Best New Sustainable Gift Shop
Marika Tsombikos has spent most of her life in Great Falls and always wanted to open a shop. Last August, when a storefront became available in the village square, she jumped, even though she was seven months pregnant. In December, Vivid Chill opened, selling jewelry, bath products, clothing, cards, pottery and other eco-friendly gifts. “I only buy things that I really like,” she says. This means items with a clean design, often in bright colors or fun patterns. 752 Walker Road, Great Falls; 571-407-7093.
Best New Store For Home Cooks
Bold Fork Books
The husband-wife duo Clementine Thomas and Sam Vasfi, co-owners of the Georgetown Chez Billy Sud brewery, are behind this new bookstore in Mount Pleasant. The shelves contain timeless titles by Julia Child; modern hits like Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat; children’s cookbooks; cooking magazines; and more. Buyers can purchase equipment for making recipes, including pots and pans from the French brand de Buyer, or attend author talks by culinary figures. And if you smell bacon, you’re not dreaming: the neighbor Each Peach Market shares some of the space and is a great stop for ingredients. 3064 Mount Pleasant Street, NW; no phone.
Best New Guide to Local Shopping
When Covid-19 hit, many Washingtonians went the extra mile to support small businesses. Leela Bhatia-Newman and Mariana Magala took it one step further by turning an Excel spreadsheet of local vendors they’d shared just with friends into Districtly Local, a searchable online directory of some 500 area businesses that sell clothing, artwork, chocolate, soap, and other merchandise. Are you particularly interested in supporting brands owned by Blacks, POCs, Women or LGBTQ? You can also filter for this.
Hot new living room
Blackbird | Reader choice
This bohemian-chic salon, opened at Navy Yard in August 2020 by two Immortal Beloved alumni, has already won a beloved audience. Co-founders Justine Carlisle and Devin Cook (both renowned for color and extensions) lead a group of talented stylists. 801 Virginia Ave., SE; 202-481-0040.
Best News For Say Yes to the Dress Fans
Monte Durham, the humorous and stylish fashion director at Bridals by Lori, the Atlanta outpost of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, has long considered the Washington area his home. (This is where he got into marriage counseling.) Last year, he returned here to open Salon Monte in the Old Town, where clients can book hairstyling services with him ( from $ 95 for a shampoo and a hairstyle) or a member of the team (from $ 65). 210 S. Union St., Alexandria; 703-217-7077.
This article appeared in the September 2021 issue of Washingtonian.