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Photo: Courtesy of Continental Beer Garden
Photo: Courtesy of Continental Beer Garden

Beer Garden Season

As the sun finally shows its face in the District and the temperature begins to rise, everyone is taking to the streets in search of ways to enjoy the sunshine and quench their thirst in the process. And with the area’s brewing game steadily growing (80-plus local breweries and counting across the DMV), it’s no surprise that beer gardens have become popular gathering spots.

“People want to be outside in the city,” says Ryan Roller, general manager at The Brig. “It goes to show when there’s one weekend in January when it’s 60 degrees and we have people calling to make sure we’re open; we’re open year-round.”

Since opening in 2016 in the thriving Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, The Brig has become a local favorite. The massive outdoor beer garden serves up a variety of 23 brews on tap – along with a Tito’s cocktail available this summer – and is able to seat over 200 and nearly 300 standing outdoors (think an entire section of Nationals Stadium!)

“With beer gardens, as long as you offer something for everyone, they are going to work,” Roller says, noting that he tries to keep beers on tap for everyone’s palate, whether they are looking for a light lager, traditional IPA or testing the waters with something stronger.

“I’ve got this delicious, unfiltered, raspberry sour IPA that literally pours pink out of the tap, and people see that pink coming out and they’re like, ‘Wow!’”

Over on Georgia Avenue, entering Midlands Beer Garden feels much like an escape, with a welcoming outdoor space of communal picnic tables and wooden trellises decorated with lighting to take you away from city life for awhile.

On any given evening or weekend, you can find groups gathered to enjoy one of the 22 beers on draft, including a fair share of local brews, East Coast favorites, and German and Belgian varieties. A limited menu serves up giant pretzels and sandwiches, including a tasty bánh mì, but guests are also welcome to bring in their own food or order delivery.

The popularity of beer gardens in an urban environment like the DMV can also be attributed to the neighborhood feel they provide. Over in the Arlington neighborhood of Rosslyn, Continental Beer Garden does exactly this, with a large open space of high communal tables, lounge chairs and patio sofas along with bocce courts, creating a fun, recreational outlet among the high-rises and busy street traffic.

“We often heard that Rosslyn was missing an outdoor space,” says Katie Smith, Continental’s general manager. “A term I’ve heard is a third place – not a home or work – but another place that people will spend a lot of time. Our vibe is so relaxed even though it’s in the middle of so much activity. We’re an oasis that’s around the corner versus having to travel to enjoy being outdoors.”

Open seasonally when the temps rise above 60 degrees, Continental offers up German Weihenstephaner beers, as well as local craft varieties. A colorful mural by artist Jason Woodside brightens up the outdoor space, while lights strung around create a warm ambiance for when the sun goes down.

Also located in Arlington, Westover Market and Beer Garden is another outdoor beer drinking location to check out. Westover opened in 2009, and happens to be the DC area’s first-ever beer garden. While the market is renowned for its in-house butcher and incredible beer selection, the outdoor garden space has grown in popularity for its unique personality and neighborhood vibe.

The gated stone patio has several picnic tables, surrounded by lush green trees and plants, with live music when the weather prevails. During the summertime, they also offer up tasty barbecue along with burgers and sandwiches, all utilizing local, grass-fed meats. Be sure to chase it down with the variety of beers offered in the garden, including a highly recommended (and refreshing!) mango white ale for the summertime.

Learn more about these area beer gardens below. Cheers!

The Brig: 1007 8th St. SE, DC; www.thebrigdc.com
Continental Beer Garden: 1901 Fort Myer Dr. Arlington, VA; www.continentalpoollounge.com
Midlands Beer Garden: 3333 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.midlandsdc.com
Westover Market and Beer Garden: 5863 Washington Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.westovermarketbeergarden.com

Photo: Courtesy of Cortez
Photo: Courtesy of Cortez

Where the Cocktails are as good as the Views

Views of grand monuments, quirky rowhouses and historic streets make Washington’s outdoor bars endlessly alluring. This summer, there’s a new crop of rooftop and patio watering holes to explore across the city, each perched high above the hustle and bustle. And it’s not just the view that makes them worthwhile – several of the city’s best outdoor spaces also feature excellent cocktail programs. Here are six new spots to check out this season.

Calico

Calico’s urban backyard is proof you can create an oasis right in the middle of one of DC’s hottest neighborhoods.

“We’re this hidden escape in the middle of Blagden Alley,” says Calico’s co-founder, Greg Algie, whose secluded bar opened in the fall of 2017.

Now that the warm weather is here, Algie says to expect a new slate of summer activities, including cookout-style meals and outdoor fitness classes like yoga and pilates on weekends. A selection of frozen cocktails will join the bar’s popular (and dangerously crushable) “adult” juice pouches.

In addition to drinks, Calico’s chef Nathan Beauchamp is turning out some nostalgic comfort food like Philly-style tomato pie and the Italian-style Blagden hoagie.

