Update on coat check:
It appears that one of the rods holding up the coats snapped and broke, causing many of the jackets to detach from their hangers. Thus, the ensuing chaos.
Last Friday night, I went to the reopening of Mova (formerly Halo) which used to be located on P Street across from Whole Foods. The new location, 2204 14th St., NW, is still in the gayborhood, but just slightly north of most of the traditional haunts. It’s nestled midway between the 17th Street strip of JRs and Cobalt, and the Shaw area bars of Nellie’s and Town.
The VIP Reception was overall quite a delight! It was the venerable who’s who of the DC gay community. There were the political leaders of Stonewall Democrats and Log Cabin Republicans, as well as the Mayor’s Director of GLBT Affairs. Also in attendance were leaders of other community organizations and events including Team DC, Capital Pride, and Homo Hotel Happy Hour. Mayor Gray even made a brief appearance.
Upon entrance, I noted a problem. Standing in line for coat check at the beginning of the night showed a flaw in their preparations for the night. No one had bothered to prep the coat check. So as the staffer was taking coats at the beginning of the night, she had to grab an empty hanger, attach a ticket to it, drape the coat over the hanger, and then tear the ticket for the customer. At first, this didn’t seem too arduous. However, when you add ten to twelve people standing in line, it became time-consuming.
Moving further inside, the place had an exalted look to it. It was completely different from its original location; probably more akin to its sister bar in South Beach Miami. Mova is broken up into three sections with two bars. The front room has an elongated bar on the right side, much like its original location. There were four very friendly bartenders serving up delicious Finlandia vodka drinks. The pours were extremely generous, but I mostly attribute that to it being the VIP reception. There is a hallway that leads to a quaint, yet small back room. It houses the DJ booth immediately on the right, and another bar at the very back. There are two restrooms on either side along the hallway.
The stairs on the left lead to a charmingly decorated rooftop terrace with four Hammered Bronze Quartz Glass Tube Heater heating lamps. They were quite the conversation starter. However, once you were more than a foot away from the lamps, you felt no heat. So people tended not to stay on the deck for more than a few minutes.
Another issue for the deck was the sound system. While inside, you could easily lose yourself in the thumping beats of the DJ who was doing an excellent job. But once you went outside, the music faded in and out of the poorly chosen Garden Rock Outdoor Speakers.
At 10pm, the doors were opened to the general public. It was a good thing the fire marshal was not in the vicinity, as it was wall-to-wall people inside. This is also when the shit show began!
At the point in the night when the doors were opened for all, there was a line of people coming into the bar waiting to check their coats, as well as another line of people who were there from the VIP party ready to leave. The scene quickly delved into chaos, as the two separate lines morphed into what was close to a mob.
People were shouting their ticket number at the staffer, who was visibly overwhelmed and a bit shaken. At one point, the poor guy simply started holding up coats asking aloud, “does this jacket belong to anyone?” It appears that one of the rods holding up the coats snapped and broke, causing many of the jackets to detach from their hangers. After waiting nearly 40 minutes simply to retrieve my coat (thankfully he was able to find it), I finally left.
The worse thing for a new or reopening bar to have happen is for the very last interaction with the bar be a negative one. I am sure Mova can recover from this near fiasco, but some damage has been done to the brand.
I am quite sure I will return to Mova, just not sure it will be before it warms up and I don’t have to fear more coat check mayhem.