The Roots of Bardo reach back to DC in the 1980's. Bill Stewart first started brewing beer in his kitchen and giving it away in an old row house near 11th & P in DC. After several months at that location, a bigger spot was needed. Christened the BBQ Iguana (14th & P), it functioned as a live music venue for bands such as Scream, with Dave Grohl on drums ("the only drummer who didn't need a mic"). A late night burglary of the sound system forced a relocation to what became Roratonga Rodeo in Arlington. Roratonga's opening in 1989 made it the very first bar in Clarendon. Roratonga provided 15 microbrews on tap and was one of the area's first multitap bars (if not THE first).
By 1991, Roratonga had become too small. Bill sold it (to the Galaxy Hut people) and opened the 2nd bar in Clarendon, Amdo Rodeo. Amdo's 23 taps eventually proved too small and, in 1993, it was sold to the IOTA people. In 1992, an old car dealership became available and it was here that Bill finally realized his dream of opening a place where he could brew beer. So started the 22,000 sq. ft. brewpub, Bardo Rodeo. After waiting tables at Amdo during college, Bill's brother Andrew graduated and came on board to manage Bardo.
In the new millennium, Bill was on to his next project. When the county condemned the old part of the building, the brewery was moved to his farm then put into storage. Bill moved to Australia with the idea of opening a brewpub there. Frustrated with the level of bureaucracy, he decided to pursue another passion: Campaign for Tibet. Bill spent the next 7 years working with TIPA (Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts) in Dharamsala.
In the meantime, members of the Stewart family downsized and renovated the Bardo site, renaming it Dr. Dremo's Taphouse in 2000. It served as a multitap bar until the building's demolition in 2008. Efforts to re-open another multitap bar were scrapped when Andrew convinced Bill to come back from the high Himalayas and start making beer again.
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