Photos: Kayla Marsh
Photos: Kayla Marsh

Behind the Bar: The Gibson, The Hamilton and Chaplin’s

The weather is cooling down and our palates are warming up! Just in time for apple-picking season, we’re exploring the most delicious,
fall-themed apple cocktails in DC. Packed with unique ingredients and boldly flavored spirits, see what fruit-forward autumn libations made our short list this month.

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The Gibson
Julia Ebell, Creative Director

On Tap: Is The Gibson debuting any new fall cocktails?
Julia Ebell: We are going to have one apple-themed drink in particular called The Gleanings. Gleanings are what’s left at the field at the end of harvest for animals [and] foragers of human or non-human types – the things that aren’t part of the harvest.

OT: What spin do you take on classic cocktails to keep them authentic but unique to The Gibson?
JE: All of these are very old school and would’ve been behind a bar any time past World War I when chartreuse hit America. It’s just about approaching them with intention. I want something that smells like burnt hay, so I have a blended Islay heavy scotch. I want something that’s a little overripe, so I have a Palo Cortado [sherry]. It’s about approaching them in a way that lets the ingredients speak for themselves.

OT: How does The Gibson maintain its speakeasy atmosphere on 14th Street?
JE: I refer to this as a craft cocktail bar. It’s not so much a secret to get here, but hopefully once you make your way through the hallway, you find something [you enjoy] that we can make for you. “Speakeasy” implies a slight standoffishness. Your bartender should be there as a spirit guide. My goal is to have people come in and look at our menus, and really think about what they like and why.

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The Gleanings
Smoky blended scotch
Yellow chartreuse
Dried apple chip
PX Sherry

The Gibson: 2009 14th St. NW, DC;

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The Hamilton
Maria Denton, Beverage Director

On Tap: One of your featured originals is the District Cider, “a cider with serious bite.” What other fall options are available?
Maria Denton: The RocknRock Collins is coming on [with] Granny Smith apple flavors from the Betty’s Apple [cocktail], just repurposed. We added a little of our house-made bitters, which add that pie-spiced note. It’s still a light and refreshing, gin-based drink with CapRock Gin – much like a Tom Collins – but we “appled” it up for fall with a Bold Rock IPA.

OT: What are the ultimate fall food/drink pairings for the District Cider and RocknRock Collins?
MD: The herbal gin flavor and sour, green apple touch from the RocknRock Collins really goes well [with] our Nashville-style hot chicken, a perennial for us. The spices that come out in the District Cider’s apple whiskey and herbal liqueur play off our hearty, glazed meatloaf.

OT: What gives The Hamilton its upscale, sophisticated atmosphere?
MD: The museum-quality, historical [National Audubon Society] printed art makes us special. [It’s] lively and vibrant and gives that sense of color and pizazz. The comfortable wooden chairs give you the feeling that you’re dining in an old-school tavern.

Photos: Kayla Marsh

Photos: Kayla Marsh

District Cider
Leopold Bros. Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur
Leopold Bros. New York Apple Whiskey
Spiced turbinado sugar rim
Fresh apple cider

The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC;


Ari and Micah Wilder, Owners

On Tap: Can you break down the flavor profiles of some of your apple cocktails?
Micah Wilder: The One Eyed Jack is really awesome because it’s got our local [Cotton & Reed] spiced rum with calvados. We use B grade maple syrup, which is wilder than A grade and pops with ginger [and] then, [Graft Cider] Farm Flor Rustic for a funky fall, apple finish. A Dog’s Life is great because of the smoked apple ice, prosecco, walnuts and honey.

OT: What do you hope customers take away from your drink menu?
MW: Hopefully they can be excited and inspired. We [use] a lot of really fun, intense ingredients. It’s constantly changing. It’s about how much further we can push the bar. We have to keep evolving.

OT: How is your food menu changing with the colder weather?
Ari Wilder: The nabe [or hot pot] section is a new category we’ve added for the fall and winter. You customize at your table, choosing from three different broths and exotic Japanese vegetables. It’s a really savory, cozy, warming Japanese food.

