The Royal (Twitter, website), an all-day coffee/lunch/cafe/bar from the owner of the U Street wine bar Vinoteca, will open in early June at 501 Florida Ave. NW (near S Street), not far from Shaw’s Tavern, according to a press release. The 45-seat two-story spot, which will be open early (7a on weekdays, 8a on weekends), will feature Counter Culture coffee and Latin-inspired snacks (empanadas and arepas) from the wood-burning grill. The Royal proudly boasts its location in Ledroit Park, though I suspect it will be referred to by many as being in adjacent Shaw.
Drinks-wise, the focus will be on craft cocktails (often with a Latin-flavor, and of course, one cocktail on draft), shaved-ice cocktails (vintage ice shaver from Guatemala), lots of vermouth (including one housemade on draft), along with a few wines and draft/bottled beer (locals, domestic and Mexican).
With The Royal, I foresee a new independent alternative to the local Derek Brown trio bar crawl-All Souls, Right Proper, and the Royal.
Wunder Garten (150 M. St NW, Facebook, Twitter, website) a new temporary beer garden in a lot slated for redevelopment in NoMa in the near future, opened this Wednesday. The spot, which serves German and Austrian beers (perhaps some wine, no hard stuff), as well as a couple local DC-area brews, will surely be popular in an area not known for many outdoor options. Food trucks may be on site at times.
Wunder Garten will open at noon Fridays-Sundays, 4p other days, and will close at 10p Sun-Thurs and at midnight on Friday & Saturday evenings. However, the bar’s liquor license has a unique (I’ve never seen this before in DC) noise trigger clause that says that the closing time hours will be reduced to 10p every night if 5 separate people who live within 2 blocks complains to ABRA about the noise:
Applicant agrees that in the event five separate residents within a two block radius deem noise (including, but not limited to, noise from speakers or other devices from amplification) to be excessive and file a written complaint or complaints to ABRA to that effect, the operating hours will be adjusted as follows:
Monday – Tuesday: 4 PM to 10 PM
Wednesday – Thursday: 4 PM to 10 PM
Friday: 12 PM to 10 PM
Saturday: 12 PM to 10 PM
Sunday: 12 PM to 10 PM.
This clause was modified by the ABRA board in a way that ostensibly makes it less harsh to the bar but in reality makes it quite possible that a few disgruntled neighbors could force Wunder Garten to close earlier on weekends. Originally the clause said that after 3 neighbors complained about noise, the bar would have 48 hours to fix. If the ANC was not satisfied, then the hours would be reduced for a one month period, when it could be revisited. There is no such waiting period and ANC input in the final version approved by ABRA.
The moratorium on liquor licenses in the western part of the Dupont Circle neighborhood is on the verge of its virtual demise. That is the bottom line after the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B voted 4-2 (with 1 abstention) last Wednesday to request that the ABC Board end the moratorium completely, aside from a 3-year extension of the current ban on nightclub licenses. The ABC Board still will have a hearing and vote to determine whether to accept the recommendation and make it the law of DC.
Restrictions on restaurant liquor licenses were lifted in 2011, but other licenses have continued to be capped in the moratorium area (on-premises: 3 multi-purpose licenses, 6 tavern licenses, and 0 nightclub licenses). The moratorium has been in effect since 1994.
Notably, the resolution also asked authorities “to codify a city-wide restriction on nightclubs next to residential buildings and residential buildings next to nightclubs” so the moratorium could be fully lifted in another 3 years. A working group convened to discuss the moratorium had recommended that the moratorium be ended completely but accompanied by a standing policy to protest all liquor licenses. This standing policy was not adopted.
Sudhouse (1340 U St. NW, Facebook, Twitter, website), a new “beer hall and social club,” announced today that it will open Friday, May 22nd that it will open Sunday, May 31st (with all day happy hour) in the space previously occupied by Bistro La Bonne (which closed in mid-April) near the intersection of 14th and U Streets. The bar will feature domestic and craft beers, billiards, and Big Buck Hunter along with classic American fare and hopes to be a “mom-and-pop style bar and grill.”