50 Blagden Alley, NW, DC; www.calicodc.com

Colada Shop

Colada Shop’s new rooftop garden has made it even easier to get into the spirit of Cuba and the Caribbean. The space is designed to appeal to groups large and small, and is open for everything from morning coffee to evening drinks.

“We really wanted the rooftop to just look fresh and lighthearted, really taking inspiration from Little Havana,” says Mario Monte, Colada’s food and beverage director.

The rooftop cocktail menu has a tropical inspiration that’s entirely separate from the downstairs café. Highlights include a few variations of pouched cocktails (they’re calling them Havana Sippers) along with pitchers of mojitos and sparkling pineapple sangria.

Swing by on Thursdays throughout the summer for special “Havana Night” deals of $6 cocktails and $2 empanadas paired with Caribbean tunes from 4 p.m. to close. Monte also expects to use these evenings as a way to experiment with some new menu items.

1405 T St. NW, DC; www.coladashop.com

Cortez

Baja-style fare and drinks are the go-to items at Cortez in Shaw. The colorful Mexican bar and rooftop opened in March and offers views of the colorful rowhouses and businesses of the surrounding streets.

“It’s really meant to be a transformational experience for the guests,” says owner Ryan Seelbach. “It’s a very relaxed but lively atmosphere – a playful atmosphere – on our rooftop.”

The drink menu at Cortez includes classic and passionfruit margaritas along with choices like a pineapple daiquiri, a twist on a Paloma and more. There’s also a frozen margarita available exclusively on the rooftop. Food focuses on lighter options, all made in-house, such as fish tacos, chips and salsa, and street corn. Cortez offers rotating happy hour specials from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and a $10 beer-tequila-and-taco special Friday and Saturday nights after 10 p.m.

1905 9th St. NW, DC; www.cortezbardc.com

Fix Bar at Morris

Inside, Morris American Bar is a seated-only lounge for enjoying expertly made craft cocktails. But for a more casual experience, grab one of the refreshing, crushed ice “fix” drinks from its new patio, aptly named the Fix Bar.

“A fix is a nontraditional sour cocktail served under crushed ice,” says owner and mixologist David Strauss. “It’s one acid, one sweetener, one spirit – that’s it. It’s one of my favorite categories of classic cocktails.”

The Fix Bar is dog-friendly and encourages standing and mingling with your friends and neighbors. The cocktails are expected to rotate through the year and include items like a Bourbon Honey and a Bramble with gin, lemon and blackberry.

1020 7th St. NW, DC; www.morrisbardc.com

Truxton Inn

Despite its name, there are no rooms available for the night at Truxton Inn. Rather, this Bloomingdale neighborhood spot deals in riffs on classic cocktails in a comfortable lounge atmosphere. The year-old bar unveiled its patio earlier this spring, nearly doubling its capacity.

“Much like all of us, I’m glad we’ve got some outdoor space so we can enjoy the weather after that whirlwind of a winter,” says Brian Nixon, Truxton’s bar manager.

Nixon recommends sipping on the Delano in a White Suit, a combination of bourbon, Giffard Abricot du Rousillon, simple syrup and lime. Truxton Inn plans to roll out a tiki-inspired menu later this summer, and that should make the patio all the more welcoming.

251 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.truxtoninndc.com

Whiskey Charlie

Located on the top of District Wharf’s new Canopy Hotel, Whiskey Charlie offers a panoramic bird’s eye view of DC from the Capitol dome all the way to the Tidal Basin and Arlington. The vista at this Wharf destination rivals any in the city – though that’s far from the bar’s only attraction.

“We also have a really eclectic, approachable drink menu that has something for just about everyone,” says lead bartender Donnavon Lalputan. “Come for the sunset, stay for the drinks!”

House cocktails include the WC Mainstay, made with whiskey, amaretto, lemon, sugar and egg white. With summer approaching, Lalputan recommends the Sundress Season, which mixes crema de mezcal, habanero tequila, grapefruit juice, demerara, lime juice and a splash of soda. The bar also serves a selection of savory snacks and finger foods like crab cakes, short rib sliders, warm soft pretzels, and a cheese and meat plate.

975 7th St. SW, DC; www.whiskeycharliewharf.com

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: M.K. Koszycki
Photo: M.K. Koszycki

Behind the Bar: Hummingbird, Succotash and Farmers Fishers Bakers

Celebrate warm weather this June with boozy treats by the water. This month’s roundup will keep you hydrated no matter what neighborhood you find yourself enjoying the sunshine in, so read on for our top picks.


[Pictured above]

Chris Sollom
Bartender, Hummingbird

On Tap: Your slush cocktails were in high demand last summer. What makes them so popular?
Chris Sollom: We use fresh ingredients – fresh coconut water, fresh
coconut milk. It has the typical sweetness that people think of with slushes, but I think it takes people by surprise how refreshing and boozy they are.

