Monday, December 04, 2017

Vino Volo closes at Bethesda Row

Vino Volo, a restaurant and wine bar that opened in November 2012 at 7247 Woodmont Avenue, has closed. Nightlife has withered in downtown Bethesda since the catastrophic "nighttime economy" initiative of Montgomery County Council Hans Riemer failed disastrously. And the closure of the Regal Cinemas Bethesda 10 cineplex around the corner has removed thousands of diners and shoppers from the downtown Bethesda economy.

The wine bar chain had its own challenges, as well. It has closed other Vino Volo locations here and around the country, including Tysons II, Dulles Airport and Newark International Airport.

75 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The wine bar chain had its own challenges, as well. It has closed other Vino Volo locations here and around the country, including Tysons II, Dulles Airport and Newark International Airport."

That's every other location in the DMV. But keep making everything about Hans Reimer, you raving paranoid lunatic.

Robert Dyer said...

5:25: Riemer's record - and the closures that followed on his watch - are well-documented. Nobody has to take my word for it. 11 nightspots closed. Many late hours curtailed at other businesses. And the quiet, empty streets after 9 and 10 pm downtown speak for themselves. Baba Booey, old sport.

Anonymous said...

Was this a Federal Realty property?

Anonymous said...

So VV opened in November 2012? Then it's not a net closure during Riemer's term, which began in January 2011.

Anonymous said...

That’s a really good point. If you want to blame Riemer for the closing, you would need to blame Riemer for the opening as well, since both occurred on his watch.

Robert Dyer said...

5:41: I hadn't even included it in the eleven total closures I mentioned above. You can now say 12 closures after Riemer's nighttime economy thing bombed. Thanks for reminding me!

5:44: No, a closure is a closure. Businesses open all the time with great optimism. But with a poor business environment (remember, the Restaurant Association of Maryland said MoCo dining industry has been stagnant for the last several years), they can fail. That's on the folks who set the policies in office, like massive minimum wage hikes, massive energy taxes, forcing bars and restaurants to buy liquor from a County monopoly.

5:36: Yes.

Anonymous said...

I see that Dyer actually reviewed this place when it opened. Seems like he hasn't written a review of a Bethesda restaurant in ages, just the fast-food chains in Rockville.

His tags on the VV review were out of control, though: "Labels: Bethesda, Bethesda Row, Dolcezza gelato, menu, Truffled Penne, Vino Volo, Vino Volo Bethesda, Vino Volo Review, wine, wine bar, wine flight, wine pairing."

Anonymous said...

I still remember the first time I went to the restaurant. The server said "if you haven't been here before, we're the restaurant inside the Dulles terminal." All I could think...we're eating airport food :-).

On a separate note, the landlord specializes in failed ventures. I don't see it is a lack-of-nightlife issue, but instead think of an issue of a landlord with a greater fool strategy. (When you fail, there's another stupid store or restaurant that will come in and take your place.) Secondly, if I were the landlord, my #1 strategy would be to find an anchor tenant. This is the role Nordstrom plays at Montgomery Mall. We all know, Anthropologie isn't an anchor tenant. They're simply the next greater fool, who will surely suffer in that location. You need to bring in an H&M, Target, Nordstrom Rack, or Zara. These are low cost, high traffic retailers that will draw traffic to bethesda row.

Anonymous said...

So...is it Riemer or, maybe, is it that Vino Volo kind of sucked, had fierce competition all around it, and it's shocking that this closure didn't happen years ago?

Anonymous said...

Bethesda and Tysons were VV's only non-airport locations, out of about two dozen nationwide. The one in Tysons closed almost three years ago.

But keep making everything about Hans Riemer, you paranoid idiot.

Anonymous said...

So what’s your analysis of the VA closure for Vino Volo then?

Anonymous said...

I loved their wine flights. Vino Volo wasn't bad!

Anonymous said...

Looks like Federal needs to add Dyer to their payroll.

Anonymous said...

Does the Vino Volo closing at Dulles mean that airport is moribund? BWI still has VV.

#BridgeToNowhere

Robert Dyer said...

7:28: It's only a bridge to nowhere if you agree with Hans Riemer that the future of our local economy is farmers markets and Salsa Labs.

If you're knowledgeable about international business these days, in contrast, you know that a bridge to the Dulles area from Montgomery County is essential for economic development.

Anonymous said...

"11 nightspots closed. Many late hours curtailed at other businesses. And the quiet, empty streets after 9 and 10 pm downtown speak for themselves."

...and even more opened.

