There are few things in life that aren’t more fun with a well-made cocktail in hand. Add getting your hair professionally done in a hip, industrial setting with a neighborhood vibe, and you’ve just stepped into Ivy City’s Sip & Dry Bar.
The blowout bar opened in mid-January, and is one of the only salons in the DC area with a liquor license. I decided to check it out for myself within two weeks of the opening date, completely smitten with the idea of being pampered while sipping a tasty libation.
And full disclaimer: I had never visited a blowout bar, and have very few of my own hairstyling skills. So I went into this experience a total newbie, admittedly more excited for the drinks (I’d already perused the website to pick out which one sounded best to me) than the hairstyle.
I was greeted at the door by a bubbly Sahar Bozkurt, Sip & Dry’s co-owner (she owns the space with her husband Koray). The 33-year-old hails from Northern Virginia, and now lives in Ivy City. The couple also own Desperados Burgers and Bar on U Street, and Pidzza’s three brand new locations (one next door to Sip & Dry and the other two in Chinatown and on U Street). Bozkurt was warm and genuine as she walked me through the space and shared her vision with me.
“I was just tired of the conveyor belt style of regular blowout bars, and the stuffy vibe everywhere else,” she told me. “I thought it was ridiculous that I was spending hours inside these places, and they barely offered me a glass of tap water. So I thought I would combine the two things I love most in the world, besides my man and my puppy: blowouts and booze. It really was a no-brainer for me.”
The down-to-earth entrepreneur decided to set up shop in Ivy City because she loves the history of the area, and the direction she sees the neighborhood going in.
“I wanted a space with a story; something raw and bold.”
Sip & Dry shares a wall with the historic Hecht Warehouse, built in the 1930s and converted into a swanky apartment building several years ago. Bozkurt says she completed all of the design work and conceptualization of the salon herself, with Koray’s input.
“I tried to keep as much of the raw warehouse feel as possible,” she said. “I wanted to mix the old with the new.”
Sip & Dry really is the best of both worlds, blending vintage and contemporary elements. The entrance wall is painted with black-and-white vertical stripes, and the interior walls are a combination of the black-and-white striped theme and a pale pink (also featured on the exposed column in the center of the space). A sleek little bar takes up the front half of the salon, with a black accent wall and beautiful countertops. Two of the styling stations are divided by a huge circular standing mirror, about as tall as Bozkurt. But the pièce de résistance is the bathroom, with walls lined with pink flamingos that have little etchings in their feathers.
“The bathroom is my favorite because it’s so over the top and unexpected,” Bozkurt said. “You can’t use flamingos without a little bit of the 80s Miami cha-cha flair.”
After falling in love with Sip & Dry’s décor, it was time for me to check out the menu. The salon offers six hairstyle and cocktail pairings for $48 each, with the ability to mix and match cocktails. I went with The Klasique, a “time-honored blowout with volume and bounce,” paired with a classic or sour apple martini.
But in keeping with the theme of being super pumped to enjoy libations while getting dolled up, I naturally decided to try several cocktails. I was particularly intrigued by the vodka-spiked Shirley Temple (usually paired with The Dirty Shirley, “tousled, tawny beach hair” that’s “done to look undone”). Bozkurt exceeded my expectations, serving me a high-quality cocktail that was easily comparable to anything served at one of DC’s hip cocktail bars du jour. She served the drink with fresh strawberry puree, and told me she avoids using syrups or excess sugar in all of her drinks whenever possible.
She said she plans to keep her cocktail menu simple, fresh and seasonal, with some occasional changes but not too many additions. I even learned about her homemade pineapple-infused vodka later in the evening. In short, she’s got mad cocktail-making skills.
Bozkurt also offers mocktinis to girls 10 and under, plus updos for $90, braids or ponytails added to blowouts for $12-$15, and full makeup by appointment only for $75. She said picking one pairing from the list is like someone asking who her favorite child is, but if she had to choose, she would go with The Sue Ellen (a whiskey slap, or Irish mojito, paired with big, bouncy curls with tons of volume). Her reason?
“I love big hair (the higher the hair, the closer to God), and whiskey is definitely my favorite liquor.”
As for me, I was thrilled with how I looked with The Klasique. My hairstylist was the perfect mix of personable and professional, and I truly enjoyed chatting with her over my several (don’t judge!) delicious cocktails.
Bozkurt said she hopes to change the hair game a little with Sip & Dry, and to encourage her peers to step up their game and bring fun and enjoyment to their salons.
“We have made so many amazing friends, and met some really interesting people,” she said of her experience as a local business owner. “I’m realizing what a great city this is and how much it has to offer.”
A visit to Sip & Dry feels like hanging out with your best girlfriends – only you’re in a really stylish space while getting your hair done beautifully. I’ve already been back several times, and hope that the Bozkurts now consider me a regular.
Sip & Dry is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday (as a cocktail bar only from 7-10 p.m.), 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (as a cocktail bar only from 8-11 p.m.) and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Follow Sip & Dry on Instagram @sipanddrybar to learn more about upcoming events, like the recent Pencils & Prosecco, “where you drink and sketch a nude model,” Bozkurt said. “You know, just a regular ol’ Tuesday night for us.”
Sip & Dry Bar: 2004 Hecht Ave. NE, DC; 202-831-9010; www.sipanddrybar.com