CHIKO, from chef Scott Drewno (formerly of the acclaimed The Source), the co-owner of Mandu (Danny Lee), and Matchbox (Drew Kim), opens next Friday, July 7th on Barracks Row in the old DC-9 space (423 8th St. SE, at E St. SE).
The restaurant, which is the first location of the group’s Fried Rice Collective, will feature some sort of Chinese/Korean cuisine (the concept is still mysterious AF, as the kids say, as CHIKO’s social media is quite coy at what’s coming). CHIKO has applied for a liquor license for the cozy 28-seat spot, with hours as late as midnight.
Glimpses of social media photos posted by the group suggest that Korean fried chicken sliders and dumplings will part of the offerings.
[Note: The headline and post have been revised on 6/26]
[8/23 Note: I’ve updated the headline to note that this project has been confirmed to open in 2019 and 2020. See if this story warranted retraction by reading the Washington City Paper,Washingtonian, and Eater. Clearly, NRG doesn’t want people to think it’s “like Union Market,” but tough, people are going to anyways.]
Tentative plans have emerged in which the Neighborhood Restaurant Group would develop an ambitious multi-concept establishment in Hill East across the street from the Potomac Avenue Metro Station, Barred in DC has learned, although no deal has been officially signed. Described by one source familiar with the tentative plans as akin to a “smaller scale Union Market,” if it comes to fruition, it would occupy 13,000 square feet on the first floor of the soon-to-be-under-construction 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE residential building (7 floors with around 170 apartments) being constructed by CAS Riegler.
The tentative plans reportedly include the following concepts in the space (I told you it was ambitious):
Possible concepts include tacos, pizza, burgers, Asian fusion stalls/stands
For comparison, the possible space is a little more than half the size of Union Market, which is around 25,000 square feet. As the building just recently held its official groundbreaking, don’t expect any new establishment to open until late 2019 or early 2020 and obviously, plans may change drastically from now until then. Currently, the location is a NY Pizza and parking lot, and about 300 feet from the Potomac Ave. Metro entrance and a Harris Teeter.
NRG has almost 20 different businesses under its umbrella throughout the DMV region, most notably Churchkey and the Bluejacket Brewery, as well as Birch & Barley, The Partisan, Red Apron Butcher, Iron Gate, Eatbar, Red Apron Burger Bar, The Sovereign, and Hazel in DC.
NRG representatives, including beer director Greg Engert, were present at the groundbreaking on Saturday, June 24th, but NRG and CAS Riegler representatives took pains to not confirm the nature of the project or that NRG is even involved.
NRG’s PR rep sent Barred in DC a statement the morning of 6/26 asking for a retraction, stating:
I wanted to let you know that NRG has no deal with Cas Riegler and no plans to open a “mini Union Market.” As such, I would like a retraction on the post that ran this weekend.
You are welcome to reach out to me in the future should you ever get a tip about NRG that you’d like to confirm, but in the meantime, if you’d like to reach out to Kevin Riegler to confirm that NRG has in fact not finalized a deal to work on this project, you can reach him [at his email address]
We’re happy to keep you updated if something does come to fruition. Thank you in advance for your understanding.
Notably, as part of the building developer’s agreement with the neighborhood and DC, CAS Riegler has agreed to spend around $50,000 to beautify the metro entrance plaza, $95,000 to improve 2 local playgrounds, and $20,000 for improved security for nearby Potomac Gardens housing project as well as $5,000 for neighborhood trees.
A new brewpub is coming to Barracks Row. The Ugly Mug (723 8th St. SE, near G St. SE) is on the verge of beginning construction to devote its currently shuttered 1st floor to Valor Brewpub, after the local ANC 6B, with ABRA approval, amended its settlement agreement in order to support Ugly Mug’s application for a brewpub permit. [NOTE: Barred in DC was heavily involved in the negotiations as a member of the ANC ABC committee, which is probably a huge journalism ethics violation, which would matter if Barred in DC was not a fake journalist.]
Valor, which will produce beer on premises under license from Veteran Beer Company in Chicago, intends to produce 275 barrels (525 half kegs) annually using a 10-barrel system. The beers on tap will include 4 flagship brews (served directly from the brewing system) and 2 rotating ones (produced from kegs). The brewpub intends to be open all week long (open for free use to veterans and veterans groups during the day during the week); a portion of earnings will goto veterans’ groups.
The news of the brewpub was first reported by the Capitol Hill Corner. Until last September, the Ugly Mug was located on the first floor where Valor will be located; at that time, it moved the bar to its 2nd floor (with retractable rooftop) and made plans to renovate the first floor.
[Edit: Apparently as of January 4th, 2019, Penny Whisky Bar had closed and new management (building owner and grandson) had renamed the spot bar618 with similar menu as before.