OT: What are some key elements of Chaplin’s 1930s vibe?
MW: We project silent films upstairs and the popcorn machine is always going. Maggie [O’Neill, of design firm SWATCHROOM] and I wanted to dress [the spot] with posters for shows and custom chandeliers. There are stage lighting fixtures to convey the old world of silent film, with a battered red carpet painted up the staircase.

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One Eyed Jack
Graft Cider Farm Flor Rustic
Cotton & Reed Spiced Rum
Maple ginger

Chaplin’s: 1501 9th St. NW, DC;



Photo: Mark Williams Hoelscher, @mwhphoto
Photo: Mark Williams Hoelscher, @mwhphoto

Capitol Cider House Brings Local Flavor to the District’s Burgeoning Cider Scene

A revisiting of Mid-Atlantic roots, Capitol Cider House’s local influence can be felt at every touch point, from the product it sources to the design aesthetic in the Georgia Avenue space. The Petworth newcomer opened three months ago and has been a welcome addition to the booming neighborhood.

Speaking of being neighborly, there’s a heavy emphasis on all things local with a commitment to sourcing within a 200-mile radius of the U.S. Capitol Building. The industrial space is outfitted with reclaimed wood pieces and splashes of patriotic red, white and blue – with a back-wall mural executed by DC creatives No Kings Collective. The open layout features community seating with high tops scattered throughout the main space, a smaller private room dubbed the “Brewer’s Table” and an outdoor patio.

Founder Jared Fackrell first started experimenting with cider two years ago after a family trip to the Finger Lakes in New York. There, he and his wife found themselves at a cider house where they were struck by the complexity of flavors, crispness and wine-like taste of the ciders they sampled. They returned to DC joking about creating their own cider, prompting Fackrell to purchase a how-to book on cider production.

The jokes materialized into a hobby where, armed with his Amazon Books purchase, prior homebrewing knowledge (he had brewed beer years ago) and self-built equipment, Fackrell set off on a course that would eventually lead to opening Capitol Cider House.

DC’s newest cidery arrives at a time when local and regional cideries are on the rise in popularity and growth. According to the United States Association of Cider Makers, dollar sales of craft cider increased 39 percent in 2016 when compared to 2015 and in the past year, market share grew 30 percent for regional ciders.

As members of a CSA (community supported agriculture), Fackrell and his wife saw the value of reconnecting with food and knowing where produce comes from – a big driver behind his devotion to keeping that local flair for Capitol Cider House. When asked what he thinks is the driving force behind the renewed interest in cider both regionally and nationally, Fackrell notes, “Part of it stems from this reconnection of where your food is coming from. Folks are starting to revalue the taste of something over the appearance.”

The local curiosity of knowing where food products are sourced and how they are made is evident come pressing time at the cidery. Every Monday through Wednesday, the team clears the main space for apple processing: furniture is pushed back, sleeves are rolled up and 3,000 pounds of apples are pressed. Passersbys can get a not so behind-the-scenes look at what goes into this process courtesy of the floor-to-ceiling window storefront. Fackrell notes that many a curious pedestrian has stopped to peer in, press a nose to the glass and take a video, helping to demystify how it all works.

With two cideries already on the DC scene, Capitol Cider House’s approach is distinct from its counterparts. Those with a palate geared toward craft beers will likely be intrigued by Ivy City’s Supreme Core offerings, whereas guests with a penchant for Spanish wines or Basque-style cider will find appealing options at DC’s first cidery, Anxo. In contrast, Capitol Cider House will focus on the barrel-aging process to produce smaller-batch ciders, fortifying them to create an apple, port-like product.

Twelve taps behind the bar feature 10 ciders, including Anxo and Supreme Core, with the remaining two saved for mead and beer. The menu also includes over 30 bottled ciders. Not sure where to start? Opt for a flight of four ciders chosen at the drinker’s discretion or preselected by the cidermaker.

As for food, the cidery partnered up with Union Kitchen alums to bring local, homegrown fare to the table. Guests will find Sri Lankan street food in the form of roti and sambol from Ten Tigers Parlour’s Short Eats pop-up, as well as a slew of Colombian-style empanadas from M’Panadas. Additionally, the food menu includes cheese plates and hot dogs with hamburgers coming soon.

