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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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos: Amanda Weisbrod

Behind the Bar: April 2018

Looking for a little hair of the dog? These brunch spots offer some of the best – and most unique – brunch cocktails in the city. On Tap sat down with Green Pig Bistro, HalfSmoke and Whaley’s to find out what makes their brunch cocktails a cut above the rest.


[Pictured Above]

Alexander Taylor

Bar Manager, HalfSmoke

On Tap: What’s the story behind the Breakfast of Shaw cocktail?
Alexander Taylor: The Breakfast of Shaw was created by the owner, Andre McCain, and it’s a local take on the ostentatious Bloody Marys that have come about over the years. Ours consists of a couple of our fried goods – sweet potato tots, mac and cheese bites, Mexican corn bites, French fries – [and] we also throw some chicken wings and a sausage slider on there.

OT: What other drinks make your brunch cocktail menu so special?
AT: I’d say the more popular item that makes our brunch menu special is the fact that we offer free bottomless mimosas. Our mimosas are different in that we source craft bitters, and we use Triple Sec along with champagne and orange juice.

OT: What gives HalfSmoke its whimsical vibe?
AT: Our motto is “Don’t grow up – it’s a trap.” And we’re very nostalgic. You’ll find that we use Trapper Keepers as our menu binders, and we use old Disney VHS cases as our bill folders.

HalfSmoke Breakfast of Shaw (Photo by Amanda Weisbrod)

Alexander’s Pick
The Breakfast of Shaw
Tomato, lemon and lime juice
Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Tabasco
Tito’s Vodka

HalfSmoke: 651 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.halfsmoke.com


Whaley's Alahin Mentado, bar manager (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Alahín Mentado

Bar Manager, Whaley’s

On Tap: What is Whaley’s most popular brunch cocktail?
Alahín Mentado: The Number One, which is a rum-based cocktail. It has a little bit of St-Germain, which is a nice elderflower, and that brings some sweetness to it. It’s mixed with fresh grapefruit juice and some sparkling rosé, so you’re going to have a little bit of tartness from the grapefruit, which is a nice balance with the rum, and then a nice, sweet flavor from the sparkling rosé. It’s beautiful.

OT: Do you have any off-the-menu cocktails that guests can try?
AM: If a guest wants to try something different, our bartenders are world-trained and can make anything. We ask [our] guests about their preference of alcohol and from there, we can go make a nice cocktail for them and make them happy. I love to see smiles on people’s faces after they taste a drink. I like to experiment, and that’s a good thing about Whaley’s. You can always come back and try different things at our bar.

OT: What’s the vibe of Whaley’s rose garden?
AM: The rose garden is a unique drinking experience for the city, and an opportunity for diners to forget they are in Washington. The space is very transformative, with the pink and white umbrellas, lush greenery and amazing view of the water. We offer a dozen or so of some of the greatest still and sparkling rosé wines from all over the world – from Israel to Australia. We don’t have a specific opening date for the garden yet, but it’s looking like it should be mid- to late April, depending on weather.

Whaley's Number One2 (Photo - Amanda Weisbrod)

Alahín’s Pick
Number One
Caña Brava rum
Sparkling rosé
St-Germain
Grapefruit

Whaley’s: 301 Water St. SE, DC; www.whaleysdc.com


Tim and Starlynne Vogeley, Green Pig (Photo by Amanda Weisbrod)

Starlynne and Tim Vogeley

Assistant GM and GM & Chef, Green Pig Bistro

On Tap: What inspired the full bar menu for brunch?
Starlynne Vogeley: That’s what our guests want. Our prices for Arlington [are] pretty comparable. But one thing we do have that’s different is if the ingredients call for fresh-squeezed orange juice or lemon juice, we try to get the freshest possible. If we can make it, we do that.

OT: What’s your most unique brunch cocktail?
SV:
I would say the Iced Morning Moonshine. This was actually highlighted by Belle Isle. They came here specifically and interviewed our bartender, Lily King, who is the creator of that drink. Our bartenders are very creative and very talented.

