Second State opening October 21 on M Street – Check Out the Amazing Transformation

1831 M Street, NW

At the risk of sounding like a broken record – holy freaking transformations! The former Mighty Pint (Madhatter for the old school) is no longer recognizable. And while I had many a fun drunken evening in this old space – it is now absolutely beautiful. Aside from the general layout it is completely unrecognizable – in a good way:




Lots of details about Second State from a press release:

“Restaurateur Reese Gardner is pleased to announce the opening of Second State, which will replace the former Mighty Pint at 1831 M Street, NW. Second State is slated to open October 21st [currently taking reservations]. Gardner is the founder/owner of Wooden Nickel Bar Company based in Arlington, Virginia, which owns and operates the popular Irish Whiskey Public House in Washington, DC, and neighborhood hot spot Copperwood Tavern in Shirlington Village. Gardner, a Pennsylvania native, wanted to honor his state’s history and decided to name his latest restaurant Second State as Pennsylvania was the second state to ratify the Constitution on December 12, 1787.

Gardner’s goal for Second State is to create an intimate neighborhood restaurant with casual fine dining. The menu is being created by Corporate Executive Chef Allan Javery and will feature seasonal American small bites along with featured prime cuts of local game, farm-raised poultry, beef and fresh fish to accompany the hearty, family-style sides. Every ingredient will be sourced from local farmers within a three-hour drive from DC, with an emphasis on farms in Pennsylvania.

Standout dishes include Short Ribs, root beer braised short ribs over parsnip and garlic confit puree; Scallops & Foie Gras, lightly smoked and seared Eat Coast scallops and foie gras over sweet corn puree; Frisee Salad, duck confit, warm bacon vinaigrette, apples crispy fingerling potatoes and a poached duck egg; Brown Ale Butter Chicken; Filet Mignon, 8-ounce grass fed beef served with a creamy bourbon and green peppercorn sauce; Roasted Pheasant, pan roasted with cider jus, pearl onions and apples, as well as a Pennsylvania favorite Pierogies filled with classic potatoes and cheddar sautéed with onions, brown butter, and bacon. Menu items range from $7 to $36.

The bar program at Second State, spearheaded by Corporate Beverage Program Director Boris Stojkovic, will also be another important element. Second State will have a culinary approach to classic mixology incorporating fresh, local, seasonal ingredients found in the homemade syrups and mixers.  Guests will enjoy freshly squeezed juices for cocktails, and a large selection of 30 white and dark rye whiskeys. Cocktails include the Old City Rickey, Bluecoat Pennsylvania gin, aged maple syrup, lime, and hard cider; Liberty Punch, XXX Shine LiberTea whiskey, fresh lemonade, ginger syrup and lavender bitters, and the Second Statement with Pennsylvania Rye whiskey, raw Pennsylvania honey, Absinthe, and aromatic bitters. Cocktails range in price from $11 to $17.

Once again Reese Gardner is collaborating with local Designer Maggie O’Neill of SwatchRoom. “The vision for Second State is to create a cozy cool meets classic row-house dining atmosphere,” says O’Neill. “This will be achieved by incorporating a fresh palette of creamy bleached wood, steal blues, and warm greys that will envelop the intimate first floor with exposed beams and a polished concrete floor. Iron and crystal mixed with distressed metals and a few historic artifacts will pepper the space and speak to materials indigenous to Pennsylvania. Ascending a steel and wood staircase to the second floor, diners can expect to find a warm glowing wall of windows, corrugated metal, and rich upholstery creating a charming industrial treehouse feel with cozy semi private booths. The dining experience at Second State will be sweet, small, and smart—perfect for a cozy date night or dinner with friends.”

The restaurant will be open for lunch daily, from 11 AM to 5 PM and for dinner daily, from 5 PM to 11 PM. Brunch will be served Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Additionally, “Oyster Hour” will be available nightly from 5 PM to 6 PM. For additional information, please call (202) 466-3010 or visit”

Lots more photos of the new spaceafter the jump.






first floor booths



upstairs seating

upstairs booths

bathroom sink

old hunting licenses




pony sized

pennsylvania beers on tap

looking east towards Connecticut Ave

22 Comment

  • $17 cocktails in the former Madhatter space where I saw and did many things. I think this wave of gentrification has finally broken over me. Time to turn in my skinny jeans. I, for one, will not be buying any pony-sized Rolling Rocks.

    • +1. If these are the prices necessary to stay afloat in these neighborhoods if they don’t own the building, then I’m done.

  • jim_ed

    Exposed brick walls and faux-antique light fixtures? What a bold breath of fresh air in restaurant design!

  • Of all the changes I would have hoped to see, the sinks are still in the hallway.

  • I think it looks great, but only because this is the type of bar I prefer in my thirties. My twenty-something year-old self would probably be pissed that all the new bars in this city are the same as this one. Madhatter used to be a great college dive when it was here. Hopefully, some of those bars can survive the changes DC is going through. We def. could use a few more dives/pubs.

  • No IC Light on tap? Epic fail (semi-joking).

  • I’m going to start a pool around the office to see who can most accurately predict how long this place will stay open for. We’ve already got one going for MPire

  • leftcoastsouthpaw

    I actually like how it looks. I usually don’t frequent that part of town, but I’ll give it a chance if I’m in the neighborhood.

  • Wouldn’t the avg. Pennsylvanian punch you if you told them that a Pa. themed restaurant served small plates? I’m not one but I’m hoping a one could answer this for me.

    • Absolutely. I’ll probably give this place a try, and as a native Pennsylvanian will punch myself in the face for doing so.

  • Pony-sized Rolling Rock? Is that to go with your tiny over-priced plate of one bite, entree-priced, food? Oh well, as bad as Rolling Rock is, maybe it should be served in tiny bottles. Then again, as bad as the food is at Irish Whiskey I can’t say I have high hopes for this place. I’ll likely never set foot in Second State, but props to them for at least giving that space a nice make-over.

  • jim_ed

    If the universe has any sense of irony, this restaurant will be like everything else in Pennsylvania, and 3 months from now it’ll be shutdown, stripped to the bones, and re-opened in Guangzhou, China.

  • palisades

    That “enjoy your food not your phone” sign is not only condescending and stupid, it’s really quite ugly. And everything looks like something from the hallmark store. I kept expecting to see “Live Laugh Love” signs in the bathroom.

    • thatnewplaceon14th

      It reminds of the Saloon on U Street. I think the “No TVs here” “talk to the person next to you” signs are condescending as well. Their hearts are in the right place by donating to schools (and telling us about it), but ugh, c’mon!

  • Nothing is authentic anymore.

  • I’m still willing to try it, and I’m hoping they serve Victory beers since it’s a Pennsylvania brewery. If they do, then I’ll be here quite a bit.

  • Pennsylvania theme? Where’s the Boilo? garlic Ring bologna with cocktail sauce? Perogies? Yeungling? Extra dark split (burnt) pretzels?

  • According to City Paper they are also charging $1 for ice with your drink.

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