In the next few months, expect another collaboration with Distillery Lane Ciderworks near Frederick, Maryland (Fackrell worked with the distillery to produce his first house cider Quincey, which has since poured its last drop), cold weather cider options (think mulled versions perfect for the impending cooler temperatures) and more house products added to the tap list.

Sunday jazz brunch is a recent endeavor that will likely become a mainstay, a nostalgic nod to Fackrell’s days as an undergrad in New Orleans. Customers can expect more food pop-ups, events with guest bartenders showcasing cider in cocktails and other fun collaborations.

Three months in, the neighborhood’s reception of Capitol Cider House has been warm and welcoming – the bar even has a group of regulars. But Fackrell isn’t ready to slow down yet. With the apple harvest coming up, he’s already thinking ahead and excited about  producing cider and “introducing more of our products under the tap list.”

To those still unsure about the cider craze?

“I would offer that most people who come in here and don’t know anything about cider who are willing to at least try, some of them will walk out with a different impression – the same way that I walked out up in New York.”

Visit Capitol Cider House on Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Learn more at and follow the cidery on social media at @capciderhouse.

Capitol Cider House: 3930 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; 202-621-0982;

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7th Annual Wiener 500

Oktoberfest kicked off in DC at Yards Park with the seventh annual Wiener 500 dachshund dash. The crowd watched the races and dog costume contest on a 17-foot jumbotron, enjoyed a live DJ and ice cold Spaten beer, and participated in the stein-hoisting competition. All race proceeds benefited the Humane Rescue Alliance. Photos: Mike Kim

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Turtle Recall at Nationals Park

The last Friday home pregame show at Nationals Park featured DC 80s rock band Turtle Recall on the Budweiser Terrace. We’ll see you in 2019 for next season’s Budweiser concert series at the ball park! Photos: Mike Kim

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Ryan Kerrigan’s 6th Annual Celebrity Waiter Night

Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan hosted his sixth annual Celebrity Waiter Night at The Watergate Hotel.  Kerrigan and his Washington Redskins teammates mingled with supporters of Ryan’s Blitz for the Better Foundation, DC’s charitable community and Redskins fans who enjoyed a high-spirited cocktail reception, fine cuisine and exciting live and silent auctions. Photos: LAFlicks Photography

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Rocklands Barbeque 5th Annual Hot Sauce Contest

Rocklands 5th Annual Hot Sauce Contest & Pig Roast featured barbecued pig, delicious sides and craft beer. All funds benefit the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation, which is dedicated to assisting in the recovery and rehabilitation of injured firefighters and burn patients in the DC-metro area. Photos: Mike Kim

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Great Grapes! Wine & Food Festival at The Village at Leesburg

Great Grapes! Wine Festival at the Village at Leesburg featured 150+ wines from 15 wineries, great live music, fun festival eats, arts and crafts, and a take-home souvenir tasting glass for tasting and sampling the rich heritage of Virginia vines. Photos: John Gervasi PhotoArts, LLC

Photo: DJ Glisson II
Photo: DJ Glisson II

Distilling in the DMV: A Guide to Local Distilleries

It’s almost that time of year: the leaves start to change color, the days get shorter and people break out their sweaters for the first time in months. The glorious season that is autumn is returning. If you’re like us, you’ve been avoiding as many outdoor activities in the sweltering heat as possible. The good news is cooler days are soon to come, which means it’s time to venture outdoors and check out one of the many distilleries throughout the DMV.

If you’re a spirits lover or just looking to change up your usual brewery or winery outing, our list below has a distillery for everyone. From Green Hat Gin at New Columbia Distillers to Cigar Blend Bourbon at Jos. A. Magnus & Co., the options are endless. Whether you’re in the mood to visit a bustling, urban distillery like Founding Spirits or the scenic countryside at Springfield Manor, check out what the DC area and beyond has to offer. So pick a spot, kick back and relax this fall with a refreshing drink.