OT: Do you ever experiment with new brunch cocktail recipes?
SV: [We] experiment all the time – constantly. We have a total of six bartenders, my husband as well. I like to drink them. I call myself the official taste tester. I like to consider everybody here perfectionists, and they’re trying to perfect their craft. These cocktails are all original creations by our bartenders.

OT: What makes Green Pig Bistro a sustainable dining option?
Tim Vogeley: We buy a lot of food products from local farms – some are organic, but not all of them. We have a 60-acre farm in Purcellville, and we’re thinking of growing hops. We might even open a small brewery there. We make our own pickles, cheese and hamburger buns.

Green Pig Bacon Bloody Mary1 (Photo by Amanda Weisbrod)

Tim & Starlynne’s Pick
Green Pig Bacon Bloody Mary 
Spicy bloody mix
Vodka
Old Bay
Citrus
Bacon

Green Pig Bistro: 1025 N Fillmore St. Arlington, VA; www.greenpigbistro.com

Photo: Greg Powers

New, Notable, No Longer: April 2018

On Tap keeps locals in the know about the hottest new food and drink spots around town, the top culinary news of the month and recent closings. Read on to get the inside scoop on what’s new, notable and no longer in the DC area.

NEW

Alhambra
Open: February 9
Location: Downtown
Lowdown: The new restaurant at The St. Regis Hotel is a Mediterranean concept with French influences. The space got a quick facelift to add modern touches highlighting the historic building before debuting as Alhambra, an elegant power dining spot. The menu’s signature dishes include scallops a la plancha, rockfish served over chorizo and olive, pit-roasted chicken. In addition, the restaurant partnered with Boulangerie Christophe to offer an exclusive fig and walnut bread. The sophisticated service includes several tableside preparations, like tuna tartare. The highlight for me was the eponymous dessert: chocolate gianduja, Monte Carlo mousse and strawberry sorbet. 923 16th St. NW, DC; www.alhambradc.com

High Side
Open: February 9
Location: Fairfax City
Lowdown: Craft beer and Taiwanese small plates make for an ideal pairing at High Side, Fairfax City’s new bar. The downtown spot offers 20 craft beers on tap, ranging from tart and funky sours to malty, dark roasts. There’s also a heavy emphasis on local brews. Each Wednesday, the bar serves a mystery beer, inviting nerds and novices to sample the brew and guess what it is to win an order of pot stickers. There are also four craft cider taps and a wide selection of bottled beers to provide a little variety. The food menu features “xiaochi” such as mala pickled cucumbers, sour plum sweet potato fries, Taiwanese popcorn chicken, Malaysian chicken satay and my personal favorite, a scallion pancake with stir-fried beef. There are also a few larger plates, like garlic noodles with grilled shrimp and a deep-fried pork chop with rice. 4009 Chain Bridge Rd. Fairfax, VA; www.highsideva.com

Mi Vida
Open: February 23
Location: The Wharf
Lowdown: The varied cuisines and cultures of Mexico are on display at Mi Vida, the new waterfront restaurant from KNEAD Hospitality + Design and Chef Roberto Santibañez of Fonda in New York City. Santibañez, a native of Mexico City, modeled Mi Vida’s menu after the culinary diversity of his city. Choose from dishes like ceviche de tiritas, tacos de carnitas, queso fundido, enchiladas suizas and braised short ribs from the hearth oven. Santibañez’s favorite aspect of Mexican cooking is the art of creating a rich sauce, so naturally, he spotlights Oaxacan mole negro, the most complex sauce in the country. The dark sauce gets its hue from blackened pepper seeds, along with dozens of other ingredients like fruits and nuts that give it a deep, sweet heat. In addition to showcasing time-honored traditions, Santibañez also plays with modern preparations that are unique but distinctly Mexican. The bar has a vast selection of tequilas and mezcals – more than 130 options – and fresh cocktails like a tequila take on a piña colada and a frozen mango and passion fruit margarita. Several of the drinks are served in whimsical glassware, like the Mez-skull that comes in a glass skull. The spacious 11,000-square-foot restaurant is anchored by a 19-foot clay depiction of the “Tree of Life,” and each of the three floors depicts different periods in Mexican history – from the colonial hacienda terrace to Mayan pyramid motifs in the upstairs ceiling. 98 District Sq. SW, DC; www.mividamexico.com