The three-floor spot features 2 bars in a 2,000-square-feet space. Co-owners/managers Simo and Ally Farouidi appear to have connections in the past with other current/former spots like Soussi in Adams Morgan, Dunya in Shaw, and the dearly departed Tabaq on U Street. PoPville first reported that Sudhouse was replacing Bistro La Bonne last week.
[This post has been updated since it was originally posted.]
Cafe Deluxe, the DC-area mini-chain offering familiar American classics, kicks off its “Burger Days of Summer” menu today. From now until the end of July, the weekday lunch menu will feature a gourmet slate of six creative burgers (including salmon and veggie versions), priced from $13-16, accompanied by a side of shoestring fries. On Wednesdays, the restaurant will have a special treat-the burgers can be ordered all day for half price. The restaurant has two DC locations-the original in Cathedral Heights (3228 Wisconsin Ave. NW) and the new flagship location in the Hilton Garden Inn in the West End (2201 M St. NW), along with several others in the MD/VA suburbs.
Barred in DC was invited to the West End location on a recent evening to sample these tasty new burgers and enjoy a few great drinks. I can foresee these substantial patties, all sandwiched between great buns (the jalapeno cheddar version being the standout) from the local wholesaler Uptown Bakers, being quite popular for both tourists staying at the Hilton Garden Inn and the many hotels within the block as well as nearby summer associates at its West End location. The handsome modern airy space features front wall-to-ceiling windows at the corner of 22nd and M.
7 ounces of ground angus beef were juicy and well complemented by creative toppings on each of the 4 bovine burgers:
Porter: my favorite one of the evening, with onions slow braised in Anchor Porter beer, applewood-smoked bacon, provolone, and porter mayo on an onion poppy seed bun;
T Coast (named as an homage to Tortilla Coast, part of same chain): two types of peppers (red peppers and jalapeños) and pepper jack cheese, house made avocado spread (which cuts down on the heat), topped with crunchy cumin-dusted tortilla strips, between halves of a stunningly tasty and handsome jalapeno cheddar bun;
Red White and Blue: probably the simplest concoction on the menu with blue cheese complimented with a sweet and tangy red onion marmalade and horseradish mayo on a sesame bun;
Philly Cheesesteak (homage to Chef Jason McIntosh’s hometown): massive burger featuring provolone topped with prime rib and house made cheese sauce on the side (made with cheddar and American cheeses in a bechamel sauce). Pro-tip: dip your fries in the cheese sauce, you won’t regret it.
Pescetarians will enjoy the Salmon Burger #3 with a heavily Asian influence that has a taste resembling a salmon sushi roll; this burger is made with ground salmon (with egg and panko as the binder), topped with seaweed salad, pickled ginger, crispy spring roll strips and wasabi mayo on a oat/wheat bun, while vegetarians can scarf down the 23-ingredient Austin Veggie – with black bean relish, jack cheese, avocado spread and sandwiched in a jalapeño cheddar bun.
Aside from the burgers, Cafe Deluxe’s cocktails were a surprising highlight of the evening. The $10 Blue Lemonade cocktail, with house-infused lemon vodka, lemon juice, and blueberries captured the essence of summertime lemonade with a crisp tartness, along with fruity secrets, while the $10 GT 500 was a fresh gin and tonic/club soda combo. The $12 Cucumber Martini topped with a twist of cracked pepper is summer must. Elderflower liqueur aficionados and not-such-big fans will be pleased. Enjoy on a summer day-make sure it’s hot as the cucumber will work better that way; sit near one of the big picture windows that open to the fresh summer breeze and let this balanced cocktail get you in the groove. A solid list of beers also go well with the burgers-I had a Reviver Red IPA from Starr Hill. Happy hour is on deck weekdays from 3:30-7p at the bar with $4-6 bar bites and $4 Stella Artois drafts & house wine, $5 rocks margarita & a Cosmopolitan, and $1 off all drafts.