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Scotch

A Survey of Scotch

Whisky and bourbon continue to dominate bar shelves and cocktail menus around DC, all the more so as the brisk temperatures roll in and the nights become longer. The sweet, nutty and woody notes of a well-made Old Fashioned cut through even the stiffest of fall gales. Yet for all of DC’s growing interest in and curiosity toward brown spirits, the city is still warming up to cocktails made with Scotch whisky – arguably the most well-revered style in the family.

For one, Scotch (referring to whisky made across Scotland) is often seen as a high-quality liquor that shouldn’t be mixed or diluted with other spirits or ingredients.

“While Scotch has been around forever and is one of the most beloved spirits in the world, it’s known to be by itself,” says Chris Mendenhall, lead mixologist at Quadrant Bar in DC’s West End.

He says he’s only used Scotch whiskies in a handful of the recipes he’s created for Quadrant, bringing up another reason for the overall lack of Scotch drinks on cocktail lists.

“Scotch is very difficult to work with,” he continues. “It has such a strong character to it.”

This character ranges from the pungent and smoky peat of whiskies from Scotland’s Islay region to sweeter, grassier drams of Speyside. The possibilities are enough to make a drinker’s head spin before ever taking a sip. Placing the spirit in a cocktail requires some additional, careful calculation.

“In an original cocktail, using Scotch is tough,” says Ben Long, general manager of Reliable Tavern in Petworth. “The ingredients need elbows.”

In other words, they need enough of their own “oomph,” or elbow room, to remain distinct without becoming overpowered. Think ingredients like ginger and zippy citruses.

Mendenhall is a fan of the Blood and Sand, a classic drink and a feature on his upcoming cocktail menu. It features Scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry brandy and freshly-squeezed orange juice, resulting in a flavor profile that softens up some of the spirit’s harsh edges.

Classic Scotch cocktails are also a favorite at Reliable Tavern, where bartenders guide guests through cocktail orders by asking about preferences in spirits and flavors. Long calls it an Omakase-style experience, borrowing the term from the world of Japanese sushi tasting counters where the chefs take the lead in guiding diners.

Long says he and his staff usually tend to gravitate toward classics and riffs of tried-and-true recipes rather than going for original creation, a technique that’s especially useful when dealing with Scotch.

His suggestions for go-to Scotch drinks vary from the citrusy Penicillin with lemon juice and simple syrup to a twist on a stirred drink like an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan. He also recommends a drink called The Short Walk Home made with a dash of honey, a dash of Benedictine liqueur, Scotch, bitters and an orange twist.

That’s not to say that Scotch has no place in unique creations. At downtown’s Rare Steakhouse, bar manager Chelsea Wood happened upon the tasty Smoke Signal cocktail after quickly whipping something together for a happy hour regular who asked for something that was both smoky and smooth. The boozy drink features a rinse of Laphroaig whisky, Eagle Rare bourbon, honey and orange bitters.

“It’s one of my favorite cocktails that we made for the menu,” Wood says. “You’re not assaulting the palate with a really smoky, peaty Scotch.”

Offsetting that bold flavor is key when it comes to acquainting guests with a spirit that many are still dipping their toe into.

“The general population that’s coming into restaurants doesn’t really have a palate yet for some of those brown, stronger spirits,” she continues. “You have to find a way to play with [Scotch] and make it approachable and not scary.”

Check out the locations below for original takes on Scotch cocktails.

Quadrant Bar & Lounge: 1150 22nd St. NW, DC; www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/washington-dc/dc/dining/quadrant
Reliable Tavern: 3655 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.reliable-tavern.com
Rare Steakhouse: 1595 I St. NW, DC; www.raresteaks.com/location/washington-dc

Photo: Courtesy of EatBar
Photo: Courtesy of EatBar

Roll Out the Rum

Rum is one of the most nuanced spirits, both in its craft and taste. Regional differences mean there’s a bottle of rum for just about every palate. Too often, rum’s potential is restrained behind the bar, as it’s used for little more than boozing up tropical coolers best suited for cutting through triple-digit heat indexes. Those tiki-style drinks can be fun and refreshing, but they also leave the rum itself as afterthought, masked among layers of syrupy juices and sodas.

“I think a lot of spirits professionals will second me on this,” says Matt Strickland, head distiller at District Distilling on U Street. “I think the biggest problem is that rum is viewed as sweet, cheap and not very serious.”

Refusing to let rum live with this basic reputation, a growing chorus of bartenders are ditching blenders and pineapple wedges in favor of sophisticated cocktails that showcase rum’s natural flavors. Here are five cocktails in DC designed to highlight rum’s true colors.

Crown of Love at EatBar

2 oz. Plantation O.F.T.D. Rum
0.25 oz. rhum sirop
2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl
Mole Bitters
lemon peel rim

This rum cocktail is based on Arcade Fire’s song “Crown of Love,” according to EatBar Spirits Manager Brian McGahey.

“‘[The song] captures the essence of crazy mad love,” he says. “It is a fitting name for this cocktail, which combines the intensity of a molasses-based dark rum that is a blend of Guyana, Jamaica and Barbados rums bottled at 69 percent alcohol, blended with a bit of rhum sirop from Martinique.”

EatBar: 415 8th St. SE, DC; www.eat-bar.com

The Migration at Kith/Kin

0.75 oz. cynar
0.75 oz. Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum
0.75 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
0.75 oz. Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino

The Kith/Kin bar team draws on two types of dark rum for its Manhattan-style riff, a recipe it originally credits to Ben Long of Reliable Tavern in DC’s Petworth neighborhood. The drink gets extra treatment here, spending two months aging in used Mount Gay Rum barrels before being served.

The result is a smooth, sippable cocktail with notes of charcoal and oak that bartender Dimitre Darrocan says imparts a whiskey-like flavor – one that’s miles away from tiki.

