Safeway Nicknames in the DC Area

After moving closer to the DC area, I discovered that the local Safeways have nicknames. I happen to live close to the Underground Safeway. Intrigued, I tried doing searches on the Internet for other nicknamed Safeways in the area, but I didn’t find any.

That was back in 2003, and since then much more information on local Safeway nicknames can be found online. The other day, I repeated my web search and found this page on the Gawker website, as well as this page on the Yelp website. Especially helpful was this 2004 post on the DCist website (which led to this online interactive map), as well as this 2009 Prince of Petworth blog post.

Here is a list that I have compiled from these sources. You’ll notice that the nicknames tend to use adjectives that start with the letter ‘S’, for alliteration. I have included links to Google Maps’ Street View to show what the Safeway looks like from the outside, and have excluded nicknames that don’t seem to have stuck, or that don’t seem to be established in the local folklore quite yet. (I’m filing this under “Folklore and Literature.”)

Nickname Location
Secret Safeway 1800 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009. So named because it’s hard to find unless you know where to look. It isn’t even labeled “Safeway” from the outside, so I had difficulty finding it on Google Maps’ Street View.
Really Secret Safeway 4203 Davenport Street Northwest, Washington, DC, 20016. Another hidden Safeway.
Senior Safeway 2550 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037. I had trouble finding this one on Google Maps’ Street View. It may be buried within the Watergate Complex; it is also known as the Watergate Safeway.
Social Safeway 1855 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007. This seems to be one of the best-established Safeway nicknames. Looks like the Google Maps Street View van caught this Safeway in the process of renovations. Possibly also called Singles Safeway.
Soviet Safeway 1701 Corcoran St NW, Washington, DC 20009. Another well-established nickname.
Spanish Safeway 1747 Columbia Road NW, Washington, DC 20009. Also known as the Sandinista Safeway or the Sketchy Safeway, but as far as I can tell Spanish Safeway seems to be the most generally used monicker.
Stinky Safeway 3830 Georgia Avenue Northwest, 20011. An unfortunate nickname.
Underground (Subterranean) Safeway 1525 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209. The cashiers here are really nice people.
UnSafeway 1601 Maryland Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002. Also known as the Sixties Safeway, and possibly the Saigon Safeway. Apparently defunct as of last month. 😦

The information in this list isn’t written in stone, and has some associated variability/uncertainty. For example, more than one Safeway might be called by the same nickname. Some nicknames might not be well-established. And some Safeways are closed (e.g., the UnSafeway), while new Safeways are opened (e.g., this recent post proposes a new Swanky Safeway).

It’s not surprising that other cities have their own nicknamed Safeways. For example, there is (or at least there used to be; UnSafeways tend to get shuttered?) an UnSafeway in Seattle.

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] a city that names its grocery stores, it should not take long for our new (and still under construction) “virtual traffic […]

  2. I’m confused about which is the new Swanky Safeway. The one on 4th St. NW, north of Chinatown? Also, keeping with the ‘S’ alliteration theme, Really Secret should be Super Secret Safeway.

    Thanks for keeping the knowledge alive!


    • I believe that the Swanky Safeway is indeed on 4th Street, but the address is 1100 4th Street. This is actually south of Chinatown, in a place called the Waterfront Station. I haven’t actually visited this place yet!



  3. The unSafeway is re-built. It needs a new name.

    • Any suggestions? If it has been rebuilt, maybe “Second Life Safeway”, “Second Coming Safeway”, or “Second Chance Safeway”?


  4. The Watergate Safeway is in the bottom of the Watergate hotel.

  5. Soviet Safeway on Corcoran, huh? That was always the name for the old one in Cleveland Park on Connecticut (long gone, of course).

    • Really? I’ve heard the Corcoran Street Safeway referred to as Soviet Safeway since I moved to the area in the mid 90s.

  6. […] most DC residents know, every Safeway in the district has a nickname.Β  But judging from the looks of things the “Stinky” Safeway on Georgia Avenue in […]

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  9. […] and Adams Morgan neighborhoods. While some have called it the Sandinista Safeway, Spanish Safeway is the most commonly used nickname. For years, this Safeway has stocked items geared towards the Hispanic Community (think tres leches […]

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