Colonel Brooks’ Tavern Closing Next Week
Erica Prenda, Tower Staff
September 7, 2012
Filed under News
Colonel Brooks Tavern, a bar and restaurant located at 901 Monroe Street, where CUA students and professors as well as Brookland residents have mingled for decades, will officially close on Friday, September 14 and will be demolished soon thereafter.
“I always gave credit to Colonel Brooks as being one of the first establishments that really connected the Brookland neighborhood and the University community,” said Tom Zoeller, member of the class of 1984 and president of the Alumni Association.
Although once a successful restaurant and popular hang out for CUA students, business rapidly declined since three employees were murdered in a 2003 robbery as the staff set up for a Sunday brunch early in the morning. The tragedy gave Colonel Brooks a bad reputation, causing a slowdown in business and revenue, which has compelled owner Jim Steigman to close the tavern at the end of September.
Steigman has sold the property to contribute to the new project to further develop and modernize the Brookland community.
“I think their success has contributed in large part… to the new development that we see going on in the area,” said Zoeller.
Together, the Horning Brothers, the Mentiki Group, and Esocoff & Associates will raze the land and construct a five-story complex, consisting of 212 apartments with restaurants and retail stores on the ground floor. Construction is expected to last for approximately two years, according to DC Mud, an online page for DC real estate news.
Comments on the DC Mud article releasing the latest plans on the demolition of Colonel Brooks indicate that Brookland residents hold varying opinions about the development. Some people are outraged by the condemnation of Colonel Brooks, claiming it is a distinguishing feature of the Brookland neighborhood. Others are excited for the new development and the promise of new business.
While the majority of current students are not affected by the demolition of the tavern, CUA alumni express remorse for the demise of this Brookland landmark.
Patrick Flynn, member of the class of 2002, reminisced on his time spent at Colonel Brooks, referring to the tavern as his group of friends’ “spot.”
“Catholic University never felt like home to me until I discovered Colonel Brooks’ Tavern,” said Flynn.
Flynn even met his wife at Colonel Brooks during a memorable first night off campus, when she dropped her wallet down the toilet.
“I had one of the shirts that said I drank them dry at CB Tavern,” said Marcello N. Muzzatti, a DC police officer who spent many nights there after long shifts. He spoke very fondly of Frank, a bartender at Colonel Brooks who passed away.
“Frank would charge police officers $3.25 for a pitcher of beer! No matter how many pitchers we had,” Muzzatti said. “The funny part was always asking Frank what we owed him and he would look at us like he was adding it up and then said, ‘$3.25.’”
John M. Bart, class of ’88, recalls getting “free hot dogs for Monday Night Football.”
“I will always remember late nights after long hours at The Tower when our advisor would take us out for beer and nachos,” said Amy Joyce, class of ’96. “After I graduated, I met former professors there and brought my husband there to show him what life at CUA was like. Because that place summed up the neighborhood there I had grown to love: diverse, intellectual and always interesting.”
“I do not mourn the loss of a building. I do not cry that it is gone, I rejoice that it happened,” said Flynn. He will be returning to campus this fall to celebrate his ten year reunion during Homecoming, around the same time that Colonel Brooks’ will be torn down.
“What a perfect circle,” said Flynn.