The Sovereign, website, Facebook, Twitter, 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW (essentially “32nd” and M), the Belgian bistro and beer spot in Georgetown from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group folks (Churchkey, GBD, Iron Gate, The Partisan, etc.), is set to officially open to the public this Thursday, February 4th.
The cozy two story bar (84 seat dining room on ground floor with 57 seats upstairs) features rare Belgian and Belgian-style beer as well as cocktails featuring genever (Dutch gin). The dark and moody spot is down a lantern lit alley (think Iron Gate) just off the northwestern corner of Wisconsin and M Street NW a few steps south of El Centro Georgetown (the signage is pretty noticeable walking by the alley on Wisconsin). 50 beers will be on draft (like Churchkey) and 300 more bottles will be available. The more formal first floor features many romantic booths as well as a chill bar area while the second, more lit, floor features a lot of great standing areas/high-top tables to rest your drink on along with two TVs. Although there’s not much natural light in the place, the vibe is still great and expect this to be popular, even though it is in Georgetown and was previously home to the unmemorable Champs and Blue Gin.
At a preview event Monday night, NRG beer director Greg Engert personally passed around pours of one of his favorite beers, the Saison D’Epeautre from the Blaugies brewery in Hainaut, Belgium. This fantastic brew is a reflection of the quality of beer at The Sovereign – I sampled a variety of Belgian beers styles including saison, pale ale with figs (acquired taste), stout, porter, and blonde ale.
For more details, I highly recommend (the slightly esoteric for non-beer dilettantes, but still great) 3 part interview on Dcbeer.com by Dcbeerbill; those with less time should check out Fritz Hahn’s piece in the Post.
The name of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s new Barracks Row eatery/bar is a familiar one to many “foodies” inside the Beltway- EatBar- the same as the group’s popular Clarendon/Lyon Park eatery that garnered accolades from 2007 until closing in late 2014. This news comes from a recent liquor license trade name change that was approved (see page 17) on Wednesday.
Located in the old Kraze Burgers spot at 415 8th St. SE (between D & E streets, less than a block from the Eastern Market Metro stop), this 40-50 seat spot comes from the group well known for places like Red Apron, Churchkey, Iron Gate, and Bluejacket. Expect meat-focused dishes and a solid beer, wine, and cocktail list at EatBar, as detailed in this “exclusive” scoop (sorry Jessica Sidman) given to Tim Carman at at the Post in June 2015. According to Carman’s piece, Nathan Anda, the new point man for the Barracks Row project, helmed the original EatBar until 2008, so he appears to be returning to his roots with NRG.
The Post article said the unnamed spot would open later in 2015-obviously this didn’t happen-and a recent visit to this location didn’t reveal much obvious work being done. Currently, this block is home to some of the neighborhood’s more downscale establishments ( Popeye’s, Pizza Boli’s) as well as quite a bit of loitering, so it will be interesting to see how this will transform the block (an &Pizza is supposedly coming soon as well).
A historic snowstorm (Jonas) is coming to DC today (Friday January 22, 2016 for those of you reading this in the future), bringing over 2 feet of snow (I predict 16 inches at DCA); the government’s closing at noon today (and I predict Monday too) and Metro will go dark at 11p tonight for entire weekend. Of course, this means drink specials for bars that stay open. I recommend you just head to your favorite neighborhood bar or stay home; if not, I’ve highlighted actual good deals at recommended bars ($1 off beer isn’t included). For more comprehensive posts (which I generally stole from anyways), check out the solid roundups at City Paper, Post, Eater, and Washingtonian.
