Coming Soon: Tiki Drinks in Georgetown
When people ask me "What do you wish we had in D.C.?" my answer is pretty unequivocal: A tiki bar.
Ever since the Honolulu Restaurant and Yenching Palace closed their doors, there's been a paucity of D.C. bars serving flaming drinks and tropical concoctions. Sure, the Gibson makes an incredible authentic mai tai (based on Trader Vic's original recipe) and PX turns out glorious rum grogs, but no one would argue that either was close to a tiki bar.
But now there's some great news: By the middle of summer, we should be sipping mai tais and rum runners outdoors at the Georgetown waterfront.
Agraria, the Washington Harbour restaurant that's owned and run by the North Dakota Farmers Union, will be getting a facelift over the next month, according to marketing director Jennifer Motruk Loy. Key among the changes: "a new menu and a new bar program," which will be run by former Urbana mixologist Kevin Rogers. Rogers says he's been immersing himself in classic mai tais, scorpion bowls, planter's punch, fog cutters and other retro rum drinks. He says he wants to have the largest rum selection in the city and jokes about making frozen margaritas and serving them up on the large patio that surrounds the Harbour's central fountain. (Somehow, I imagine that could become the most popular spot in town.)
Rogers expects his tiki bar to be in full swing by the end of May.
For those who are fans of Agraria and its sister restaurant Founding Farmers, Motruk Loy says "the food will be very much of the same ilk," with a menu that nods to American regional dishes -- think Napa Valley or the New England seashore -- while still relying on ingredients from local and regional farms and fisheries.
Unfortunately, while we'll have a wide selection of drinks to choose from, we won't be sipping navy grog while sitting in some Polynesian paradise full of tiki heads and tall rattan charis. "The decor of the restaurant won't change too much," Motruk Loy says. "We're making it a little more casual, and we'll soften it up a bit. But we're not going to pack up Founding Farmers and bring it over here."
Okay, so it won't be Honolulu or Trader Vic's. But if Rogers, who has proven to be a very good bartender, and the team at Agraria can give me a reliable place to enjoy a mai tai and the summer sun, I will be a very happy man indeed.
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