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Spotted in Jewish DC – 1831 Bar & Lounge

This week in #SpottedinJewishDC, we’ve discovered an awesome bar steps away from our favorite soup-spot (what up Soupergirl). Some reasons this bar is worthy of the highly revered “Spotted in Jewish DC” title: 1) Really inexpensive happy hour prices; 2) Steampunk inspired ambiance; 3) The owners are three Jewish brothers who are natives of the DC suburbs. Read this exclusive interview with 1831 Bar & Lounge’s Co-Founder and Owner Sean Chreky – and then go say hi in person!

Allie: How did you wind up opening the bar?

Sean: I come from an entrepreneurial family. My mom had her own dance school, my dad started his own hair salon, and many of my extended family members were hairstylists. I was meant to be a hairstylist (ie: Don’t Mess with the Zohan). Instead of becoming a hairdresser, I got my masters in finance and was going to work in investment banking. But deep down, I wanted to own my own business and be my own boss. And my father always taught me I should follow my own dreams. When my brothers and I saw this amazing space available in DC in 2015, we jumped on this opportunity to buy the space and transform it into a bar. Now, my two brothers and I are owners of 1831 Bar & Lounge! They say doing business with family is never a good idea, and we definitely have our moments, but ultimately we’re happy to be doing it.

Allie: What sets your bar apart from the others?

Sean: Well, we have a really inexpensive happy hour menu. Since we started 1831 on a shoestring budget, we wanted to do whatever we could to create buzz around it, and figured having really cheap drinks and food -$1 beers, $4 glass of wine, $6 Tito’s – would do the trick. We also specialize in hosting events, whether it’s a birthday party, or a corporate or nonprofit event.

Ambiance-wise, we’re trying to be a steampunk-inspired bar – like in the 1800s when there was industrial steam-powered machinery, a little bit like the train time machine in Back to the Future Part 3. We’re looking forward to eventually having our staff wear steampunk outfits.

In the future, we will keep the bar & lounge as is and start a nightclub by taking over three more levels of the building.

Allie: What advice do you have for someone dreaming of opening up their own business?

Sean: Before you do it, know that it’s really what you want. It takes a lot of work, late nights, and the bar industry can be a tough one. Make sure that whatever business you are planning to start is the industry you really want to be in. Try working in that industry before you start your own business, so you get a feel for it. And have a niche. You need to be able to carve out your own unique space and stand out from the competition. Oh, and make sure you have more than enough money saved if things don’t go as planned.

Allie: What do you like to do for fun outside of work?

Sean: Well, because I invested everything in the bar, and it takes time for a bar to become profitable, I had to get another job during the day. So, my fun time is very limited. But, if I did have time to spare, I’d spend it by the water. My brothers and I love going to the beach, scuba diving, and spearfishing. I love watching football – we’re Ravens, Redskins, and Miami Dolphin fans. If you come to 1831 on Sundays, we have Redskins games playing, and are also the official DC bar for the University of Miami Hurricanes and the DC International Film Festival.

Allie: How do you connect with your Jewish identity?

Sean: I have a deep cultural connection, and care a lot about Jewish tradition. I went on Birthright Israel, and we grew up going to Congregation Har Shalom. I also love Jewish foods – Matzo ball soup has a soft spot in my heart. I used to live in New York City, and there were real, authentic Jewish diners where I had some of the best matzo ball soup of my life – like 2nd Ave Deli.

 

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Girl of the Week – Tara

What is SilverStrategy?
SilverStrategy (SilverStrategy.com) is a full service public relations and public affairs firm based out of D.C. We deliver strategic communications, media consulting, event planning, fundraising, image branding, partnership building, creative marketing campaigns, and business development – it’s loads of fun!  We find innovative approaches that elevate our clients in the media and marketplace and successfully represent a diverse group of local businesses, the hospitality industry, non-profits (including the Washington DCJCC), government agencies, entrepreneurs, public figures, and the arts community.

Always keeping in mind the goals and values of SilverStrategy, we have been able to educate and create community through our work and our new blog, YourGoodIdeaFairy, and last month, I was fortunate enough to be honored with Washington Women in PR’s Emerging Leaders Award.

Why Entrepreneurship?
I grew up in Montreal in a large, strong, and beautiful Jewish community and became active in it at a young age. I joined BBYO in high school and really enjoyed what it had to offer and the impact it was making on the youth involved. BBYO taught me the responsibilities and meaning of leadership. I took on many leadership roles and eventually became president of my region. Since then, I have always felt a real desire to help others and after that, I became both a professional and lay leader Jew, working with organizations like B’nai Brith, the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, AIPAC, Canadian Jewish Congress, and so on and so on….I fell in love with the ability I had to make a difference in my own community, and affect change in a meaningful way while connecting with others.

After working within the political, non-profit, and corporate worlds for many years, it became clear that the common thread between each position was my personal passion for the field of communications as well as an ability to seek and implement ways to maximize opportunities for others in the professional (and personal) worlds. I love bringing people together to form strategic, win-win partnerships. I decided to take what I had learned and fulfill my growing, burning desire to start my own venture. Three years ago, after working as the VP of a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C. I decided to take the plunge and start SilverStrategy.  Since starting my business, I have been lucky enough to work within many of my passions, including aiding other entrepreneurs in accomplishing their own goals.

What is the Coolest Part about Your Current Job?
It’s my dream job and I’m the boss!

What Does Being Jewish Mean to You?
The age old question. It means tons. It’s a huge part of what makes me who I am and challenges me to be a better person. I love the history, spirituality, culture, traditions, and community I get to be a part of. I have always had a true interest in learning the why’s of life and Judaism has always encouraged me to do so.  Also, I appreciate what Judaism teaches about tikkun olam, and how Judaism encourages us to make the world a better place and try to incorporate that into every aspect of my life.

What is Your Most Memorable Jewish Experience?
Great question. Looking back on life, some of my most outstanding experiences have been tied to the community.

The year I spent as N’siah of my BBYO region was my most memorable, because of all the amazing people I got to work with, what I was able to accomplish, and what the organization and its members gave back to me. They taught me the philanthropic values that have repeatedly motivated me throughout my career and gave me the tools to be the person I am today.

My year studying at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, living among Israelis, learning about the Jewish state’s culture, politics, arts, and vibrancy,  meeting some of my best friends until this day, and having a ton of good old-fashioned fun.

Birthright. When Birthright was in its first year, it was still somewhat of a test/pilot program.  I was fortunate enough to be invited as one of the very first student Madrichim to lead the trip. The ability to share my love of Israel and see it through other people’s experiences over and over again was nothing less than beautiful. It was a significant experience which further cemented my relationship with Israel and one in which I will never forget.

What cool projects are you working on right now?
I am helping launch the Washington DCJCC’s HYMAN S. & FREDA BERNSTEIN JEWISH LITERARY FESTIVAL this week. For more information on this year’s lineup and to buy tickets check out washingtondcjcc.org/litfest.