$5 Margherita pizzas, $7 shot of fernet and a Peroni, $7 “moonshot” hot cocktails
Starts 3p Friday and Saturday
Star Wars themed pop-up patio snow bar Sun from 10a-4p
Hank’s Oyster Bar
Happy hour starts when snow starts
Robert Burns Day celebrations start early all wknd
$7 Barrelhound Scotch, Skull Splitter Orkney Ale, Belhaven Thistle IPA, Rusty Nail and Hot Toddies
Awesome HH (1/2 off sushi and drinks) extended to whole restaurant and til 8p Fri
The Argonaut, Jimmy Valentine’s, Little Miss Whiskeys, The Pug
Drinks $1 off for every 6 inches of snow (The Pug only Friday night)
$5 Abita Purple Haze & Goldschlager shots
Opens at 1p Fri
Eastern Market/Capitol Hill
$5 Laphroaig 10 year scotch, $5 Chartreuse, mulled wine specials
In a blow to daydrinkers and many Dupont bars, hosting pub crawls in DC just got a bit more difficult. After numerous complaints from local residents, ANCs, business groups, and DC police, the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) Board last Wednesday issued emergency/proposed rules imposing new requirements for crawls in DC to “ensure pub crawls are conducted in responsible, safe, and orderly manner.” These new rules-which will expire in mid-May unless DC Council approves them- establish a new “pub crawl license” with an annual $500 fee, requires pub crawl organizers to pay for litter clean-up, and broadens the definition of pub crawls.
Although opposition to bar crawls because of noise, litter, crowd control, and public intoxication are nothing new (detailed in our story about the bans in Adams Morgan and H Street), efforts to rein them have ramped up in the past year. ABRA hosted a roundtable discussion last March, and the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (areas south of Dupont), the city’s most powerful, sent at least twoletters last year complaining about massive trash and property damage issues (one clothing store had to shut down for the day) after Lindy’s Nightmare on M Street on Halloween and Project DC’s Santa Crawl before Christmas. The BID asked ABRA to put a hold on approving bar crawls until it could address these issues (Borderstan’s first reported the BID’s concerns). This seemed to prompt ABRA into action.
The new regulations will mandate bar crawl promoters:
Possess an annual $500 pub crawl license (starting April 1st); previously only a no-fee Board approval was required;
Be responsible for litter prevention/control/removal
Proof of signed contract with litter removal company and the subsequent payment must be shown to ABRA;
Litter must be removed no later than 12 hours after crawl is over;
DC’s Department of Public Works must approve the crawl’s litter management plan; and
Seek approval 45 days beforehand using a new pub crawl application form;
“Superintend” during the entire bar crawl without partaking themselves.
In addition, the new rules:
Broaden the definition of pub crawls to include organized events where bars within walking distance participate in promoting an event that features alcohol during a specified time period.
Previously, the bars had to offer discounted drinks to constitute a bar crawl;
Forbid bar crawls on St. Paddy’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, July 4th, Halloween, and NYE;
Prohibit bars from participating in more than one bar crawl at a time;
Allow ABRA to restrict a bar crawl’s size, nature, and hours, as well deny specific bars from participating in a particular crawl; and
Give ABRA the power to suspend bars from being part of bar crawls if they participate in an unlicensed bar crawl, or the crawls have sustained community complaints or police activity.
ABRA can also fine, suspend, or revoke pub crawl license holders for these issues as well as if they fail to “control the environment” of the crawl.
Only those bar crawls where organizers expect a crowd of at least 200 drinkers are required to be licensed (similar to previous rules), though Barred in DC feels this exception is not clear and predicts many disputes about this in the future if this isn’t clarified.
Although the rule has only been in place for a few days, the consequences are already apparent. On Thursday, ABRA denied applications for 3 bar crawls (sorry folks who were planning on going to the All You Need is Love, Cupid’s, and Fat Valentine bar crawls in February) by 4-1 and 3-2 votes.The folks from DC Beerathon, in contrast, had its applications for their February DC Mardi Party and March DC Leprecrawl crawls approved unanimously, pending a submission of the litter management plan before the event.
One bar-a frequent stop on many of these crawls-contacted was not aware of these new rules. Comments from bar crawl organizers were not available at the time of this post.
Comments on the new rules will be accepted until mid-February (e-mail email@example.com.); afterwards the Board will issue final rules that will go to the DC Council for a 90 day review period.
2016 is just around the corner. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list (which will be updated regularly until 12/31/15) of New Year’s Eve celebrations at DC bars below (nearly all with a cover include a champagne toast, party favors, and a DJ), which I’ve split up by neighborhood and whether there is an open bar (at least 3.5 hours long), a cover charge (many of these include an open bar) and no cover bars (likely these won’t be announced until the week or so before the NYE). For those of you braving open bars (only 36% of those recently polled are a fan of them) , remember to tip well to start and for each drink. Barred in DC picks are highlighted below. If you know of a solid bar party, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For college football fans and their significant others, keep this in mind-the College Football Playoffs will be held New Year’s Eve-Clemson (Rebellion) v. Oklahoma (Buffalo Wild Wings in Crystal City) at 4p and Alabama (Buffalo Billiards) v. Michigan State (Capitol Lounge) at 8p.
