Meet Jesse: Jewish Bar Owner of the Week

by GatherDC Staff / November 12, 2021

Been to metrobar yet? If so, you have Jesse Rauch to thank! This community builder and hospitality industry veteran has been busy during the pandemic, bringing one of DC’s newest and most interesting bars to life. Read on to learn what this New Yorker loves about DC, what inspired his business venture, and the food that fuels his day. 

GatherDC: Tell me about what brought you to the DC area, and why you’ve stayed.

Jesse: I moved to the District to teach 3rd grade—the best grade—and began a career fighting for educational equity. I found myself surrounded by amazing friends and tons of creative opportunities that led me to stick with DC. 

GatherDC: A little birdie told me you recently opened your own watering hole, metrobar. Tell me more about what led you to that. 

Jesse: I started a competitive karaoke league, District Karaoke, almost 10 years ago—and it introduced me to the hospitality industry. I loved the community building that went along with that—and how I got to meet so many awesome people. While drinking whiskey with someone I met through the league, we decided to open a bar inside of a Metro train car. On a whim. Two years later, metrobar is now my main gig! 

GatherDC: That must keep you really busy! What’s the one thing you can’t get through the day without?

Jesse: I just can’t get through a day without breakfast. Truth be told, I make the best pancakes you’ll ever enjoy. [Editor’s note: can we get a recipe? Asking for a friend.]

GatherDC: Describe your dream day in the DMV from start to finish.

Jesse: My dream day would start with a bagel from Call Your Mother. I’d then gather my friends for a bike ride around the city (including a stop to watch the airplanes land at Gravelly Point)—ensuring that we stop along the way for cocktails…and pizza from Wiseguys. I’d relish a stop at the NGA for some 18th and 19th century Impressionism, a pass through Capitol Hill Books, and an outdoor movie on the National Mall. I’d love to end the night with an evening of board games and music on someone’s rooftop (wine in hand).

GatherDC: Other than starting an entire business, did you get into fun hobbies over the course of this pandemic? 

Jesse: I got into furniture making! I built a headboard for myself and I’ve made some wall art. I’m working on building a martini table now.

GatherDC: If you could invite any three people to your Shabbat dinner, who would they be and why?

Jesse: If I could invite three people to Shabbat, I’d definitely choose Barack Obama, Roman Mars (from the podcast 99% Invisible), and the cast of My Dad Wrote a Porno (I know, I cheated). What I’m looking for is an evening of intelligently informed conversation and uproarious laughter! 

GatherDC: What fictional family would you love to be a part of and why?

Jesse: Mostly because I want to use the Force, I’d like to be part of the Skywalker family, or perhaps, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s brother or something. Having worked in education and gender equity spaces, I’d like to be a force for good and justice. May the Force be with you! 

GatherDC: Hanukkah is coming up pretty quickly this year, are you planning to celebrate?

Jesse: I’m excited to be celebrating the first night of Hanukkah at metrobar, Sunday November 28. I’m building a homemade menorah for the occasion. I’m also bringing in donuts from Donut Run and there’ll be a live band (who are preparing a special song for the occasion). [Editor’s note: More info here! Come say hi to Jesse and our engagement team, and light Hanukkah candles!]

GatherDC: When Jews of DC Gather…

Jesse: …we are always looking for the best place to eat.


You can learn more about Jesse’s metrobar in these Washingtonian and DCW50 articles.