When you think of "hip," there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that, just after you think "the joint between the femur and acetabulum of the pelvis," you think, "Washington, DC, which is just a hip darn area in general." DC is so hip that it will unilaterally declare itself hip, facts be damned.
The mark of any worldly city's hipness is not just that it is regularly assaulted by the bleating cries of ignorant haters clumsily accusing it of not, in fact, being "hip." It is also that the city has a local newspaper that is constantly writing extremely credulous stories about how "hip" the city is, in the same wide-eyed tone that a teenage farm boy would use to describe his first encounter with a real live Corvette. The Washington Post's National Book Critic's Circle Award-winning hipness desk reports today that "The millennials flocking to D.C. redefine ‘hip.’" Absolutely correct. These bold DC millennials are no longer in thrall to hidebound traditional definitions of "hip" like "things that are in fact cool" or "a quality found in New York City." DC has... shall we say... its very own (hip) definition of what is and is not hip.
“D.C. is a city of smart people,” said Derek Brown, whose mini-empire of craft cocktail bars started on Seventh Street NW with The Passenger and Columbia Room and has since expanded to Mockingbird Hill and Eat the Rich. “What’s making D.C. cool is the fact that smart people doing things they’re passionate about is cool,” he said. Brown is someone whose passions led him to create at least one drink menu exclusively out of sherry. Not exactly “chasing fads,” as he put it.
A chain of twee cocktail bars? Not exactly "chasing fads," my friends. (In DC "chasing fads" is a slang term meaning "to knit, or sew.") What makes DC "cool," since you bothered to ask, is a bunch of smart people doing smart people things. That's essentially the exact opposite of "cool," you say? Sure. Okay. You're right. Just back off, okay? Whatever, man, we're leaving now, okay? Just chill.
The District has always had its own versions of cool, of course, from the young jazz musicians who flocked to U Street in the early part of the 20th century, to the inventors of go-go and the punk scene of the 1980s and ’90s.
Nothing cool, the author acknowledges, has happened in Washington, DC since the 1990s. High time for a redefinition of the term.
This kicker, however, seals the deal, if you ask me—a policy-focused government relations professional who enjoys unbuttoning the top button of my Oxford shirt every once in a while in order to enjoy a hoppy local pale ale, preferably one served in a slightly offbeat container.
If you’re looking to sit outside with a hoppy local pale ale served in a mason jar, Washington now more than has you covered.
You've got me covered, DC—with an ample layer of hipness.