Momo Yakitori
Open: February 23
Location: Woodridge
Lowdown: Momo Yakitori, the weekend-only restaurant that popped up in Woodridge earlier this year, has a laser focus on one aspect of Japanese cuisine. You won’t find ramen, rice bowls or sushi. Instead, the menu almost exclusively offers yakitori, or skewered chicken prepared on a traditional charcoal grill. You can order single skewers or platters, with options ranging from chicken breast or skin to more unusual choices like duck heart or wagyu. There are also a few salads and other veggie dishes, like shishito peppers and shiitake mushrooms. To drink, opt for sake or shochu by the glass. 2214 Rhode Island Ave. NE, DC; www.momoyakitori.com

NOTABLE

Sherry Blossom Festival
Date: Now through April 15
Location: Estadio
Lowdown: While cherry blossom trees bloom across the region, Estadio is putting their own spin on the festival by celebrating Spanish fortified wine. The restaurant’s third annual Sherry Blossom Festival features rare sherries, pintxos pairings, happy hours, sherry dinners, educational tastings and more. Every Monday, there will be an all-night Pass the Porron party where free porrons of a sherry cocktail called rebujito will be passed around for guests to enjoy. There will also be pairings of sherry with pintxos at the bar Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m., and nightly four-course tasting menus paired with sherry. Throughout the festival, two sherry flights will be available, as well as extremely rare reserve sherries and new sherry cocktails. 1520 14th St. NW, DC; www.estadio-dc.com

WhiskyFest
Date: April 17
Location: Marriott Marquis
Lowdown: Whisky Advocate’s WhiskyFest will be hosted in DC for the third year in a row. The event, now in its 21st year, boasts nearly 300 whiskies from around the world – including single malt and blended Scotch, Irish, bourbon, rye, Tennessee, Japanese, Canadian and craft-distilled whiskies – plus rum, cognac and other spirits. It’s also a chance to learn from master blenders and whiskey experts during educational seminars and tastings. Representatives from distilleries will be on hand throughout the evening at their pouring booths. 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC; www.whiskyfest.com

Now Open

Blue Bottle Coffee: 1250 4th St. NE, DC; www.bluebottlecoffee.com
Bread & Water: 1201 S. Joyce St. Arlington, VA; www.breadandwatercompany.com
Capital Burger: 1005 7th St. NW, DC; www.thecapitalburger.com
Cortez: 1905 9th St. NW, DC; www.cortezbardc.com
Fancy Radish: 600 H St. NE, DC; www.fancyradishdc.com
Frida Beer Garden: 4905 Fairmont Ave. Bethesda, MD; www.fb.com/fridabeergarden
Insomnia Cookies: 1309 H Street NE, DC; www.insomniacookies.com
Maizal: 429 L’Enfant Plaza SW, DC; www.maizalstreetfood.com
Players Club: 1400 14th St. NW, DC; www.playersclubdc.com
Sababa: 3311 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.sababauptown.com
Soup Up: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.soupup.us
Taqueria Local: 1627 K St. NW, DC; www.localtaqueria.com
Tiki Taco: 2010 P St. NW, DC; www.tikitacodc.com

Pop-Ups

Minnie: 301 Water St. SE, DC; www.icecreamjubilee.com
Morini Piccolo: Boardwalk along the Anacostia River in SE, DC; www.osteriamorini.com

No Longer

Ardeo in Cleveland Park
Capitol City Brewing Company in Shirlington
Del Campo in Penn Quarter
Geranio in Alexandria
Las Canteras in Adams Morgan
Mason Dixie Drive Thru in NE, DC
Old Glory BBQ in Georgetown
Tortoise & Hare in Crystal City

Photo: Courtesy of The Watergate Hotel

Beyond the Mimosa: Unique Takes on Brunch Bubbles

I’d never recommend turning up your nose at a good mimosa or bellini, and there’s certainly no shortage of them throughout the DMV. But there’s also something to be said for mixing things up and getting out of your brunch beverage comfort zone every so often. If your brunch routine is starting to feel a bit stale, check out these spots for innovative weekend sips.