Kith/Kin at InterContinental Washington DC: 801 Wharf St. SW, DC ; www.kithandkindc.com

Full Moon Party (Photo - Courtesy of Quill - The Jefferson)

Full Moon Party at Quill

1.5 oz. Mount Gay Rum
2 oz. Thai tea apricot mix
0.25 oz. fresh lemon juice

“One of the biggest misconceptions about rum is that it’s not as versatile as other spirits, and that all rum tastes the same,” says Quill bartender Sophie Szych.

The upscale hotel bar, which also serves a Hamilton-inspired rum cocktail, takes advantage of that flexibility by using Thai tea in its Full Moon Party.

“The addition of condensed milk adds creamy roundness to the sharpness of the apricot,” Szych says.

Quill at The Jefferson: 1200 16th St. NW, DC; www.jeffersondc.com

La Fin du Monde (Photo - Courtesty of District Distilling)

La Fin Du Monde at District Distilling

1.5 oz. aged Buzzard Point Rum
0.75 oz. lemon juice
.075 oz. grenadine
0.25 oz. curacao

“When I approach a rum cocktail and it isn’t going to be tiki, I tend to look at classic serious cocktails in the canon, things like a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned,” Strickland says. “Subbing rum in for whiskey is the easiest thing to do, but you can get much more adventurous than that.”

Strickland is reviving this long forgotten rum cocktail (it originally appeared in the 1908 cocktail book World Drinks and How to Mix Them by William Boothby) in his distillery tasting room and using his distillery’s new barrel-aged rum as the base.

District Distilling: 1414 U St. NW, DC; www.district-distilling.com

Columbia Room cocktail (Photo - Karlin Villondo Photography)

A Spot in the Shade at Columbia Room

3 oz. clarified watermelon juice
1.5 oz. Bly Rum
0.325 oz. fresh lime
0.25 oz. Keepwell Carolina gold rice vinegar
0.5 oz. rich simple syrup

“This is a refreshing summer cocktail inspired by a picnic,” says Columbia Room Head Bartender Suzy Critchlow. “We are using Bly, a new white rum from the folks that make Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka in Pennsylvania.”

The cocktail is part of the award-winning bar’s four-course summer tasting menu. If a seat at the intimate bar is too much of a task, Critchlow says the drink can be easily made at home and even batched up into a punch for sharing.

Columbia Room: 124 Blagden Alley, NW, DC; www.columbiaroomdc.com

These cocktails represent just a small number of bartenders in and around DC that are challenging how we drink rum and use it in cocktails. Notes of vanilla, caramel, oak, molasses and spices are being highlighted in drinks that range from from revised takes on stirred classics to light and fruity sippers that balance sour and sweet. So next time a rum craving hits, put down the umbrella drink and consider something more suitable for a dimly lit cocktail bar than a sunny beach.

Photo: Nicholas Karlin
Photo: Nicholas Karlin

What’s On Tap: Church Hall

After taking the dead space leftover from an indoor mall, Georgetown’s newest craft beer spot Church Hall is already turning heads with their robust selection of brews and delectable bar food. Opened in late March, this kind of spot was desperately sought after in the Northwest neighborhood by college students and residents alike. We checked in with assistant general manager Jessica Cooter to see how the new bar was fitting in on Wisconsin Avenue.

On Tap: I noticed a ton of DC beers in your rotating draft list, is that a focus for you guys to maintain a relatively local feel?
Jessica Cooter: We do like to have a focus on local beers, if we can, to highlight what people are doing in the area. That worked out well for us, our rotating menu changes pretty frequently, and some might only last a week or a couple of days. The frequency depends on the availability and how well it’s selling, and what our focus of the month is. Right now, we’re trying to do a bunch of sour beers, so it depends on what we can get and how much we can get.

OT: Being in Georgetown, in the midst of upper class people and college students, is there any difficulty to finding the right balance?
JC: Not really, most people tend to gravitate toward the same sort of selections. The college kids and older folks want to the same kind of things. A really popular order is to get a beer in a liter glass. We do that for our main draft beers, and everyone really likes to grab those. People like the look of them and just the simple fact that you can get a ton of beer at once.

OT: You have a robust craft menu, how much thought did you guys put into the menu when constructing it, and how much input do the patrons have?
JC: We sit down and do research on the kinds of beers we’re looking for. Distributors bring us samples as well, but we do a ton of that independently.

OT: I don’t know of many craft places in Georgetown before. Do you guys feel like you’re filling the craft beer void in the neighborhood?
JC: Hopefully! We like to think we’re filling that void. It’s nice to offer such a wide variety in the neighborhood and it works out for us. We’re happy to be the one fulfilling the need.

OT: How has the response been in the last three months?
JC: I would say it’s been what we expected. We’ve seen happy hour groups come in and people just responding to the look and feel of the space; those things are always nice.

Church Hall: 1070 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.churchhalldc.com


Greetings, beer nerds! As you likely know, there are a number of fantastic spots in the DMV where you can grab a pint, and their menus are always evolving and adapting to your tastes. If you’d rather avoid the guessing game, check out what’s coming up at a few of these fine establishments.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 4

Brau, Brats and Freedom 4th of July Party
Join the crew of DC Brau at Dacha Beer Garden as they celebrate with Brau, Brats and Freedom. DC Brau will be on special and Dacha will be serving up some delicious Fourth of July fare. There will be games in the garden and plenty of chances to win prizes and DC Brau swag. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Free to attend. Dacha Beer Garden: 1600 7th St. NW, DC; www.dachadc.com

City Tap House’s 4th of July Beer-BBQ Battle
The City Tap House patio will feature breweries like 3 Stars Brewing Company, Evolution Craft Brewing Company and the Center of the Universe Brewing who will battle it out while serving up barbecue samples, potato salad and coleslaw. The brewery with the most guest votes will be crowned with the title. For more liquid delight, there will be a la carte frozen John Daly’s and beer floats. City Tap House Penn Quarter: 901 9th St. NW, DC; www.pennquartersportstavern.com

