A nearly 10-year-old wine bar shuttered months after the restaurant’s owner warned rising crime was scaring customers away and threatening businesses across the city.
The Pursuit Wine Bar & Kitchen in Washington, D.C., announced earlier this month that it would close Sunday, marking the second restaurant on the H Street Corridor to close in recent weeks as skyrocketing crime citywide forces businesses to shut their doors. The wine bar was burglarized three times in May and twice more over the five months following, a local ABC News affiliate reported.
“Thank you for the years of patronage here at The Pursuit but we have decided that it is no longer sustainable for us,” the restaurant’s team said in a Dec. 8 statement. “We appreciate the love and support that you all have continuously given us.”
The nation’s capital is grappling with an escalating crime surge, having surpassed a 20-year record-high in homicides with 261 murders as of Dec. 14, according to Metropolitan Police Department data. Robberies are also skyrocketing, increasing 69% year-to-date, while theft is up 24%, MPD data show.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Pursuit owner Adam Kelinsky told Fox News in August after the restaurant’s fifth break-in. “Staying floating during each of these instances is getting harder and harder for us.”
“The criminals these days are so brazen,” Kelinsky continued. “They think they have free rein on the city.”
The first three burglaries cost Kelinsky’s business over $15,000 in repairs and stolen goods in May, ABC 7 reported. During the fifth incident, five server tablets worth a combined $2,000 were taken, according to FOX 5.
“We are exhausted. I think every business is,” Kelinsky told FOX 5 in August about Washington’s skyrocketing crime. “Every day, I’m waking up to an announcement on our community WhatsApp post where someone has broken into one of our sister businesses, friends along the street or someone supporting a business has been attacked. It’s terrifying.”
Meanwhile, Brine Oyster & Seafood House closed its H Street and DuPont circle locations on Nov. 11. The economic climate and violent crime in the nation’s capital made it “impossible for us to survive,” the restaurant’s owners wrote in a statement posted on X.
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“We’ve both been burglarized numerous times,” one co-owner, Aaron McGovern, told FOX 5 in November. “We started to see violence. Not just ‘oh, there’s a gunshot a mile away.’ We could hear the bullets.”
Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. was shot during an attempted robbery steps away from Kelinsky’s restaurant in August 2022. More recently, a Senate staffer sustained serious injuries from a stabbing attack near Pursuit in March.
Within a half mile of the recently closed wine bar, overall crime has been up in the past year compared to this time last year, according to MPD data. Robberies increased 36% in the area, though burglaries were down.
“What’s keeping folks away today is the crime, the violent crime,” Kelinsky told ABC 7 in October. “That’s what’s really making H Street, as a whole and across the city, really struggle.”