Red Light Cocktails & Dessert Bar Softly Opens Saturday, April 12th

1401 R Street, NW

And in other anticipated openings is Red Light Cocktails & Dessert Bar is soft opening on Saturday in the former Bar di Bari space.

From a press release:

“On Saturday, April 12th, Partners Aaron Gordon, Robert Underwood, and brothers Ari and Micah Wilder will softly open Red Light, Cocktails & Dessert Bar at 1401 R Street, NW. A limited dessert menu will run for two weeks, from April 12th through April 26th. Guests can stop by nightly, from 4 PM to close, to indulge in the restaurants show-stopping desserts and innovative cocktails. Then, on Sunday, April 27th, the restaurant will open with a full menu and regular hours: Monday through Thursday from 4 PM to close, Friday and Saturday from 12 Noon to 2 AM and Sunday from 12 Noon to 10 PM.

“Distinctive craft cocktails and inspired desserts in a fun, relaxed bar will be the ideal complement to 14th St. – DC’s top restaurant destination, explains Aaron Gordon. “Who doesn’t love delicious chocolate and Champagne?”

Gordon tapped Robert Underwood as executive chef for Red Light. Underwood was previously the head pastry chef at award-winning Komi and Marcel’s in Washington, DC. His menu at Red Light will offer ten desserts changing daily, reflecting the season, and a featured soufflé. Opening selections planned include Soufflé of the Moment– white chocolate Grand Marnier; Pistachio Tea Cakes – with local strawberry jam and lavender gelato; Abuelita’s Tres Leches – with toasted coconut cake and Zapaca rum; Black & Tan Donuts – ale batter beignets with a chocolate stout filling; and aQuinoa BrûléePudding – with caramelized bananas and spicy candied cashews. Dessert choices will be priced from $8 to $10. A pre-fixe menu, complete with a cocktail or wine pairing, will also be available for $16 to $20 per person.

The cocktail menu and wine list is being developed by the talented Wilder brothers, who will serve as Red Light’s beverage directors. Since 2008, when they founded Wilder Bros LLC, they have created over a dozen successful cocktail programs and opened Fed Restaurant in May, 2013. Their innovative list for Red Light will include a selection of eight to 12 specialty drinks, as well as ‘adult’ desserts that combine cocktail and dessert ingredients for a spirited treat. Red Light’s upcoming list will include the Riverstone Slush –ice wine with seasonal nectar, shaved river stone ice and winter fruit; the Double Down –Buffalo Trace Bourbon, rose bitters, B grade maple syrup, Ruby Red grapefruit and lime; andthe Cake Shake –Red Velvet cupcake, homemade ice cream, Atlantico dark rum, Velvet Felernum and cocoa bitters. The menu will also offer a boutique wine selection as well as eight to ten Champagnes by-the-glass, including four Champagnes on-tap.

Design studio SwatchRoom is responsible for the scheme for Red Light. The intimate 27-seat interior will have ‘love-nest’ seating options of red leather banquettes and club chairs for lingering plus a sprinkling of two and four top tables. Guest can grab a stool at the dramatic concrete 18-person bar and see the chefs in action at the display pastry bar. The seasonal 44-seat outdoor patio will be the destination gathering place with its warm and inviting environment featuring communal, cocktail and lounge seating.

“The contemporary design for Red Light will call back to the dangerous and salacious history of 14th Street, a dessert lounge and a place where the edge of rock & roll is juxtaposed to classic romance through color palette, found objects, and sensual textures,” states Warren Weixler, co-owner of SwatchRoom. “The design will illuminate the natural allure of voyeurism and the intoxicating art of the performance; specifically preparing craft cocktails and delectable desserts.”

26 Comment

  • I give them 3 months….

  • There are rumors that LYMAN in the corner of 14th & Quincy St is opening this Saturday 12.

  • Is that last paragraph even in English?

  • I’m really excited about this place. Aaron Gordon’s past track record aside, everything about this sounds right: a head chef with serious pastry chops running a restaurant that is doing something different from everywhere else on 14th Street. UrbanDaddy had some photos of the interior that show it’s actually pretty nice.

  • I’d be curious to try this place if it weren’t for the ridiculous concept of glorifying 14th Street’s seedy past.
    I wonder what their “found objects” are going to be. Hubcaps? Used condoms? Pieces of weave?
    (And what’s up with “found objects” in a restaurant? Do they fancy themselves some kind of art installation??)

    • It’s cheaper to “find” objects than it is to pay artists to create art.

    • I think the “found objects” trend was started by TGI Fridays.

    • justinbc

      I agree with this sentiment completely. A friend of ours will be bartending here too, and I wish them well mainly because of that, but I cannot possibly imagine taking a woman on a date here given that the name glorifies or, even worse, tongue-in-cheek mocks prostitution, especially given the rampant trafficking problems going on in the world today. There are so many possible themes to choose from, why be so tacky?

      • Exactly. Cynical times we live in if the “thrill” of a restaurant is based on prostitutes’ well-documented and long-standing suffering. Won’t be making time for this place anytime soon….

      • justinbc

        You’re right. And in a city full of hundreds of bars I’ll gladly miss out on the one that glorifies the exploitation of women.

  • Nothing says romance like reminiscing about the violence, crack sales and prostitution on 14th st back in the day. I think I’ll take my wife there for Valentine’s day, and we’ll talk about desperate women selling their bodies and then ebing forced to turn over the profits to abusive pimps. Happy Valentine’s Day honey.

    • For a second I misread “prostitution” as “prosciutto” and was thinking, “Mmm, prosciutto.”
      But yeah, there’s nothing “Mmm”-worthy about violence, crack sales, or prostitution.
      I love desserts, and I love cocktails. C’mon, Red Light — get rid of this stupid “Red Light” name and concept, so I can check the place out!

  • Pre-fixe!??!?!? C’mon.

    • Cringe-worthy typo aside, prix fixe sounds rather pretentious if all it means is bundling a dessert and a drink. If actually means two or more smaller desserts, it could be kinda fun.
      I’ll certainly give this place a chance. I haven’t lived here all that long, but it definitely seems to me this city is short on upscale dessert options.

  • Really doesn’t look as awful as I was expecting–an intimate dessert bar is unique enough to totally find an audience of people, with all those restaurants on 14th. But Gordon’s biggest problem has been mediocre food. So we’ll have to see.

  • jim_ed

    Honestly, I hope they take this concept of swagger-jacking the misery of human trafficking and run with it. Just think of the potential! – A basement bar called “Sweatshop” where each booth is an intimately cramped sewing table, and cocktails are served in whimsical half-constucted soccer balls. Or if you prefer to drink al fresco, try the new rooftop bar, Contract Guest Worker! Enjoy the most opulent drinks oil money can buy while your server balances precariously above you on a steel girder without being tied off!

    • “Or if you prefer to drink al fresco, try the new rooftop bar, Contract Guest Worker! Enjoy the most opulent drinks oil money can buy while your server balances precariously above you on a steel girder without being tied off!”
      Isn’t that Roofers Union in Adams Morgan?

  • binpetworth

    When this place goes under, I’d like to rent this space and open a restaurant called No Concept. It will feature:
    1) No-name chefs/bartenders
    2) No constantly changing menus
    3) No descriptions of what it’s supposed to be
    4) Only good food

  • How did this concept get the green light?

  • I get that the concept is in what I will generously call poor taste, but really, is no one else excited about a place that serves desserts and booze? Those are my two favorite food groups.

  • You know we had this discussion just a few months ago –

    At least they’ve lost their “Playful nod” to sex-trafficking and now will “call back to the dangerous and salacious history of 14th Street.”

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