Catoctin Creek1Catoctin Creek Distilling Company
120 W. Main St. Purcellville, VA
540-751-8404 |
Approaching a decade in business, Catoctin Creek Distilling Company was founded by husband and wife duo Becky and Scott Harris in historic downtown Purcellville, Virginia. As the first legal distillery since prohibition in Virginia’s Loudoun County, Catoctin Creek honors the agrarian character of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the heritage of Virginia distilling. The Harris’ source local and organic ingredients to craft a variety of small-batch spirits, including their flagship Roundstone Rye, which holds distinction as Virginia’s most awarded whisky. For more information, including tasting and tours, visit Catoctin Creek online.

Copper Fox1Copper Fox Distillery
901 Capitol Landing Rd. Williamsburg, VA
540-987-8554 |
Copper Fox Distillery was founded by Rick Wasmund in 2005 with the idea of making whisky differently. At Copper Fox, they start from scratch – floor-malting locally grown barley, flavoring the grain with a variety of fruitwood smoke, then aging and finishing with a progressive series of hand toasted wood chips in used bourbon barrels. Visit them at one, or both of their unique locations and experience the whisky making process first hand. Their Sperryville distillery is housed in a rustic converted cider mill in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains just seven miles from the Thornton River Gap entrance to Shenandoah National Park. Or visit their newest location and experience the transformation of the former Lord Paget motel complex in Virginia’s Historic Triangle, located one-half mile from the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center. They invite you to tour, taste and experience the flavor journey that never ends.

Dida's Distillery1Dida’s Distillery & Rappahannock Cellars
14437 Hume Rd. Huntly, VA
540-635-9398 |
Gold-medal winning spirits made 100 percent from grape, Dida’s distill their vodka, brandy and gin from their Virginia wines, made at their Virginia farm winery and distillery – Rappahannock Cellars and Dida’s Distillery. Rated “Virginia Brandy Distillery of the Year” by the New York Intl. Spirits Competition, they’re located seven miles south of Front Royal on Route 522, a short one-hour drive from DC/NoVA. Come experience their world-class wines, spirits and craft cocktails all in the same building. Plan a day trip to visit other nearby wineries, distilleries, breweries, the Skyline Drive and other local attractions.

Dragon Distillery1Dragon Distillery
1341 Hughes Ford Rd. Suite 108, Frederick, MD
888-678-3724 |
Visit Frederick, Maryland to experience the unique distillery that is Dragon Distillery. With a large product portfolio, there is certainly something for everyone, including several flagships like Basilisk Bourbon, Dragon Dog Rye, Fannie Tutt Lemon Meringue Moonshine and Canned Cocktails. Dragon is Frederick’s first and largest distillery and records a number of other firsts, including Maryland’s first distillery/brewery collaboration (with Flying Dog Brewery) and Maryland’s first canned cocktails. There is ample free parking and Dragon Distillery can be found directly across from Frederick’s Airport.

Falls Church DistillersFalls Church Distillers
442 S. Washington St. Suite A, Falls Church, VA
703-858-9186 |
You strive to live life to the fullest and demand satisfaction from all you experience, you yearn to breathe everything deeply into your soul and appreciate the resulting sensations – this is how the Paluzzi family lives and how they distill their spirits. Their spirits are meant to be sipped, with each drop lingering on the pallet for a fully enjoyable sensation. Falls Church Distillers is an award-winning distillery located in the Virginia suburbs just outside of the nation’s capital. As a uniquely licensed distillery, you are invited to stay awhile, enjoy a wonderful meal, plentiful and varied libations and all in the craft environment that is a small batch distillery.

Founding Spirits1Founding Spirits
600 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC
202-798-6007 |
Founding Spirits is an award-winning distillery located in the heart of the nation’s capital. Enjoy a special sneak peek into their small-batch distilling process every Saturday with tours and tastes which include behind-the-scenes of the distillery itself along with tastes of their spirits. As Founding Spirits distillery is located within Farmers & Distillers restaurant, they encourage you to stay for a meal in the main dining room before or after your tour.