This list will be continually updated until NYE. Prices don’t include fees.
Kitty’s Saloon ($25 open bar from 9p-1a & free food)
Sauf Haus (Sold Out)
Churchkey/Birch & Barley (Sold out)
Mad Fox Tap Room
The Bottom Line
Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar
Church & State/Atlas Arcade
The Front Page – $100 – 9p-2a – Prohibition Party (feat. Bulleit Bourbon + Ketel One) + DJ + light fare + prohibition style cocktails
Sign of the Whale – $100 – 9p-close – appetizer buffet til 11p + $25 gift certificate + groups of 6 ore more get bottle of sparkling wine
James Hobans – $90 – 007 James Bond party – Bond photo shoot + buffet + unlimited Heineken bottles/domestic drafts/house wine/rails – $70 option for open bar till midnight
The Gryphon – $39 – doors open at 9p – premium open bar from 9p-midnight
The Riggsby – $65 – lounge party starting at 7p includes 2 cocktails & all snacks w/ a la carte menu
Panache – $60 last minute – doors open at 9p – Back in the Day 90s themed celebration – 9-10p open bar & apps
Lucky Bar -doors open at 3p – “Champagne Gala” – $3 glasses of sparkling wine from 3-8p – toast + favors
Bar Dupont – starts at 9p – Mad Men-themed – back bar with DJ & scotches/bourbons/rye + main bar with cigar roller from 9p – $25 cigar & cocktail special (Old Fashioned’s/Manhattan/Vesper Martinis) + outside ice bar features Belvedere & 2 smoking tables
Rebellion – no dress code/cover/etc. – complimentary sparkling wine midnight toast – Clemson watch party from 4-8p
Bistro Bistro – midnight toast + house music +food/drink specials
Parlay – College Football Playoff watch – bottle/food/table specials + midnight toast + DJ top 40 & old school hip hop
McClellan’s Retreat – Miller High Life midnight toast
Darlington House – photobooth
Duke’s Grocery – specials on (UK favorites) Pimm’s Cup, Bombay Sapphire, and all single malt scotch + midnight toast – kitchen open til 1a
Buffalo Billiards – doors open at 2p – free games – Alabama watch party
14TH STREET / U STREET / SHAW / BLOOMINGDALE
DC9 – $55 (til 12/12); $65 (12/13-27); $75 (12/28-31) – 10p-2a – NYE Chocolate Factory party + $2 for Chocolate Factory Chocolate bars raffle (1 person wins ticket to every show in 2016, 99 people win tickets to one show each) + 2 floors of DJs
New Vegas Lounge – $85 ($100 last minute) -9:30p-2a – live jazz & blues begin at 10:15 – celebrity soul food truck
Churchkey / Birch & Barley – SOLD OUT $104 – 9p-2a – 50 drafts/5 casks/select booze & wine + passed bites/snacks + DJ + photobooth
Shaw’s Tavern – $100 – 9p-1a – optional open bar – Casino Royale Celebration – casino games + appetizer buffet – can do a la carte too
Stoney’s (upstairs)- $75 ($100 on NYE) – 4p-2a — COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL party – 4p-8p (open beer/wine + wing buffet + OU/Clemson); 8p-2a (open bar + full buffet + MSU/Bama) – get half off brunch next day
Slipstream – $85 – 9p-2a – all-inclusive include holiday & custom cocktails + selected beer/wine + toast + all the coffee you can drink + small bites/snacks/cupcakes
Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar
Lost Society – Masquerade Party – $45 – 9p-3a includes 2 drink tickets
Flash – $50 – 8p-noon NYD – 16 hour dance party + roof opens at 9p + basement club at 10p
Howard Theater – $45 gen admission/$60 skip-the-line/$80 couples – 10p-4a – Masquerade Ball – DJ and dancers + photo booth + semi-formal attire req’d
Town Danceboutique – $20 ($25 after 12/25) – doors open at 9- drag shows + videos – 21+ over only
The Brixton – $25 – doors open at 9p – A Space Oddity NYE – open bar from 9-10p w/ smorgasbord of bar snacks – black-lit debauchery + EDM + body paint + glitter + photo booth
