A day spent driving through Washington DC with photographer and Creative Theory co-founder Tamon George is an inspirational experience. George looks closely at the detail—not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also a conceptual one. As he says, “Refinement is finding the simplest forms of beauty in everything; refinement is seeing the significance of a small change.” This perspective makes the all-new 2020 Range Rover Evoque the ideal companion for a drive around the historic city.
“We focus entirely around innovation,” he says regarding the creative scene in DC. “And what I saw was that same commitment to innovation in the Evoque.” Similarly, the residents of the inventive city dedicate themselves to its evolution. George says DC is home because it’s “where I found entrepreneurship, I found creativity, I found community.” He also found many treasures in the city, including community-focused cafes, museums, hotels and more.
A must-stop for art lovers, historic Blagden Alley and the surrounding Shaw neighborhood are places prestigious individuals moved to after the Civil War—Blanche Bruce (the first-ever elected African-American senator to serve a full term) included. Since then, the area has gone through several lives. In the 1990s, it was rezoned commercially and now houses various bars, restaurants, galleries and street art.
We need more small business owners who are dedicated to community.
From the photogenic alleyway, we head to The Village Cafe, which is owned by three DC-born and bred locals. More than just a cafe, this space focuses on the community. All the food and beverages stocked are made by underserved and emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses. The venue also holds various events throughout the year, connecting individuals who oftentimes end up collaborating on projects and building significant and supportive networks. “We need more small business owners who are dedicated to community,” George says. “And that’s entirely what The Village Cafe is.”
Across town in Adams Morgan, The LINE Hotel DC is a sophisticated and contemporary update on a neo-classical 20th century church building. The grand entrance captures visitors immediately, but inside there are restaurants, bars, workspaces and a community center—all of which echo the brand’s strong focus on fostering local talent. A highlight, the minimally designed rooftop allows visitors to peer out over the beautiful neighborhood.
With 40+ local vendors, Union Market is another essential stop when visiting DC. The destination sells various small-batch ingredients, teas, spices, cookware—even accessories and candles. For anyone who’s worked up an appetite on the trek from store to store, there’s plenty to eat while here, too—including a Korean taco grill and pop-up dumpling spots.
Open for less than a year, Eaton Hotel, located downtown at K and 12th St, centers on community and activism. Along with its restaurants and bars, Eaton houses a radio station, 50-seat cinema, library, international newsstand, as well as event spaces. Attached to the hotel is a 370-person co-working space. All of these spaces (many of which host events) are designed to help locals and visitors connect, and hopefully engage in positive ways.
Part retailer, part gallery, part purveyor of contemporary takes on Cambodian and Taiwanese cuisine, the 60-seat Maketto offers so much more than a delicious lunch—it’s a mixed-use space that reflects the kinds of day-to-day experiences creative people are yearning for these days. The spot recently unveiled a new rooftop gazebo. Now covered in plants, there’s a tropical energy to the once sparse space.
Open 364 days a year, and free to visit, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden makes art accessible to everyone. With some 12,000+ pieces of 20th century artwork on display, it’s easy to while away time here, be that in front of a video installation inside or in the glorious sculpture garden—where Korean artist Lee Ufan’s site-specific “Open Dimension” will debut later this month. The museum also offers a slew of free events, including toured visits, workshops, and classes.
We finish the day at Ari’s Diner where breakfast is served all day in the delightfully retro space. Ari Gejdenson opened the first Ari’s Diner in 2003 in Florence, Italy after yearning for a venue that would serve American-style diner food late into the night. Now, his DC venue does that, with a menu that includes all the comforting favorites: fluffy pancakes, waffles, omelets, milkshakes and more. Post up in one of the green leather booths or at the 16 counter seats overlooking the grill. George says, “It feels like it’s old, but it’s brand new. The soul and character that they brought in here is the DC community.”
The 2020 Range Rover Evoque is all about refinement—it’s entirely redesigned, but immediately recognizable. Check out A Refined Point of View for Tamon’s photos and more videos from the Washington, D.C. stop on our tour of 10 American cities.