THURSDAY, JULY 5 and THURSDAY, JULY 19

Beer and Board Games at Sugar Shack
A little beer, a little sugar, classic board games and a few of your friends – it’s the perfect casual weeknight hang out every Thursday at Sugar Shack Arlington. On alternating Thursdays they’ll have a new craft brewery in house to talk beer and take over the three taps for two weeks. Flights, pints, beer glazed donut hole pairings and more. 4:30-9 p.m. Free to attend. Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee: 1014 S. Glebe Rd. Arlington, VA; www.sugarshackdonuts.com

SATURDAY, JULY 7

5th Annual Old Town Pub Crawl at Port City Brewing Company
The annual Pub Crawl returns for the 5th time on the streets of Old Town. The Port City team will be at nine local restaurants, near the Alexandria waterfront, stamping pub crawl passes and handing out swag. Complete your Pub Crawl Pass by 5:30 p.m. and get a limited-edition pint glass. 2-6 p.m. Free to attend. Old Town Pub Crawl: Various locations in Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

MONDAY, JULY 9

A Superbly Off-Centered Beer Dinner at Chatter
Join for a 5-course Dogfish Head Beer Dinner with Calvert Woodley Wines and Spirits. The event includes multiple food items including grilled peach caprese salad, fried green tomatoes, crab benedict, chicken fried short rib and an espresso panna cotta. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets $65. Chatter: 5247 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC;
www.chatterdc.com

TUESDAY, JULY 10

The Bluejacket Beer Dinner at Rustico Slaters
On this night, Rustico will offer five exceptional beers from Bluejacket alongside a specially designed menu by Chef de Cuisine Aaron Wright. Don’t miss this opportunity to try some deliciously rare treats from this very special Navy Yard brewery. Greg Engert, beer director for both Bluejacket and Rustico, will be back at Rustico as the host for the evening, sharing stories behind the beers, the brewery and more. 7-9 p.m. Tickets $55. Rustico: 827 Slaters Ln. Alexandria, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

FRIDAY, JULY 13 and FRIDAY, JULY 27

Brewmaster Tours Featuring Atlas Brew Works
Includes an hour-long guided tour of the museum and a local craft beer tasting. Receive one beer flight per person, featuring 4 ounce pours of three local beers, and experience the Brewmaster’s Castle with a drink in your hand. After the tour, guests are welcome to mingle in the Conservatory and purchase full beers if they wish. 5-6:30 p.m. Tickets $30. Heurich House Museum: 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC; www.heurichhouse.org

SATURDAY, JULY 14

Mad Fox Brewing Company 8th Anniversary Party
Come join the fun as Mad Fox celebrates eight wonderful years with eight exceptional beers at their Brewpub in Falls Church. In honor of this special occasion, they are releasing some new beers and some rare editions of their favorite beers. There will be live music and the annual Anniversary glass giveaway. Oh, and cake too. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Free to attend. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 West Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

TUESDAY, JULY 17

44 Beer Comedy Showcase
With some of the best beer in DC, what’s a better pair than comedy? Well on top of some of the lowest prices for craft beers in DC, during the show, you can also get an additional $1 off every beer. The show features five comedians, each performing 10-minute sets with their best material. 8-10:30 p.m. Tickets $10-$20. The Heights Taproom: 3115 14th St. NW, DC; www.theheightstaproom.com

Taco Beer Dinner at Gordon Biersch
Come join at Gordon Biersch Rockville for a taco beer dinner. They’ll be pairing limited-release tacos that you won’t find on the menu with a curated selection of in-house beers. 6-8 p.m. Ticket information available soon. Gordon Biersch: 200 E. Middle Ln. Rockville, MD; www.gordonbiersch.com

THURSDAY, JULY 19

Brew at the Zoo
Drink beer, save wildlife! Join friends of the National Zoo at DC’s best beer festival. Enjoy great times and great brews with unlimited beer tastings from more than 70 breweries, exotic animal encounters, live music and entertainment, and fare from popular food trucks – it’s a unique after-hours zoo experience. Proceeds benefit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s mission to save species. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $65. Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute: 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.nationalzoo.si.edu

THURSDAY, JULY 19

Yoga, Beer and BBQ at the Backyard Barbecue
Hill Country Barbecue Market is excited to revive the Backyard Barbecue, a summer pop-up at the National Building Museum (5th and F Streets). Backyard Barbecue is the place to chow down on authentic central Texas-style barbecue and enjoy live music. Enjoy a one-hour yoga class suitable for all levels, followed by a pint of beer from DC Brau, and dinner from Hill Country Barbecue. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets $20. National Building Museum: 401 F St. NW, DC; www.nbm.org

SUNDAY, JULY 22

Shark Week Paint and Brew
Kick off Shark Week with a flight of four beers and follow step-by-step instructions to complete a Shark Week-themed painting. All supplies will be provided. 1-3 p.m. Tickets $35. Forge Brew Works: 8532 Terminal Rd. Lorton, VA; www.forgebrewworks.com

WEDNESDAY, JULY 25

Maryland Blue Crab Feast at Mad Fox Brewing Company
Say hello to summer by enjoying a family style all-you-can-eat Crab feast. Happy Hour pricing will be extended until 9 p.m. for the special occasion. Menu includes all you can eat Maryland blue crabs steamed in Mad Fox beer and Old Bay, butter poached corn on the cob, panzanella salad and famous Old Bay potato chips. 6:30-10 p.m. Tickets $55. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

SATURDAY, JULY 28

Riverside Beer Garden Silent Disco
Nestled between the Anacostia River and Nationals Park, home to the Washington Nationals, is the Bardo Brewery. This riverside beer garden in the Navy Yard district is about to be taken over, quietly. In true Quiet Events fashion, there will be three DJ’s creating the soundtrack to your night and hundreds of party-goers drinking and jiving. Come out, grab a beer (or several) and party under the bridge. 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Tickets $5-$20. Bardo Brewing: 25 Potomac Ave. SE, DC; www.bardo.beer

Photo: Erich Morse
Photo: Erich Morse

World Cup Spots: Best Soccer Bars to Catch Games

The tables have turned – the bar tables, that is. From June 14 to July 15, local sports bars will be playing footage recorded live from Russia: the 2018 FIFA World Cup. And there are no secrets here. We caught up with eight of the DC area’s best soccer bars about their food and drink specials and programming, so you can pick and choose where to watch the games and grab some grub.