And for the record, Dyer is referring to Barnes & Noble and CVS "curtailing" their hours. The fact that Dyer refers to these places as "nightspots" says a lot about his credibility.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a downtown Bethesda resident: I wouldn't mind it if the streets were actually quiet and empty after 9pm (which they aren't. At all.).

Anonymous said...

VV closed at 9 pm Monday-Thursday, 10 pm Friday-Saturday, and 7 pm Sunday. That's hardly a "nightspot".

Anonymous said...

Hm interesting. Would a bridge just encourage more people to live here and work in VA?

Anonymous said...

That is a really good point. Robert, what hours of operation do you consider for nighttime economy or nightspot?

Anonymous said...

8:00 AM You really need to take a more holistic view of the night time economy.

Anonymous said...

"Night-time economy" = creeps, weirdos and those looking to fill an Oxycontin prescription at 3 AM.

Anonymous said...

"VV closed at 7 pm Sunday."

3 hours earlier than Barnes & Noble.

Robert Dyer said...

8:04: I invite anyone to drive around downtown Bethesda after 10 PM or so. Bring a ghost trap. Dead. Dead. Dead.

In contrast, just a few years ago there were massive crowds outside of BlackFinn, Union Jack's, Relic, etc., and live music coming from Parker's on Bethesda Avenue.

8:17: Please. There's more to the nighttime economy than your own exploits.

8:09: I certainly don't confuse Vino Volo with Caddies in terms of hours of operation. But it was a place you could go for a glass of wine and upscale small plates after a movie at night.

8:00: The nighttime economy includes any business that operates late or all night.

Anonymous said...

8:17 AM If you lived in Bethesda and had a semblance of a life, you'd know closing pharmacies earlier doesn't help busy Bethesda residents.

Anonymous said...

In order to get a movie in and grab a drink at Vino Volo at night, using the 10pm closing time, say you want to get a drink by 8 or 9 even, that means a 2 hour movie plus previews would have to get out by say 7:30 or 8, starting at 5ish, ok.

Anonymous said...

Robert - “5:44: No, a closure is a closure. Businesses open all the time with great optimism. But with a poor business environment (remember, the Restaurant Association of Maryland said MoCo dining industry has been stagnant for the last several years), they can fail. That's on the folks who set the policies in office, like massive minimum wage hikes, massive energy taxes, forcing bars and restaurants to buy liquor from a County monopoly.“

Can you address the Va closure too?

Anonymous said...

What are the 11 other businesses and what is the Riemer initiative called? I wasn't aware of this whole thing (sorry, not a regular reader)

Anonymous said...

BB just linked to you! Looks like you're going to have some readers, at last. Too bad you can't monetize an article about a place that just went out of business.

Anonymous said...

9:11 - Here are 8 of those:

- Parker's - Federal Realty ended their lease and replaced them with Williams-Sonoma.

- Relic - Forced to close because of repeated liquor law violations.

- Steamers - Lost its liquor license because of repeated liquor law violations. Also persistent rumors of illegal activity on the premises. Building has already been demolished, to be replaced by high-rise apartment or condo.

- The Roof - in 2011, the site was an abandoned furniture repair shop. Replaced by Urban Heights, which was in turn replaced by the relocated Tommy Joe's.

- Hard Times - forced to close because of its owner's financial difficulties which were caused by a serious illness. (This is why we need Single Payer, folks.)

- Union Jacks - replaced by Tapp'd.

- Black Finn - replaced by TapaBar.

Anonymous said...

Just another #SAD article from Forrest Dyer the all-knowing predictor of doom. What a was of electronic space this site has become. #MORIBUND Bobby.

Lies&Deceit said...

I grabbed some lunch at a Vino Volo at the New Orleans airport after Thanksgiving. I mentioned that we regularly ate at Vino Volo in Bethesda. They informed me that the Bethesda restaurant was the only free-standing Vino Volo restaurant and that all of the others were at airports. I did not know that.

Anonymous said...

9:39 AM What's troubling to me are the Urban Heights, Community, Quincy's, etc. Great build outs and ideas, but closed so quickly.

Urban Heights was gone so quick, I honestly forgot about that one.

Anonymous said...

L&D - There was another one at Tysons II but that closed 3 years ago.

Anonymous said...

The Roof opened in December 2013 and closed in November 2014 11 months.

Urban Heights opened in April 2015 and closed in December 2015 - 8 months.

Tommy Joe's re-opened at that location in February 2016 and already has been open for 22 months, 3 months longer than both of those places combined.

Anonymous said...

Also...

Ri-Ra - Clarendon location closed at the same time. Replaced by bicycle shop.