Policy – $20 – doors open at 9p in upstairs Liberty Lounge
Bar Pilar – DJ + dancing + midnight toast +house-made fortune cookies
Crisp – midnight toast
Eat the Rich – $1 oysters + $6 Dickel oyster back shots + $6 glasses of sparkling wine + $40 optional sparkling wine open bar from 9p-midnight
Southern Efficiency – $6 glasses of sparkling wine after midnight + $40 optional sparkling wine open bar from 9p-midnight
Nellie’s – $3 house beers/vodka drinks til 10p – $15 beer buckets till midnight – free toast
Chaplin’s – midnight toast + DJ
El Rey – drink specials from 10:30p-12:30a – $3 Natty Boh/$4 Corona/$5 cava & margaritas
Number Nine – midnight toast – VJ – countdown
El Camino – DJ
The Fainting Goat – midnight toast
Solly’s – open at 3p – Kostume Karaoke at 8p – Miller High Life toast at midnight
ADAMS MORGAN / WOODLEY PARK / CLEVELAND PARK
Town Tavern – $125- 9p-2a – premium open bar ($50 & $80 options for shorter open bars)
Johnny Pistolas – $85 (early bird) $100 (12/9-22) $120 (after 12/22)- 9p-1a – open bar & food buffet
Mellow Mushroom – $85 – 9p-close – open bar includes 24 craft draft beers/house wine/liquors + live funk/soul/reggae + Casino games w/ prizes (craps & roulette) + pizza/apps till 10p + sparklers on rooftop at midnight
Nanny O’Briens – $80 – 8p-2:30a – some random dude’s open bar annual party + top shelf + beer buckets + light apps + semi-formal
Roofers Union – $95 – 10p-2a – open bar includes 10 crafts + wine + select solid spirits + late night buffet w/ fried chicken/house-made sausages/dips/more – live music
Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar
Southern Hospitality – $40 ($45-60 last minute) – premium open bar & apps from 9:30-10:30p + masquerade masks
Bourbon – $20 ($30 door) – passed apps from 9-11p – reserve whiskey flights & NYE punches
Club Heaven & Hell – $20 advance / $25 till 11p / $30 after 11p – buffet + tons of dancing options
Songbyrd Music House – $40 – 9p-4a – 3 floors of entertainment : poetry cafe + jazz/down tempo live music + DJ – nomads & tribes counter-culture experience – artful projections – late night movies
The High Dive – 1989 themed party – tons of sparkling wine & Miller High Life + 1980s music
Jack Rose – 5p-1a party – Vintage Cocktail flight + Chef’s champagne pre-fixe – 20 best of the best whisk(e)ys – Saloon HH from 5-8p – $45 AYCE and drink beer, bourbon & BBQ from 5-8p on rooftop/pre-bash
GEORGETOWN / GLOVER PARK / FOGGY BOTTOM / WEST END
Chinese Disco – $80 – 9p-1a – light fare + “plenty of breath mints in case you vom” + “Multiple confetti showers on the dance floor (primarily for your instagram and snaps)” + digital photo booth + ball drop
Town Hall – $105 ($120 last minute) – 9p-3a – premium open bar (Tito’s, Maker’s, Tanqueray, Woodford, etc.) + gourmet holiday buffet + complimentary coat check + overnight parking + heated/tented smoking area
Mason Inn – $60 – 9p-1a – premium open bar – live music
Mad Fox Tap Room – $70 (before 12/10); $90 – 9p-1a – premium open bar + craft beer + tapas style passed dinner + dessert plates – complimentary coat check
Capella – $150 – Veuve Clicquot open champagne bar + one signature cocktail – percussionist – NYE Rooftop Party
Bayou – $15/25 – live band + Hurricane/Abita specials
ENO – $65 ($70 at door) – includes flight of wine with bruschetta pairing – special pairings a la carte all night (20% off sparkling wine bottles + 1/2 off selection of food) + live music
Mate Lounge – $80 – passed apps +open bar 8-10p
51st State – free apps + toast + party favors + $4.50 Yuengling all night
Mr. Smith’s of Georgetown – food/drink specials – midnight toast – free party favors
