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The Whole Spiel

Food for Thought: The Lost Souls of Comet Liquor

by Lisa Del Sesto, Museum Educator, and Jonathan Edelman, Curatorial Assistant
November 4, 2022

Comet Liquor was opened by Oscar Gildenhorn at 18th And Columbia Rd, NW in 1940 and became an institution in the neighborhood. In the 1980s, new owner Sidney Drazin added a deli counter and seating, transforming it into what the Washington Post called a “kind of plastic-chaired neighborhood salon.” A diverse band of “regulars” spent hours around the table socializing and debating. “Sid was the surrogate parent to all the lost souls of Adams Morgan, all the single people who needed a confidence boost,” explained one regular. Neighbors responded to Drazin’s death in 2005 with a shrine of flowers and cards outside the store.

You can find this sign on Comet Ping Pong! Have you ever visited?

Color photo (detail) of Sidney Drazin in front of Comet Liquor Store at 1815 Columbia Road, NW c. 1990s. / Capital Jewish Museum Collection, Bernice Drazin.