BUBBLES AND A FLICK at iPic Pike & Rose
It’s like drinking at home, if home has reclining leather seats, a huge movie theater projection screen and in-seat dining service. Reserve seats for the latest movie with a friend and order a bottle of Chandon Brut to share during the film – it’s a traditional method sparkler from Napa Valley that’s fruity, crisp and delicious. You can order food during the movie (with more gourmet options than your regular theater fare) or get to the theater early to grab brunch at the attached restaurant, CityPerch. Added bonus? You can also take drinks from CityPerch into your movie. 11830 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda, MD; www.ipictheaters.com

Champagne on Ice at Succotash
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Inspired by trips to the south of France, where sweltering summers routinely encourage people to enjoy their bubbles over ice, Moët & Chandon’s winemaker created Moët Ice, a champagne that’s slightly sweeter, richer and able to stand up to the dilution of ice. Succotash, a relative newcomer to Penn Quarter, will be adding Moët Ice bottle service to their brunch offerings this spring. Each bottle will come to the table with self-serve ice cubes and garnishes like fresh berries and mint. 915 F St. NW, DC; www.succotashrestaurant.com

Classic with a Twist at Stable
This new Swiss-American restaurant on H Street is worth a trip for the “Raclette Experience” alone. However, I’d argue that the only way to improve melty, cheesy goodness is to pair it with something bubbly and refreshing – cue sparkling wine! There are plenty of options on the brunch drink menu to satisfy your sparkling desires, including creative cocktails and mimosas spiked with elderflower for a burst of floral complexity. If you’re going the Raclette or fondue route (and I suggest you do), the lively effervescence and hints of citrus bitters in the Aperol spritz are the perfect complement. 1324 H St. NE, DC; www.stabledc.com

Go Big or Go Home at Barley Mac
This Rosslyn spot may be better known for its selection of bourbons and whiskies, but they’re certainly not cutting any corners in the mimosa category. There’s a sparkling selection for every thirst size, so if you’re sipping slowly this weekend, try one of the amped up mimosas flavors – including black raspberry, passion fruit, strawberry basil and blueberry. If it’s a party weekend, order the king-sized “make your own mimosa,” which comes with a magnum bottle (the size of two regular bottles) and two flavors of your choosing. You’ll definitely want to order a side of their addictive crispy dough appetizer, coccoli, alongside your bottle. 1600 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.barleymacva.com

I Scream, You Scream…for Champagne Sorbet at Blue Duck Tavern
This gem tucked inside the Park Hyatt in Georgetown is known for their rotating menu of seasonal, farm-to-table dishes. The food is always stellar, but you’ll be equally smitten with their often-changing sorbet mimosa, available during weekend brunch. Chef’s seasonal sorbet is topped with a French crémant (“CRAY-mont”–that’s a traditional-method bubbly from a region in France other than Champagne). If you want to continue your sparkling theme, try the smoked citrus-cured salmon, accompanied by a champagne gelée. 1201 24th St. NW, DC; www.blueducktavern.com

Weekend Afternoon Tea at The Watergate Hotel
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more high class (or if you’ve just been binge watching Downton Abbey), make a reservation for afternoon tea at Kingbird Restaurant inside The Watergate Hotel. Held every Saturday and Sunday between 2-3:30 p.m., the event is billed as “a traditional tea with a retro twist.” Enjoy a complimentary glass of bubbles as an aperitif to a selection of teas, savory finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and sweet treats. $50 per person, reservations required.  2650 Virginia Ave. NW, DC; www.thewatergatehotel.com


Soon enough, the weather will improve, patios will open and official springtime brunch will be upon us. No matter where your brunch experiences take you this year, remember to drink well. You know what they say: a brunch without bubbles is just a sad, late breakfast.