Across the Pond Restaurant & Pub

This will be Across the Pond’s first full summer open in Dupont Circle, and the restaurant and pub is quickly establishing itself as the go-to for watching soccer. Catch the early games with their $10.99 breakfast special: scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, home fries, toast, and tea or coffee. Add a Heineken with your meal for $5 or enjoy a $4 pilsner, $4 Bloody Mary or $4 mimosa. Beyond the fried favorites, expand your palate with the pub’s chicken pot pie, cottage pie or chicken curry – all popular dishes on the menu.

“Our owners have grown up playing and watching soccer on both sides of the pond,” says owner and partner Gerry Feeney. “And while we may have our personal allegiances to Liverpool and Manchester United, we enjoy watching and following the sport.”

Feeney adds that he’s excited to have Soccer & Beer TV, hosted by retired New Zealand player Duncan Oughton, film an upcoming episode at Across the Pond soon.

1732 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.acrosstheponddc.com

Babylon Futbol Cafe

Founded specifically for watching international soccer, Babylon Futbol Cafe Owner Paul Hecton says his bar supports all major sports, but its “heart and soul is world football.” Babylon will offer draft beer specials throughout the World Cup, and dishes ranging from Ethiopian sega tibs (marinated beef with peppers, onions, garlic and tomato) and the best-of-both-worlds option mar y tierra (steak, shrimp and fries), plus familiar comfort foods like burgers and pizza.

After eating, you can have shisha (hookah) while watching the games. Babylon isn’t supporting a specific team since the U.S. didn’t qualify, but Hecton says he has a strong customer base of South American and African supporters.

“European powerhouses always bring a good crowd,” he says. “Babylon wins when there’s good soccer.”
Babylon shows games in various languages, depending on the carrier and the majority of the audience watching in the restaurant.

3501 S. Jefferson St. Falls Church, VA; www.babylonfc.com

Dock FC

After Ari Gejdenson retired from playing soccer professionally, he returned from Europe to his hometown and eventually opened soccer bar Dock FC in Ivy City. For World Cup season, his bar is offering a food and beverage package that’s great for a group that wants to enjoy the spot’s communal-style seating, or for the dedicated solo fan who wants to munch from morning games all the way to late-night. It includes a pitcher of beer, Cholula chicken wings, nachos and churros for $50.

Director of operations Teija Staples says the Dock FC team will be rooting for Argentina during the tournament “because Lionel Messi is a gentleman.” Spanish commentators will be displayed on the bar’s TVs, as well as English, and visitors opting out of the special food and drink package can still choose from a variety of good eats cooked by two adjoining restaurants: La Puerta Verde and Ari’s Diner. Plus, sweet tooths can enjoy all-day breakfast options like the brioche French toast.

1400 Okie St. NE, DC; www.dockfcdc.com

Fadó

This Irish pub has no allegiance to a specific soccer team. The team at Fadó will be rooting for all countries while offering buckets of Bud, Bud Light, or Mich Ultra 16-oz. aluminums (five for $25). Goose Island IPA, Goose Island Summer and Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat 12-oz. bottles, plus buckets of Harp or Guinness Blonde 12-oz. bottles, are also available at five for $25. If you’re not a beerhead, enjoy $4 mimosas or Red Bulls, or a Bloody Mary for $8.

According to assistant general manager Kevin Bernard, the space will be decorated for the World Cup and you’ll be served by a staff that deeply cares about the games. Talk soccer with the servers while ordering dishes inspired by Dublin’s best pubs. For dessert, try their Fadó brownie with Guinness ice cream. It’s big enough to share!

808 7th St. NW, DC; www.fadoirishpub.com

Lucky Bar

Enjoy a Russian breakfast while catching the early soccer tournaments at Lucky Bar. Russian food specials will also be available during lunch, as well as Russian-themed cocktails and beer. The bar is dedicated to the sport year-round and the Lucky Bar team will ensure you’ll be surrounded by staff who are “dedicated to the beautiful game,” whether it’s a relegation battle in the lower division or the World Cup Final, says owner Paul Lusty. When Colombia plays on June 19, there’s a good chance you’ll find some live entertainment via Colombian DJs and musicians who come out to party and dance – win or lose.

“We pride ourselves on bringing every available game that is technologically possible to our screens from every corner of the globe,” Lusty says.

Lucky Bar offers Spanish and English commentary, depending on the matchups on the day. If you’re still fiending for that soccer-loving atmosphere after World Cup, this bar is dedicated to the sport year-round.

1221 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.luckybardc.com

The Pug

This summer will mark the first time that The Pug will be serving food, just in time for the World Cup games. Through a partnership with Toki Underground’s kitchen, bite-sized bar offerings will include watermelon radish crudo with furikake (a Japanese dry seasoning typically used over cooked rice) and lemon. Named after owner Tony Tomelden, you can also try the Uncle Tony’s Lumpia, a fried pork and vegetable egg roll with xie xie sauce.

