My friend is coming in to town from KC for the Redskins game this weekend and we don’t have the means to tailgate so I’m looking for a bar that will be serving breakfast and beers by 8am or at latest 9am on Sunday morning. Does anyone in DC do that? Bonus points for anything off the Orange/Blue line.”
I know Lou’s in Columbia Heights opens at 10am. 51st State near Foggy Bottom opens at noon. Anyone know a spot that opens early near Orange/Blue lines?
It’s been a long time coming but All Souls Corner Bar is finally opening up at the corner of 8th and T St, NW. Yesterday I spoke with owner David Batista who shares the good news that they got their Certificate of Occupancy and will be opening in the “next few days.”
It’s another incredible transformation of a derelict property:
“All Souls seeks to be a neighborhood bar. We’re not a sports bar, a gastropub, a wine bar, a speakeasy or a restaurant. We will be none of these things, yet we will have something for everyone. You will be able to find the craft beers of a gastropub and the interesting labels of a wine bar. If you prefer a cocktail it will be crafted with care and attention to detail. The food will be simple, but elevated, not your typical bar food. And you’ll be able to enjoy all of it while listening to good, eclectic music or watching the game quietly playing in the background.
With over thirty years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry, our experiences range from serving beers in small bars to working alongside James Beard Award winning chefs. We have done it all from washing dishes to running multimillion dollar restaurants. Our experience working in restaurants is where our concept originates.
The basic premise of All Souls is to take restaurant quality service and adapt it to a bar setting. Attention to detail, friendliness and a commitment to serve the highest quality drink and food are the heart of what we want to do.”
Batista tells me there will be 4 draft beers, 12 beers in cans and bottles and 12 wines in addition to a cocktail menu, which will feature the “classics with a twist.” As far as food is concerned, to start there will be a small sampling of snacks to include olives, nuts, cheese etc. and these options will expand a bit over time. But this is not a restaurant – it’s a proper corner bar. It’s incredibly refreshing to hear a place like this opening. No themes here just a very cool gathering spot. Additionally there will be a jukebox with an eclectic mix of soul, old soul, R&B, Rock and Jazz. Hours will be Mon.-Thurs. 5pm – 2am, Friday 5pm – 3am, Sat. 1pm-3am, and Sun. 1pm-2am.
“1414 14th St. (Sav On Liquor) is boarded up with some construction permits in front (just since yesterday, I think). Do you know if Faces Lounge is still the plan?”
I stopped in and spoke with the owners last weekend and they confirmed the construction is for Faces Lounge which will be located in the basement. If all goes according to plan they hope to open in about three months. Updates when they get closer to opening.
“There’s no better place to celebrate the abolition of the booze-prohibiting 18th amendment than a place with the largest selection of whiskey in the Western hemisphere. Jack Rose Dining Saloon is celebrating the day alcohol was made legal once again with its 3rd Annual Repeal Day Celebration complete with prohibition-era cocktails in a basement speakeasy, historic whiskey flights on draft, bottomless bubbles, 1930s-inspired nibbles and even burlesque performances.
For those who want to celebrate in the truest Repeal Day fashion, the booze-fueled Repeal Day Party will run from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. with drink specials all evening: classic prohibition-era cocktails such as the Clover Club and Astoria for $9, specialty whiskeys for $8, prohibition punches for $7, and bottomless bubbles for $20.
And in the just-opened Whiskey Cellar, the bar’s signature four-whiskey draft system will dispense a selection of historic bourbons and rye whiskeys. The Whiskey Cellar is a dimly-lit, hidden basement bar decorated with leather chairs and couches, whiskey barrel-repurposed tables and a rare exhibition of pre-prohibition whiskey bottlings – the perfect speakeasy-style setting for a Repeal Day celebration.
Burlesque dancers will perform for spectators throughout the evening while cigarette girls will offer a selection of specially-priced cigars. Guests are encouraged to dress to the nines in flapper dresses and swanky suits, donning their most Prohibition-era attire.
There is no admission fee to the Repeal Day Party at Jack Rose and is open to the public.”