OT: Based on last summer’s popularity, are you making any changes to your slush menu offerings?
CS: We have two different slushes this year: the frozen aperol spritz and a Painkiller, which is similar to a piña colada, except it includes fresh orange juice for a bit of a different twist.

OT: What’s your top food pick to enjoy while sitting outside sipping on a slush?
CS: The crab cakes are phenomenal. They’re all jumbo lump crabmeat from right here in Maryland. We’re also bringing softshell crabs back when they’re in season. The octopus is great as well.

OT: What drinks do you recommend behind the slush?
CS: I created a drink called Thinking of Summer. It’s a draft cocktail similar to a rum punch. It has coconut rum, dark rum, light rum, passion fruit, orange juice and cranberry, and it’s on draft, which puts CO2 through it for a bit of a different taste. We’ll have that on draft all summer long.

Photo: M.K. Koszycki

Photo: M.K. Koszycki

Chris’ Pick
Thinking of Summer
Lemon
Cranberry
Passion fruit
Orange juice
Coconut, dark and light rum

Hummingbird: 220 S. Union St. Alexandria, VA; www.hummingbirdva.net


Photo: M.K. Koszycki

Photo: M.K. Koszycki

Darlin Kulla
Beverage Director, Succotash

On Tap: Whiskey seems to be the liquor of choice on your menu. What’s your top whiskey-based drink to enjoy now that warmer weather is upon us?
Darlin Kulla: We are a Southern-inspired restaurant, so bourbon is our big draw. We carry over 100 different whiskies. We love the Belle’s Punch, which is one of our most popular drinks. It has mango-infused vodka and a little bourbon, plus ginger and peach. We finish with bubbles. You get the booze, but also sweetness and spice from the ginger and the peach. It’s a refreshing, easy drink.

OT: You offer four distinct flight selections, some showcasing local ryes and even a collaboration with Maker’s Mark. Tell me more about these curated selections.
DK: We went with a really bold, spicy flavor profile, and finished with a French cuvée for our Maker’s Mark Private Select. Maker’s Mark is usually one of the first bourbons people will try. It’s really interesting to try different iterations alongside the tastes we are going for.

OT: What beer selections do you suggest at Succotash?
DK: We carry different seasonal selections, things that are really bright and citrusy for summer. The one beer we [offer] in both of our locations is a rye beer, which has a hop backbone to it in addition to that rye bitterness. It’s very balanced, because our food is really bold and flavorful.

Photo: M.K. Koszycki

Photo: M.K. Koszycki

Darlin’s Pick
Belle’s Punch
Mint
Peach
Ginger
Bubbles
Jim Beam bourbon
Mango-infused vodka

Succotash: 915 F St. NW, DC; www.succotashrestaurant.com


Photo: Aja Neal

Photo: Aja Neal

Jon Arroyo
Beverage Director, Farmers Fishers Bakers

On Tap: What’s your favorite drink from Farmers’ extensive tiki menu?
Jon Arroyo: The Zombie is the king of tiki cocktails. I would suggest either the 1964 or the 1968. I would kick off your tiki experience that way!

OT: Many of your drinks are available in bowls, so what would you suggest as the best option to satisfy different palates?
JA: The scorpion [bowl], for sure. The cool thing about scorpions is that they can feed half a dozen people easily. Send out a of couple bowls to a party of 12, and that’s a great way to get a fast drink or quench your thirst while you’re waiting for your zombie.

OT: How does using your own Founding Spirits liquor affect the recipes you put together for your menu?
JA: Our spirits are showcased along with some other projects I’ve worked on in the past. We have the amaro daiquiri and the negroni swizzle, just to keep these drinks in the fun vein of tiki. Every time I make a drink, it always goes back to, “Does this fare well with our food [and] our overall guest experience?”

OT: What do you offer beyond cocktails?
JA: We have a rosé that we call Our Virginia Vines. It’s a project that I work on closely with Ben Jordan of Early Mountain Vineyards in Virginia. We’re happy and very proud to be using a local vineyard to partner and produce this rosé with.

Photo: Aja Neal

Photo: Aja Neal

Jon’s Pick
Negroni Swizzle
Swizzled and served in a tiki glass
Lemon
Campari
Cinnamon
Founding Farmers Gin
Founding Spirits Arroyo’s “Never Bitter” Amaro

Farmers Fishers Bakers: 3000 K St. NW, DC; www.farmersfishersbakers.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: Courtesy of Supreme Core Cider
Photo: Courtesy of Supreme Core Cider

What’s On Tap: Supreme Core Cider Opens Taste Room in District

The story of Supreme Core Cider comes with cider love at first sight – or something close to that. After meeting on a message board and bonding over their adoration for niche cideries on the Left Coast, Will Sullivan and Kyle Crosby figured they’d bring the craft beer aesthetic with a twist to the District. After three years of hard work, architectural investigations and a ton of science experiments involving apples, Supreme Core Cider opened the doors to its taproom on May 12. Just weeks after they began welcoming cider diehards and neophytes into their Ivy City location, we caught up with Sullivan to discuss all things cider.

