Have a Look Inside the newly Reopened Urbana on P Street

Photo credit Scott Suchman

From a press release:

“Urbana will reopen on Tuesday, September 2, debuting a new look and enhanced bar program after a six-week, $600,000 refresh led by DC-based Grizform Design Architects. At the newly re-opened Dupont Circle gathering place, guests can expect a revamped bar program to reflect the increased bar and lounge space, more Italian influences on the menu, and a modern look that stays true to Urbana’s sleek aesthetic.

New Bar Menu, Enhanced Happy Hour and Saturday Apertivo Hour

Now boasting a double-sided bar, drink rails and additional high-top lounge seating in the former private dining space, Urbana is debuting a bar menu to build on its reputation as a neighborhood destination, complete with an appetizing happy hour from 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Executive Chef Ethan McKee draws inspiration from the sea for bar bites that include thoughtfully sourced oysters, composed crudo plates and small fish dishes, which are complemented by cozy options such as porcini arancini and fritti misti, and a wide selection of house-made charcuterie and cheeses. Happy hour features great values like $5 house red, white and sparkling wines; $5 Peroni and Yuengling; $7 Aperol Spritzes and $10 negronis on tap, along with $1 oysters; $5 bar bites, and $8 margherita pizzas. The good times continue on Saturdays from 4-7 p.m. during a constantly evolving Apertivo Hour, which will showcase drink specials featuring Italian-style amari, cordials and signature kegged cocktails.

More info and photos after the jump.

Photo credit Scott Suchman

Cocktail Updates

Urbana is excited to debut a more Italian-leaning craft cocktail program, focusing heavily on amari, grappa, and house-made ingredients. Regulars will recognize the face of Lee Carrell, who is stepping into the role of Lead Bartender and has been a part of the bar team since 2012.

With negronis on tap for $10, Carrell is committed to showcasing traditional bitter amari in updated forms. Highlights from his cocktail menu include the Show Down with High West Double Rye, Cardamaro, fresh pear juice and mole bitters ($13); The Nettare, with No. 3 Gin and a house-made rosemary and lychee soda ($12); and the Trident, with cynar, fino sherry, akavit and peach bitters ($11). The Urbana wine program recently earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, and guests can enjoy a strong selection of Old and New World wines chosen to pair with a menu focusing on pastas and updated Italian classics.

Photo credit Scott Suchman

Italian Leaning Menus Showcasing House-Made Pastas, Gluten-Free Options

Inspired by the hospitable open feel of the new space, Chef Ethan is taking his Mediterranean menu in an Italian direction, focusing heavily on his passion for house-made pastas. The majority of pastas and pizzas are available gluten-free, and house-made pastas and sauces will also be available for sale at the restaurant. Many dishes will also incorporate vegetables from Chef Ethan’s 20-box rooftop garden. New menu highlights include:

· Antipasti ($9-$28) – Antipasti selections include a bright Red Snapper Crudo with baby arugula, kohlrabi, sweet pepper and trout roe; Marinated Sardines with basil, pine nuts, capers, chili oil and crostini; Gnocchi with pesto butter, fairytale eggplant and heirloom tomatoes; and Burrata with balsamic infused beets, vin cotto and arugula salad.

· Pasta ($16-22) – House-made pasta selections include an invitingly black Squid Ink Bucatini with calamari, shrimp, mussels and bagna cauda; Agnolotti with ricotta, caramelized onions, kale, carrot puree and parmesan; and Mezzaluna with pork cheeks, guanciale, chanterelles and black truffle. Pastas will also feature heavily in upcoming Sunday Suppers, which will showcase Chef Ethan’s favorite seasonal Italian classics served family-style.

· Secondi ($24-$34) – Secondi selections include a whole roasted Dorade with chard, cipolline onions, fennel puree and hazelnut brown butter; Brick Oven Chicken finished in the brick oven with shell beans, charred lemon, crispy sage and salsa verde; and Roasted Hearts of Palm with rapini, red quinoa, salsa rossa and pine nuts.

Guests may also complement their meal with a variety of contorni, and dessert choices include affogato and Chef Ethan’s variation on his Italian grandmother-in-law’s family recipe for Ricotta Cheesecake.

Urbana’s lunch, brunch and breakfast menus are also getting updates with quick turnaround panini and a new selection of colazione classics. Urbana’s popular brunch bottomless bellinis with seasonal purees will continue to be offered for $17.

Photo credit Scott Suchman

Design Updates

In addition to doubling the size of the Urbana bar and adding additional lounge space, the refresh has created new options for private dining and special events while removing barriers within the space to achieve an open feel among the bar, dining room, and hotel lobby spaces. The 12-person private dining room has been moved near the lobby entrance, freeing up additional lounge space and room for a drink ledge within a bar area inspired by an Art Deco 1920’s cityscape. To mitigate sound, GrizForm has installed strips of sound panels of various sizes to the ceiling wrapped in rich brown Maharam fabric for added visual interest. Custom red sliding doors to the private dining room and at the entrance to the restaurant also provide additional buffers for private events.”

6 Comment

  • Nooooo… Darn it, their old happy hour was great. This one isn’t nearly as good. I’m going to miss their $8 pizzas and happy hour cocktails. =/

  • There wasn’t a lot of light in the old design, which I presume is the reason for the refresh. I think it looks great.

  • I used to work there for a couple of years. Considering the sort of business they do, this is a super smart and long overdue reno. The bar was always the most reliable revenue stream, so maximizing that was the best way to go. And @littlen, it looks like they’ve still got an $8 pizza.

  • checked it out on Friday night and it was really beautiful. alas, our favorite bartenders, joe and obie, aren’t there anymore, but the new menu is delicious… looking forward to hanging out here again!

    • Word is that Joe has relocated to Thally! I’m sure he’d be happy to see you there. Can’t say about Obie . . .

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