Libertine, “cocktail house and bistro”, Grand Opening Tomorrow in Adams Morgan

2435 18th Street, NW

Back in Aug. 2012 we noted the new Toledo Lounge had closed for renovations. The original Toledo Lounge was sold back in Feb. 2011 to the owners of the Black Squirrel and Ventnor Cafe.  Libertine has finally arrived featuring “one of the country’s largest absinthe selections”.

Update. Thanks to Libertine for a sending a photo of the inside and the menus:

Libertine Bar 4


Libertine Spirits Menu (PDF)

From a press release:

“Libertine, a cocktail house and bistro, located at 2435 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan, will hold its grand opening on Tuesday (July 9), starting at 5 p.m.

Libertine features one of the country’s largest absinthe selection with 30 different labels, many that were specially ordered from Europe, 10 specialty cocktails and four cocktail draft lines, a potpourri of small-batch spirits and locally produced wines, and craft beer draft lines. Flights of draft cocktail are available.

The name Libertine is a nod to the absinthe and spirits program as well as free-thinkers and those who live an unrestrained life.

The signature ambiance of the restaurant and bar, headed by executive chef Brent M. Sick and general manager Morgan Tramontana, comes from the reclaimed architectural remnants and marble dating to the 1800s. These artifacts, which were secured in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, ended up serving as the grand back-bar and wainscoting that trim in the space.

Mr. Sick, the recently appointed executive chef of both Libertine and the Black Squirrel Restaurant and Bar, has fashioned a menu stuffed with mussels, oysters, crab and po’ boys, with a dash of down-home creole seasoning. The seafood-centric food menu is inspired by the neighborhood bistros that dot urban centers.

“I think it’s a fun yet bold menu, distinctive yet inviting to all kinds of palates,” Mr. Sick says.
A native of Williamsport, Pa., the 33-year-old Mr. Sick has mastered a broad range of cuisines, while employing a number of the arts gleaned from celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, whom he labored under in Orlando, Fla.

“That was an education the typical chef just does not receive in culinary school,” Mr. Sick says. “Wolfgang Puck did not get where he is by misjudging the taste of the American public.”

Ms. Tramontana has designed an ambitious beverage program. “All too many places are known as a craft beer spot or a spirits place or a wine den,” Ms. Tramontana says. “We have a everage program that appeals to all kinds of tastes.”

Ms. Tramontana, a 28-year-old native of Lafayette, La., has had a hand in developing all the specialty cocktails, including the four draft cocktails. A favorite of hers: To Cherie: With Love, Jack.

She says it was no easy task designing the recipes and credits the creativeness of former PS 7’s pastry chef Lauren Whitledge in providing insight to the process.

“Ours is a beverage program that goes hand-in-hand with the food menu. We believe it’s a complementary combination,” Ms. Tramontana says. It’s a combination that has received a mighty thumbs-up from patrons during a series of soft openings.”

2435 18th Street
Washington, DC 20009
Hours of Operation: Weekdays 5:00 p.m. to close; Weekends 12:00 noon to close

17 Comment

  • justinbc

    Awww man, thought for a moment this would be affiliated with the Libertine cocktail bar that’s in Indianapolis. It was surprisingly one of the best bars I’ve ever been to, with a stunning cocktail list.

  • I miss the old Toledo!

  • Wow, very impressive! Cocktail flights and the absinthe selection look dope.

  • Another bar., just what AdMo needs.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Ooh la la hope the po boys are good!

  • “The seafood-centric food menu is inspired by the neighborhood bistros that dot urban centers.”

    This makes no sense to me. How are those related?

    • Yeah, I don’t get that either. Unless they’re talking about neighborhood bistros that dot urban centers in the areas where seafood is harvested.
      Also don’t get the point of the GM’s statement that “All too many places are known as a craft beer spot or a spirits place or a wine den . . .We have a [b]everage program that appeals to all kinds of tastes.”
      In other words, we’re going to try to be a craft beer spot+spirits place+wine den.
      Having said that, I wish them the best of luck.
      And on a side note, how cool would it be to own a restaurant where when someone asks you how good your chef is, you can tell them “Yo, my chef is Sick.” 🙂

  • This has all sorts of potential, but it’s also kind of scary. Do I really need to encourage myself to drink absinthe? I may need to stay far, far away from this place.

  • Yawn… Somewhat standard upscale pub grub menu (does anyplace NOT serve mussels and steak frites at the moment) specializing in a liqueur I absolutely cannot stand; sorry, I just hate the taste anise/licorice. That said, the cocktail menu looks alright, though I’m not sure why they seem so infatuated by Piesville rye; it’s a really mediocre rye that functions poorly in a cocktail. Also, what they call a rye negroni is really closer to being a Boulavardier.

  • Stopped by twice last weekend… Great drinks, a very knowledgeable and friendly staff and real comfy atmosphere.

  • Chef’s gotta have the worst aptronym in the history of humanity…
    Bad omen.

  • I wonder if the neighbors knew it was going to be an Absinthe bar???

  • We went by last night to check it out. The food was OK, needed a bit more flavoring all around and the mussels could have been cooked better. The drinks though are obviously the real star, and they actually offer a flight for their 4 draft cocktails for $13. Other drinks are mostly around $10-11 and are quite good, as well as quite strong.

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