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Hank’s Oyster Bar to Begin Expansion Work in May

Borderstan, Hank's Oyster Bar, 17th Street NW

Hank’s Oyster Bar will expand indoors and outdoors with work getting underway in May. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Laura Herman. Follow her on Twitter @Lmhhabs.

After several months of heated debate, local seafood hotspot Hank’s Oyster Bar at 1624 Q Street NW announced this week that they plan to undergo renovations to double seating capacity in May. Hank’s will expand into a vacant commercial space next door, 1,800 square-feet of space in a former row house.

A list of Tom Hay’s stories on Hank’s is at the bottom of this post. And you can find out what Alejandra Owens likes at Hank’s: What Does Alejandra Order at Hank’s?

The proposed expansion to the small restaurant space was contested over recent months by community members and Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B, citing concerns about  noise levels, hours of operation, outdoor traffic, and liquor licensing. Chef and owner Jamie Leeds’ bid for expansion was finally approved by the DC Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board on December 8, 2010, with conditions that Leeds must take steps in construction, design, operating hours to mitigate neighbors’ potential noise concerns.

More Seats Indoors and Outdoors

Leeds’ announced plans for expansion earlier this week. The plans include doubling the outdoor patio space to 40 total seats, the addition of Hank’s Bar & Lounge, which will be open for late night dining until 2 am on weeknights and 3 am on weekends, as well as an upstairs private dining room slated to accommodate up to 24 diners.

“I am thrilled to be able to provide a place for the Hanks guest to relax and have great crafted cocktails in a comfortable setting. Hanks Bar and lounge late night will fulfill a niche on 17th Street for adults to have adult cocktails. We will have a bar menu to go with cocktails and I plan on serving the popular Lemon Fried Olives from CommonWealth, as well as the charcuterie and cheese,” said Leeds.

The expanded restaurant, bar and lounge are expected to maintain the hip, neighborhood atmosphere of the current space with a 14-seat marble bar, glass atrium ceiling, open mezzanine, cozy leather alcove seating and soft lighting.

Expanded Menu

The new Hank’s Bar and Lounge will offer an expanded cocktail menu (drinks priced $8 to $12), wine ($7 to $15 by the glass), and a microbrew ($6 to $8) beverage menu under the direction of two newcomers: Beverage Director Dana Mosbarger and Mixologist Megan Coyle.

In addition to the regular dining room menu, a late night bar menu (created for sharing) will include selections from the restaurant’s Ice Bar menu, homemade pretzels, ceviche, cheeses, and of course, fresh oysters. Bar food pricing is expected to range from $1.95 to $14. (We’re particularly excited about trying the caviar pie and tin of smoked oysters with saltines.)

Amidst the debate over Hank’s expansion plans, Chef Jamie Leeds has also been in the news of late as she recently sold and closed her two-year old gastropub venture, Commonwealth, located in Columbia Heights. She said at the time that the sale of Commonwealth would allow her to focus more closely on the Hank’s expansion project, which was announced approximately one month later.

Perhaps the addition of Hank’s Bar and Lounge with a more extensive bar menu will incorporate some of what we already miss about the old Commonweath space.

Construction at Hank’s is expected to begin in May 2011. Following the expansion, hours of operation for the new Hank’s Bar and Lounge will be: Monday to Thursday 5 pm to 2 am; Friday 5 pm to 3 am; Saturday 11 am to 3 am; and Sunday 11 am to 2 am.

Previous Stories on Hank’s

This post was written by:

- who has written 38 posts on Borderstan.

Laura Herman writes local weekend picks and profiles different events, happy hours, and neighborhood spots. She is a D.C. nightlife, food and drink enthusiast and has lived in Borderstan since June 2009. She enjoys sitting at the 17th Street dog park on weekends, wishing that she had a dog (which she admits creeps out the actual dog owners). Email Herman at laura@borderstan.com. Follow her on Twitter @Lmhhabs and at LauraLikesThis.

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