Photo: Courtesy of Ana at District Winery

Brunch Buzz: Top 25 of 2018

Socially, Washington is held together by the glue of brunch. More than the city’s other social institution – the happy hour – brunch allows for extended, leisurely bonding without a set agenda. And the District can never get enough of new culinary adventures – so we compiled our favorite newbies from the past year. These are wonderful places to hang out, see, be seen, and roll out refreshed and ready for the work week.

1. Ana at District Winery

Between high ceilings and massive windows, dining at the District’s only winery feels like dining outside. The cocktail menu is limited, but the menu features the winery’s growing range of house wines. District Winery sources grapes from across the U.S. and then produces wines that highlight the flavor profiles in America’s different growing regions. 385 Water St. SE, DC; www.districtwinery.com

2. Baba

This Turkish hot spot in Clarendon serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.), offering heavenly crafted bowls of oatmeal, egg dishes and pastries, along with high-quality coffee drinks. Enjoy unlimited brunch for $34/person, with music and a buffet section of handmade Turkish pastries, salads, sandwiches and more, along with made-to-order Balkan eggs, sliders and smoked salmon crêpe. And $1 mimosas, bellinis and Bloody Marys. 2901 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.baba.bar

3. Bar Elena

Comfort food and arcade games is one form of brunch heaven. Add in a sophisticated seafood menu for a lux touch, and you have a formula that will endlessly appeal to DC’s trendy young professionals. 414 H St. NE, DC; www.barelenadc.com

4. Bindaas at Foggy Bottom

This casual take on Indian street food with a flavorful twist is the newest location from Chef Vikram Sunderam of Rasika. Brunch runs from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on the weekends, offering an array of dishes that mix sweet and savory. Try the avocado golgappa with sweet yogurt and chutney, the lamb kathi roll with roast masala and fennel seed, or the Parsi fried chicken roadside sandwich with spiced fried chicken and beef tomato chutney. 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.bindaasdc.com

5. Bluestone Lane

Every library should have an airy, light-filled Australian café attached. DC’s West End Public Library is wrapping up its renovation, and diners can take their coffees into the library’s reading area. Order a flat white and an avo toast (easily the best in DC) – but note the café has no liquor license, so plan to air your liver out. 1100 23rd St. NW, DC; www.bluestonelane.com

6. Brothers and Sisters in the LINE Hotel

If you love Maketto, you’ll adore Erik Bruner-Yang’s newest adventure. Brothers and Sisters also occupies a unique space – a neoclassical church with most of its original architectural elements preserved – and has a similar buzzy energy. Brothers and Sisters serves American classics with East Asian influences, as well as a collection of unique cocktails. We recommend “It’s Not Just for Osaka Anymore” (Cocci rosé, gin, red shiso syrup, vitamin C powder). 1770 Euclid St. NW, DC; www.thelinehotel.com/dc/venues

7. Burmese Bodega at Union Market

There’s always something new going on at Union Market, and grazing at different food stalls has become a beloved DC brunch option. We are intrigued that beloved local Peregrine no longer has the coffee market cornered (welcome, Blue Bottle Coffee!), and our favorite newcomer is the Burmese Bodega – lots of rich, earthy Southeast Asian flavors underscored by very fresh ingredients. 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.unionmarketdc.com

8. Chloe

Chloe’s eclectic brunch menu (available Saturday and Sunday) pays homage to Chef Haidar Karoum’s Lebanese roots and world travels. Start with the sheep’s milk ricotta with raw honey, rosemary and grilled house-made bread, or the crispy churros with bittersweet chocolate ganache. Then go for the Ivy City smoked salmon tartine or the poached eggs with warm scallion biscuit and shiitake mushroom mornay sauce. Grab a house Blood Mary, or mimosas by the carafe to wash it all down. 1331 4th St. SE, DC; www.restaurantchloe.com

