It’s Official 11th Street Deli Becoming a Wine Bar

IMG_0631, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

I finally got some more details about this awesome development. It turns out Temperance Hall/Looking Glass Lounge Manager, Dan Searing, is one of the partners in the wine bar slated to come to 11th Street and Lamont. My opinion of this section of 11th Street continues to soar. One day I’m going to open up a satellite office on 11th Street!

So I spoke to Dan this evening to get some more details about the as of yet unnamed wine bar. He is partnering with Ben Gilligan (of the band French Toast), Nick Pimentel (of Toolbox Design, Yellow Fever DJs, and Gypsy Eyes and Planaria record labels) and Paul Ruppert. They are currently in the process of applying for a liquor license and they are looking forward to working with the ANC and the community at large to ensure a smooth transition. They hope to open up sometime in the Fall. Inside will seat up to 20 folks and outside will be a garden area that will seat up to 25.

Dan will continue working at Looking Glass Lounge in a part-time capacity.

This is a phenomenal development. What an awesome place to compliment Red Rocks, Wonderland, Bloombars, and Columbia Heights Coffee. And don’t forget we still have Meridian Pint coming as well. Beautiful.

23 Comment

  • What’s the time table? This is great!

  • Timetable.. most likely a lot longer than they plan/dream of.. 🙂

    Speaking of which, does anyone have any info on what the heck is going on with the Royal Blue restaurant that has been under construction FOREVER accross from DC USA and next to the Heights? Last I heard they had some permit issue, but that was like months ago..

  • Ohmigosh ohmigosh ohmigosh I’m SOOO happy right now!

  • I heart 11th St, Dan, and everyone else involved (including investors who are active in the nabe but were not named on the above.) I also hope they take talk with Kevin at the Dupont Market (18th St north of S street) for thoughts about running a successful small business with wine, handmade food & sandwiches, & various to go items.

    Such a nice looking building and patio.

  • this is great news and i wish the owners the best. however, i don’t see how they can fit 20 people sitting in that tiny indoor space. are they planning on making any architectural changes to the building? if not, will the outdoor area be enclosed somehow? i don’t see how they can sustain business during the cold months if all they’ve got room for is 20 indoors?

  • May they should build a pop up.. 😀

  • I hear the owners don’t want to talk in terms of a time “table,” but set a time “horizon” of this fall.

  • Walking by on Sunday night it appeared the place was gutted, with exception of a few fixtures (water, etc). If they work the space right, it would be very cool.

  • New Hampy: if they eliminate the grill area and some of the food-prep space, then I think they can do it.

  • Forgive my naiveté (I’m not a big wine drinker) but what is a wine bar? Is it just a bar that serves a lot of wine? Can one order something other than wine?

  • The idea usually is, you can get wine along with cheese / charcuterie / perhaps deserts, things that accompany wine nicely. Some larger places (like Vinoteca) will also serve full meals, but this place, given its size, will be more of the wine / cheese / desert bar model with limited food service.

    And bogfrog, if you walk by, you’ll see that is exactly what they’ve done. Obviously they have to rebuilt the bar and whatnot, but there was a LOT of wasted space as previously laid out. Now, it is still a small space, but it will feel a lot bigger with a less massive counter and less space behind that counter.

  • This fall, eh? I will by myself a glass of wine if that happens.

    Hehe, can’t wait for them start pulling freezing cold plastic wrapped pre-prepared plates out of fridge as their “food service”.. Even better, they could be plastic plates with plastic forks and stuff 😀

    Just kidding, just kidding. I hope.

  • I spoke with a partner and he mentioned that Paisley Fig (who also do the desserts for Cork) will be doing the desserts for this place. I’m excited to have Lizzy’s Goat Cheesecake closer to home

  • Just what the neighborhood needs–another upscale establishment that will be utilized by a small fragment of the population save for the gentrifying hipsters who pride themselves on their “green” lifestyles while helping to force out longtime residents who can no longer afford to live in the neighborhood of their youth. All hail retail!! Down with locally owned AND relevant businesses!!