That's 9 of Dyer's alleged 11.

Anonymous said...

I think it's fair to look at the state of the nightlife economy under Reamer if he persists to list it as a major accomplishment. Was it really an accomplishment? Fair question.

Anonymous said...

What are Robert Dyer's major accomplishments? What are his accomplishments at all? Fair question.

Anonymous said...

The bridge from Maryland to Dulles mainly benefits Virginia. Make BWI a real airport and take advantage of the ICC.

Anonymous said...

Parva closed too. Also 4935 seems to not be running their top-floor nightclub any more (they call in The Loft) expect for special events.

Tommy Joe's is doing really well in the roof spot, showing that good management can make that place work where two others failed.

But always remember -- if something fails, anywhere in the country, it's Riemer's fault.

Anonymous said...

Parva closed because of harassment by the residents of the Fairmont Plaza.

There, that's #10. One left...

Anonymous said...

Dyer is obsessed with the expense of minimum wage increases but somehow doesn't talk about the sky-high cost of rent on that side of Bethesda. Increasingly, only chains with deep pockets can afford the risk of renting space on that side of Bethesda.

Anonymous said...

"Increasingly, only chains with deep pockets can afford the risk of renting space on that side of Bethesda."

Those are the only kind of tenants Federal Realty wants anymore. Which is why they kicked out Parkers and replaced them with Williams-Sonoma.

Yet Dyer can't stop blaming his archnemesis Hans Riemer for that.

Anonymous said...

@11:41 BWI is already a real airport. It has surpassed both Reagan and Dulles in passenger numbers. It used to be #3, now it's #1. Go Maryland!

Robert Dyer said...

11:43: Tired old error, Saul Alinsky: BWI has the most leisure passengers, but cannot match the frequency and destinations offered by Dulles for the international business traveler.

7:09: There's no getting around the record and votes of Riemer, and their impact on various industries.

9:39: You're struggling. 12 closures. A net loss of nightspots under Riemer, who boasted he would save the nighttime economy. Instead, he killed it.

Anna said...

1) What's your background in international business?

2) Things change. People change. Trends change. Anyone consider that people don't want night spots in Bethesda? Maybe if they really did, they'd end up gathering en masse somewhere and make it the hot spot?

3) The business income needed to make the rent expense a sustainable ratio is ridiculously unattainable for most small businesses. And that's just rent, not other occupancy costs, employees, product. Profit margins just aren't there.

Anonymous said...

Tired old Saul Alinsky response on the closures and openings, Dyer.

Anonymous said...

Yet he avoids answering questions he doesn’t have good answers for.

Robert - “5:44: No, a closure is a closure. Businesses open all the time with great optimism. But with a poor business environment (remember, the Restaurant Association of Maryland said MoCo dining industry has been stagnant for the last several years), they can fail. That's on the folks who set the policies in office, like massive minimum wage hikes, massive energy taxes, forcing bars and restaurants to buy liquor from a County monopoly.“

Can you address the Va closure too?

Anonymous said...

Businesses open and close all the time. That is not a sign of a bad economy, it would be weird if there were no turnover... you moron.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to claim that there were approximately 12,342 net openings under Reimer. If Reimer does have to actually cite sources, neither do I, and I have equal credibility.

Robert Dyer said...

3:49: I've not only sold my own products on every continent not covered in ice, but follow the latest trends in business, technology and transportation very closely. The County Council does not. That certainly gives me authority over the Council to speak on the topic of international business. They simply don't know the subject. They came to a worksession on autonomous vehicles without even the latest layman's news coverage of the topic in their information bank. And then they're supposed to make the major decisions for the rest of us about autonomous vehicles? God help us!

2) The big picture is that a diverse variety of concepts have failed; the common denominators are Hans Riemer, taxes, wages, and the liquor monopoly.

3) Excellent point - and that is why the factors I describe in #2 and above earlier end up being fatal to these low margin businesses. Yet here they went again with the $15 minimum wage! Unbelievable!

4:55: My expertise is in Bethesda and Montgomery County. I know what the factors are here, and can see that most of the nightspots that closed were often packed with people. That proves the decisive factors were not a lack of popularity or income; those successes were simply wiped out by the other factors caused by Riemer and the Council.

I don't have the same day-to-day intelligence on the Virginia nightlife scene, so it would be hard to say what the issues were there.

Robert Dyer said...

5:19: You do realize you would have to first acknowledge all 12 closures, and then list for us 13 brand new nightclubs or bars that opened under Riemer that are still open today? LOL Good luck!

That's why facts are critical; you don't have equal credibility without them.

