Bernard is the founder and principal owner of the Twelve XII Restaurant and Lounge at 1123 H Street N.E. He and his family have deep roots in the H Street community.
After years of working as an industrial equipment mechanic for the DC Department of Public Works, Bernard yearned to have his own business. Pooling resources with his brother Daymon, and enlisting the support of other family members, he chose the 1123 H Street location just a few blocks from where he grew up. The location, once the site of a McCrory’s five-and-dime store, had lain vacant for many years. The Gibson brothers negotiated a long-term lease and invested in a top-to-bottom renovation of the property, equipment purchases, and other start-up costs.
After researching various franchise operations, he settled on Cluck-U-Chicken, a 31-store Maryland-based chain, Franchise executives were responsive and encouraging, and Bernard opened the H Street Cluck-U-Chicken in July 2005.
After several years, Bernard recognized that the H Street market was changing and that the time was ripe to shut down Cluck-U-Chicken and open a more sophisticated restaurant and nightclub. In 2008, he brought Twelve XII to life, and it has grown into one of H Street’s most popular nightlife destinations.
“My father, Bernard Gibson Sr., and my mother, Cynthia Fleet Gibson, met and became high school sweethearts on 11th Street where my grandparents lived. My other grandparents lived on 7th Street NE,” Bernard told an interviewer. “We thought, why not locate our business where we came from? H Street is growing. Why not be a part of the boom?”