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Posted at 2:11 PM ET, 03/10/2010

Spider Kelly's reopens, four times bigger

By Julia Beizer

Owners Nick Langman, left, and Nick Freshman in the original Spider Kelly's. (Allison Dinner)

Spider Kelly's is about to get bigger -- a lot bigger. Owners Nick Freshman and Nick Langman are wrapping up an expansion that will nearly quadruple the size of their Clarendon hangout and add pool tables, shuffleboard lanes, darts and draft beers to the bar's original formula. They're shooting to reopen late next week.

"We wanted to take Spider Kelly's as we see it -- the same laid-back attitude and good food -- and basically expand that substantially, while also making it a lot more fun," says Freshman.

The owners, who went to high school together in the District, took over two vacant storefronts adjacent to the original location, but they kept most of the walls intact to avoid making the space seem cavernous. The centerpiece of the main room is a huge island bar made of poured concrete flecked with stainless steel Spider Kelly's logos. Lounge and game areas are scattered throughout the rest of the space in a layout reminiscent of Rocket Bar by the Verizon Center. In one room, moody lighting glows on exposed brick and terra-cotta walls and three pool tables topped with gold felt. With 25 televisions, it should be be a good place to catch the NCAA games, too.

The buzzed-about menu will gain a few new dishes, but it's keeping its comfort food theme: Think burgers, fish tacos and meatloaf. You can order food anywhere in the building, but those who want more of a dining-room experience should stick to the original SK's space, which will remain largely unchanged.

Certainly, part of the appeal at the original Spider Kelly's was the intimate space. "We're definitely aware of losing the coziness that comes with a small bar," says Langman, who is also one of the owners of Clarendon Ballroom and Eventide. To help the large main room feel smaller, they created zones; you'll find the dart lanes in a corner in back and a smaller lounge area near the front.

"The thing that I hope we're saying is that you can have a lot of TVs and not be a sports bar. You can have a lot of games and not be Dave & Buster's," Freshman says. We'll find out if they pull it off next week.

-- Julia Beizer

By Julia Beizer  | March 10, 2010; 2:11 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Restaurants  
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