The H Street spot’s fried chicken or cauliflower steamed buns are other unique dishes packed with Asian flavors like Japanese mayo, sweet chili sauce and Thai basil. Since they’re small plates, you may want to have a hearty dinner beforehand and come by afterward for a drink and to catch the late games with your friends.

1234 H St. NE, DC; www.thepugdc.com

The Queen Vic

This British pub (supporting England in the World Cup, of course) has specials daily – just check the chalkboard when you walk in. And during the tournament, Queen Vic will offer 20-oz. Carlsbergs for $5 while each game is on.

“We have been a soccer bar since we opened and have watched it grow as a sport in DC over the past seven years,” says co-owner Roneeka Baghotra. “We have a license that allows us to open earlier than a lot of other places throughout the year and will always try to open early or show a match if a guest requests it.”
Share a plate of Ploughman’s Lunch with fellow fans; the appetizer includes grilled bacon, goat cheese-stuffed dates, cheddar, mustard, pickles, apple salad and bread. Or if you want something all to yourself, try the chicken tikka masala – chicken in spiced tomato sauce served with rice and handmade naan.

1206 H St. NE, DC; www.thequeenvicdc.com

Summers

Summers Restaurant is chalk-full of HDTVs that will be streaming the World Cup games all day, every day via satellite. Early games can be viewed during the Courthouse-based sports bar and soccer pub’s weekend breakfast and brunch hours. Breakfast options include pancakes, omelets and a classic British-style breakfast, to name a few.

This soccer-centric bar has no specified World Cup specials, but you can enjoy the Monday burger and fries special all day for $6.49. Summers also has all your favorite guilty pleasures available for dessert – including a molten lava chocolate cake. So head to Arlington and swing by Summers during your weekend bar hop to catch a World Cup game.

1520 N. Courthouse Rd. Arlington, VA; www.summers-restaurant.com

Learn more about the 2018 FIFA World Cup at www.fifa.com.

Photo: Courtesy of The Peoples Drug
Photo: Courtesy of The Peoples Drug

New and Notable: Church Hall, The People’s Drug and More

On Tap keeps locals in the know about the hottest new food and drink spots around town and the top culinary happenings of the month. Read on to get the inside scoop on what’s new and notable in the DC area.

NEW

Church Hall
Open: March 30
Location: Georgetown
Lowdown: Remember that indoor mall in Georgetown with a food court? These are fast-fading memories as Georgetown gets cooler and makes an effort to keep up with the action further down the waterfront. So ICYMI, Church Hall seized the dead space and turned it into a massive, festive, friendly beer hall. The new spot might remind you of its sister bars (Penn Social, Big Chief, Franklin Hall, Highline RxR). Like the rest of the family, Church Hall is geared toward sociability with long tables, long sofas and games like Cards Against Humanity ready at your beck and call. We heart the 30-plus beers on tap (many local), booze slushies and cocktails on draft, as well as the upscale fairground food (we never say no to a funnel cake). 1070 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.churchhalldc.com

Magnolia Kitchen & Bar
Open: April 10
Location: Dupont Circle
Lowdown: The closing of Dupont Circle’s Circa was the end of an era. But we’re totally happy with the new spot that’s taken its place: Magnolia Bar & Kitchen. Magnolia comes from the same folks behind DC stalwarts Scarlet Oak and Southern Hospitality, featuring a busy menu of American fare with a little lux thrown in (think steak tacos with avocado or lamb Bolognese). And don’t overlook the cocktail menu – this is as much a place to grab a drink with friends after work as it is a dinner destination. We particularly like the Scarlet Buzz (sparkling rosé, Giffard pamplemousse, fresh squeezed grapefruit), topped with a Szechuan bud, which imparts the same tingly, mouth-numbing heat found in Szechuan Chinese cuisine. Also a winner: Birch Please (Birkir birch schnapps, blood orange juice, simple syrup, angostura bitters). The restaurant retains the patio and lots of televisions, so you can catch the big games while you enjoy those fancy cocktails. 1601 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.magnoliadupont.com

The Peoples Drug
Open: May 11
Location: Alexandria
Lowdown: Old-timers might remember Peoples Drug Store, the pharmacy chain from another era – just imagine if CVS or Walgreens had a lunch counter and soda fountain where you could order a root beer float. Or maybe a Cameron’s Kick (Pig’s Nose blended scotch, Bushmills Irish whiskey, lemon juice, orgeat), in the case of this homage to a bygone time. The Peoples chain is long gone, but this cocktail bar has resurrected its memory with some mighty fine cocktails and a delightful menu of fresh, thoughtfully prepared sandwiches and burgers. 103 N. Alfred St. Alexandria, VA: www.thepeoplesdrug.com

Tastemakers
Open: April 21
Location: Brookland
Lowdown: Anything Captain Cookie and the Milkman does is fine by us. The masterminds behind the popular food truck have opened a marketplace and incubator in a former mayonnaise factory – and it’s going to be the hit of the summer. Skip the now-overcrowded Union Market and hang here with the cool kids before this location also gets overrun. We’re totally loving Benjamin’s on Franklin, the hall’s cocktail bar, with its menu of both classics and inventions featuring local liquors. Order a Junto (Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin, aperol, Shrub District pineapple allspice, simple syrup, egg white) while you figure out whether to get meatballs or tacos from the other stands in the hall. Or both. If you are in the mood to learn, there are classes held weekly, focused on everything from “Beginner Knife Skills” to “Dinner in Thailand.” Tastemakers is also an incubator and commercial kitchen, which means that shopping and eating here supports an ecosystem of local businesses and gets new ones on their feet. 2800 10th St. NE, DC; www.tastemakersdc.com

