On Tap scouts out the restaurants, bars and clubs that are new to the scene or shaking things up.
According to Uros Smiljanic, when you think Ambar think “Balkin soul food - southeastern Europe meets Southeast DC.” Inside this cozy Barracks Row location you will find Mediterranean inspired cuisine prepared by Executive Chef, Bojan Bocvarov. Look for deconstructed small plates, uniquely shaped dinner ware, an extensive wine collection from the Balkan region, and a vast selection of delectable desserts designed by pastry chef Danilo Bucan. The friendly staff at Ambar “has fun talking Rakija”; they offer several varieties of this potent Balkan beverage and Ambar is the only place you’ll find it in DC.
Ambar: 523 8th St. SE, DC; 202-813-3039; ambarrestaurant.com
Encompassing all things prohibition, Beucherts Saloon is bringing back the au courant of the early American frontier days. Previously a tavern operating as a speakeasy during what we might call the post gilded age, the boys at Beucherts Saloon plan to recreate what was once an unfettered American attitude. Look for a restoration of the original between the brick walls, classic soda fountain taps, antiquated bar hooks and epochal glass chandeliers. On the menu: characteristically classic American fare with a modern twist created by Executive Chef Andrew Markert. At the bar, expect a healthy dose of drafts served from behind a handcrafted walnut bar.
Beucherts Saloon: 623 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC; 202-733-1384; BeuchertsSaloon.com
Blagden Alley Social Club
Born out of a concept based on unfolding a new experience, Blagden Alley Social Club was born. Envisioned as an occasional supper club, owner Anna Kahoe says “the idea sprung from our home storefront, people would come in and say ‘I wish I lived here.’” Stemming from what felt like a void in the dining experience, Blagden Alley isn’t a money making scheme notes Kahoe. “We just want to offer people a different sort of atmosphere.” Look for intimate suppers offered intermittently, with a spicy new chef every time. For reservations email Anna@goodwooddc.com.
Blagden Alley Social Club: 1234 9th St. NW, DC
Civil Cigar Lounge
Over in trendy Friendship Heights and in partnership with Bryan Voltaggio’s newest conglomerate Range, Civil Cigar Lounge emerges as a classy chic locale for the serious aficionado. Civil’s Juan Ulloa says “this spot was designed by a bunch of folks who enjoy the good life.” On the menu you’ll find premium everything, small batch spirits, exclusive cocktails, and small plates developed by Voltaggio himself. Pair that with a state-of-the-art ventilation system, a retail cigar emporium and the knowledge behind DC’s oldest full service tobaccionists W. Curtis Draper and you’ve crossed the threshold into every gentleman’s dream.
Civil Cigar Lounge: 5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; 202-364-0800; www.civillounge.com
Edgar Bar & Kitchen
Returning their location inside the Mayflower hotel back to the original footprint of J. Edgar Hoover, EBK says “See and Be Seen.” Recreating the iconic American brasserie, you’ll find timeless cuisine prepared by Chef Andrew Morrison, luxury spirits, house infused vodkas, and local brews on tap. For a vintage inspired cocktail, EBK’s John Ritzer recommends the Pom-Blackberry Balsamic Bourbon featuring hudson baby bourbon, pomegranate, agave nectar and robbins family farm aged blackberry balsamic. Also look for some distinctive events like weekly butcher block tastings with whisky, or ‘local yocal’ night.
Edgar Bar & Kitchen: 1127 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; 202-347-2233; www.edgarbarandkitchen.com
Projected to open in February, GBD will be serving up just what their name projects, golden, brown and delicious treats: gourmet doughnuts and fried chicken to be exact. What’s unique about this Dupont Circle concept is that paired alongside these sweet and savory specialties will be an impressive craft beer list created by Neighborhood Restaurant Group Beer Director Greg Engert. GBD will also be doling out a selection of spirited punches. The culinary duo Chef Kyle Bailey and wife Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac plan to offer guests a bright and cheery spot by day and a lively hotspot by night.
GBD: 1323 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC
Hawk N Dove
After a major facelift, the newly renovated Hawk N Dove is showing fresh signs of life. Now spacious and buoyant, this revised Capitol Hill fixture retains a bit of the old charm but plans to etch out a new personality focused on the classic American saloon mixed with upscale urban fare prepared by Executive Chef Jeremy Magnanelli. Items like the Blue Crab BLT and Jimmy’s chopped steak are expected to please the crowds along with enduring cocktails such as the Americana, Godfather or Green Collins. On tap, you’ll find local and craft brews like Port City’s Port or Rogue Chipotle Ale.