Jos A Magnus1Jos. A. Magnus & Co.
2052 West Virginia Ave. NE, DC
202-450-3518 |
In 1892, Joseph Alexander Magnus set out to create the world’s greatest whiskeys, gins and other spirits through the founding of Jos. A. Magnus & Co., and in doing so, became one of the most successful pre-prohibition spirits producers in the nation. Joseph Magnus silenced his stills when Prohibition came knocking until a bottle of 122-year-old bourbon was discovered by Joseph’s great grandson. The journey then began to bring back “remarkable spirits for remarkable people.” Proudly re-established in 2015 in DC, Jos. A. Magnus & Co. produces award winning bourbon, gin and vodka and has garnered the nation’s top awards including 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition double gold medals for Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon and Murray Hill Club Blended Bourbon, 2018 American Distilling Institute Gold Medal for Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon and 2018 World’s Best Navy by World Gin Awards for Vigilant Navy Strength Gin.

KO Distilling1KO Distilling
10381 Central Park Dr. Suite 105, Manassas, VA
571-292-1115 |
Located in the historic City of Manassas, Virginia, KO Distilling operates a 30-foot tall continuous column still and a 550-gallon pot-and-column still to produce an award-winning portfolio of whiskey, bourbon and gin. Visitors can tour KO Distilling’s state-of-the-art distilling plant and barrel room, enjoy spirit tastings in their beautiful copper and oak themed tasting room and purchase bottles for offsite consumption. Their flagships include Bare Knuckle Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Bare Knuckle Straight Wheat Whiskey, Bare Knuckle Straight Rye Whiskey, Bare Knuckle American Whiskey, Battle Standard 142 Navy Strength Gin, Battle Standard 142 Standard Strength Gin and Battle Standard 142 Barrel Finished Gin. Looking to host an event? You can also rent KO Distilling’s Banquet Hall for your next get-together. Come on by, it’s worth the visit.

MISCellaneous1MISCellaneous Distillery
114 South Main St. Mount Airy, MD
240-394-6472 |
MISCellaneous Distillery is an artisan distillery located on Main Street in historic downtown Mount Airy, Maryland. Their bottles are filled with only the best, using ingredients grown on local farms, milled on stone mills from the 1800s and using techniques that invite conversation. Their flagships include Risky Rum, Dew Point Rum, Popi’s Finest Rum, Restless Rye Whisky, Diametric Rye Whisky, Gertrude’s 100% Rye Whisky, Virtuous Vodka and Gregarious Gin and have won numerous awards including for the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition where their Risky Rum was awarded gold, Dew Point Rum was awarded silver and their Restless Rye Whisky was awarded bronze. In lieu of charging for tours and tastings, they ask for a $5 donation that they pass along to a nonprofit partner. They also work with a new partner each quarter, raising funds and awareness of the important work of these organizations. Come by and taste what MISCellaneous is all about.

MurLarkey1MurLarkey Distilled Spirits
7961 Gainsford Ct. Bristow, VA
571-284-7961 |
Starting with a meager 23-gallon copper still and a dream, second generation Irish-American cousins Tom Murray and Mike Larkin set out to create a legacy when they established MurLarkey. Distilled in traditional, small-batch, artisan fashion, their spirits are recognized and certified by the American Distilling Institute. Today, MurLarkey produces vodka, gin, aged whiskey and eight types of 100 percent all-natural infused flavored whiskeys including banana, orange, lemon, cinnamon, coffee, cocoa, honey and Three Tea. Based in Prince William Country, they also have locations in DC, Baltimore and Northern Virginia. They also invite spirit lovers to come take a tour of their distillery, sample their spirits and learn about the distilling process.

New Columbia Distillers bottles1New Columbia Distillers
1832 Fenwick St. NE, DC

202-733-1710 |
New Columbia Distillers invites you to kick back and relax with a handmade cocktail while listening to vinyl in their working industrial atmosphere. They encourage a friendly and relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy any number of their flagship offerings including Green Hat Gin, Green Hat Spring/Summer Gin, Green Hat Fall/Winter Gin (“Ginavit”), Green Hat Navy Strength Gin, New Columbia Summer Cup, Capitoline White, Rose and Dry Vermouths. New Columbia have also won numerous awards for their spirits including a gold medal (SF World Spirits Competition) for their Spring/Summer Gin, a silver medal (Intl Review of Spirits) for their Green Hat Gin, a silver medal (American Craft Spirits Assn.) for their Fall/Winter Gin and a Best of Category (American Distilling Inst.) for their Navy Strength Gin. There is no charge for tastings or tours.

