T-3 Weeks Till The Royal Opens in LeDroit Park – “Shaved ice cocktails will be available year-round”

501 Florida Ave, NW

From a press release:

“In just three weeks, DC’s LeDroit Park neighborhood will have an all-day destination for eating and imbibing, as The Royal opens at 501 Florida Avenue, NW, the corner of 5th & Florida NW. A coffee shop and lunch spot by day, and an intimate bar and casual eatery by night, The Royal will be a unique all-day destination for Counter Culture espressos, wood-fire grilled meats, fresh fruit shaved ice cocktails, housemade vermouth on draft and more.


The Royal will open its doors early (7 a.m. M-F; 8 a.m. Sat-Sun), offering a full Counter Culture coffee program of espressos, lattes, drip and cold-brew coffee for dine-in and to-go. Morning sustenance comes in the form of freshly baked pastries, breakfast sandwiches and other a.m. fare. A rotating selection of fresh juices will also be available.


Come afternoon (starting at 12 p.m. M-F; 1 p.m. Sat-Sun), The Royal will offer one all-day menu, featuring a variety of vegetarian salads, Latin-inspired snacks and meats, seafood and vegetables hot off the wood-fire grill. Chef Lonnie Zoeller will hand-make Beef and Vegetable Empanadas, Cheese Arepas, and Plantains with sweet crema. All snacks may be made vegetarian.

Simple and flavorful salads might include Grilled Avocado with red quinoa/lentils/house vinaigrette, Tomatoes with hard cheese/herbs/garlic/cumin, or Cucumber and Hearts of Palm with apple/lime/chili/red onion.

A focal point of the bar will be the restaurant’s custom-made four-foot wood-burning grill, churning out fresh meats, seafood and vegetables, such as Grilled Squid with smoked tomato/radish/cilantro, Morcilla Sausage made with pork and rice/roasted potatoes/ house chimichurri, Duck Chicharron with radish/lime/hot sauce, and Steak with roasted potato/house chimichurri.

Chef Zoeller will also make a variety of sauces to accompany the dishes, ranging from a house chimichurri, aji Amarillo, house aioli, and family-recipe aji sauce.


The Royal will focus on craft cocktails created by beverage director Horus Alvarez.

Horus uses exotic fruits, juices and herbs to flavor cocktails like the Ashes to Ashes with rum/guava/mole/poblano/mezcal, the Rosita with Paul Beau cognac/Jerry Thomas bitters/lulo, a Colombian citrus, an Aguardiente Punch with blackberry/vanilla/cassis/citrus, and a Zombie on draft.

The bar will also offer an array of simple, classic cocktails made traditionally – a Daiquiri with El Dorado White Rum, lime juice and sugar, a Paloma with Cimarron tequila, lime, grapefruit and soda, a Caipirinha with cachaca, fresh limes and sugar, and a Rye Old Fashioned with Pikesville Rye, bitters, sugar and water.

Shaved ice cocktails will be available year-round, churned from a vintage ice shaver Carlson sourced from Guatemala. The bar will also boast an extensive vermouth selection, featuring a housemade vermouth on draft which Horus creates from start to finish, aging in 53-gallon barrels for months at a time.

The Royal will offer a small yet well-curated wine list of approximately 8-10 wines by the glass, plus some unique reserve bottles. Draft and bottled beers will showcase local breweries such as Atlas, 3 Stars, DC Brau, Port City and Flying Dog, and other domestic and Mexican brews.

This is the second project from Carlson, who opened Vinoteca just six blocks away at the corner of 11th & U Street NW in the bustling U Street Corridor in 2007, as he partners with his family this time around, who all live in the neighborhood. The Royal’s name was inspired by the building’s previous life, Royal Liquor Store in the 1990s. The intimate split-level space will open to a dimly-lit, welcoming bar area with high ceilings and communal dining table. An open staircase leads to a second-floor, loft-style dining room with rustic exposed brick walls, original fireplace and seating for 12.”


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11 Comment

  • This sounds awesome.

  • “housemade vermouth on draft” – Huh? My 71 year old mother in law is the only person I’ve ever seen drink vermouth not in a martini and I tended bar for 10 years.

    • Lots of people outside the U.S. drink it straight, but I’m not sure about the potential patrons of this bar …

    • I’ve been drinking it straight ever since my grandmother poured me my first glass. Vermouth and amaro is catching on at a lot of bars in recent years. I expect you’ll see this a lot more at new establishments.

      • Did that Sherry trend I heard was coming ever happen? I don’t get out as much as I used to. Kids and such…

    • saf

      I thought that too, then I went to Spain. Now I drink vermouth on the rocks all summer.

    • Roger: All I found was lighter fluid. I’m not there yet.
      Peggy: Would you drink vermouth?
      Roger: Yes, I’m afraid I would.

  • So much yes.

  • Looks like they chose a shade of grey for the new paint job.


  • I can’t wait — sounds exactly like my kind of place ! I’ll absolutely be a morning regular, Fridays and weekends!

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