CHINATOWN / PENN QUARTER / MOUNT VERNON SQUARE/ DOWNTOWN
Hill Country – $75 – doors open at 8p – Rock ‘n Twang NYE – live band karaoke + photo booth – open bar includes bottomless beer/wine/margarita & apps – $35 option gets you apps + 2 drink tickets – $10 cover includes free toast
Poste – $120 – 9:30p-1a – Winter Wonderland in outdoor courtyard + open bar (feat. Stella Artois & Perrier Jouet) + seafood buffet + ice sculptures + double ice luge + fire pits + heaters
Stanton & Greene – $59 – 9:30p-1a – Bourbon & Bluegrass party in Upstairs Loft – open bar (beer & wine, signature Bourbon cocktail) + complimentary bar food + live bluegrass
Kelly’s Irish Times – $69 – 9p-1a open bar – United Social Sports -Prohibition-style NYE Speakeasy party + beautiful event lighting + live music + starters + food/specialty HH
Cover Charge/Limited Open Bar
Scarlet Oak – $45/$50 – 9p-1a – premium open bar from 9:30-10:30p
The Dubliner – live band on stage + champagne toast + party favors
The 201 Bar – Studio 201 party – disco ball – photo booth – servers on roller skates – champagne toast & liquid cocaine shots – 70s cocktails (tequila sunrise; Harvey Wallbangers; French 75s; Golden Caddilacs)
Boxcar Tavern – $2 off drafts/rails/house wine/apps from 10p-close – party favors – champagne toast at midnight
Trusty’s – midnight toast
The Big Stick – regular night
Capitol Lounge – food/drink specials – Michigan State watch party
Avery’s – $30 – doors open at 10p – buffet/selective top shelf & rail from 10-11p
The Pug – Miller High Life pony bottle “champagne of beers” midnight toast
RedRocks – Roaring 20s theme party – $5 draft beer/rails
Sol – drink specials + midnight toast + DJ
Copycat – New Year’s menu
Halftime Sports Bar – bottle service available
Slash Run – $45 -9p-close – optional package inc. entree, selected whiskeys & unlimited drafts/rails – can also do a la carte
El Chucho – $47.16 – 9p-close – optional open bar inc. AYCE tacos – can also do a la carte
Cover Charge/Limited Open Bar
Petworth Citizen & Reading Room DC – $65 -11p-1a – Oscar Wilde-inspired drinks from Chantal Tseng & Dan Searing includes 2 drinks, small plate, vintage Champagne toast, tax, & tip – earlier $50 seatings at 7/9p
Acre 121 – $10 – doors open at 10 p – rock/reggae band + all night drink specials inc. $6 sparkling wine cocktails + $5 holiday draft beers
Red Derby – Masquerade Ball – $4 bubbly + special punch + party favors + midnite toast
Colony Club – 6p-2a – Anxo ciders sponsored party with Rappahanock Co. oysters + goat roast + karaoke upstairs + live music upstairs + Union beer & cider specials
Lou’s City Bar – watch CFB playoffs + $5 22 oz. pints + $6 sparkling wine cocktails + $10 brats/tots special
Meridian Pint – specials and midnight toast – 4-7p Kiddo NYE HH kids eat free
Purple Patch – Masquerade Party – midnight toast – DJ + best mask contest – $16 gets you mask and drink
The Looking Glass Lounge – 8p-3a – midnight whiskey toast – $20 bottles of sparkling wine – DJ starts at 10p
The Pinch – NYE for ppl who hate NYE but there’s a midnight toast
Lyman’s Tavern – midnight toast
Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar
Layla Lounge – $50 – “cut line champagne open bar” from 10p-midnight – $20 general admission
The ridiculously popular Shaw (mid-Shaw?) beer garden/bacchanalia, Dacha, has resolved, for now, the many legal issues it has with capacity and noise complaints from neighbors and DC’s alcohol regulators. Dacha engaged in some Uber-style lobbying efforts (urging patrons to complain to politicians/regulators with potentially misleading information, firing workers and threatening to sell to a conglomerate, etc.) back in October.