Springfield Manor1Springfield Manor Winery Distillery Brewery
11836 Auburn Rd. Thurmont, MD
301-271-0099 |
Springfield Manor is a 135-acre estate with a convenient route 15 location that backs up to Cunningham Falls for great hiking and recreation. This country inn hosts weddings and seated events for 300 guests, overnight stays and much more. Completing the scenery are lavender fields and crops of corn for crafting farm-to-glass bourbon and rye. When you’re done taking in the natural beauty, visit their restored barn tasting room for intimate indoor and terrace seating. Their flagships include six seasonal craft beers, 12 awarded wines, they’ve been voted Frederick County’s best distillery and are a San Francisco double gold winner for their lavender gin, lavender vodka, straight bourbon, Maryland rye, rum and brandy. Come to taste, stay to enjoy wine, beer, spirit tastings, live music and food.

Virago black background1_650Virago Spirits
1727 Rhoadmiller St. Richmond, VA
804-355-8746 |
Visit the Virago Spirits distillery store in Richmond, Virginia for a taste of craft cocktails and experimental offerings. They specialize in classically inspired, creatively interpreted spirits, focusing on rum, gin, brandy and herbal liqueurs. Their tour features a direct-fire, 2,500-liter Charentais-style alembic still – one of only a few operating in the United States. They also blend a deep respect for time-honored, traditional production techniques with New World creativity, ingenuity and innovation. On a tour, you’ll sample Virago’s signature Four-Port Rum with wonderful, complex and bold notes of vanilla and spice, leading to cascading waves of fig, dried coconut and crème brûlée, culminating in a pleasantly lingering, smoky finish. Virago is open to the public on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 3-9 p.m., and Sunday 12-5 p.m.

Virginia Distillery Co.Virginia Distillery Co.
299 Eades Ln. Lovingston, VA
434-285-2900 |
Virginia Distillery Company is an American single malt whisky distillery located in Central Virginia. Courage & Conviction, their American single malt whisky product, is currently being produced onsite using malted barley from the U.S. and water from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The target release date is spring 2020. While it ages, enjoy their Virginia-Highland Whisky series, made from 100 percent malted barley. Virginia Distillery Company marries single malt whisky made onsite in Virginia with aged malt whisky from Scotland. A focus on cask finishing adds depth and complexity. Their visitors center is open for tours and tastings daily. The Virginia Whisky Experience Tour takes you behind the scenes to learn how whisky is made from start to finish.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery: Fredericksburg, Virginia;

Belle Isle Moonshine: Richmond, Virginia;

Belmont Farm Distillery: Culpeper, Virginia;

Blackwater Distilling: Stevensville, Maryland;

Bloomery Plantation Distillery: Charles Town, West Virginia;

Blue Dyer Distilling Co.: Waldorf, Maryland;

Cirrus Vodka: Richmond, Virginia;

Cotton & Reed: Northeast DC;

District Distilling Co.: Northwest DC;

Don Ciccio & Figli: Northwest DC;

Faulkner Branch Cidery & Distilling Co.: Federalsburg, Maryland;

Filibuster Distillery: Maurertown, Virginia;

George Washington’s Distillery and Gristmill: Mount Vernon, Virginia;

Gray Wolf Craft Distilling: Saint Michaels, Maryland;

James River Distillery: Richmond, Virginia;

Lost Ark Distilling: Columbia, Maryland;

Lyon Distilling Company: Saint Michaels, Maryland;

McClintock Distilling: Frederick, Maryland;

Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery: Middleburg, Virginia;

Old Line Spirits: Baltimore, Maryland;

One Eight Distilling: Northeast DC;

Patapsco Distilling Company: Sykesville, Maryland;

Ragged Branch: Charlottesville, Virginia;

Reservoir Distilling: Richmond, Virginia;

Sagamore Spirit Distillery: Baltimore, Maryland;

Silverback Distillery: Afton, Virginia;

Skipjack Distilleries: Annapolis, Maryland;

Spirit Lab Distilling: Charlottesville, Virginia;

Tenth Ward Distilling Company: Frederick, Maryland;

Twin Valley Distillers: Rockville, Maryland;