On Tap: How did you and Kyle meet? When did the idea of a cidery come up?
Will Sullivan: We actually met on a local cidermakers’ chat forum – basically, a place where weirdos hang out and make ciders, and talk recipes, equipment and procedures. I put it out there that I was going to start one in DC, and we started chatting and got together. He ended up having a similar vision, and we had a good alignment there. We’re both craft beer guys at heart, and we wanted to approach cider like craft beer is approached. Our mission is [to use] available input to put out high-integrity, all-natural ciders. We try to source locally. We use real fruits, and our barrel programs are all from local producers.

OT: What do you mean by “real stuff” when it comes to cider?
WS: I’ll start by saying that the cideries we look up to are in the Pacific Northwest in Washington and Oregon, like 2 Towns Ciderhouse and Schilling Hard Cider. They come from a great craft beer culture, and they’re making really great products. Our goal is to hit the sweet spot and work with orchards throughout the season – be less like a winery and more like a brewery, in terms of how you feel when you’re inside and the palate we’re carving out.

OT: What can people expect from the drinks you offer? How did locals respond to your official opening?
WS: People really seemed to like it. We’ve been in the market since September, producing offsite while we waited for the taproom. The fact that we’re hitting the market with something that just wasn’t here – people are excited about that. We’re not for you if you’re into super sweet, but we’re the guys who are making cider without a crazy reliability on sugar. We’ve participated in a bunch of events. We did Snallygaster and different cider festivals. We were involved in a big festival at Nats Park. We do a ton of tastings to introduce people to our ciders, neighborhood by neighborhood.

OT: Now that you’ve accomplished opening the tap room, what’s next for you guys?
WS: Total and complete global domination [laughs]. We’re lucky to get in the market and interact with people. Our goal is to get people to our facility, and a big part of what we’re doing here is educational and cultural. We’re always going to have more than what’s on our website at the taproom. We want people to come and see our crazy experiments. Cider can be a cool beverage, but it can also anchor a culture like craft beer does.

Supreme Core Cider’s taproom is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-8 p.m. Follow them on social media at @supremecorecider.

Supreme Core Cider: 2406 T St. NE, DC; 202-215-5029; www.supremecorecider.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, JUNE 6

The Reverie Beer Dinner
Join Rustico Ballston for an unforgettable evening of beer and food with their friends from Reverie Distribution. Taste featured beers from five different breweries from Reverie’s portfolio alongside a specially designed menu by chef de cuisine Stephen McRae. 7-9 p.m. Reservations are required. $55. Rustico Ballston: 4075 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

THURSDAY, JUNE 7

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

FRIDAY, JUNE 8

Lagunitas Beer Dinner
Join Wildfire for a summer beer dinner when Wildfire’s executive chefs prepare a four-course custom menu paired with craft brews from Lagunitas Brewing Company. William Stanfield of Lagunitas Brewing Company will join as guest speaker for the evening. The dinner begins with a reception of passed appetizers and the first pairing at 6:30-8 p.m. $60. Wildfire at Tysons Galleria: 2001 International Dr. 3rd floor, McLean, VA; www.wildfirerestaurant.com/mclean

Tinner Hill Blues, Brews & BBQ Block Party
Join as Mad Fox closes the Market Square, fires-up the smoker and kicks-off Falls Church’s Tinner Hill Blues Festival with their inaugural Blues, Brews and BBQ Block Party. They will have live Blues music, great food and award-winning Mad Fox beer. 4-10 p.m. Outdoor Block Party ends at 10 p.m. but the restaurant will still be open for even more fun and beer. $7-$10 (beer and barbecue not included). Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 West Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 8 and JUNE 15

Brewmaster Tours
Spend your evening like a brewmaster! Admission includes an hour-long guided tour of the museum and a local craft beer tasting. Receive one beer flight per person featuring 4-oz. pours of three local beers, and experience the Brewmaster’s Castle with a drink in your hand. This month, the tours will feature a special tasting of Aslin beer. Guests must be 21+ to attend. 5-6:30 p.m. $30. Heurich House Museum: 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC; www.heurichhouse.org

MONDAY, JUNE 11

Dynamic Duos Aslin and Southern Grist: 20 Rare Drafts
ChurchKey welcomes Aslin Beer Company and Southern Grist Brewing to pour 20 different beers from the two incredible breweries. Rarely available in DC, Southern Grist has sent an unbelievable lineup of beers, including their collaboration with Aslin, Pushing Buttons. This Sour IPA was brewed with oranges, lemons, limes, lactose, vanilla and Jasmine tea. Not to be outdone, the friends at Aslin have sent a slew of specialties, including Cotton, an Imperial Pastry Stout finished with vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, coffee, coconut flakes, marshmallow and macadamia nuts. All Aslin and Southern Grist beers will be priced individually. 4-11 p.m. Free to attend. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

