Bar Rouge Relaunches as a Neighborhood Wine Bar

Photo courtesy of Bar Rouge

From a press release:

Nearly a decade after first opening its doors in the District, Kimpton’s Bar Rouge is proud to introduce a new menu and design. Located at 1315 16th Street, N.W. adjacent to Hotel Rouge, the longtime fixture on the hotel lounge scene will re-launch as a neighborhood wine bar offering a global wine list, seasonal American small plates, and handcrafted cocktails.

The wine menu features a tailored list of 50 wines from around the world, handpicked by Kimpton’s Master Sommelier Emily Wines and Bar Rouge’s Manager/Mixologist Rico Wisner, formerly of Poste Moderne Brasserie. These selections will be offered in three pour sizes, with all standard pours under $10. “Our goal is to offer wines that are hot yet approachable, and that over-deliver on value,” says Wisner. Examples include the Paco & Lola Albarino and the Mas Guiot Rosé, as well as a selection of Wisner’s favorite “local and funky” wines, such as the Keswick Verdejo from Charlottesville, VA and the Vint Hall Cabernet Franc from Northern Virginia. The bar will also offer a diverse menu of craft and local beers, such as Heavy Seas Dubbel Cannon IPA from Baltimore, and Port City Optima Wit from Alexandria, VA.

Wisner will augment the wine list with a new batch of the handcrafted libations that gained him a loyal following while bar supervisor at Poste. Most of the specialty cocktails will feature a wine base, and make use of fresh ingredients harvested from the organic rooftop herb garden Wisner maintains at the hotel. Signature cocktails include the Sakerinha, made with sake, sugar, pineapple and basil; the San Juan Sizzle, with Bacardi 8, Domaine de Canton, Cockburn Ruby Port and soda; and the Taurus 38 Special, made with Novo Fogo Silver organic Cachaca, lemon juice, Prosecco, and blueberry and sage syrup. Cocktails are priced from $7 to $11.

To develop the menu at Bar Rouge, Kimpton tapped Executive Chef Thomas Dunklin of the B&O American Brasserie in Baltimore – just named Maryland’s Best New Restaurant by the Restaurant Association of Maryland. Chef Dunklin’s bar menu features an expansive selection of shareable American small plates, ideal for pairing with a glass of wine or a cocktail. Guests can choose from a broad selection of fish, meat or vegetarian dishes in small or entrée portion sizes, or opt for plates of charcuterie, artisanal cheeses and sweets.

Small plates include Roasted Beet Carpaccio served with Goat Cheese, Pistachios and Creamy Mustard; Lamb Meatballs in a Roasted Red Pepper Puree with Sweet Peas and Feta; Hamachi Crudo with preserved lemon and green olives; and Bacon Wrapped Oysters with Sweet Pickle Aioli. Entrees include Slow Cooked Pork Ribs with a Pineapple Glaze and Spicy Cabbage Slaw; Seared Rockfish served over a Polenta Cake with Chard and Citrus Butter; and a classic Bistro Steak with Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Asparagus and Olive Butter. Small plates and snacks range from $4 to $12, and entrée size portions range from $12 to $20.

Bar Rouge is located at 1315 16th Street, N.W. The lounge is open from 5:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for dinner daily, and from 5:00 p.m. to close for drinks.

20 Comment

  • *yawn*

  • andy

    bar changes its menu and relaunches as a bar.

    • To be fair, I read somewhere that its red decor was changed to slightly different red decor.

      • look, it’s better than the mess that was…. i won’t patron unless i’m forced there or i get a tweet of a jon hamm sighting

  • Really? A wine bar with small plates?

    Um, 2004 called. It wants its restaurant concept back.

  • I loved the old Bar Rouge. I mean loved it. Used to stay at the hotel when I traveled to DC for work before moving here–while my coworkers suffered away at the Churchill or some other dull space. Always said it looked like Elvis Costello was the decorator. “Fascinating” mini-bar contents, let’s say. Cold pizza and make-your-own bloody marys for the continental breakfast. But the bar was good too. Really friendly bartenders–even went out with them my first night at the hotel. Took me dancing somewhere and we all had a blast.

    Anyway, wine bar. Agree with the *yawn.*

  • How come people don’t like wine? Seems like this town has lots of love for esoteric beers and cocktails, but folks sneer at wine and wine bars.

    • people do. commentors don’t. wine bars are still hugely popular.

      next up: bars that only sell dirt cheap crappy regional beers. schlitz and the like.

      • Pabst… Beast…. My personal fave, the champagne of beers, Miller High Life….I like where you’re going with this

    • People love wine here, and are generally knowledgeable and appreciative – but they also know they can buy lots of interesting bottles of wine now in the $25-40 range instead of paying $12-17.00 a glass at a wine bar.

      Get a couple of friends together each bringing an interesting bottle of wine and have your own wine bar.

      Also, there are so many good producers these days that you’re probably not going to taste a wine to die for at a wine bar that you won’t find something similar in a wine shop or even Wholefoods.

      • $25-40 retail and $12-17 at a bar? I buy terrific wine for home between $9 and $18 a bottle – and it’s not terrible critter wine. You can still get a lot of great wine at even the nicest wine bars and restaurants for under $10 a glass. “These selections will be offered in three pour sizes, with all standard pours under $10” – there you go.

        And the whole point of a bar is NOT having to get people together in your home. People sometimes enjoy seeing other people and being seen by other people. And will pay for the privilege.

        • and not to have to clean up in a rush before they get there… plus, at a bar you meet new friends… plus.

  • Exactly – some people will pay for all sorts of “privileges” that others don’t especially value. I’m not knocking wine bars, I just personally find them silly – in my own perfectly honed dollar/value/experience/taste/buzz ratio.

    And agreed – there are lots of excellent $10.00-$15.00 bottles now. But you do generally get a significant bump in quality in the well-chosen $25-40.00 range – particularly for reds.

  • A sommelier named Wines. That’s pretty amazing.

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