9. Del Mar

Wharf restaurants take full advantage of the water views – with lots of windows and cathedral ceilings – and Del Mar pairs its prime real estate with perfect service, a buzzy atmosphere and an extensive menu of authentic, carefully prepared Spanish dishes. Order a carafe of sangria roja (red wine, brandy, vermouth, orange) for the table and enjoy the buzz. 791 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.delmardc.com

10. Delirium

When Belgium beer makers Delirium decided to open their first-ever U.S. restaurant/bar location, they ran several analyses and settled on Leesburg, Virginia as the perfect location. And lucky for us, because their 300-plus beer list and epic brunch offerings are amazing. On Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., dishes include fresh waffles that can be piled with ice cream and fresh strawberries, poutine with classic brown gravy and house-made farmers cheese (add that fried egg!), and scrambled salmon with cream cheese and fresh herbs. Grab a beermosa featuring delirium tremens or a mimosa (by the glass or carafe). 101 South King St. Leesburg, VA; www.deliriumcafe.us

11. Heritage Brewing Co. Market Common Brewpub and Roastery

This brunch is for beer and coffee enthusiasts alike, as Heritage Brewing Co. beers and Veritas Coffee Co. nitrogen-infused cold press coffee are on full display, along with elevated pub fair. On Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., grab the $25 brunch special, which includes a main course, two 13.5-oz. flagship beers and a dessert. We recommend the heavenly, thick-cut brioche French toast with salted caramel maple sauce or the eggs Benedict served on cheddar and scallion scones. Go with the coffee stout chocolate brownie for dessert. 1300-1398 N Fillmore St. Arlington, VA; www.hbcmarketcommon.com

12. Hummingbird

Inspired by popular traditions of clam bakes and oyster boils, this Alexandria waterfront restaurant and bar offers a daily breakfast (6:30-10:30 a.m.) and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Start the table with a brunch bread basket, and then move on to the crab and corn fritters with chipotle aioli or the crispy fried oysters. You can’t go wrong with the French toast or our favorite, avocado toast with an added fried egg. Other notable dishes include the eggs Benedict with the option for a crab cake or lobster tail, and the Irish smoked salmon platter.220 S Union St. Alexandria, VA; www.hummingbirdva.net

13. Joselito Casa de Comidas

We adore this bit of Spain in DC, complete with an Iberico ham cart. And while the mimosa-bellini-Bloody Mary bar is perfect, we prefer the delightful sangria – served with a lovely, enormous, fruit-filled ice cube. 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC; www.joselitodc.com

14. Kith and Kin

When Kwame Onwuachi’s overly-ambitious Shaw restaurant crashed and burned, no one envisioned his Phoenix moment. Onwuachi landed at the Wharf’s new Intercontinental Hotel, where he has created a menu that blends Nigeria with the Bronx. Note that it’s technically a breakfast menu – but you just need to grab the cocktail list to make it a smashing brunch. 801 Wharf St. SE, DC; www.kithandkindc.com

15. Lucky Buns

Influenced by Southeast Asia, Australia and the UK, brunch offerings include such sandwiches or “buns” as the Proper Bacon Bun with bacon rashers, brown sauce, and charred tomato on sourdough (add on the cheese, avocado and egg!) Other dishes include the Full Monty English breakfast and smashed avocado toast on sourdough with cotija and roasted tomato. Grab a side of proper chips with malt vinegar mayo to round things out. Brunch offered all weekend starting at 11:30 a.m. 2000 18th St. NW, DC; www.luckybunsdc.com

16. Pamplona

Named after the town in Spain where the famed running of the bulls occurs, Pamplona serves up unlimited Spanish tapas and mimosas during their bottomless brunch for $35 per person on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Choose from dishes like the chorizo biscuits, lamb burgers and serrano ham benedict. Mimosa flavors include classic, grapefruit or apple, with a two-hour limit on bottomless. 3100 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.pamplonava.com