THURSDAY, JUNE 14

The Decadent Ales Showcase
ChurchKey welcomes the fine folks from Decadent Ales with pours of seven hard-to-find beers from the upstate New York brewery and host founder Paul Pignataro. Located in Mamoraneck, New York, Decadent Ales is known for brewing juicy, hazy IPAs and rich, dessert-inspired pastry stouts. Only recently available in the DC metro area, we can’t wait for you to taste these incredible beers. 4-11 p.m. There is no admission fee for this event. All Decadent beers will be priced individually by the glass and in 4-oz. tasting pours. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

The Power of Positive Drinking
The Power of Positive Drinking is back with more great, free comedy featuring some of the best up-and-coming comedians in the DMV. All performers pair nicely with Port City Brewing Company’s delicious craft beer. They will be offering beer in pitchers, so you and your friends won’t miss the show. Doors at 6:30 p.m., event from 7-9 p.m. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 15 – SATURDAY, JUNE 16

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival
Get ready for two big days of beer sipping, bourbon tasting, music listening and barbecue eating. Your admission buys you a sampling glass so you can enjoy an all you can taste samplings of beer and bourbon. Some of the best barbecue vendors will be onsite if you get hungry, in addition to enjoyable seminars in the tasting theater and live music all day. Featuring 60-plus beers, 40 bourbons and tons of barbecue. 6-10 p.m. on Friday, 2-6 p.m. on Saturday. $45-$120. The Plateau: 300 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; www.beerandbourbon.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 16

Bluegrass and Crawfish Boil with Rare Craft Beers
For those who haven’t experienced the fine tradition of a Southern Lowcountry boil, this is just the event for you. Join in the outdoor courtyard, where Rustico Ballston’s own chef de cuisine Stephen McRae will be serving up a feast of fresh Louisiana crawfish, Andouille sausage, corn on the cob and red potatoes. No crawfish boil is complete without a cold beer in-hand, so four Virginia breweries will be there to make sure your glasses don’t go empty. Enjoy everything from lawn games to live bluegrass performances from The Grandsons and Jonny Grave. 12-7 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Ballston: 4075 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

Pedals ‘N’ Pints: June Short Ride
Are you a bicyclist who loves beer and lives in the DMV? Be a part of Port City’s Pedals ‘N’ Pints June Short Ride. Come gather for coffee and donuts before departing for a ride, then return to plentiful brews and The Big Cheese food truck. It will be a little more than a 10-mile route from the front door of the tasting room out to the park, up to Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) and back. 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

THURSDAY, JUNE 21

Heavy Seas Beer Tasting
Be the first to the fiesta with a tap takeover with Flying Dog Brewery. Each ticket grants you three different tastes, complimentary house-made chips and more. Additional beers can be purchased for $5 during happy hour until 7 p.m. After, draft beers are $7. 4-10 p.m. Station Kitchen & Cocktails at The Embassy Row Hotel: 2015 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC; www.destinationhotels.com/embassy-row-hotel

SATURDAY, JUNE 23

Beer 101 at Mad Fox Brewing
Learn all about your favorite craft beers from production to taste characteristics at the Mad Fox Beer 101 class lead by CEO and executive brewer Bill Madden, who is a veteran of the brewing industry. The ticket price includes a brewery tour with a Q&A, a beer sampler handpicked by the brewers themselves, a discussion and a bar snack. There are only 20 slots available for each class. 4-5:30 p.m. $15. Mad Fox Brewing: 444 W. Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

It’s Raining Cats and Dogs: Derecho Party
Celebrate the return of summer and Derecho Common with a party in the Port City parking lot and fundraiser for Friends of Puerto Rico. Port City has also invited Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation to host a pet adoption from 2-4 p.m., so grab a pint and go home with a six-pack and a puppy (please only adopt a puppy if you have time and a loving home for them). Starting at 5 p.m., enjoy live music all night from Levi Stephens and Rabid Flash MoB and friends. Two food trucks will be onsite to satisfy your hunger, Rocklands BBQ and DC Slices. 12-10 p.m. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

MONDAY, JUNE 25

Nama’stay for Beer
Roll out your mat on a deck overlooking the DC horizon for an exhilarating yoga experience under the beautiful sky. You will spend your first hour moving and breathing mindfully in a vinyasa flow, then walk to the tasting room of Heritage Brewing Co. at Market Common for post-class libations. Meet on the top deck of the Fillmore St. Parking Garage (across from Heritage) by 6:45 p.m. to set up your mat. 6:45-8:30 p.m. Each ticket includes an all-levels yoga class and your first drink after class. BYO mat. $20-$25. Heritage Brewing Co. Market Common Brewpub & Roastery: 1300-1398 N. Fillmore St. Arlington, VA; www.heritagebrewing.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 30