“The best cocktails in the city are being served on 14th Street at Bar Pilar and Café Saint Ex, where legendary DC bartender Owen Thomson has taken over as Beverage Manager.
“I want to bring some of the interesting products and techniques that I’ve found along the way to the art of drink-making in a neighborhood bar,” said Thomson, who left Range to take over the sister establishments. Thomson was so well-loved by customers at Range (home of “Top Chef” Bryan Voltaggio) that he has been nominated Bartender of the Year for his pouring prowess and friendly demeanor behind the bar. Thomson said that despite his popularity at the upscale destination, he was ready for a change. “I prefer bars over restaurants,” he said. “A restaurant bar is just a stop-off point – you’re there for the dining experience. In a bar, you’re there to relax, hang out. There’s a communal atmosphere.” This is always how it’s been for Bar Pilar and Café Saint Ex – destinations long before the newfound popularity of the U Street corridor, where the sister hot spots are now like familiar friends in a sea of new faces. This move is in keeping with the company’s tradition of small restaurants with recognition for their bar programs. Former Bar Managers for the group include Jonathan Fain (now General Manager of Cafe Saint Ex) and Adam Burnbach of 2 Birds, 1 Stone.
Regulars and newbies are sure to want to be first to sample one of Thomson’s newest creations at Bar Pilar including the amusingly named Middle Child (rye whiskey, simple syrup, lemon and fennel) and Lose the Moustache (Mezcal, grapefruit, beer and sriracha salt). “Mixologist” is one word for people like Thomson who are equal parts scientist and cocktail chef, but Thomson pooh-poohs the newfangled technical term. “I’m a bartender,” he said. Still, Thomson is always tinkering, trying new recipes, meticulously measuring, stirring, seeking that perfect balance of flavors, which is what makes his cocktails among the most sought-after in the city. The new cocktail menu at Saint Ex is in process and will roll out in the coming weeks.
Thomson has big plans for the future. In departing from Range, he brought with him two of his favorite bartenders, Ben Wiley and Noah Broaddus. He set to work immediately training them on how he envisions these bars so that there are never any empty stools. Once his mission is accomplished, he will hand the reins over to his protégés and move on to his own bar on Florida Ave., slated to open in a year or two. (more…)
“El Chucho Cocina Superior is hosting a very special late night happy hour on Wednesday November 27. Beginning at 9 p.m., we’ll be offering two tacos for $3, $1 chips and salsa, $3 Tecate tallboys, $4 margaritas on tap, and delicious Elote Callejero for $2.50. We’ll also be offering two new hot drinks for $8 each. The Serpent and the Apple features a house-made vanilla bean and bitter orange peel-infused mezcal and pomegranate apple cider. The Bebida Caliente consists of spiced rum, house-made pineapple-ginger syrup, apple bitters, and cinnamon.
The drink specials will run until close with food specials until midnight. Whether you spend the day traveling or preparing for the feast with family, this is a perfect opportunity to catch up with friends and family over a piping hot cider mezcal drink!”
Back in March we first a new wine bar was coming next to the Corner Bakery at 6th and H St, NW.
Here’s an update from a press release:
“Flight Wine Bar, owned and operated by husband and wife team, Swati Bose and Kabir Amir, is due to open in Penn Quarter at 777 6th Street, NW, Washington, DC in December 2013. Bose and Amir will open with an approachable wine list featuring over 30 options by the glass including lesser known varietals and labels from around the world. A selection of domestic and international beers, boutique spirits and a weekly wine-based cocktail will also be on the menu. The 60-seat wine bar will also serve shareable plates designed to complement the diverse wine list. Chef Bradley Curtis, formerly of DGS Delicatessen, Zaytinya and Graffiato will helm the kitchen. Edit Lab, designers of Daikaya and Red Hen, among others, have designed the space.