Vitae Spirits Distillery: Charlottesville, Virginia;

White Tiger Distillery: Forest Hill, Maryland;

Woods Mill Distillery: Faber, Virginia;

Truxton Inn

Brilliant Bourbon: A Go-To Guide for Bourbon in the District

Happy National Bourbon Heritage Month to all you bourbon drinkers out there. We have set out to celebrate this month in style, with everything from exclusive interviews with Buffalo Trace Distillery’s CEO and master distiller to a comprehensive list of the best places to drink bourbon in DC (see below). We even featured Pearl Dive Oyster Palace’s Bardstown Derby on our cover, a fruity cocktail made with Buffalo Trace bourbon. Whether you’re a longtime imbiber of American whiskey or you’re looking to change up your usual drink order, you’re bound to find something that will excite your taste buds in the District.

Acadiana: 901 New York Ave. NW, DC;

b DC Penn Quarter: 801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC;

Barley Mac: 1600 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA;

Barrel: 613 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC;

Basin Street Lounge: 219 King St. Alexandria, VA;

Black Jack: 1612 14th St. NW, DC;

Black Whiskey: 1410 14th St. NW, DC;

BLT Steak: 1625 I St. NW, DC;

Blue Duck Tavern: 1201 24th St. NW, DC;

Boundary Stone Public House: 116 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC;

Bourbon: 2321 18th St. NW, DC;

Bourbon Steak: 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC;

Civil Cigar Lounge: 5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC;

Copperwood Tavern – Shirlington: 4021 Campbell Ave. Arlington, VA;

Crimson Whiskey Bar: 627 H St. NW, DC;

Denson Liquor Bar: 600 F St. NW, DC;

The Dignitary: 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC;

District ChopHouse & Brewery: 509 7th St. NW, DC;

Dram & Grain: 2007 18th St. NW, DC;

The Gibson: 2009 14th St. NW, DC;

Harold Black: 212 7th St. SE, DC;

Hill Prince: 1337 H St. NE, DC;

Jack Rose Dining Saloon: 2007 18th St. NW, DC;

Kelly’s Irish Times: 14 F St. NW, DC;

Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar: 1104 H St. NE, DC;

Lost & Found: 1240 9th St. NW, DC;

McClellan’s Retreat: 2031 Florida Ave. NW, DC;

The Next Whiskey Bar: 2650 Virginia Ave. NW, DC;

Occidental: 1475 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC;

The Partisan: 709 D St. NW, DC;

36_Bourbon_BleedFeatured Spot: Penny Whisky Bar
618 H St. Suite 200, NW, DC; 202-802-5125;
Seductively looming above H Street in the heart of Chinatown, the Penny Whisky Bar is a breath of life found in a building you’ve been walking by for years. With an exclusive whisky list and the caliber of bartending mastery that has made Washington, DC a national destination, Penny Whisky Bar is going to be your first thought for happy hour and the last name you’ll ever need to learn for quality cocktails way beyond whisky.

The Pig: 1320 14th St. NW, DC;

Prequel: 919 19th St. NW, DC;

Reliable Tavern: 3655 Georgia Ave. NW, DC;

Root Cellar Whiskey Bar: 515 15th St. NW, DC;

The Royal: 501 Florida Ave. NW, DC;

The Rye Bar: 1050 31st St. NW, DC;

Shelly’s Back Room: 1331 F St. NW, DC;

Smoke & Barrel: 2471 18th St. NW, DC;

Takoda: 715 Florida Ave. NW, DC;

Truxton Inn1Featured Spot: Truxton Inn
251 Florida Ave. NW, DC; 202-733-4952;
Truxton Inn, located in Bloomingdale, is the neighborhood’s premier cocktail bar. Offering original and classic cocktails, they also carry seasonal wines and a few select beers. Their happy hour specials are $6 Old Fashioneds, $5 house red and white wines, and $3 Narragansett cans offered all day on Monday and open until 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Other daily specials include $10 original cocktails on Sundays, seasonal beer-and-shot combinations on Tuesdays and half-priced wine bottles on Wednesdays. Enjoy your drink and company at the bar, at one of the tables inside or outside on the brand-new patio.