Red, White & Brew Festival
Show your patriotic colors while you kick back with friends, food, tunes and a sweet selection of reds, whites and brews. There’s no better way to raise a flag (and a toast) to Uncle Sam than by drinking in America’s fruits of the vine and amber waves of grain. Every ticket purchase gives you unlimited full pours of American beer, unlimited tastings of 100-plus wines, craft beers and ciders, plus access to area food trucks, a local artisan market, live music and entertainment all day. 1-9 p.m. (Session 1 from 1-4 p.m. and Session 2 from 6-9 p.m.) $29-$89. Akridge Lot at Buzzard Point: 1926 2nd St. SW, DC; www.rwbrewfest.com

Photo: Courtesy of Bold Rock
Photo: Courtesy of Bold Rock

Bold Rock Unveils Spring Seasonal Rosé Cider

Drink aficionados can be a fickle bunch, often resulting in cliques for beer enthusiasts, wine connoisseurs and spirit experts. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be difficult, but Bold Rock Cider is used to bending norms to introduce folks to the wonders of hard cider. Earlier this year, the cidery released its new rosé hard cider. To get some insight on the latest and greatest beverage of Bold Rock, we talked to head cider maker Ian Niblock about the spring seasonal.

On Tap: How long had you workshopped a rosé cider? Why did you decide to develop this drink?
Ian Niblock: We’ve had our eye on a rosé-style cider for quite some time now. Like how our IPA (India Pressed Apple) is a gateway cider for beer drinkers, we wanted a style that would entice wine drinkers to give us a chance. We hear all the time from beer drinkers that they had no idea cider could taste that good, but they never would have tried it if not for the connectivity to beer. We saw that same opportunity in rosé cider, and we think many wine drinkers are going to be surprised by the great taste of Bold Rock Rosé.

OT: What are some similarities between your rosé hard cider and rosé wine?
IN: What anyone will notice first is the color. Bold Rock Rosé has a deep, rich pink hue immediately recognizable as rosé. Bold Rock Rosé is the driest cider we have ever released in a six-pack, with just enough sweetness to accentuate the strawberry [and] raspberry notes reminiscent of a Gewürztraminer rosé.

OT: Do you think cider drinkers might hesitate to try the cider because of its name?
IN: There has certainly been a need to educate the consumer on what rosé cider is, but rosé is such a popular wine style that there is plenty of awareness out there already. Our version is just a little bit of a twist that only uses apples, but still has a taste profile very similar to that of a rosé wine.

OT: What were your thoughts upon first tasting the cider? Did you guys nail it right away or did it take a while to get the recipe down?
IN: Bold Rock Rosé went through all sorts of trials and iterations, but when you hit the right recipe, you know. We had a moment when we were tasting some trial recipes and we all honed in on one in particular and said, “That’s the one!” It was pretty rewarding.

OT: What has the response been like so far? Do you guys plan to keep it as part of your seasonal rotation?
IN: The response has honestly been tremendous. The sheer amount of excitement surrounding the announcement followed by the subsequent success of Bold Rock Rosé in the marketplace has exceeded all expectations. We feel blessed to have such loyal customers who look forward to our seasonal releases, but the rosé has been embraced by longtime Bold Rockers and new entrants to the cider category alike.

OT: What’s next on the horizon for Bold Rock? Are there any strange or unusual drinks that you’re excited about?
IN: I can’t give away too much, but the rest of the year will not disappoint. As far as “strange and unusual” goes, we recently renovated our original cider barn into the Barrel Barn, which serves as both a small batch crafting facility and intimate tap room. The Barrel Barn will be our test bed of cider innovation, exploring the depths of cider, from yeast experiments to barrel aging and beyond. Guests can look forward to plenty of limited-run cider styles – some in kegs, some in cork and caged bottles. However, you’ll have to make the trek to our Nellysford Cidery to experience those styles as they will only be available at the Barrel Barn for now.

For more information on Bold Rock and where to pick it up locally, visit www.boldrock.com.

Photo: Courtesy of Sababa
Photo: Courtesy of Sababa

New and Notable: May 2018

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

Fancy Radish (Photo - Courtesy of Fancy Radish)

Fancy Radish
Open: March 20
Location: H Street
Lowdown: Vegans and omnivores alike rejoiced when Vedge Restaurant Group out of Philadelphia planted their first restaurant in DC. While everything on the menu is completely vegan, owners Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby aren’t trying to push an agenda. They’re just serving vegetables. It’s the way they serve them that makes a splash. Each dish takes a humble piece of produce – like a radish – and elevates it with artful techniques and vibrant flavors. Digging in to small plates like the Chioggia beet picnic, the trumpet mushroom “fazzoletti” and the spicy dan dan noodles, I would have easily believed they were laden with butter and cheese. The menu strikes a balance between the refined cuisine at their Philly flagship, Vedge, and the edgy street food at V Street. The restaurant’s namesake fancy radishes are adapted from the menu at Vedge. At the bar, vegetables also shine in drinks like the Peridot Meteor with gin, celery and olive oil or the Raphanus Shade with rye, radish, black vin and amaro ferro-kina. There are also a variety of natural wines and a handful of draft beers. The space has an industrial vibe, which is softened by earth tones and a mural spanning the restaurant that depicts a vegetable’s life cycle from seed to sprout. 600 H St. NE, DC; www.fancyradishdc.com

