Distinguished for being the nation’s capital and the platform for a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement, Washington, D.C., is also home to a network of progressive black professionals and entrepreneurs. Realtor Keisha Gilchrist, principal of the Gilchrist Group (www.gilchrist-group.com), a RE/MAX Allegiance affiliate, is one of them. With clients that include Carlos Rogers and Santana Moss of the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Raven Samari Rolle, her group sold more than $13 million in property in 2005.
In the district, median home values are upward of $300,000. On the job front, management analysts, auditors, physicians, and surgeons, are in great demand. Aside from the government and government contractors such as Lockheed Martin, the biotech, financial services, and telecommunications industries most influence the city’s economy. Freddie Mac, Capital One, and Marriott are among the major corporations based in the area.
“D.C. isn’t a festival town,” Gilchrist admits. “It’s a port for powerbrokers who seal deals over a meal.” But there is fun to be had. When hosting guests, the 29-year-old enjoys the guided Segway tour, named for the electric scooter, which motors past historic districts and prominent landmarks (www.washingtondc.com/attractions), and the International Spy Museum (www.spymuseum.org). The annual September Black Family Reunion, hosted by the National Council of Negro Women (www.ncnw.org/events/reunion.htm) at the Washington National Mall draws 500,000 attendees, which helps fuel the $5 billion generated annually by the city’s tourism sector. Here Gilchrist describes how she deals in the district.
AROUND TOWN : Washington D.C.
“D.C. is not very decorative and flavorful,” concedes Gilchrist. That’s one reason Hotel Rouge (1315 16th St. N.W.; 202-232-8000; www.rougehotel.com) stands out as a stylish, tech-savvy, boutique hotel. “Everything’s red, from the leather front door to the bar décor. It’s also where you go to be seen.”
 The stately Willard InterContinental Washington (1401 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.; 202-628-9100; www.washington.intercontinental.com) offers luxurious quarters and impeccable service. The historic landmark has hosted every U.S. president since Franklin Pierce in 1851.
Not open for lunch, the black-owned Jin Asian Caribbean Soul Lounge (2017 14th St. N.W.; 202-332-2104; www.jindc.com) is a sophisticated, comfortable setting for private meetings and parties or dinner. Hearty, tasty appetizers include jerked shrimp sushi roll and Malaysian free-range chicken satay expressly created to accommodate the well-heeled networking crowd.
To make an unparalleled impression with clients, Gilchrist nets a table at The Oceanaire Seafood Room (1201 F St. N.W.; www.theoceanaire.com/dc), whose décor and ambiance resemble that of a classic 1930s ocean liner. No cost is spared to reel in the best catch — seafood is flown in daily from around the world and carefully prepared to your liking.
Oya (777 9th St. N.W.; 202-393-1400; www.oyadc.com) is the “hot spot after a Wizards game,” points out Gilchrist. Exciting offerings like the Chilean sea bass or Atlantic salmon, enjoyed amidst “white leather fittings and avant-garde wall treatments,” deliver an experience for all your senses.
If you’re not the department store type, check out Pink November Boutique (1231 U St. N.W.; 202-232-3113). “They carry only three or four of each item. It feels like a high-end closet.” Cocktail dress