NOTABLE

Loves Me Not
Open: April 21
Location: Adams Morgan
Lowdown: Mellow Mushroom has transformed its upstairs dining room into a haunt for hard-drinking artists and the people who love them. Filled with artwork that Everyman can afford and second-hand furniture, this is AdMo as a grownup. It is still gritty and a little rough around the edges – but jumbo slice is a distant memory and the music is a lot better. The bar menu is the brainchild of Younghyun You, who made a splash at Nocturne. Here, the menu is shorter and there are fewer fireworks, but it still wows, with cocktails named for songs and poems and books. We loved Fear and Loathing (Wild Turkey 101, green chartreuse, gunpowder tincture, demerara), while all the bloggers are swooning over All the World Is Green (mezcal, becherovka, avocado cilantro puree, lime, honey syrup). We also appreciate the “Starving Artists Menu,” which features reasonably-priced classics. 2436 18th St. NW, DC; @lovesmenotdc

The Wing
Open: April 12
Location: Georgetown
Lowdown: Sorry, gentlemen – this one’s just for the ladies (but we’re happy to tell you ALL about it). The Wing is a members-only coworking space that champions the “professional, civic, social and economic advancement of women through community.” The powder room has bottles of Chanel perfume, and there’s a lactation station and a meditation room, all housed in a canal-adjacent rowhouse that was once home to DC’s first all-female architecture firm. In terms of style, think Jean Harlow meets Geraldine Ferraro meets Amal Clooney, with lavish displays of art and books by women. In terms of edibles, look for local, women-owned businesses highlighted at The Perch, the club’s in-house café and bar. The women of DC’s Republic Restoratives stock the bar and run the cocktail menu, which features drinks like the Notorious RBG (vodka, orange, lime, sage simple syrup, cranberry) and The Filibuster (matcha, Rodham Rye, lemon juice, honey). Other women-owned suppliers on the café menu of toasts, salads and ’wiches include Baked and Wired, Vaughan Cheeses and Woolf Lavender Farm. Now ladies, you have a choice: join up, or figure out which of your friends are members (they can bring guests). You know you need that Notorious RBG cocktail in your Insta feed. 1056 Thomas Jefferson St. NW, DC; www.the-wing.com

Photo: Haley McKey
Photo: Haley McKey

Good Booze and Good Boys: A Dog’s View of DMV Watering Holes

Ziggy the Labrador as told (barked?) to Haley McKey

I love people. I love it when they rub my belly, I love it when they tell me I’m cute and I especially love it when they give me food. And that’s why I also love bars. I don’t quite understand why, but it seems that after a few drinks, the belly rubs, compliments and cookies are extra abundant. It’s great! So, when my friend Haley asked me to come with her to visit some dog-friendly spots around the DC area, of course I went along. And reader, I was not disappointed.


DACHA BEER GARDEN in Shaw
People Perks: Serves beer, cocktails, wine and food
Pup Perks: Open rain or shine thanks to a giant canopy and heaters for cooler days

Haley took me to Dacha on a Sunday afternoon. I liked the place right away. We got caught in the rain earlier, so Haley and I walked in looking like wet rats (though I confess, I’ve never seen one of those) and really appreciated the heat lamps. There was plenty of water and (free!) cookies for all.

It wasn’t too crowded – maybe due to the rain – so I had plenty of room to stand in the way and wag my tail at people. Haley informed me that this is not usually the case, and sure enough, after awhile things got busy and she told me to lie down under our table and quit being a fire hazard (whatever that means). I obliged, and in a moment of weakness she slipped me a few of her friend Sam’s French fries. I met another dog too! She was a puppy. I forget how exhausting children can be.

Haley ordered a fancy bourbon cocktail called a Shawny and a cup of coffee, and Sam got a beer. Sam is a talented artist and drew a picture of me. Someone looked at his drawing and told me I had beautiful eyes. I wanted to kiss her, but I settled for enthusiastic wagging. It’s more polite. 1600 7th St. NW, DC; www.dachadc.com

NORTHSIDE SOCIAL in Arlington, VA
People Perks: Serves wine, coffee, beer and food
Pup Perks: Dogs allowed on the outdoor patio

Haley took me here with her friend Courtney and Courtney’s dog Remy for a “work wine.” Haley tells me that Courtney is also a writer for On Tap, but to be honest with you, I have absolutely no clue what any of those words mean. Like, at all.

Anyway, the four of us got a table around the side of the building so Remy and I could relax in the shade. Courtney brought us some water and homemade dog treats, which are sold for 35 cents each. They were delicious, but I have been known to eat things I find in the woods, so maybe I’m not the best judge.

Haley and Courtney each had a glass of wine while they worked on their laptops, and I greatly enjoyed the buttery smell of the croissant they shared. Remy fell in love with a beautiful bloodhound we met and, being a bluetick hound himself, he had a lot to say about it. Halfway through, Haley took me to a nice grassy area across the street, which I deeply appreciated (Remy and I drank a lot of water). People walking by, patted our heads and called us good boys. I was overjoyed. 3211 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.northsidesocialarlington.com

ONE EIGHT DISTILLING in Ivy City
People Perks: Serves gin, vodka, bourbon and rye whiskey, plus a rotating menu of thoughtful cocktails; bottles of One Eight’s housemade liquors are for sale at the bar
Pup Perks: Dogs are allowed in the tasting room, but not on distillery tours

My first impression was that this was a loud place. But then I realized it was loud because the people inside were having fun! Everyone was very happy to see me – even more so than usual. Haley said this was a side effect of something called “liquor.” Whatever the cause, I had a great time. People were fawning over me all night.

The best part of this outing was that Haley brought her dad Bill along! (I love her dad so much that sometimes I whine when I see him. It’s really embarrassing.) He got a flight of three different bourbons and Haley got a gin cocktail called a Detroit Radler. It smelled like grapefruit and had what I thought was a meatball at the bottom but alas, it was only a cherry.

