Story & Photos by Kay Boatner
On Tap scouts out the restaurants, bars and clubs that are new to the scene or shaking things up.
This Japanese pub, or izakaya, adds a little Asian spirit to the Rockville area. Chef Yuh Shimomura prepares house made ramen, yakitori skewers, shabu shabu, and fried kushi tapas, in addition to other authentic Asian eats. Azuma even does desserts: you must try their Taiwanese shaved ice with fresh mango. In the lounge area, the décor also has plenty of Eastern flavor, with Izakaya flags and Japanese katakana writings on the wall. Beer buffs, take note: Azuma is the only restaurant in Montgomery County to serve Kirin Ichiban and Kona Fire Rock on tap.
Azuma Izakaya: 316 N. Washington St. Rockville, MD; 202-738-2126; www.azumaizakaya.com
Bean & Bite
Mark Weiss, the man behind New York Avenue gastropub Againn, has opened a grab-and-go-style bakery. The build-your-own-salad and espresso bar is housed in a rustic space meant to resemble a classic garage. In fact, the construction crew built many of the fixtures in a garage; industrial lights and “refuel” signs hanging over the barn wood-constructed service stations play up the garage angle. Former Brasserie Beck chef Nicholas Deluca runs the the kitchen, where six signature flavors flow from the coffee machines and fresh bread is baked in-house. There is no seating available, although there are plans to bring in a few tables and chairs.
Bean & Bite: 1152 15th St. NW, DC
The Board Room
Break out the board games—this Dupont Circle bar is all about old-school entertainment. Brought to you by the Bedrock Bars group, the group behind Mackey’s, Rocket Bar, and Atomic Billiards, this Room is all about fun. Board Room customers can choose from about 20 games or book their vintage set in advance—including a 1954 edition of Clue. The Board Room’s website will be set up to allow guests to reserve their games online. If Monopoly, Yahtzee, Bride Bingo, or the game of Life aren’t for you, one of the 20 draft lines might be; among the options include Ranger IPA, Stone, Sierra Torpedo, Troegs, Dale’s Pale, and Dogfish 60. While there is not food available onsite, patrons can order food from vendors of their choice or let the Board Room staff manage the catering for them. We haven’t even mentioned the best part: the Parcheesi wall.
The Board Room: 1737 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; 202-518-7666; www.boardroomdc.com
Eamonn’s & TNT Bar
Alexandria is sharing the Eamonn’s goodness with Arlington. A second location perfecting the fish and chips concept from the EatGoodFood group has opened on Columbia Pike, this time with an awesome bar to boot. TNT Bar, set up in the back of the restaurant, occupies almost half of the restaurant’s space. Mixologist Todd Thrasher — who named TNT bar after his son—serves up six original cocktail creations, plus about a dozen of his favorite cocktails created by bartender friends from around the country. The décor is very rock-and-roll with the group’s signature “Thanks Be to Cod” signs scattered around the space. As for the food, the menu has expanded from the Old Town spot’s offerings to include fried chicken wings, meat pies and Eamonn’s Dream Burger, a salami and chicken-topped sandwich created by Chef Cathal Armstrong’s son Eamonn. Alexandria, check. Arlington, check. Next stop…DC?
Eamonn’s and TNT Bar: 2413 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA; 703-920-0315; www.eamonnsdublinchipper.com
While most ‘que lovers think of smoked meats as a down home dish, there is such a thing as upscale barbeque—Arlington’s EPIC Smokehouse is out to prove trying it is worth your while. “When we came up with the concept for EPIC Smokehouse, we wanted it to be more than just another barbecue joint,” says co-owner Joon Yang. Menu items like their best-selling candied bacon cupcakes help set EPIC apart from the crowd. Other eats worth mentioning include their beer belly chicken, a beer and herb roasted chicken; the cho’gall sandwich, made with brisket, pulled pork, lettuce, grilled onions and chipotle mayo; and duroc pork loin, a kona-rubbed piece of meat with creamy polenta and Patrón Cafe XO sauce. Even the beverages are fancier here: a 60-bottle wine list is given more prominence than beer, barbecues’ more obvious sip partner. Fancy or not, we say BBQ is BBQ—and the world can always use more of it.