Kaliwa (Photo - Courtesy of Kaliwa)

Kaliwa
Open: March 28
Location: The Wharf
Lowdown: Restaurateur power couple Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong, known for Alexandria hot spots Society Fair, Hummingbird and more, opened their latest restaurant at The Wharf. The pair are serving three Asian cuisines that are near and dear to their hearts: Filipino, honoring Meshelle’s heritage; Korean, as an ode to Chef Cathal’s Taekwondo training; and Thai, because it’s their family’s food of choice. The menu is divided into sections for each country, with milder flavors in Filipino dishes like Kalderetang Cordero, slightly spicier funky notes in Korean Jae Yuk Gui and super hot spice levels in Thai Nuer Pad Prik. Most dishes are heavily sauced and meant to be eaten with rice, but there are also a few noodle dishes, hearth-roasted proteins and other classics like lumpiang. With minimal descriptions on the menu, the restaurant provides a glossary of commonly used terms (gochujang, calamansi) and servers are always available to elaborate. The pamphlet also offers some conversational phrases in Tagalog, Korean and Thai. The name Kaliwa means left, which Cathal promises is not a political statement, but rather a nod to his left-handedness and to the restaurant’s departure from the norm. Meshelle designed the space, featuring woven basket light fixtures, rope netting and bright blue hues to emulate a night street market. 751 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.kaliwadc.com

Sababa (Photo - Courtesy of Sababa)

Sababa
Open: March 15
Location: Cleveland Park
Lowdown: After a quick set change, Ashok Bajaj opened Sababa in the space formerly occupied by Ardeo. The new restaurant’s menu focuses on modern Israeli cuisine, which has roots in both Jewish and Arab traditions. Dishes display influences from the Middle East, Turkey and Greece. Meals often start with salatim – small portions of salads and spreads to share – and then progress into hummus and small plates. I couldn’t get enough of the vegetarian dishes, from charred eggplant and roasted halumi to fried cauliflower and Israeli salad. Kebabs and large plates are also available, like sumac- and onion-marinated steak, shakshuka and braised lamb shank. The restaurant’s name comes from the Hebrew slang for cool, and the design reflects this, evoking the port of Tel Aviv with Mediterranean tiles, canvas sails on the ceiling and wood paneling to represent a grape arbor adorned with string lights. The beverage program consists of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean wines, plus house cocktails that showcase Israeli spices and flavors.  3311 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.sababauptown.com

Spoken English (Photo - Courtesy of Spoken English)

Spoken English
Open: March 30
Location: Adams Morgan
Lowdown: Erik Bruner Yang’s second project within the LINE Hotel is now open for business, and it’s unlike any restaurant you’ve visited in DC. Spoken English is modeled after the Japanese Tachinomiya – a standing-room only restaurant where people stop by for snacks and drinks after work. The casual, communal concept is situated in the kitchen with two counters facing a wood-fired Grillworks oven. It can only accommodate between 12 to 16 people at a time, and the close quarters encourage guests to socialize with their dining companions and strangers. The menu provides a choice between having a few bites, like skewers and small plates, or enjoying a full meal of whole roast duck and chicken yakitori. The whole chicken yakitori consists of eight courses, each a different cut of the bird such as thighs, stuffed wings, crispy skin, bone broth, liver mousse and more. To drink, there’s a selection of sake and beer, as well as a few cocktails. Reservations are not accepted. 1770 Euclid St. NW; www.thelinehotel.com/dc

NOTABLE

Truckeroo (Photo - Courtesy of Georgetown Events)

Truckeroo
Dates: May 11, June 15, July 13, August 10, September 14
Location: The Bullpen
Lowdown: Once a month throughout the summer, a flock of food trucks converges at The Bullpen fairgrounds in Navy Yard for a massive festival. The event offers live music, cold drinks, games and a full lineup of food trucks to choose from. At the May event, guests can enjoy mac and cheese from CapMac, crêpes from Crepe Love, empanadas from DC Empanadas, frozen custard from Goodies, lobster rolls from Red Hook, and more. It’s open to all ages until 9 p.m., at which point it shifts to 21 and over. Admission is free. 1201 Half St. SE, DC; www.thebullpendc.com/truckeroo

Wines Over Washington
Dates: May 17, June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20
Location: BLT Steak
Lowdown: The rooftop of this downtown steakhouse has stunning views of the city, the Potomac River, the Washington Monument and the White House. This makes it a prime location to enjoy a glass of wine while watching the sunset. BLT Steak’s Wines Over Washington gives winos a chance to explore new wine varietals al fresco paired with classic fare by Chef de Cuisine Michael Bonk, as well as live music. The series takes place one evening per month through the summer. The first event will feature selections from Lanterna Wines. Tickets are $65 per event, or $275 for the entire series. 1625 I St. NW, DC; www.bltrestaurants.com/blt-steak/washington-d-c/winesoverwashington

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.

