Cue Florence Welch and drink your way through the dog days of summer.
From the new kid on the U Street LGBTQIA+ bar scene to the D.C. expansion of a New York cocktail lounge, we picked three just-opened bars in the DMV that should be high on your list to check out during the dwindling days of summer.
Death & Co
What to order: Trust the bartender’s recommendation
Why they opened in the District: In their words, the vibrant, creative, ambitious and endlessly welcoming D.C. food and beverage scene put D.C. at the top of the list when they decided to expand outside of New York.
The full rundown: Death & Co’s relationship with their new space — the former Columbia Room — goes back a decade: Derek Brown of the Columbia Room hosted Death & Co’s book launch party at the bar in 2014. And, in January 2022, Brown handed the keys over to Death & Co to open a D.C. outpost of their storied cocktail bar. The space remains as inviting and mesmerizing as it was throughout Columbia Room’s reign, and guests will still find themselves in a hidden world within the bar’s multiple indoor and outdoor areas. But not everything remains the same. Death & Co has brought their own luxe spin into the space with art, deep hues and jewel tones, textures and intricate millwork. It’s an experience for the tastebuds and senses.
Bar Jo at Josephine
What to order: Champagne
Back to school: If you love the idea of learning something new in the fall, take a French wine class, hosted every Wednesday at Bar Jo. Classes look at regions from Alsace to the French Alps.
The full rundown: A sparkling cocktail bar? We’ll be there. At Josephine, Old Town’s beloved French brasserie, you’ll find festive bubbles on the third floor of the restaurant every Thursday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. In addition to champagne, their sparkling cocktails will run the gamut from iconic drinks like Hemingway’s Kir Royale, featuring Middleburg cider and distillery Mt Defiance’s cassis, ginger, absinthe and sparkling wine, to delightful new takes on old favorites, like The Lighter Side of a 75, with French aperitif, lemon and sparkling wine. And you won’t go hungry. Guests can order all of the French classics from Josephine’s menu, including escargot, wagyu steak tartare and pâté de champagne.
What to order: Smoky pineapple margarita
The name game: Sitting proudly on the bar is an imperial shaker, which is a quirky and nostalgic cocktail machine that relies on a manual hand crank to mix cocktails. Yes, your cocktails.
The full rundown: From the owners of Dirty Goose, Shakers is adding another LGBTQIA+ spot for those looking to bar hop along U Street. But Shakers’ indoor-outdoor space won’t just serve as a nighttime and weekend establishment. During the week, Shakers is planning to shake up the U Street scene, serving as a venue to host community and family events, from drag queen story hours to family nights to ANC meet-and-greets. There’s a stage for shows, and the space itself can be easily reconfigured to accommodate varied events. But, of course, it’s still a bar, so you can count on this newcomer for rum drinks and classic cocktails flowing all night long.
Fall Forecast: Vesper at The Morrow
What to expect: Everything from go-go to bossa nova sounds
Worth a second visit: The weekend tea service with champagne and lavish food is a good excuse to come back during daylight hours.
The full rundown: Live music and Michelin-starred Chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s inventive and indulgent dishes — including splurge-worthy caviar service — are alluring reasons to spend an evening at Vesper, the bar debuting on the 11th floor of the Morrow Hotel. We’re looking forward to dressing up for a night out and sharing hushed secrets over cocktails in an intimate, luxurious space. The vibrant sounds of talented local performers that range from go go to bossa nova will punctuate the lounge-y vibe of the rich space, which is filled with sumptuous design and intoxicating blue details from floor to ceiling.
222 M St. NE, DC; vesperdc.com
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