Bose, raised in the Washington, DC area, recently relocated from New York City with her husband and business partner, Amir. The duo set out to open a welcoming and accessible wine bar with a friendly and knowledgeable staff that could cater to the city’s ever more discerning dining and wine drinking public. A former clerk for a federal judge, Bose decided to change careers and pursue a degree in Restaurant Management from the French Culinary Institute. She also studied at the Sommelier Society of America and the International Wine Center in New York City. Prior to launching Flight, she worked as assistant cellar master at New York’s Balthazar, as a wine server and bartender at Ardesia, and as an opening team member at Brooklyn Winery. Amir, with an MBA and a background in finance, supplemented his Wall Street background by taking sommelier and wine education courses when deciding to relocate to Washington to open Flight.
The extensive wine menu at Flight will be organized by body and style versus region. Knowledgeable yet easy-going service will be the focus at the wine bar where, for example, customers will be able to try select rare, high-end wines by the glass thanks to the restaurant’s Coravin wine extraction system. A strong commitment to the environment will be made with bio-based products, use of a grease filtration company, composting, and excess food donations at the end of service.
Highlights from Chef Bradley Curtis’ opening winter menu include Harira Soup with chickpeas, lentils, and cilantro; Pumpkin Dolmades with pepitas, raisins and yogurt; Lamb Chops with mastic, roasted chestnut, apple and celeriac; Fish & Chips with anchovies, Long Neck Clams, fermented potato, and arbol tartar sauce. Heartier main course options include a Root Vegetable Tagine with carrots, rutabaga, turnip, potato, parsnip and saffron rice; Pulled Duck Sandwich with spiced cranberry reduction, Napa cabbage and a sourdough bun; and Stew of Fasoulia with venison, snow peas, tomato, pine nuts and rice pilaf.”
Just wanted to alert you to something disturbing that happened to a friend of mine on Friday night. We were at a bar in Logan Circle, had a few drinks, when all of sudden she got extremely drowsy and went from talking like normal to being basically unconscious within a matter of minutes. Fortunately she was with myself and another friend and we were able to get her out of there and call for help. It sickens me to think of what could have happened if she somehow got separated from us.
As soon as we realized she couldn’t even stand up on her own we got her out of there and called an ambulance. The other disturbing part of the night was how un-seriously the paramedics/hospital staff (GW) treated the fact that she had probably been drugged. I kept explaining to them that I was with her all night, that she literally drank the exact same drinks as myself and our other friend (not like out of the same glass otherwise this would’ve been a different story), and that whatever alcohol she drank was definitely not enough for her to just suddenly go unconscious but everyone kept saying she just drank too much and the police were never brought in. At the hospital I kept asking them to test her for GHB but they told me that I couldn’t request a medical procedure and that testing for that isn’t within their usual blood panel and that she would need to request that test herself (which obviously wasn’t possible). So basically the night went from fun, to scary, to frustrating. Since apparently there’s nothing you can do when you/your friend gets drugged, we decided we should use this experience to warn others to be careful.
More big news for H Street – a liquor license application posted outside 1336 H Street, NE (across from Rock and Roll Hotel) says Sin Bin Sports Bar & Restaurant is coming:
“Restaurant serving an array of appetizers entrees, burgers and sandwiches with seats for 200 patrons. Total occupancy load of 400. Entertainment endorsement to include dancing and cover charge and summer garden with 50 seats.”
Some friends and I sort of kicked up the ruckus this week over Boundary Stone’s opposition to an increased in the tipped minimum wage. Many folks have covered it as if we think Boundary Stone treats their staff poorly and we’re out to get them, while nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve put together the below open letter:
Dear Owners and Staff of Boundary Stone:
First off, we want to thank you for being an anchor to the Bloomingdale community. Quite simply, we love what you guys are doing. As residents of Bloomingdale, Truxton Circle, Shaw, Logan Circle and other nearby neighborhoods, we have enjoyed being regular patrons of your establishment. We’ve never had a poor experience. Your food has always been tasty, your staff always friendly, your drinks always stiff. We have no reason to doubt your assertion that you pay your staff well, and yours is an example for other establishments to emulate.
We were disheartened to see your public opposition to an increase to the tipped minimum wage. We understand your employees are well taken care of. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case at all establishments. Tipped wage workers not receiving at least minimum wage is a problem that runs rampant in the service industry. Even among those who do receive the minimum wage, the average annual salary of a DC server is only $24,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is far too little to live on in a city with such a high cost of living.