Photos: Amanda Weisbrod
Photos: Amanda Weisbrod

Behind the Bar: May 2018

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo the right way at brand new tequila bar Cortez and trendy mezcal mainstay Espita Mezcaleria, both located in Shaw, or at recently opened Mayahuel Cocina Mexicana in Woodley Park. Find out what the bartenders at these hip spots have to say about their mezcal- and tequila-based creations.


Cortez's Sam Helfstein (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Sam Helfstein
Bartender, Cortez

On Tap: What would you say is your most popular tequila cocktail?
Sam Helfstein: The passion fruit margarita. It’s made with El Jimador Blanco tequila, lime juice, a little bit of agave, triple sec and passion fruit puree. You get the choice of a salt or sugar rim.

OT: What first attracted you to Cortez?
SH: It seemed festive, bright and fun, and I wanted to try something different. I’m used to working in whiskey bars, so this is a definite change.

OT: Do you think DC is lacking in tequila bars? Is Cortez filling that space?
SH: I think that the style of Cortez brings something different to the table because there’s fast, casual dining on the lower level and there’s not really food upstairs – it’s more for just drinking frozen margaritas and fun stuff like that. You don’t find a lot of that in the city.

OT: What do you love most about the atmosphere here?
SH: Everything. Everyone has a really positive, happy vibe. When you walk in, you see how vibrant and bright the murals are. It’s really fun. People get excited and they’re always taking pictures.

Cortez (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Sam’s Pick
Classic Margarita
El Jimador Blanco tequila
Triple sec
Lime juice
Agave

Cortez: 1905 9th St. NW, DC; www.cortezbardc.com


[Pictured Above]

Jordan Utz
Bartender, Espita Mezcaleria

On Tap: Has working at Espita made you more passionate about mezcal?
Jordan Utz: Absolutely. Coming here, I got to develop a passion. I learned all of the nuances about the individual varieties. Every bottle up there has its own characteristics and I think because my background was initially more wine-focused, I can apply a lot of that to mezcal because it’s very terroir-based. Each village and each specific agave is going to have its own expression, and produce unique and specific flavors.

OT: What is Espita’s take on being authentic rather than traditional?
JU: Every ingredient, sauce and spice is made from scratch using largely authentic ingredients. As for the mezcals, we only sell responsibly sourced, traditionally made mezcals here. It’s becoming trendy, but mezcal is just not that kind of spirit. The agave takes a long time to grow. A single agave plant takes at a minimum about eight years to mature, so you can’t rush it. Mezcal shows when it’s cheaply made.

OT: Why do you think mezcal is so popular right now?
JU: Because it’s uncharted territory for a lot of people, there’s an element of curiosity. With mezcal, the reward is really high. If you can really take the time to get to know it, there’s so much depth and nuance about it.

Espita (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Jordan’s Pick
Tehuana Girl (Created by Robin Miller)
Yellow chartreuse
Espadin mezcal
Wheat beer
Elderflower
Honey
Lemon

Espita Mezcaleria: 1250 9th St. NW, DC; www.espitadc.com


Mayahuel's Walter Fuentes (left) and Mynor Martin (right) (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Walter Fuentes & Mynor Martin
Bartenders, Mayahuel Cocina Mexicana

On Tap: What inspired Mayahuel’s opening?
Walter Fuentes: We want to bring something new. Mezcal is something that’s going to get more and more popular like tequila did. We’re seeing a lot of people like the smokiness of the mezcal and the different layers of flavors that mezcal brings. We like mezcal because it brings you different parts of Mexico.

OT: What’s your most popular mezcal cocktail?
Mynor Martin: The Chingon is mezcal, scotch, Cocchi vermouth and Angostura bitters. It’s like a Manhattan, but Mexicana-style. The other one is the Smoked Mayahuel. It’s like an Old Fashioned with tequila, mezcal, cinnamon, simple syrup and bitters with mesquite cherry wood on fire.

OT: What makes Mayahuel’s cocktails stand out?
MM: We use only fresh fruit. We don’t use any sour mix or fake stuff. We care about perfect drinks.
WF: We try to keep good quality house tequila and mezcal. We don’t want to use bad quality [liquor]. We want you to come back the next day and drink again, not be hung over!

Mayahuel (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Walter and Mynor’s Pick
Smoked Mayahuel
Mesquite cherry wood on fire
El Silencio mezcal
Milagro tequila
Simple syrup
Cinnamon

Mayahuel Cocina Mexicana: 2609 24th St. NW, DC; www.mayahueldc.com