EPIC Smokehouse: 1330 S. Fern St. Arlington, VA; 571-319-4001
French fare has found its way to H Street. Le Grenier is helping area restos such as Boundary Road and Ethiopic add some serious culinary cred to the popular late night destination. Le Grenier, or “the attic” in French, is decorated like one, with plenty of oversized trunks, wooden headboards and skis, old bicycles, a random tuba, and ornate wall decorations dispersed throughout the space. Grenier’s owners know their French food; the pair also own Le Chat Noir, a seven-year-old classic French restaurant in Tenleytown. Their new spot has more of an emphasis on the seasonal, with the menu rotating on a three month schedule. Among the current options are frog legs, onion soup, beef Occitan, hanger steak with shallots, and pork seasoned with tamarind. Fischer Amber, Keller Pils Blonde, and Columbia White bottles are among those imported from France, with French wine labels available, too. How do you say “we approve” in French?
Le Grenier: 502 H St. NW, DC; 202-544-4999; www.legrenierdc.com
Georgetown makes three—Luke’s Lobster locations, that is. The newest outpost of the seafood-centered space just might be its coolest. The food is much the same—yummy lobster rolls, fresh from Maine—but the interior is new and improved. Most of the attractive location is recycled and re-purposed, making this new location boith aesthetically pleasing and environnmentally friendly . The countertop logs are pulled from the bottom of Moosehead Lake in central Maine, the barn wood floors are reclaimed, and the white-washed walls are made from recycled industrial wood. The hand-made aesthetic lends an authentic, coastal Maine-vibe to the venue. The Georgetown space is also Luke’s largest location, with a separate floor for seating and dining. One notable menu addition has been made here: “Georgetown is our first restaurant to offer grilled cheese sandwiches for those whose diets aren’t exclusively based on the crustacean food pyramid like ours is,” says Luke’s Lobster Vice President Ben Conniff. Luke’s Georgetown is also only the second restaurant to offer the Blue Monster, a massive ice cream sandwich with Maine blueberry ice cream wedged between chocolate chip cookies. We’ll save you a seat—but we can’t promise to save you a bite.
Luke’s Lobster: 1211 Potomac St. NW, DC; 202-333-4863; www.lukeslobster.com
Mayfair & Pine
Glover Park’s American-centric addition is named for owner, executive chef and Top Chef alum Emily Sprissler’s and chef de cuisine Jason Cote’s shared culinary experiences in the Mayfair neighborhood of London, and on San Francisco’s Pine Street. The interior of the old Town Hall space is decorated with pieces from artists based in both locales; a long, dark wood bar gives the joint a cozy feel. The menu is also a homage to the cities, with homemade savory pies (onion tarts, shepherd’s pie) in honor of London, and plenty of fresh seafood (black cod, rockfish) as a nod to Frisco. Like many across the pond, Mayfair’s owners adore soccer. Diners can catch the games on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., complete with a full English breakfast of eggs, mushrooms, sausage, and bacon. Despite their love of far-flung destinations, Sprissler and Cote encourage their diners to think locally—in that spirit, their beer and wine list is organized by the distance traveled from the producer to the table. “I believe firmly that America is my local. There are artisans and farmers throughout the country working hard to make quality products available,” says Chef Sprissler. “It is my responsibility as an American chef to utilize as much quality American made products as possible, as long as they meet my and my customer’s standards.”
Mayfair & Pine: 2218 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; 202-333-2090; www.mayfairandpine.com
Slate Wine Bar
The space that once occupied Glover Park’s Kitchen 2404, has reopened with bubbly in mind—it is now Slate Wine Bar. Lawyer Elizabeth Banker opened the venue to share her love of vino with customers in many forms, including by taste, flight, glass and bottle. Slate tends to highlight wines produced by family-owned, small production, sustainable wineries, but wines from all over the world are on site. Customers can do more than just purchase bottles here; Slate hosts plenty of winemakers’ dinners, runs multiple wine clubs, hosts special events and private parties, and oversees excursions to nearby wine regions. A limited menu is on hand for those that enjoy a bite with their beverage. Most of the options are light—think raw vegetables, cheese, and charcuterie—but heavier entrees such as the Cajun chicken and chorizo pasta or crispy shrimp and pancetta club are more than filling. End your night on a sweet note with—what else?—a dessert wine. We love the caramel and honey notes in the Firmino Torcolato.
Slate Wine Bar: 2404 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; 202-333-4304; www.slatewinebar.com
Uptown Tap House
If you did a double take on Connecticut Ave in the past few weeks, you weren’t alone. The old Four P's has been replaced by a swanky looking Uptown Tap House. And that’s just the outside. Indoors, the bar got an entirely new facelift, with marble countertops and HD TVs. Because it’s run by the owners of Sign of the Whale, you can guarantee a great music experience; the stage has been upgraded for weekly live music, and a DJ booth was installed. Space for a Raw bar, an upscale bar food menu, and a whole range of beers on tap we are just dying to try out puts this right at the top of our new notable list.