Anonymous said...

So how come you keep pushing Montgomery County to aspire to be like northern Virginia when you don’t know anything about va?

Anna said...

Oh, please. Your album sales in other countries to not equate to an "international business organization."
My clients on Etsy are more international than you.

You have NO IDEA what the County Council members do or don't read, study or don't study, discuss or don't discuss with others. Sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

Robert Dyer - “ I've not only sold my own products on every continent not covered in ice”

Are you referring to your self produced digital album?

Robert Dyer said...

6:22: Actually, I do know what they read and don't read. They asked the panel how autonomous vehicles would be ensured. Just days earlier, Volvo had announced they were going to insure all of the Volvo autonomous vehicles. Clearly, they had not read the latest mainstream news coverage of the topic they were having a worksession on.

Similarly, during a public meeting on the Carver bus depot plan, George Leventhal was asked why he voted to approve the expenditure for a bus depot at the Carver site. He responded that he did not read the text of the bill before voting for it.

Wow. So we not only know the Council is incompetent, but yes, we also can identify things they have not read from their own admissions.

There's nothing inferior about my products vs. yours. Remember, "it's not all about you."

6:21 I know about Virginia. I just don't know about the day-to-day operations of a specific restaurant you referred to over there. Duh!

Robert Dyer said...

6:28: It's not just a "digital" album. It was available on CD, as well, but after the label folded it is sold as digital only. There was also merchandise like posters.

Anonymous said...

6:28 still has stacks of cassette tapes. In his mind, digital killed music.
He still shakes his fist when thinking of the iPod.

Anonymous said...

Required reading for the BWI discussion:

Forbes: Airbus' A380 Is Moribund

It's been ages since any airline but Emirates placed an order. And current demand is not enough to break even. Even Emirates sees the writing on the wall.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:52 AM - 6:28 AM's comment said "album", i.e. a set of songs. Where did s/he say anything about the format, digital or non-digital?

Anonymous said...

Oh that’s very cool. How many albums did you sell? Gold? Platinum?

Anonymous said...

"he did not read the text of the bill before voting for it."
Just like Republican Senators and the tax bill.

Anna said...

Go ahead, make your little jokes and slights at my expense.

"It's not about you" referred specifically to the posts about teen deaths and your insistence on talking about yourself..."I" this and "I" that and who got the story first and who was more respectful to the family, Hans Riemer sucks, and blah, blah, blah. I suggested you use compassion and agreed with someone else that there are other articles where self-promotion and arguments would be better placed.

The only one looking bad her is you

Robert Dyer said...

7:45: I won't argue with you there. Trump may ultimately be making a huge mistake letting those swamp creature Republicans on the Hill write his tax cut bill.

Anna said...

I never mentioned I had products. I said my clients did. I'm a tax accountant, remember?
I never said your products were inferior.

Why do you make these things up and then accuse me of saying them?

It says a lot that you expect every council member to read every article ever written, about every topic that could possibly be discussed, and have full recall of every fact at a moment's notice. Is that what you do?

Anonymous said...

Robert Dyer's troll has always been envious & obsessed with Dyer's music. Probably because he lacks any artistic talent and therefore lashes out at Dyer.

Same thing with sports- Dyer's troll had no talent there either and has to be content dreaming about becoming a sports blogger.

Robert Dyer said...

8:04: I very clearly wrote that they didn't read the most basic, mainstream news on a major topic they knew they were having a worksession on. That's not only unprofessional and incompetent, but also extremely embarrassing when you show up unprepared to a job we are paying you $137,000 a year to perform. Humiliating!

Anonymous said...

8:06AM spends his day dreamily thinking of the struggles and disappointments and motivations of Robert Dyer's trolls, oblivious to the fact he is one of them.

Anonymous said...

8:11 AM Takes no effort, since the troll hobbit man has repeated the same litany of resentments against Dyer for several years. The same things trigger him: Dyer's music; Dyer's masthead, etc.

Anonymous said...

"Litany of resentments"... again.

Anonymous said...

Its Dyer who gets triggered. Every time.

Anonymous said...

Really I could care less about his musical past except he touts it as one of his outstanding business accomplishments, at which point he has opened himself up to inquiry. So if he wants that information to be taken seriously, he needs to provide supporting evidence. Otherwise it sounds like a joke to all.

Anna said...

Psst. 8:57AM couldn't care less. :)

Anonymous said...

Lol thanks. Not the main point of the comment but appreciate the correction. :)

Anonymous said...

I wonder if any local high school students ever heard of "Robert Dyer the recording artist".