Again, we understand that Boundary Stone workers are paid far better than this, but opposing an increase in the tipped minimum wage enables bad actors to treat their workers unfairly. But with multiple decades of service industry employment combined, we’re concerned. (more…)
“Daikaya Partners Daisuke Utagawa, Yama Jewayni and Executive Chef/Partner Katsuya Fukushima are pleased to announce the appointment of Lukas Smith as the new beverage director for their award-winning restaurant in the district’s Chinatown neighborhood, steps away from the Verizon Center. Smith brings to his new position experience gained through travel and his work in Washington restaurants, plus time in the wine and beer trade. He spent about 15 of those years crafting libations – including his grandmother’s recipe for Jack Daniel’s highballs, a Smith specialty.
Smith, 35, hails from Lookout Mountain, a landmark that towers over the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and runs down through Northwest Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia at Athens to earn his degree in Anthropology and Comparative Literature. Then from 2001 to 2002, he continued his education under a fellowship at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, where he earned the departmental Thesis Prize en route to a Master’s Degree in Nationalism Studies. Afterwards he returned to Athens to study and teach, which he did for three years while earning a second Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature in 2007. Smith then moved to the nation’s capital in 2008 and began his career working in Washington restaurants including The Gibson and Marvin.
In 2011, Smith became the regional marketing manager for Pabst Brewing Company. Then in 2012, he continued to get well-deserved recognition working at popular restaurants like Cafe Saint-Ex and Bar Pilar. He has been a member of the Daikaya team since its opening working on the beverage program, and crafted several of the restaurant’s most popular cocktail recipes. Guests can anticipate Smith’s menu to be highly innovative and complementary to the restaurant’s innovative Japanese fare. One of his favorite cocktails at Daikaya is the Thieving Magpie, Towari Soba Buckwheat Shochu, Cappelletti Aperitivo, flavored with bitter citrus, and Cocchi Americano Rosa, a roseate cousin of sweet vermouth. This new must-try libation is the perfect complement to Daikaya’s Sapporo-style ramen. The cocktail is served in a mason jar to facilitate ease and safety of service in the bustling close quarters of the ramen shop, and is available exclusively during dinner service for $10.
“The Thieving Magpie is a variation of the classic Negroni cocktail designed especially to marry with the savory flavors of Daikaya’s Sapporo-style ramen,” Smith says. “The cocktail deploys sweetness to balance ramen’s salinity, and bitterness to accentuate its oxidized properties. It is an assertive aromatic complement of citrus and earth to complicate our ramen’s comfortingly warm fragrance.”
In addition, guests can look forward to The Tone and Timbre Old Fashioned, Hibiki 12 Japanese Whisky, Beniotome Sesame Shochu, House “Resonance Bitters,” and lemon peel; The Boris Becher, a refreshing sour cocktail perfect for the colder weather made with Absolut Elyx Single Estate Vodka, Becherovka, Lemon juice, and a drop of Tabasco to highlight Becherovka’s cinnamon spice; Bob Loblaw’s Lob Loy, which highlights the honeyed core of Yamazaki 12, lightened by Dolin Rouge Vermouth and intensified by the bitter elements of Punt e Mes; The Hot Mulled Saké, house Gekkeikan Saké, pomegranate juice, charred spices, and citrus peel, and The Big Kitty cocktail – a riff on the classic Kitty Highball – made with Lambrusco (a bittersweet sparkling red wine), and a house ginger beer tailored to curb the wine’s natural sweetness. The cocktails range in price from $8 to $16, however The Hot Mulled Saké and The Big Kitty cocktail are reduced to $6 during happy hour, which runs Monday through Friday, from 5 PM to 7 PM. Daikaya will also be offering a hot version of all of the whiskey-based drinks on the menu.”
Last week we heard some scuttlebutt that The Getaway was likely closing in Columbia Heights. As many have since learned it is true. The owner tells me that they are going to be open through the end of December and then close with a New Year’s Eve bash. Sadly, there are no plans to move to a new location.