Penny Whisky Bar [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, 618 H St. NW, open at 3p everyday] quietly opened in late May (with grand opening June 1st) in the heart of Chinatown, just steps from the Gallery Place Metro station. The bar/eatery is located on the 2nd floor above the longtime mainstay, Chinatown Garden, which shares ownership but is otherwise quite different. The “penny” theme is apparent upfront as the ground floor entry way’s floor is embedded with hundreds of pennies (I was told that the penny is a reference to some Chinese luck proverb).
The focus is on whiskey (duh) is shown on the menu, numbering 175 varieties (though nothing incredibly rare including multiple Pappy Van Winkle’s); using Basil Hayden as the “rail” whiskey is a great touch ($5 during happy hour, which runs 4-7p). Happy hour also includes $4 drafts (hard to get a pint of Guinness that cheap elsewhere in DC) as well as $5 rails; all night specials for now include $5 Ciroc vodka and $3 Budweiser/Bud Light/Michelob Ultra/Shock Top cans. Food comes from Chef E Marshall, a previous contestant on MasterChef and a cook for celebrities.
I foresee this spot doing well with the diverse crowds that already frequent the spot as well as folks looking for cheap drinks before or after Verizon Center events but not in a divey atmosphere. The Hilton Brothers’ soon-to-open spots, the Crimson Diner + Whiskey Bar, is directly across the street in the Pod DC Hotel, however, so the competition will be fierce.
In a surprising development, the latest edition of the uber-popular Dacha Beer Garden across the street from Nationals Park has quickly received approval from the local ANC, and a result, from ABRA.
Dacha, which hopes to open in spring 2018 in the Dock79 building (already home to The Salt Line) at 79 Potomac Ave. SE (basically 1st and P SE), will be about 250 feet southeast from the 1st base gate from Nationals Park and less than a half mile from the Navy Yard Metro stop. The space will be massive, with a capacity of 350 people inside and 800(!) people outside. The hours will be generous-patrons will be able to drink outside until midnight on weekdays (an hour later than Dacha even requested for Sun-Tues) and 2a on Friday and Saturday nights (as well as after Sunday night Nats games), with maximum hours for the interior (2a/3a).
In a small concession, no entertainment endorsements were included with the approval-so no live music or DJs will be allowed, and recorded music will only be allowed outside until 10:30p on weekdays and midnight on weekends. The ANC did add a cautionary note to its approval (with one dissent):
“Because of previous ABRA investigative history [Ed note: one of largest fines in DC liquor license history] for this applicant at another location in DC, the ANC6D is requesting that the applicant develop and file a comprehensive security plan with the ABC Board prior to the Board’s authorization to issue the license. We hope that this provision will provide confidence that this applicant will become an appropriate addition to the SE waterfront/Anacostia River area. “
This quick approval Barred in DC because Bardo (as well as a previous would-be-operator), which is only a few hundred feet down Potomac Avenue from the Dacha location, was never able to reach an agreement with the ANC and had its bid for a liquor license rejected before switching gears and obtaining a manufacturing license. Approvals for Dacha at 14th and S NW will surely be a bit less smooth.
A second rooftop/bar is coming to the Penn Quarter/Chinatown neighborhood. Penn Quarter Sports Tavern (PQST) (639 Indiana Ave. NW near 7th and D NW) recently received approval from ABRA to open up a 49-seat outdoor space. PQST, which has been a understated mainstay (if you call the wall-to-wall TVs on both floors understated) in the neighborhood since 2004, will join Bar Deco as one of only two spots in a neighborhood sorely lacking of outdoor drinking options.
The establishment intends to expand into the 3rd floor of its space and add a rooftop deck that would be accessible by stairs from the 3rd floor; the deck would be on the back side with a brick wall serving as a barrier. A small bar along tables, chairs, and TVs (in the partially enclosed part) would make up the fairly cozy rooftop.
ABRA approved the rooftop, allowing it open till 1a (on weekdays) and 2a (on weekends), a half hour earlier than PQST’s request, disappointing some of the folks that live about a half block away across the street at the 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW condo building (though other residents/owners supported). No word on when the roof deck will open.
Although I’m dubious on whether a lot of DC people will peace out or get to work late and actually go drink at a bar (have you seen the anger when the Nats have day home games in the playoffs?), several area establishments are capitalizing on the intense interest in Thursday’s former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony in front of some Senate committee (you probably know it).
Here’s a running of list of spots that are opening early to show the speech with sound, as well as places that are always open early (by 8am) and should be showing the speech (unclear whether there will be sound). The action starts on every broadcast TV, cable news networks, CSPAN, and countless places on the Internet if you can’t get out of work. (Apparently bars in SF will be showing it as well).
[UPDATED 6/7: PM – You probably want to goto Union Pub.]