17. Quinn’s

This Rosslyn sports bar boasts that it’s the longest brunch in Arlington, running 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the weekends. Start with the French toast sticks and then move on to the cheddar bacon Belgian waffle, served with two eggs sunny side up, or go for the crab cake BLT. Be sure to save room for the Reese’s sundae for two, and don’t forget the $1 bottles of champagne (per person with brunch item order). 1776 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.quinnsonthecorner.com

18. The Salt Line

A popular happy hour spot for Nationals fans, this New England-style seafood restaurant serves up an amazing brunch complete with gorgeous Capitol Riverfront views. Classic dishes include the clam chowder and fried clam bellies, while brunch staples include a heavenly lobster omelet, decadent king crab mac and cheese, and an unexpected but completely welcome duck confit French toast. Wash it all down with one of several signature brunch cocktail creations – our go-to is the Seaside Spritz. Brunch is served 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. all weekend, with cocktails going until 5 p.m. 79 Potomac Ave. SE, DC; www.thesaltline.com

19. Sfoglina

The Trabocchis’ posh pasta palace refocuses its menu for a glorious weekend experience. We love the Maine lobster skillet pancake alongside the eponymous Sfoglina (vodka, elderflower shrub, prosecco), which tastes like summer and joy. And don’t be fooled by the white tablecloths – the service is warm and friendly. 4445 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.sfoglinadc.com

20. Siren

Located in the Darcy Hotel, this latest addition from Chefs Robert Wiedmaier and Brian McBride take the freshest seafood and put it center stage. Brunch runs 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and for $35 per person, you can enjoy a raw bar, salad and dessert buffet spread in the lower lounge of the Darcy, with à la carte menu items available. For those looking to take it up a notch, order from the caviar service, which comes with crème fraiche, red onion, chive and egg. 1515 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC; www.sirenbrw.com

21. Sunday in Saigon

Sunday in Saigon has masterfully blended East and West in its beautiful brunch menu. The picky eaters should order malted milk pancakes and mimosas, while the more adventurous can explore the approachable menu of pho noodle soups and bahn mi sandwiches. Do not miss the small but creative brunch cocktail menu – we heart the Pink Expat (charred pineapple and chili-infused tequila, guava nectar, lime, prosecco). 682 N St. Asaph St. Alexandria, VA; www.sundayinsaigon.com

22. Supra

DC’s first Georgian restaurant (the country, not the state) is helmed by the Embassy’s former chef, and shows off a national cuisine that’s a natural fit for brunch (think lots of beautiful carbs and cheese). Georgian cuisine also inspires the drinks menu – we love the Bloody Mariami (vodka, red Georgian plum sauce, red ajika seasoning, lemon, cilantro syrup, svanuri salt). 1205 11th St. NW, DC; www.supradc.com

23. Tiger Fork

This Blagden Alley restaurant takes Hong Kong culture and mixes it with hints of Asian, European and Islamic flavors. Their “Dim Sum and Then Some” brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. features a variety of small plates including broccolini with house-made oyster sauce, Chinese bacon with pickled radish salad, and Hong Kong style French toast with burnt coconut cream and a cute smiley face, of course. For cocktails, you can’t go wrong with the gin-based All the Pretty Flowers. 922 N St. NW, DC; www.tigerforkdc.com

24. Tulips

Champagne brunch in a charming Dupont Circle rowhouse? Yes, please. The extensive renovation converted the old Irish Whiskey into a haven of brick and chandeliers and chintz. Order bottomless for the table, and you’ll get a steady stream of mimosas, bellinis, oysters and beignets. 1207 19th St. NW, DC; www.tulipsdc.com

25. Unconventional Diner

Diners love classics (example: pancakes) like kids love candy – and we love this diner’s unconventional take on the classics (example: lavender-ginger pancakes with vanilla mascarpone). And we love the Unconventional because it really does live up to its name. Our inner fat kid is happy. 1207 9th St. NW, DC; www.unconventionaldiner.com