As widely reported earlier this month, Dacha agreed to pay a whopping $42,500 fine to DC and serve a three non-consecutive week suspension for a number of admitted violations of its listed capacity and settlement agreement. Despite some paperwork indicating an applied-for-capacity of 190 people, Dacha’s official occupancy load was only 126 people; this limit was exceeded all the time.
Dacha was shuttered Thanksgiving week (Mon. Nov, 23-Sun. Nov. 29) and will be closed, in a shrewd bit of punishment by the ABRA Board, at the prime, good-weather-is-back-again time the first weeks of March and April. Any violation of DC’s liquor regulations in the next year will result in an automatic 19-day suspension. Little noticed, but just as significantly, Dacha admitted to 3 “primary tier” violations and 9 “secondary tier” violations. If Dacha gets another primary tier violation within the next four years, its liquor license will be revoked or it will be fined $30,000 and have its license suspended for 30 days.
In exchange for accepting these punishments, the local ANC and Dacha recently entered into a settlement agreement that increases the capacity and clears the way for Dacha to open a three-story restaurant/bar in the adjacent property at 1602 7th St. NW (the first floor, a deli/market, opened recently). The agreement:
Increases official capacity to 250 people outside and allows 250 inside, for a total of 500 (Dacha had asked for 600, so this is very much a win for the bar);
Requires seats for 200 people outdoors by next December;
Permits Dacha to serve booze, not just beer and wine (Dacha told me earlier this year that they wouldn’t serve hard liquor in the beer garden, but this is not part of the agreement; I’m pretty sure this can’t be part of one);
Retains current outdoor closing times of 10:30p on weekdays and midnight on weekends (the interior will likely be open until the standard 2a/3a);
Prohibits outdoor speakers and forbids Dacha from opening any windows;
Withdraws Dacha’s request to build a terrace over the beer garden;
Requires valet parking (what?) to be offered to folks eating at the restaurant;
Mandates sound insulation including a sound-insulated fence on the west side (towards 8th St.) and sound dampeners under the bar covering; and
Authorizes trivia nights, bingo, comedy, karaoke, and a DJ inside, but no live music after 6p (except during 12 private events each year).
ABRA approved the agreement on Thanksgiving Eve, though struck the agreement’s original requirement that Dacha maintain a vegetation buffer. Stay tuned for plans inside the bar.
The Speak, a basement “speakeasy” bar underneath the old Tattoo Bar at 1413 K Street NW, was recently shuttered by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) for not having liquor license, though it had been operating quite publicly for a half year. As first reported by Borderstan, ABRA shut the bar down after an investigator, acting on an anonymous tip, visited it during “Halloween Enforcement” (big night in the liquor license biz) and found the liquor license and certificate of occupancy covered the closed Tattoo Bar and didn’t allow any people, let alone booze, in the basement. The Speak’s purported owner, Ajiboye Laosebikan, listed as the owner of the upcoming caviar bar (to replace Tattoo Bar) Odessa, claimed to the investigator that the liquor license had been transferred but in fact neither the bar’s lease with the building nor the liquor license covered the basement and the transfer was simply pending.
The investigator’s report is worth checking out: photos of the Halloween revelers (almost as crappy as Barred in DC), the fake mirrored door, social media posts from earlier this year, and pictures of the manager on duty on Halloween night as well as Seth McClelland, who claimed to be the owner in press reports earlier this year and also when Barred in DC visited in May.
This is not the first time Laosebikan has gotten accused of using the wrong documents. A former manager of Love nightclub in Ivy City, Laosebikan was working at Da Luft on H Street in March and claimed to a visiting investigator that he was the ABC Manager on Duty (bars must have either the owner or a licensed manager on premises at all times). He did not have his manager license on hand, but said he would text the investigator a copy later. When he did text the investigator a couple days later, the investigator “observed abnormal pigments on the photo copy.” The investigator and the owner of Da Luft later confirmed that the manager’s license number was actually the license number for Da Luft’s resident DJ, and Laosebikan had no current manager’s license.
Barred in DC does not foresee The Speak reopening anytime soon and the caviar bar Odessa being quite delayed. Stay tuned.