Again, both the staff and patrons were very nice not only to me, but to Haley and Bill too! They had such a good time meeting new friends that they got another round. Haley ordered Untitled Whiskey #3, a bourbon made in coffee barrels, and Bill ordered an Old Fashioned.

Meanwhile, I set my sights on the giant pretzel people were eating at a nearby table. I tried to get Haley to order one for me, but she told me she’s supposed to be watching my weight. I tried to explain that she could still watch my weight while I eat a soft, delicious pretzel, but she said I was missing the point.

At the end of the night, we said goodbye and the folks behind the bar gave me my very own bowl of water for one last drink before the ride home. I felt fancy and important. 1135 Okie St. NE, DC; www.oneeightdistilling.com


People here love dogs, and my adventures with Haley prove that in almost every part of town, there’s a place to get a drink with your best friend. I hope she takes me out again sometime. And if she does, I really hope she buys me a pretzel. Check out some of our other favorite pup-friendly watering holes below.

Cotton and Reed: 1330 5th St. NE, DC; www.cottonandreed.com
Just across the street from Union Market, this distillery allows dogs in the tasting room.

Liberty Tavern: 3195 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.thelibertytavern.com
This Clarendon-based bar and restaurant allows dogs in its outdoor patio area.

Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge: 101 N Union St. Alexandria, VA; www.volasdockside.com
This seafood restaurant and bar has a dog-friendly patio overlooking the Potomacin the heart of Old Town.

Hellbender2 (Photo - LT Goodluck)

What’s On Tap: April 2018

Greetings, beer nerds! As you likely know, there are a number of fantastic spots in the DMV where you can grab a pint, and their menus are always evolving and adapting to your tastes. If you’d rather avoid the guessing game, check out what’s coming up at a few of these fine establishments.

TUESDAY, APRIL 3

Founders Brewing KBS 2018 Alexandria Release Party
Join Rustico Alexandria as they celebrate the annual release of the inimitable Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. This night will feature 12 beers from the Michigan brewery, including a slew of barrel-aged beauties. One of Rustico’s very favorite releases of the year, KBS is brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolate, then cave-aged in oak Bourbon barrels for an entire year until it’s absolutely perfect. Be sure to come on by to taste one of the first kegs of KBS 2018. 5-11 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Alexandria: 827 Slaters Ln. Alexandria, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4

Allagash Beer Dinner
Join Granville Moore’s for a four-course, Maine-meets-Belgium dinner. The dishes include raw oysters, Maine lobster rolls, cod chowder with shrimp and mussels, brined duck and dessert. Each meal comes paired with a tasty brew from Allagash. 7-10 p.m. $60. Granville Moore’s: 1238 H St. NE, DC; www.granvillemoores.com

Strong Beer Tasting
Come for a very unique, sit-down beer tasting where you can meet the brewers and brewpub owners from across the region and taste their amazing Strong Beer and Ale selections. Each brewer will discuss their beer and answer any questions that you have. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to meet and talk to key individuals in the brewing industry. Mad Fox is still working on the brewery list and is focusing on 12 beers from breweries across the mid-Atlantic. 7-10 p.m. $55. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W. Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 5

Port City Tap Takeover
Join Blackfinn Ameripub in Vienna, as they’ll be carrying several of Port City’s locally brewed beers plus awesome food features including the relaunch of their Craft Your Thursday, which includes a $12.99 beer and burger combo. 5-8 p.m. Free to attend. Blackfinn Ameripub: 2750 Gallows Rd. Vienna, VA; www.blackfinnameripub.com

FRIDAY, APRIL 6

The Interboro Spirits and Ales and 3 Stars Brewing Showcase
On this night, Churchkey pours 11 beers from the two breweries, including their highly touted collaboration. Headlining the list is one of the last remaining kegs of Interboro and 3 Stars Prophet of Rage, an imperial stout brewed with rye, wheat, oats and Chinook hops. Other notables include 3 Stars Sonic Hummingbird, a double IPA conditioned with agave nectar; and Interboro Yo! Play, a fruit smoothie-inspired IPA infused with blueberries, maple syrup and lactose. 4-11 p.m. Free to attend. ChurchKey DC: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 7

HopFest 2018
HopFest 2018, the only DC beer festival by local brewers, for local brewers, is back for the fourth year in a row to support the DC Brewers’ Guild. Breweries from across the DMV will come together at DC Brau Brewing Company for an afternoon of hoppy beers, including old favorites, one-offs, and hard-to-find rare brews. Sloppy Mama’s Barbecue truck and other food vendors will be on site selling food, and DC Brau’s tasting room will be selling full-sized pints, six-packs and growlers. Entertainment will be provided by local musician Reed Appleseed. 1-5 p.m. $35. DC Brau Brewing Company: 3178-B Bladensburg Rd. NE, DC; www.dcbrau.com

The Sovereign’s Second Anniversary Celebration
For this very special occasion, The Sovereign will pour thre different Cantillon kegs – Rosé de Gambrinus, Kriek and Mamouche – plus De La Senne Wadesa #7, a blend of De La Senne-brewed Saison and Cantillon Lambic. Not to be out-done, folks at The Veil and Oxbow also offer special kegs for the evening including The Veil’s Escape, All That You Are and No More Sleep, and Oxbow’s Barrel-Aged FPA: Bordeaux and Gin Barrel-Aged Sasuga. All this and more. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Free to attend. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 14

Alumni Beer Olympics
Rep your alum in the best way you know how: out-play and out-drink your rival school. The Budweiser Beer Olympics at Dirty Water is alumni style. Teams of six are welcome to rep their alum in a variety of drinking games to determine which team went to the best beer-drinking university. 2-7 p.m. $75 per team. Dirty Water Sports Bar: 816 H St. NE, DC; www.dirtywaterdc.com