Hawk N Dove: 329 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC; 202-547-0030; www.hawkndovedc.com
Hikari Sushi & Sake Bar
Hikari by definition means light and that is just what you will find inside this hip sushi and sake bar. Fresh and airy on H street, Hikari intends to set themselves apart with items like the Yellow Tail Parfait, Ika Kai Ae, New Style Sashimi, and Crunch Dynamite roll. Coming soon, expect sake tastings from their oh-so extensive collection. Whether your game for Suigei’s Drunken Whale or down for Kubota Manju’s 10,000 Celebration there is definitely a sake for everyone. Not in the mood for sake, try one of the Hikari’s hard to find Japanese imports like Oze No Yukidoke White Weisen.
Hikari Sushi & Sake Bar: 644 H St. NE, DC; 202-546-0523; www.hikarirestaurant.com
A unique combination of vintage classy meets welcoming comfort, Mari Vanna brings authentic Russian hospitality and cuisine to DC. Already a fixture in New York, London and Moscow this premium three-level downtown location features an open-air kitchen, private cocktail lounge, a charming staff and plenty of cozy seating. Executive Chef Vitalii Kovalev is serving up options like Mari Vanna’s world famous beef stroganof and chicken kotletki. Look for other specialities like pirozhok, blinis and hand-made Russian dumplings. As for spirits, vodka is abundant. Try one of the 70 house-infused varieties mixed in one of their signature cocktails like the Klubnichka, or a Pomidorchik.
Mari Vanna: 1141 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; 202-783-7777; www.marivanna.ru/washington
Fulfilling a dream to open a “chef’s table style restaurant” Executive Chef Frederik de Pue created the concept of Table. Nestled in a quiet Shaw corridor and looking to cultivate a neighborhood fixture, Table personifies simplicity. In a space supported by open, intimate seating (no reservations accepted) the menu features unrestrictive seasonal offerings. Look for entrees like the Bison Hanger Steak, Mussels Provencal and Tagliatelle with Tomatoes, Ricotta and Basil. As for spirits, there isn’t a full bar, but Table offers a selection of wine and craft beer.
Table: 903 N St. NW, DC; 202-588-5200; www.tabledc.com
Congratulations to Bier Baron for being named one of Draft Magazine’s 100 best beer bars. Check out what Draft Mag had to say. “A Washington institution, this cavernous beer hall and inn ... is as essential to visit as the Smithsonian: Its exhaustive 550-plus beer list spans brewing history, from ancient gruits to black IPAs and everything in between.” Cheers to Bier Baron!
Bier Baron: 1523 22nd St. NW, DC; 202-293-1887; www.inlovewithbier.com
Coming soon to Navy Yard’s historic boilermaker building, look for a boutique style craft brewery from the group behind beer sanctuary’s such as Birch & Barley, ChurchKey and Rustico. Led by the expertise of Head Brewer Megan Parisi and Beer Director Greg Engert, Bluejacket will focus on brewing a mixture of special, small batch brews. Bluejacket: 300 Tingey St. SE, DC; www.bluejacketdc.com
Capitol City Brewing
Compliments and salutations are in order for Kristi Mathews Griner, recently appointed new Director of Brewing Operations at Capitol City Brewing. Griner brings twenty-five years experience and a passion for crafting beer to the table. A notable scholarship recipient and alumni of Siebel Institute of Technology, America’s oldest brewing school, Griner is certainly a rising star in the industry.
Capitol City Brewing: 1100 New York Ave. NW, DC; 202-628-2222; capcitybrew.com
Old Hickory Steakhouse
Introducing a weekly artisanal cheese and wine class titled Discover the World of Fine Cheese and Wine, Old Hickory is reintroducing the tradition of pairing wine with cheese only with a new spin. Look for a sophisticated education from resident “Cheese Diva,” Lavonia Carter, and a well-rounded wine experience from Executive Chef and Master Sommelier Matthew Sheppard. Novices and connoisseurs welcome!
Old Hickory Steakhouse: 201 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; 301-965-4000; www.oldhickoryrestaurant.com
Look for a newly expanded, grand re-opening of this Irish hotspot. Expect double the space, a revamped bar menu to include over a hundred varieties of whisky, a new menu, and a brand new tap system. Guid forder!
O’Sullivan’s Arlington: 3207 Washington Blvd. Arlington, VA; 703-812-0939; www.osullivansirishpub.com
Right Proper Brewing Company
A glimpse into the casual old-world tavern is what you’ll find at the upcoming Right Proper Brewing Company. With the intention of becoming a locally owned brewpub, innovator Thor Cheston wants to create a neighborhood gathering place that offers affordable food and amazing fresh beer. Using an inventive approach to small scale, “yeast-forward” craft brewing, Right Proper plans to “anchor DC on the map as a destination for craft beer.”
Right Proper Brewing Company: www.rightproperbrewery.com
The contemporary, known as “not your daddies steakhouse” is coming to DC. Already thriving in hotspots like New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas, DC can expect a trendy variation of their already thriving concept: modern steakhouse meets chic lounge.
STK Steakhouse: 1250 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.togrp.com/togrp-stk