  • Thanks for the obligitory anti gentrification post. Carry on.

  • may the gods be with them and the entire process be as speedy and as stress free as possible

  • I would have preferred the deli reopen. I got all the booze I can handle between Wonderland and Red Rocks, but where do I go for a decent lunch?

  • Curmudgeon, do you think for a second I can afford a $2 million dollar+ house in the once-middle class neighborhood I grew up in? You make it sound like it’s a DC thing, it’s a US thing and it’s not hipsters doing it, it’s because real estate is an auction.

    that said, I cannot see any attraction to a wine bar and while I wish the people the best, it really sounds to me like groupthink where people talk amongst themselves about what their small clique would like and they all decide on a wine bar. I don’t know anyone struggling with mortgages and childcare who would drop $14 on a glass of wine. It seems far out of place with Washington, DC unless they were going to have some celebrity pastry chef, etc. In the end they are bringing in desserts from a company, Paisley Fig, that I am perfectly capable of buying desserts from. If I look at a NICE $25 bottle of wine from costco and the same paisely fig cake at $55 I have a group of friends back at my place for $80 instead of $100+ at their restaurant. Do people realize that a party of 4 is going to come close to $100 for wine and dessert? This doesn’t see well thought-out.

  • I think people are getting the wrong impression about this place. I went to one of their Q and A sessions that a friend brought me to and they didn’t want to compare themselves to other DC Wine Bars such as Cork, Veritas, Urbana, etc. They seemed more like a neighborhood bar that focuses on wine and desserts (they will also have beer and liquor they said). DCist article focuses on $14 glasses of wine… sure I think its pricey for the neighborhood, but that $14 glass of wine is for people who can afford it and really appreciate a glass. If you don’t or can’t afford it, then order a cheaper glass or a special for $6-8! Do you think they will have tons of $14 glasses? No, probably only 1 or 2. My only concern is how are they going to make any money in a space that small? And what about Storage? That place is tiny! Thats my 2 cents from what I know. If they changed their plan, and turn into a fancy wine bar, then ignore everything i wrote.

  • LPW- presumably they will utilize “Just In Time” delivery of wine to avoid storage aka daily deliveries from wholesalers. if they aren’t familiar with JIT then heaven help them. But a well-run operation could literally send a barback to a storage facility and bring in half an evening’s red wine at 10pm, replacing the empties from the early evening shift.

    But I think there are many reasons to fear they won’t be able to recoup their costs, you focus on size and I focus on “who wants to go to a wine bar?”

    And I wonder if the Paul Ruppert listed above is the Paul Ruppert I met who is a sort of cell phone business theorist / venture capitalist?

  • I don’t see them having a problem with business at all – people asked the same thing about The Heights and their dinner entrees in the upper teens, but they are constantly crowded. Glasses of wine from $8-$14 is standard for any restaurant that has wine by the glass.

  • Hey it’s not official until they open the door with an alcohol license and they have a very long hard fight in front before that may happen. Don’t think the people who live around the proposed place are going to sit on the sidelines and let yet another noise maker open on the street. There are many issues that need to be addressed. It would be nice if the owners had a Q and A session, and informed the immediate neighbor hood. But then that’s how they’ll try to win it – stealth like (like wonderland changed their license). Gonna be a big fight on this one for sure.

  • I am a DC resident of 36 years, and although I have seen some pretty bad examples of people trying to fit exclusive boutique bars and eateries into newly-gentrified neighborhoods, I don’t get the sense that is what these guys are trying to do. They have all worked within the local music scene for years, approaching things from a very organic, independent, community-minded place. Nick Pimentel with Planaria and Gypsy Eyes Records, Ben Gilligan with French Toast, and Dan Seering with countless different bands, clubs and bars for many years.
    I think what people might be able to count on, instead of something obtrusive, is a place more akin to Arbor, the sadly departed intimate wine bar that used to be tucked away near the corner of 18th street and Belmont. Great wine, nice bartenders, wonderful deserts…all in all the most perfect place to end a date I have ever been. At least I hope thats what they’re going for!!

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