Reviewed: Hidden Gym

An interesting thing about cannabis retail establishments in DC is that they’re set up to be cannabis “plus” in order to comply with I-71. For example, Gifted Curators is weed plus street art, and All the Buzz is weed plus fashion. I’ve even seen a shop that offers a life coaching service with cannabis as the gift! But Hidden Gym is the first I-71 shop I’ve seen that combines athletics with cannabis — and not just CBD. 

Shopping at Hidden Gym

Hidden Gym opened on July 4 of this year, in a space that was once a spin cycling studio. The shop is located on 14th St NW between Church and P St. NW. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by security, who will ask for your ID just as at any other gifting shop. And then, you’re led through a secret door behind a shelf filled with workout equipment, through a locker room, to what really is a hidden gym!

The shop has an open floor plan with a few display cases and shelves on your right as you enter, a spiffy LED neon-style light on your left, and the check-out counter at the front. (They’re cash only, but there is an ATM on site.)

The idea for Hidden Gym started with the name, a staff member tells me, with the shop owners wanting to reflect their own athletic vibe. Many of their clientele are similarly-minded athletic folks who found Hidden Gym while searching for CBD pain relief products. The shop also serves tourists and DC locals. It’s conveniently located near plenty of food and entertainment options in the Cardozo/Shaw area, such as La Diplomate, Barcelona Wine Bar, Ted’s Bulletin and Thomas Circle Park. The area is extremely pedestrian-friendly — there’s more parking than you’ll find at most shops in Adams Morgan, but Hidden Gym doesn't have a dedicated lot (which, honestly, is a completely unreasonable expectation for this city). You’re best off parking in a nearby garage.

What’s on the Hidden Gym Menu?

Hidden Gym sells workout plans, smoking accessories and CBD products. They gift a wide range of cannabis products including flower, edibles, pre-rolls, vape carts and dabbing extracts. 

The display cases show a variety of good-looking flower as well as several flavors of carts, Packwoods pre-rolls, extracts branded as Cookies Runtz and Lemonnade, edibles, tinctures, and infused beverages.

I selected a workout plan from the highest fitness plan tier, which costs $75, and was gifted a goodie bag containing a 3.5g pack of King Cake flower. I also got a 1g distillate vape cart and a pack of Stoneos (think infused Oreos).

Reviewed: King Cake

The King Cake was pretty solid: its dense nugs had notes of fruit and gas with a little bit of citrus rind zest on the end. King’s Cake seems to be a King’s Garden exclusive cross of Ken’s Grandaddy Purple x Mystic Gem (Ghost OG x Cherry Puff). This sample provided gassy flavor with a little bit of musky sweetness in the aftertaste, and a mellow and relaxing high. The flower smoked smoothly, with virtually no throat irritation. The joint I rolled didn’t have the strongest flavor, but the ash stacked and was consistently nine-tenths white, which is a sign that the flower was likely grown in soil with proper nutrients.

Hidden Gym’s products were serviceable, especially the flower. I think it’s prudent to note that some of the branded Cookies extracts had slightly different packaging and consistency than what we see coming from their retail stores in California, so proceed with those products (and any extracts in DC’s unregulated market) with caution. 

The Takeaway

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Hidden Gym. Of all the shops I’ve been to, Hidden Gym is one of the cleanest, with a great branding strategy. Their workout plans are well-crafted and bring an image of fitness and activity to the cannabis world, which is all too often often associated with eating a family-size bag of chips on the couch. 

Ultimately, Hidden Gym is a great addition to the I-71 gifting landscape, and will hopefully attract active folks who might otherwise be unlikely to indulge in cannabis. It’s a potentially massive avenue for normalizing cannabis use! If you’re looking for a shop in Cardozo/Shaw with a clean vibe, friendly staff and worthwhile products, Hidden Gym is the place to find.