SAX Lounge & Restaurant Opening Downtown on May 13th

by Prince Of Petworth May 4, 2011 at 10:45 am 24 Comments

Sax Restaurant & Lounge will be located at 734 11 Street, NW in the old POSH Lounge space. We first learned of their opening back in July ’10.

From a press release:

SAX, an entertainment venue featuring live cabaret and allegorical art installations, will open to the public on Friday, May 13. The SAX experience, from shocking paintings and elegant, erotic performances to a luxurious menu of modern French small plates and decadent cocktails, is an atmosphere lavishly unique in Washington, D.C.

The lounge will open seven days a week, by reservation only. On Sunday evenings, the entertainment will cater to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. SAX is the third restaurant and lounge by Errol Lawrence and Nancy Koide, who also own OYA and SEI in Penn Quarter.

A 20-foot enclosed infinity stage is visible from all angles of the two-story space, which will host costumed cabaret performers throughout the evening. Entertainment will range from illusionists and mimes to alluring performances that border on burlesque as the evening continues. Hillary Wright, an award-winning choreographer and performer, will expertly orchestrate the in-house troupe.

Allegory meets contemporary art with “The SAX Scandals,” satirical murals and portraits of political and religious figures and their vices. The art, much like the SAX experience, is over the top and invites guests to enter a world of fantasy, pushing the envelope of allure and corruption. These paintings are artist Balage Balogh’s interpretation of the hypocrisy demonstrated by some politicians and religious leaders, and the images bring the taboo subjects of sex, politics and religion to the forefront of conversation.

SAX’s opulent 9,700-square-foot, two-story space, reflects a modern French design, plush with gilded and faux-marbled columns, hand-button tufted damask banquettes and inlaid medallion tabletops. Authentic reclaimed church doors mark the entryway from the crystal-adorned vestibule into SAX, and red-corded curtains lead to the main dining room, which is adorned with 30 wall sconces and nine large chandeliers surrounding the perimeter balconies. All of the sconces and chandeliers are antique period pieces updated for the 21st century.

Like the interior design, the dinner menu is modern French-influenced, featuring sensual and satisfying small plates meant to be enjoyed without utensils. European fondues, flatbreads, canapés and main selections will pair with an extensive list of cocktails, beer and wine.

With more than 10 selections by the glass and 50 by the bottle, SAX will boast one of the largest sparkling wine lists in the city, plus a number of larger-format magnums and jeroboams. Sommelier Andrew Stover also selected Ridgeview ‘South Ridge’ Classic Cuvee Brut from Sussex, England. SAX is the only lounge in Washington, D.C., to carry this sparkling wine. Regional Operations Director Arris Noble has also replaced traditional bottle service with minibar packages featuring 375 ml bottles of choice spirits and food pairings. Cocktails made with gold leaf, edible flowers and liquid nitrogen complement the whimsical, decadent atmosphere.

Jonathan Seningen is the Executive Chef of SAX, and before opening the restaurant and lounge he oversaw the menu at OYA.

Sound good?

  • Eric in Ledroit


  • MichelleRD

    No, sounds weird. Too weird for DC, anyway. I give it two months.

  • PG

    You lost me at “mimes.”

    • Leroy

      Agreed. Mimes make me hostile.

  • Someone’s very singular vision. For that person, a dream come true. Not likely to attract enough patrons willing to share that vision, even for just one evening, to make the rent and payroll month after month after month. I vote 2 months as well, at least until they find the need to mainstream the concept somewhat, if not close the doors.

    Is the restaurant/lounge business getting crowded with new concepts in DC lately, or is this normal and I’m just reading PoP too much…?

  • Sully

    Sounds kind of interesting. Like O Street Mansion on meth.

  • Tres

    Reminds me of the Saturday Night Live character who’s always talking about NY’s hottest new club.

    In any case, I hope this place succeeds. DC needs more non-straight laced options. I don’t see a place like this as causing harm to anyone, really — so give people who’d frequent places with more character an options.

    Captcha: DUCK

    • MichelleRD

      Stefon! Hilarious.

    • ceeps

      “New York’s hottest new club is BOOOOOOOOF”

  • rockcreek

    “The SAX experience, from shocking paintings and elegant, erotic performances to a luxurious menu of modern French small plates and decadent cocktails, is an atmosphere lavishly unique in Washington, D.C.”

    Christ, this sounds awful – epically tasteless, freighted with “lifestyle” nonsense, and overpriced would be my guess.

  • Jeff

    It’s about damn time this town got its own saxophone lounge! Takes me back to my time in Miami in the late 80’s.

  • Denizen of Tenallytown

    Wow. This sounds like a place for pretentious psuedo-hipsters desperate to keep up an appearance at all costs.

    Any place that highlights the availability of magnums and jeroboams (aka show-off sized bottles of booze), high-end small plate fare, and a lounge that requires reservations every night of the week is basically stating “Expect to pay a minimum of $150 per person for a casual weeknight out.”

    • anon

      But with every five meals you’ve paid for there, you get a free junk punch!

  • Denizen of Tenallytown

    Also, you can buy the exclusive “Ridgeview ‘South Ridge’ Classic Cuvee Brut from Sussex, England” online for $30 a bottle. I wonder how much they will charge at this place.

    Has anyone been to SEI or OYA? Are they as vomit-inducing as this press release?

    • carbs for all

      SEI’s food was very good the last couple of times I went there for lunch. The prix fixe lunch at OYA was very good, too.
      I’m not sure what kind of crowd they are trying to appeal to with this new place. Sounds really weird to me.

    • Anonymous

      Oya’s food isn’t bad and the prices are reasonable (especially the prix fixe lunch), but the decor is very tacky.

  • MichelleRD

    Went to OYA years ago when it first opened. I honestly cannot remember the quality of the meal, only that they were trying way, way too hard. There were people hovering behind us to replenish, replace, refresh everything on the table as soon as you picked something up and it creeped me out.

    Oh wait, I also remember this weird mousse served for desert in a giant spoon. It was cringe-worthy.

    Is that place still in existence? I thought it was crazy and never went back.

    • MichelleRD


    • MsNesbitt

      OYA fixed themselves up post-opening and has a wonderful menu and an attentive but not overly enthusiastic waitstaff. One of my favorite places in the District.

      How come my CAPTCHA never spells anything cool?

  • Florista

    Oya – pretty place to see and be seen in. Staff very nice; food just so-so (you can get much better all over town for their prices).

    Sei – also sexy place; had great drinks there but haven’t tried the food.

  • Florista

    Oh, and this new place sounds too weird for words. Mimes! And jerobaums! “Reservation only” is far too pretentious for me…

  • textdoc

    This sounds a bit like it’s trying to emulate the adult-oriented Cirque du Soleil production in Las Vegas.

    Never been to Sei. I’ve been to Oya a few times and liked it, but it would’ve profited from some sound-absorbing material; it’s really noisy.

  • Irivng Streete

    Definitely not aimed at the PoP crew.

    Sounds like fun if I were 15 years younger, one wife singler and about $100k/year richer. Buying bubbly by the jeroboam makes it so much easier to make friends. And who among us doesn’t enjoy “pushing the envelope of allure and corruption?”


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