Coming Soon: Bars Opening in 2009
As 2009 gets underway, there are some bright lights on the horizon: New destinations for microbrews, an international lounge and, finally, the chance to play mini-golf indoors with a beer in hand. When reading this, keep in mind that because nothing is open yet, we have to take bar owners and promoters at their word about what's going to happen and what a place will be like, so details and times are subject to change.
Birch & Barley and ChurchKey (1337 14th St. NW)
A blockbuster beer bar from the team behind Alexandria's excellent Rustico, Birch & Barley and ChurchKey -- two names, one building -- comes to the former Dakota Cowgirl space in Logan Circle. Beer director Greg Engert says the bar will have 50 draft lines (D.C.'s largest selection), 500 bottles (second to the Brickskeller) and five cask-conditioned ales, plus a first-floor restaurant and a large rooftop deck. Ambitious? Certainly. See for yourself when the place opens in early March.
Birreria Paradiso (2003 P St. NW)
The big difference between the Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle and the Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown is the latter's incredible beer bar, Birreria Paradiso, which offers 16 taps of constantly-rotating microbrews and Belgian ales. When the Dupont location moves into the former bike shop and paint store at 20th and P -- currently projected to happen at the end of March -- it's getting its own Birreria, with 10 taps, 300 bottles and refrigerators that will keep beers at cool cellar temperatures.
Buddha Bar (455 Massachusetts Ave. NW)
In this country, Paris's Buddha Bar is probably better known for its ongoing series of electronica compilation CDs. But if you make your way to the upscale lounge, located just steps from the Place de la Concorde and Champs-Elysses, you'll find an international see-and-be-seen crowd heavy on English speakers. The original Buddha Bar marks a decade in business in 2009, and its owners seem set on world domination, with a growing stable of Buddhas from Las Vegas to Dubai. London just got one last summer, and D.C. will welcome its own in the fall. Expect creative cocktails, Pan-Asian food and lines out the door.
H Street Country Club (1335 H St. NE)
This time, I swear, we're going to be able to play mini-golf on H Street very soon. The H Street Country Club, which will feature multiple bars and D.C.-themed putt-putt holes, was originally projected to open in the summer of 2007. Then the date was pushed back to fall. Then spring 2008. Then ... nothing. But now, owner Joe Englert says, the building is just weeks away from being finished, and we'll be golfing by "mid-to-late February." The Country Club will open with nine holes on the second floor and, when approval is finalized, there could be another nine located on the building's rooftop.
Meridian Pint (3400 11th St. NW)
John Andrade, the owner of Asylum in Adams Morgan, is opening his second bar closer to home -- he's lived in Petworth for about eight years. The two-story Meridian Pint, which occupies a former Bi-Rite grocery store, is taking a page from the Reef's playbook by offering around 20 draft beers and no bottles. (Andrade's a big fan of Belgian ales, so expect plenty of those.) Like Asylum, Meridian Pint's menu will have an extensive selection of vegetarian and vegan food. A late 2008 or early 2009 opening was announced last year, but Andrade now says "I'm hoping for September based on the landlord's progress in delivering the space to me."
Patty Boom Boom (1359 U St. NW)
Expect reggae music, Jamaican beef patties and bottles of Red Stripe at a new U Street bar from the owners of the nearby Marvin and the Gibson. Permits are up in the windows, but there's no word on an opening date.
Policy (1904 14th St. NW)
Boasting a chef who has worked at L' Auberge Chez Francois and Palena, Policy is obviously going to have a restaurant focus. But Policy will also have room to kick back: it will have a second-story lounge with DJs and a bar (but no dance floor). Working as Soulstice Productions, the team behind Policy has run regular nights at places like Josephine and Indebleu, so we'll be watching when it opens in late February or early March.
Room 11 (3234 11th St. NW)
This intimate wine bar is being opened by Paul Ruppert (the owner of the Warehouse Theatre), Dan Searing (formerly general manager of the Looking Glass Lounge, currently cocktail maestro behind Punch Club) and Ben Gillian (who's running Punch Club with Searing at the Warehouse every Thursday). "Intimate" is no joke -- around 20 people can squeeze inside the building for what Searing promises will be "affordable" wines by the glass, while another 25 can sit on the patio on the corner of 11th and Lamont.
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