D.c. Dives: Inside An Unusual Biker Bar (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Transcripts

D.C. Dives: Inside An Unusual Biker Bar

MR. JONATHAN WILSON

00:00:04
We close out today's show with D.C. Dives.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1

00:00:09
What is a dive bar?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1

00:00:10
The glorious dump.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2

00:00:12
It's gotta have an interesting staff and an interesting crowd.

#1

00:00:16
It's gotta be dark. It's gotta be old. Typically, it's gotta be cheap.

WILSON

00:00:24
This time around, Jerad Walker's insatiable curiosity leads him out to the northern Virginian suburbs to bring us the story of a biker bar with heart.

MR. JERAD WALKER

00:00:34
It's a Wednesday night, and I'm standing in a strip mall parking lot in Springfield, bathed in the neon glow of flickering signs. "Lunch," "Dinner," Homemade Breakfast," they say. Welcome to Moe's Peyton Place. Inside, at the end of the bar, I find owner Mohammad Traish, known as Moe to his family and friends, and virtually everyone in this smoke filled room.

MR. MOHAMMAD TRAISH

00:00:58
It used to be very tough place when I took her over.

WALKER

00:01:02
How so?

TRAISH

00:01:02
Fightings. Knifings. Shootings.

WALKER

00:01:08
That was 42 years ago. At the time, Moe had a regular customer who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Together, the two men hatched a plan to turn the bar into a hangout for federal workers. Virtually overnight, the shady element fled the building and Moe was left with a clientele consisting mostly of law enforcement and intelligence employees. These guys, I developed and used words for them. Instead of saying, this guy works for this agency, I'd say he works for NTW.

WALKER

00:01:41
What's NTW?

TRAISH

00:01:41
National Tire Warehouse. That's a dead giveaway. When they say NTW, I know what they are.

WALKER

00:01:49
Now, the crowds are much more diverse.

TRAISH

00:01:52
Business people. I've got a lot of business people. Doctors, lawyers, I've got a lot of bikers.

WALKER

00:01:59
The stereotype about bikers being rougher crowds and maybe being a little...

TRAISH

00:02:05
Bikers, what I heard, used to be a tough, long time ago. The bikers these days, they're sweethearts. I'd say 95 percent of the people in Springfield, sweethearts. Beautiful people.

WALKER

00:02:22
Moe personally knows most of those beautiful people.

TRAISH

00:02:25
This gentleman here, and his wife, I know them for 38 years.

WALKER

00:02:30
Rose and Willie Wilcox have been coming to the bar for almost that entire time. What keeps you coming back.

MS. ROSE WILCOX

00:02:38
The family atmosphere. Absolutely. This is a bar that I can come in by myself. You know, there's not another bar that I would ever walk into, any time, day or night, by myself. Very comfortable, very safe.

MR. WILLIE WILCOX

00:02:53
I grab the remote control and put the basketball game on that I want on. Moe says, go for it, man. Watch what you want to watch. So, you know, it's like being in my living room, but sometimes Mina waits on me.

WILCOX

00:03:07
He doesn't get that at home.

WALKER

00:03:09
Mina is Mina Abdelloui, the bar's manager.

TRAISH

00:03:12
She is my right hand, this lady here, Miss Mina.

MS. MINA ABDELLOUI

00:03:15
Most of them call me mama.

WALKER

00:03:18
They call you mama?

ABDELLOUI

00:03:19
Yes. I treat them like my kids and I love them.

WALKER

00:03:25
The customers love Moe and Mina back.

TRAISH

00:03:28
I had a bad operation three and a half years ago. Everybody in Springfield was at Fairfax Hospital in my room.

WALKER

00:03:36
Did that surprise you?

TRAISH

00:03:37
It did surprise me a little bit.

WALKER

00:03:38
The regulars didn't just visit Moe in the hospital.

TRAISH

00:03:42
When I was in the hospital, most of the bikers comes in here, emptied the trash can, filled beer, helped the kitchen, helped sweep the floor.

WALKER

00:03:52
But that's what family does when someone gets sick. They help out. And the bar's family is big and inclusive.

WILCOX

00:04:00
It's just a complete cornucopia of people who come to this place, and nobody cares who you are or what you do. It's all about the bar, having a good time and meeting new friends.

WALKER

00:04:13
Moe couldn't agree more.

TRAISH

00:04:15
I'm born and raised in Jerusalem, but I'm a Palestinian. And the lady who was sitting next to me yesterday, she was born in Alexandria, immigrant to Israel, she comes to this country twice a year to visit. We talk, we have a lot of fun. She's Jewish. I'm Palestinian. We get along very good.

WALKER

00:04:40
Is this a place where people can put aside any sort of preconceived notions or differences and get along?

TRAISH

00:04:44
Everybody gets along very good with each other. Everybody.

WALKER

00:04:52
I'm Jerad Walker.

WILSON

00:05:00
You can check out Moe's for yourself, including its pretty vast collection of Marilyn Monroe portraits on our website, metroconnection.org. And if you'd like to suggest a favorite dive bar for our series, you can reach us at metro@wamu.org, or find us on Twitter. Our handle is @wamumetro.

WILSON

00:05:32
And that's "Metro Connection" for this week. We heard from WAMU's Emily Berman, Kavitha Cardoza, Martin Di Caro, Lauren Landau and Jerad Walker. WAMU's Managing Editor of News is Memo Lyons. Metro Connection's Managing Producer is Tara Boyle. Lauren Landau is our Editorial Assistant. Our intern is Steven Yenzer. Lauren Landau and John Heinz produce "Door to Door."

WILSON

00:05:55
Thanks, as always, to the WAMU engineering and digital media teams for their help with production and the "Metro Connection" website. Our theme song, "Every Little Bit Hurts," and our "Door to Door" theme, "No, Girl," are from the album "Title Tracks," by John Davis, and used with permission of the Ernest Jennings Record Company. You can find all the music we use, each week, on our website, metroconnection.org. Just click on a story, and you'll find information about its accompanying song.

WILSON

00:06:22
And if you missed part of the show, you can stream the whole thing on our website by clicking the "This Week On Metro Connection" link. You can also subscribe to our podcast there, or find us on iTunes, Stitcher, and the NPR News app. We hope you can join us next week when we'll be looking back on some of our favorite stories about our region's history. We'll visit a town that claims it was the US capitol for a single day. We'll check out the artifacts found on a ship that spent centuries under water, and we'll meet the man who served as the military's first African American helicopter pilot.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3

00:06:55
The medical detachment wrote back and said, we have one vacancy. You can come up for an interview.

WILSON

00:07:03
I'm Jonathan Wilson, and thanks for listening to "Metro Connection," a production of WAMU 88.5 News.
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