Hyattsville was once a dry town, a place where you couldn’t get anything stronger than a Coca-Cola at a soda shop on Baltimore Avenue.
Things have changed, to say the least. The city’s code, updated in 1983, now allows liquor licenses, and since 2002 Hyattsville has even had its own brewery, Franklin’s, located around the corner from where the soda shop once was.
The rebirth of Route 1 has spurred even more change. Busboys and Poets, which opened in 2011, has a thriving cocktail bar; Yes! Organic Market, which opened that same year, has an extensive beer and wine selection and even had to get state approval to use a front entrance due to a nearby church.
Beer and wine have become a draw for local events.
In 2016, an annual arts gathering was renamed the Hyattsville Arts and Ales Festival, with the Brewers Association of Maryland joining as a co-sponsor. A neighborhood wine tour called the Vine Crawl is a long-running institution. The Hyattsville Summer Jam series features a beer and wine garden and this year even featured a special “Honeyville” ale from Calvert Brewing Co. in Upper Marlboro.
More is coming. The area south of downtown will soon have enough spots for a pub crawl.
Pizzeria Paradiso, which is known as much for its impressive beer selection as it is for pizza, opened a new restaurant in the old Marche building. Down the street, Maryland Meadworks is moving in, while Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. is setting up shop around the corner. One of the owners of Handsome Beer Co. also lives in Hyattsville, though they brew their beer out of town.
Hyattsville is hardly alone in this change. Takoma Park was also dry, and stayed that way thanks to the influence of the headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but a few years ago it began allowing beer and wine sales.
“One final marker, perhaps the most reliable: A city on the way back will have one or more craft breweries, and probably some small distilleries too,” wrote James Fallows in The Atlantic last year. “A town that has craft breweries also has a certain kind of entrepreneur, and a critical mass of mainly young (except for me) customers. You may think I’m joking, but just try to find an exception.”