Forget speakeasy-style bars that hearken back to prohibition days. Tom Brown, the purveyor behind Left Door (1345 S Street NW), wants to go even farther back in time.
Brown shared his vision shortly shortly before he opened bar’s doors to the public for the first time last night.
“I’ve been to several speakeasy style bars, and I really like that, but what I wanted to do was something that hearkens back before that to the silver age of cocktails,” Brown said. “We have a lot of Victorian decor in here.”
Bartenders sling cocktails like sazeracs made with armagnac, absinthe and a variety of house-made bitters alongside drinks like “Make it a Mule,” a take on a Moscow Mule that swaps vodka for Maker’s Mark. And of course, there’s a $100 cocktail called the French 95 and made with 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, Cristal, lemon juice and honey.
Patrons can also order a multitude of teas at the bar — a skill Brown said he picked up while observing the kitchen at Slipstream — and light snacks like cheese, nuts and olives.
For Brown — whose widely popular bar The Passenger closed nearly one year ago — last night’s opening was slightly poetic.
“It feels really nice [to open],” Brown said. “On New Year’s Eve, we opened for friends and family so we could see what the space looked like with people in it without the pressure. It was cool because I was opening a bar exactly one year after I closed a bar.”
Left Door won’t be Brown’s only encore. The bar owner plans to reopen The Passenger in Shaw later this year.
Left Door, the forthcoming cocktail bar from Tom Brown of The Passenger and Hogo fame, is set to open at 1345 S Street NW next month.
Though the bar appeared to have hit some roadblocks after “sneak attack” opposition from the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance in mid-September, it was able to reach a settlement agreement with help from ANC 1B Commissioner John Green, 1B-12, last week.
“We reached an equitable agreement that was able to satisfy all parties before the roll-call,” Brown said by e-mail this morning. “Commissioner John Green was instrumental in the negotiations and we are happy to be moving forward!”
Brown added that he hopes to start slinging cocktails by early November.
A sample menu obtained by Borderstan in August shows the bar’s menu may include Manhattans made with barrel-aged vermouth and Canadian rye whiskey; vesper cocktails made with potato vodka, gin and two types of aperitif wines; and a $55 spin on a French 75 made with vintage champagne, aged rye whiskey, lemon and honey.
We now know a little more of what to expect from the hotly anticipated new 14th Street NW cocktail bar being opened by Tom Brown of The Passenger and Hogo fame.
Brown handed out a sample menu for his new bar, Left Door (1345 S Street NW), during an ANC 1B ABR committee meeting held at the Thurgood Marshall Center last night.
If the sample menu is any indication of things to come, future patrons should expect drinks such as Manhattans made with barrel-aged vermouth and Canadian rye whiskey; vesper cocktails made with potato vodka, gin and two types of aperitif wines; and a $55 spin on a French 75 cocktail made with vintage champagne, aged rye whiskey, lemon and honey.
The bar will also likely serve wine by the glass — including Cristal champagne — and bar snacks like roasted nuts, marinated olives and pickled vegetables.
Brown teased the new bar in the Washington Post in April.
“It’s more of an adult cocktail bar,” Brown told the Post. “We’re focusing on the total guest experience, with high-end audio, not just drinks. It’s going to be a respite from the craziness of U Street.”
Brown said at last night’s meeting he hopes to open Left Door by October.