Since an early age, I always knew one thing. I love to build.

I grew up in D.C. a few blocks from the National Zoo and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1980. During high school I worked at a number of restaurants mostly dishwashing and bussing tables. I loved the service industry, especially the feeling of victory at the end of a long shift. The next few years were spent vagabonding around the globe with one bag and almost no money, but I was always happy while turning up stints to help buy the next train ticket. From 1982-1987 I studied History and English at the University of Massachusetts while working for a local carpenter and bartending to help pay tuition. Along the way I discovered my love for carpentry, and moved back to D.C. where I began remodeling houses and really learning the woodworking craft.

This story would end with me happily building houses into the sunset, except for the hundreds of nights I spent at Dan’s Cafe in Adams Morgan (Washington, D.C.) where I fell in love with the game of pool. At the same time, I was fortunate to have a cousin who married a pool shark, Jim Pennington, who took me along on his adventures to Baltimore’s most serious pool rooms. The lessons he delivered were better than any college lecture. On those trips I started envisioning what a great pool room would look like in D.C., how it would have deep overstuffed chairs from the 1940’s and crazy lamps softly lighting the perimeter. Board games would complement the Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables and a small bar would serve great sandwiches, gourmet coffee and good cheer. That vision became Bedrock Billiards and my career abruptly changed from carpenter to bar-builder-owner-operator on the day we opened for business.

Fast forward to 2018 and I’ve basically repeated the same process, designing, building and opening over 25 bars and restaurants since then. I love the challenge of visualizing a fresh start for a tired old building.

bar chronology

  • Bedrock Billiards 1992
  • Atomic Billiards 1993
  • Buffalo Billiards 1994
  • CarPool 1995
  • Buffalo Billiards, TN 1995
  • Aroma 1997
  • Velocity Grill 1997
  • Buffalo Billiards, TX 1999
  • Mackey's 1999
  • CarPool Herndon 2001
  • Buffalo Billiards, PA 2002
  • Continental 2003
  • Bedrock Billiards, Baltimore 2006
  • Rocket Bar 2007
  • Nanny O'Briens 2007
  • District Grill 2008
  • Laughing Man Tavern 2009
  • Ripple 2010
  • Iron Horse Tap Room 2010
  • Penn Social 2012
  • Jackpot 2013
  • Lost & Found 2014
  • Highline RxR 2015
  • Big Chief 2016
  • Smoked & Stacked 2016
  • Franklin Hall 2017
  • Church Hall 2018