3155 Mt Pleasant Street, NW
Today’s Drinking Around Town was written by dcreba. She lives – and often eats – in Logan Circle. Previously, she wrote about the newly renovated Art & Soul .
If you can find the Last Exit on your first try, you’re already ahead of the game. Although there is street level signage for the bar outside, the subterranean space is accessed via a side door within the parent bar, Tonic. The subtle signage and “you have to work to find me” vibe whispers speakeasy, but without a hint of pretension or exclusivity. Rather, once you find your way in, the narrow space is intimate and inviting, a bar within a bar.
Last Exit is busy celebrating its second anniversary this spring, and has re-released a list of infusions and classic craft and barrel aged cocktails. Clare Shipley, beverage manager at Last Exit, explains that all infusions are house made. Most are aged for 6-8 weeks, allowing the flavors to gently meld together. The cocktail menu designed by recently departed head bartender Anthony Rivera is composed of stalwarts and old favorites such as the Harrison, a rosemary and black peppercorn vodka creation. Mixed with tonic and served with a garnish of green grapes, it is a wildly successful combination of savory and sweet with a clean bite and smooth finish.
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Shipley also singles out the Annabel, a superb marriage of banana infused bourbon, mint, walnut bitters from Fee Brothers and a hint of soda, as a huge hit since its debut on the spring cocktail menu. The drink is decidedly refreshing and deceptively strong – a well balanced and notable standout on the well-curated cocktail list. The menu of bar snacks isn’t original– focus instead on the seasonal infusions and spirits, which are, by DC standards, not unreasonably priced at $11-13. Happy hour specials available from 7-8 PM.
Perfect for dates or small groups, the bar is dimly lit with trendy Edison bulbs and bathed in a red glow from backlighting. Comfortable couches and mismatched overstuffed chairs temper the rawness of the exposed brick walls. Last Exit is open every night except Monday and is available to the public unless reserved for private events. Find it inside Tonic and under Radius at 3155 Mt Pleasant St NW.