Looking for a place that does Happy Hour all day with $7 drinks? Or maybe a fantastic cocktail that doesn’t cost you an arm or a leg? A private room with window access to the bartender for you and friends? Or maybe fried chicken and a kitchen that’s open late night? Drinks made with serious technique and fantastic products without any of the fuss? Or maybe a low-ABV or non-alcoholic drink? Look no further than Shaw’s Service Bar.
There is always so much to love at Service Bar, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their hyper-seasonal fall menu is also full of standouts – read more on their lineup of autumnal sips below.
Baked Apple and Pear Gin and Tonic
The seasonal gin and tonic is made with spice baked apples and pears, and a house tonic that makes for a refreshing start. Garnished with a slice of dehydrated apple, the drink is both fall forward and sharp at the same time. Typically, gin and tonics are a daytime drink for me, but this one I could easily enjoy on a cool fall evening.
This is not your average whisky soda. A case in point about Service Bar, you know they take great pride and effort in making even a modest drink like a Highball something superlative. Toki Japanese whisky is infused with concord and candy heart grapes to make this drink, which has a beautiful grape flavor and a hint of vanilla. It’s one of the most sophisticated and flavorful highballs I have had – and it’s beautiful, too.
An intriguing cocktail made using Irish whiskey fused with black cardamom, this is one of those drinks that I wouldn’t normally order, but now that I’ve tried it I absolutely want to have it over and over again. Black cardamom has a distinct flavor (totally different from the more common green cardamom) that is aromatic but smoky, and plays well with the whiskey and other ingredients.
Other fall additions feature a banana bread caipirinha with banana-infused cachaca and gingerbread tea, a cranberry rose vodka soda, and more.
Service Bar also has tons of other options on the regular menu – featuring drinks with rum, vodka, pisco, mezcal, and of course beer and wine too.
Off the regular menu, the Bloomingdale – with Galangal-infused Bombay Sapphire, raspberry and aged apple cider vinegar shrub, lemon, egg foam, and an absinthe spritz – is pretty and popular. It’s sweet from the infusion, sour from the shrub, and the absinthe spritz balances everything out.
So is the Ocopa – a pisco cocktail made with St. Germain, hierba luisa and clarified lime. The clear looking drink is refreshing with just a hint of sweetness.
From the $7 all day happy hour, try a revolving punch option, a daiquiri, an Old Fashioned or a mint julep. All of these are well made and are truly a steal for that price, especially when you can drink them all night.
Service Bar also takes a lot of pride in their presentation. You can always expect the glassware to match the personality of the drink. One of my favorites that hits the mark with both glassware and ingredients is the Margarita Al Pastor. Made with tequila and raicilla (another distilled spirit made from the agave plant), and grilled pineapple, it’s served in an earthenware tumbler – and something about the simplicity and elegance of it makes it just perfect.
Service Bar does not fall short in the food category either; the pretzel snack – hard pretzels seasoned and roasted with dill and a true ranch seasoning is a perfect drinking accompaniment, and the fried chicken can compete with some of the best in the city.
Owner Chad Spangler says they are about “service first,” as is true to their name. Bartenders are friendly, service is great, the ambiance is fun and comfortable, and all these elements make for a fantastic experience. And whatever your choice of drink, they’ve got you covered well.
Service Bar: 928 U St. NW, DC; 202-462-7232; www.servicebardc.com