- SAX's main focal point is a 20-foot enclosed infinity stage that will feature cabaret performers throughout the evening.
- Reclaimed church doors lead the way into the lounge. Several of SAX's design elements come from Baltimore's Second Chance.
- The reception area.
- There's seating for nine at the bar, which serves elaborate cocktails involving liquid nitrogen and edible flowers.
- Rather than the usual bottle service, they've got packages of minibar spirits to mix and match.
- 160 rolls of gold leaf were used in the making of SAX.
- Tufted damask banquettes provide seating for up to 150.
- The infinity stage sits above the bar. SAX has its own dance troupe, led by choreographer Hillary Wright.
- Seating on two levels.
- Nine chandeliers and 30 sconces add glitz to the lounge, all antique refurbishments.
- More balcony seating.
- SAX offers a more private lounge area on the second floor with purple velvet banquettes
- A smaller bar serves patrons seated on the second floor.
- Risque and allegorical murals lining the stairwells in SAX provide commentary on various modern-day political and religious scandals.
Restaurateurs Nancy Koide and Errol Lawrence (OYA, SEI) are clearly aiming to push the envelope a little bit in DC nightlife with the opening this Friday of their third concept, SAX. Eater got a preview of the elaborately gilded decor, erotic murals depicting gods and former presidents in compromising positions, menus and the 20-foot enclosed glass infinity stage that will host live cabaret performances seven nights a week in this lounge — that just so happens to be nestled among the staid downtown law firms, non-profits and a stone's throw from St. Patrick's Catholic Church.
Designers for the two-level lounge used about 160 rolls of gold leaf in turning the old Posh space into a mini Versailles that's awash in red velvet paneling, reclaimed antique chandeliers, sconces and wrought iron, tufted damask banquettes and tables inlaid with gold resin. Koide had the artistic vision for the place and found much of the decor — including the church doors marking the entrance to SAX — at Baltimore's Second Chance. The 20-foot glass stage will showcase burlesque performances from SAX's own dance troupe, led by choreographer Hillary Wright, with shows starting at 6 p.m. weekdays and continuing throughout the night. While the stage is visible from most everywhere in the lounge, whether from the main level or the upper balcony, they've set up monitors projecting the stage in the harder-to-see areas like the second-floor VIP lounge that's decked out in royal purple banquettes.
SAX has dubbed the murals adorning its stairwells the "SAX Scandals," as they are artist Balage Balogh's interpretation of various recognizable political and religious scandals. Centaur Bill Clinton takes Monica Lewinsky for a ride, cherubs engage in some not-so-angelic acts with God and George W. Bush cowboys it up in the Oval Office with a stripper as Balogh's personal commentary on ethics in religion and politics. Balogh says he mimicked 18th-century baroque European art, but that these murals are also "political cartoons on a very large scale," depicting images perhaps not entirely acceptable in public artistic representations.
SAX also channels the Versailles vibe with a menu of French small plates from chef Jonathan Seningen, who was previously in the kitchen at OYA. There's a liberal use of liquid nitrogen on the cocktail menu, herbs dusted in edible gold leaf, and edible flowers frozen in imported Japanese ice spheres. With all the edible and inedible gold surrounding you, SAX's food and beverage packages are priced to match, beginning at $75 per person depending on where you choose to sit in the theatrical lounge. SAX opens to the public on Friday and will be reservations only. 202-737-0101
And, finally, the menu:
Blue Crab & Gruyere
Applewood Smoked Bacon & Cheddar Cheese
Sax House Fondue
Wild Sea Bream
Baja Sea Scallop
Grilled Mediterranean Sardines
Free Range Chicken
Pennsylvania Confucious Duck
Waygu Beef Strip Loin
Devil’s Gulch Cow, California
Stilton Pasteurized Cow, England
Mimolette Extra Vielle, Cow, France
Chef’s Daily Selection
house made pretzel rolls, green peppercorn mustard, and pickled seasonal vegetables
Wild Alaskan Salmon
Carta di Musica
“Sardinian Parchment Bread”
House Made Ricotta
Wagyu Beef Carpaccio
Heirloom Carrot Ginger Butter Prawns
Plats de Mar
Chef’s selection of Oysters, Shrimp, Clams, Scallop, and Mussels