Uptown Tap House: Formerly the Four P's, 3412 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC
Capitol Hill’s private event space Lounge 201 has reopened as the 201 Bar—the spot is now less trendy, with more of a tavern feel. Owners are moving toward a more food-centric menu, but still boast plenty of wine and beer for happy hour; customers can choose from 12 craft beers on tap, 45 bottles, and a large “small batch” wine selection.
201 Bar: 201 Massachusetts Ave. NE, DC; 202-544-5201; www.201bar.com
Old Town French bistro Bastille has undergone a bit of a reboot. Chef Christophe Poteaux has refocused the menu on classic bistro dishes from France, and other wine country regions, such as California, Italy and Virginia. Locally sourced ingredients from the mid-Atlantic region will remain highlights in the restaurant’s cuisine. Bastille’s beverage of choice will still be on wine, but expect to find some unusual choices in beer and house created cocktails, coming soon.
Bastille: 1201 N. Royal St. Alexandria, VA; 703-519-3776; www.bastillerestaurant.com
Upshur Avenue’s soul food spot has reopened under new management. The team behind Georgia Avenue’s Fusion oversees a more modern HP these days. Longtime customers, have no fear: the old jukebox has been left intact, and the famous skillet fried chicken remains on the menu.
Hitching Post: 200 Upshur St. NW; DC; 202-726-1511
Waterfront restaurants reopen
Over a year after flooding forced them to shutter, three Georgetown waterfront restaurants are opening their doors again: Farmers Fishers Bakers, Nick’s Riverside Grille, and Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place will all be up and running before late October. Farmers had to be completely rebuilt from the ground up, while Nick’s and Tony & Joe’s have been serving customers outdoors for a few months. Expect revamped menus in all three spots.
Farmers Fishers Bakers: 3000 K St. NW, DC; 202-298-0003; www.farmersfishersbakers.com;
Nick’s Riverside Grille: 3050 K St. NW, DC; 202-342-3535; www.nicksriversidegrille.com;
Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place: 3000 K St. NW, DC; 202-944-4545; www.tonyandjoes.com
Shirlington’s Campbell Avenue eatery has closed.
Patio Season Isn't Dead!
The weather may be cooling down but plenty of places are heating up! To enjoy a nice night under the stars in the crisp autumn air, check out these venues which keep their exteriors open into the fall.
Biergarten Haus – www.biergartenhaus.com (Closed Dec. – Feb.)
Circa Dupont – www.circaatdupont.com (Closed Nov. – Mar.)
Alero U St – www.alerorestaurant.com (Closes in Nov.)
Cantina Marina – www.cantinamarina.com (Outdoor deck closes on Halloween. Enclosed upstairs tower opens Christmas Eve).
Year-round (weather permitting) patios include:
Mellow Mushroom – www.mellowmushroom.com
Circa Foggy Bottom – www.circaatfoggybottom.com
Dirty Martini’s Dirty Deck – www.dirtybardc.com
Alero Cleveland Park – www.alerorestaurant.com
Murphy’s DC – www.murphysofdc.com
Old Glory – www.oldglorybbq.com
Public Bar Dupont – www.publicbardc.com
Nellie’s Sports Bar – www.nelliessportsbar.com
Hot ‘n’ Juicy Crawfish – www.hotnjuicycrawfish.com
Elephant & Castle – www.elephantcastle.com
DC9 – www.dcnine.com
Year-round (weather permitting) patios include:
Bond 45 – www.bond45.com
Flanagan’s Harp & Fiddle – www.flanagansharpandfiddle.com
Cadillac Ranch – www.cadillacranchgroup.com
McLoone’s Pier House – www.mcloonespierhouse.com
Fire Works – www.fireworkspizza.com (Closed Dec. – Jan.)
Grevey’s – www.greveys.com (Outdoor seating until Thanksgiving)
Year-round (weather permitting) patios also include:
Crystal City Sports Pub – www.ccsportspub.com
Mango Mike’s Caribbean Restaurant – www.mangomikes.com
Mad Rose Tavern – www.madrosetavern.com
Sine Irish Pub and Restaurant – www.sineirishpub.com
Tortoise & Hare Bar and Grille – www.tortoiseandharebar.com
CarPool – www.gocarpool.com
Chart House – www.chart-house.com