Photos: Lizzie Sorkin
Photos: Lizzie Sorkin

Crafting Community at Streetcar 82

The genesis of Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. is not unlike many other microbreweries that now heavily populate the DMV. What was born of a humble homebrewing project among a group of friends and Gallaudet graduates evolved into a brick-and-mortar brewery in the heart of downtown Hyattsville.

Streetcar 82, newly opened in July, is named for an actual streetcar that connected bustling neighborhoods through DC and Maryland during its 70-year run. While the streetcar itself is now defunct, the brewery’s namesake serves as a fitting metaphor for its ability to connect multiple communities in one place – over delicious beer, of course.

The space aims to create connections among Gallaudet grads, the larger deaf community, Hyattsville residents and craft beer enthusiasts, to name a few. But  what really sets co-owners Mark Burke, Jon Cetrano and Sam Costner apart is the fact that they place as much emphasis on creating a welcoming space for people from different communities as they do on their carefully crafted beers.

“The sense of community that we hope to foster has been a driving factor in the creation of Streetcar 82,” Cetrano says. “Having a sense of place is very important. Gallaudet University is the only university in the world for deaf people, and the sense of community and bond that one gets there is very powerful. As a deaf person, it is an instant connection. Whether you attend there – or are just visiting campus to see and be in a place that welcomes you – [it’s] powerful.”

Their communities were integral in the actual creation of the brewery. The co-owners explain they were encouraged by a professor in Gallaudet’s Department of Business to open their own brewery, and even went on to win a fan favorite award at a university-hosted business pitch competition.

Social media also proved to be an important aspect of the launch. They posted updates on the brewery’s progress via their Instagram account while preparing to open, including ways for thirsty future patrons to contribute to their launch through a Kickstarter page. That alone was indicative of the area’s desire for a space like this. Streetcar 82 raised over $25,000, surpassing their goal before the campaign even closed.

Burke says they also received an outpouring of support from the Hyattsville community, including Kickstarter contributions and help from the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation to get the business up and running. He describes Hyattsville as a place where “we felt comfortable starting a business because we knew the community there would help us thrive.”

Still, the support they received didn’t make them immune to the growing pains many new businesses face and the challenge of a more limited budget than they had hoped for. Costner explains that while they obtained loans in addition to the funding from their supporters, they still had to dramatically readjust their expectations.

“We had to plan on doing a lot of the work ourselves to save money,” Costner says. “We did all the demolition work, a lot of physical labor and all the cosmetic work.”

Their efforts included painting, building the bar and installing the walk-in refrigerator, all as a way to conserve funds.

“In the end, this turned out to be a boon because we moved along a lot faster than if we waited for contractors to do the work. So not having all the money we wanted turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”

Streetcar 82 has felt support from other local breweries and members of the DMV beer community. The teams at Shaw’s Right Proper Brewing Company and Baltimore-based Suspended Brewing, and local brewer Matt Humbard (formerly of Handsome Brewing Company), have offered their professional opinions and even lent equipment when needed. Streetcar’s brewers have also forged a friendship with their neighbors at Pizzeria Paradiso and are currently planning the release of a coffee stout with Hyattsville roasters Vigilante Coffee Company.

As for beer options, the co-founders consider Streetcar to be Belgian-inspired due to the prevalence of Belgian yeasts in their brews. While you can find those varieties shining in their interpretations of New England and farmhouse IPAs and a Belgian dark strong ale, don’t expect only one style from Streetcar 82. The trio is plotting to add Märzens and Oktoberfest-style beers to their roster this month and aim to have at least half a dozen beers on tap on any given day.

And while their ties to the deaf community are strong and the presence of American Sign Language is apparent, Streetcar 82 is a place for everyone to call their own.

“We worked hard to develop a place that is diverse, neighborly and intimate,” Cetrano says. “Our brewery is a place where people can really chat with each other and see people with their kids and dogs. When you’re there, you feel like you belong.”

Check for more information about Streetcar 82. Follow them on Instagram at @streetcar82brewingco and Facebook at @Streetcar82 for the brewery’s most updated hours.

Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.: 4824 Rhode Island Ave. Hyattsville, MD;

Streetcar 82 2 (Photo - Lizzie Sorkin)