Kegs and Eggs: Up Top Acres and Bell’s Spring Rooftop Beer Garden
Come celebrate the spring with a rooftop beer garden event at Up Top Acres. Standing on a roof at a farm, you will enjoy a memorable day of good beer and delicious food. Drawing inspiration from spring produce and seasonality, Up Top Acres and Chef Colin McClimans work together to create a menu that highlights eggs. Beverage director Peter Grimm teams up with Bell’s Brewery to offer the first taste of freshly released spring seasonal beers along with some of their staples. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. $55-$75. Up Top Acres: 55 M St. SE, DC; www.uptopacres.com

MONDAY, APRIL 16

Aslin Beer Company Dinner
On this night, Rustico offers five exceptional beers from Aslin alongside a specially designed menu by Chef de Cuisine Aaron Wright.  Don’t miss this opportunity to try some deliciously rare treats like Pisghetti Western, Awkwardly Sweet and Master of Karate. As an added bonus, the team from Aslin will be in the house, sharing stories behind their excellent brewery and outstanding beers. The Aslin beer dinner begins at 7 p.m. $60 per person. Reservations are required. Rustico Alexandria: 827 Slaters Ln. Alexandria, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

For the Love of Beer and Whiskey
Join Bluejacket as they celebrate their love of whiskey and beer with master distiller Dave Pickerell and beer director Greg Engert. On this night, they’ll host an intimate five-course beer and whiskey dinner hosted by these two luminaries of the beverage industry. In honor of the occasion, executive chef Marcelle Afram has designed a unique menu to pair distinctly with each beer and whiskey offering. 7-10 p.m. $125. Bluejacket: 300 Tingey St. SE, DC; www.bluejacketdc.com

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18

Founders Brewing Breakfast Stout Bash
An absolute classic, Founders Breakfast Stout is an imperial stout brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and two types of coffee. There will also be pours of hard-to-find, barrel-aged versions of Founders Breakfast Stout, including CBS, aged in maple syrup-soaked Bourbon barrels and Kentucky Breakfast Stout, aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrels. Other highlights from the list include Fuzzy Sweater, a small batch IPA hopped exclusively with Cashmere, and Backwoods Bastard, a Wee Heavy aged in Bourbon barrels. 5-11 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Ballston: 4075 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

Union Brewing Beer Dinner
Join for an evening of great food and great beer provided by one of Maryland’s favorite breweries. Enjoy a three-course dinner served with four pours from Union Brewing’s tasty range of craft beers. $15 from each ticket sold will be donated to the Silver Spring Warriors Youth Lacrosse team. 7:30-10 p.m. McGinty’s Public House: 911 Ellswhorth Dr. Silver Spring, MD; www.mcgintyspublichouse.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 19

Scouts Honor: Girls Pint Out’s Fourth Annual Beer and Cookie Pairing
Join the DC area chapter of Girls Pint Out and their friends over at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar for what is sure to be a delicious evening. The event will take place in the upstairs bar, and tickets are limited. No tickets will be sold at the door. The $15 ticket price includes admission, samplings of all six beers and free cookies. 7-9 p.m. $15. Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar: 1104 H St. NE, DC; www.facebook.com/dcmetrogirlspintout

SATURDAY, APRIL 21

2018 DC Beer Fest
The DC Beer Festival returns to Nationals Park, bringing together dozens of craft breweries and featuring spring seasonal beers. Taking place throughout the stadium’s concourse including Centerfield Plaza, Budweiser Brew House, Bud Light Loft and Budweiser Terrace, the DC Beer Fest will have over a dozen food trucks throughout as well as lawn games, DJs and more. Two sessions: 12-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. $45. Nationals Park: 1500 S Capitol St. SE, DC; www.dcbeerfestival.com


Q&A with Hellbender Brewing Company

Ben Evans, CEO and Head Brewer

On Tap: Where does Hellbender Brewing get its name?
Ben Evans: We’re named after the Hellbender salamander, which is indigenous to this region. We have a very strong focus on sustainability, so it made sense for us to have an endangered species as our name. We also get to do partnerships and fundraisers for the National Zoo to help them raise money for endangered Appalachian salamander habitats, and we thought the name sounded tough and cool.

OT: How does Hellbender help save salamander habitats?
BE: We try to raise awareness and do events to raise money to protect them directly in their natural habitat. Unfortunately, in recent history, they were much closer to DC and they’ve since moved out because their habitats have declined. Cutting down on your waste and what’s going down the drain at your brewery is a significant step toward helping species like the Hellbender.

OT: What’s currently on tap at Hellbender?
BE: We have a couple of year-round beers, like the German-style kölsch and the American IPA. I think the kölsch is a great, refreshing beer, especially when it’s warm out or after a long day. The IPA is clean and has a mix of new and old-school American hops in it to give it a more citrusy and tropical flavor. We have a couple of extended seasonals like our saison, and we’re bringing in a hefeweizen this April.

OT: Why brew with a Meura mash filter?
BE: Ninety percent of the beer coming out of Belgium is made with [Meura filters], so it didn’t take much to convince me once I discovered the benefits. The main question I get from American brewers is they’re worried about the process of imparting off-flavors into the beer; they aren’t used to crushing grain so fine without getting the grain into the boil, which can cause astringency in your beer. The short answer is we’re using about 30 percent less water and about 15-20 percent less grain per batch to get the same result. We’re also brewing from start to finish significantly faster, so we can make a lot more beer in a given amount of time than a similar-sized brew house with a traditional system.

OT: Why do you think it’s important for breweries to be environmentally conscious?
BE:
Because breweries can put out a lot of waste. At the end of the day, whether you’re conscious of the environment or not, all these options we’ve chosen are actually saving us money. You’re being business savvy by choosing these options; it’s not just a romantic notion that you need to save the environment. These are things that will cut down on your bottom line, and you’re also making good decisions as a person.

Hellbender Brewing Company: 5788 2nd St. NE, DC; www.hellbender.com