LivingSocial's new event space has been in the works for some time now, but this week it officially opens and they've released some more information about what's in store. Specifically, per a press release, they've got "a state-of-the-art culinary kitchen for visiting chefs to host distinctive pop-up restaurants; a 36-person demonstration kitchen for cooking and baking classes with live automated video feeds of the chef; three flexible spaces that can be adapted for dining, dancing, classes, workshops and more; a basement bar where consumers can learn mixology or taste local brews."
While the inaugural event is the Bandolero pop-up preview with Mike Isabella, there's plenty more collaboration with local chefs in the future — notably, another pop-up restaurant from Birch & Barley's Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIsaac. Though apparently details are still being ironed out on that one, several deals have already gone live, including a cooking class with Toki Underground's Erik Bruner-Yang and a bonbon-making class with Co Co Sala that went on sale this morning. Here's the full release:
LivingSocial Introduces 918 F Street
Company’s First Live Events Venue Offers State-of-the-Art Facilities for Local Merchants to Offer Pop-Up Restaurants, Classes, Hands-On Experiences and More
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 13, 2012 — Today, LivingSocial announced the opening of 918 F Street, a first-of-its-kind live events venue where LivingSocial and its merchant partners will offer pop-up restaurants, classes and hands-on activities. An ambitious test for the company, 918 F Street will give local merchants additional space and state-of-the-art facilities to reach new customers and share the best of Washington, DC.
“Since its inception, LivingSocial has been successful in creating unique experiences that help our members discover the best of their town,” said Doug Miller, SVP New Initiatives for LivingSocial. “918 F Street will serve as a venue for special experiences where local residents can try the hottest pop-up restaurants, take a yoga or painting class, learn to make sushi or participate in scores of other social activities. In our state-of-the-art facility, local merchants get the resources, space and audience they need to scale their businesses and reach new customers. We believe this is the next step in the evolution of local commerce and complements our existing offerings.”
The venue, which has six floors plus a basement, was created to be flexible enough to host a wide range of activities. Among its capabilities, 918 F Street features a state-of-the-art culinary kitchen for visiting chefs to host distinctive pop-up restaurants; a 36-person demonstration kitchen for cooking and baking classes with live automated video feeds of the chef; three flexible spaces that can be adapted for dining, dancing, classes, workshops and more; a basement bar where consumers can learn mixology or taste local brews.
918 F Street gives local merchants more space, flexibility and opportunity to create unique experiences for consumers without interrupting operations at their normal place of business.
918 F Street’s inaugural event will be a sneak peek of Bandolero, the highly-anticipated restaurant from Mike Isabella, Chef/Owner of Graffiato and Top Chef All-Stars Runner-Up. Bandolero is scheduled to open Spring 2012 in Georgetown and will feature modern Mexican small plates with a large, tequila-infused cocktail menu.
“LivingSocial is opening a first-of-its-kind venue – from kitchen to tabletop – that allows me both a training opportunity for my team and a chance to test recipes for our menu,” said Isabella. “I’m excited to be the first in the 918 F Street kitchen testing my concepts for the new restaurant, and I look forward to seeing guests react to some Bandolero dishes and cocktails before it opens.”
LivingSocial has partnered with Vucurevich Simons Advisory Group (VSAG), an international hospitality and restaurant consulting firm to manage food and beverage programs at 918 F Street.
918 F Street Events & Activities
LivingSocial 918 F Street will offer a wide range of unique original programming. From restaurants to yoga to painting, members can rest assured that all merchants have received the LivingSocial stamp of approval and will provide a memorable experience.
Consumers will be able to purchase a voucher through LivingSocial.com to attend activities led by acclaimed local merchants including:
· A pop-up restaurant from Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIsaac (Birch & Barley);
· Sushi rolling classes taught by instructors from Sticky Rice;
· Photography classes led by Douglas Sonders;
· Cooking classes taught by Executive Chef Frederick de Pue of 42 Degrees Catering;
· Chocolate Making & Tasting Class from instructors, including Executive Chef Santosh Tiptur, from Co Co. Sala Lounge & Boutique;
· Artisan cheese and craft beer tastings taught by Cowgirl Creamery;;
· Cocktail and Mixology courses taught by Founding Farmers' award-winning chief mixologist, Jon Arroyo;
· Kids’ cooking classes from KitchKat;
· Yoga classes taught by Yoga District instructors; and
· Painting and wine tasting classes.
About the building
The 28,000-square-foot building is one of DC’s few examples of Georgian Romanesque architecture and was originally built in 1890 for the National Union Insurance Company. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and occupies a place in history by adjoining the alley John Wilkes Booth used to escape after assassinating President Lincoln.
LivingSocial has worked with preservationists to painstakingly restore the building to as much of its original glory as possible through steps like preserving the lobby’s original plaster friezes to restoring the building’s façade and commissioning authentic replica light fixtures.
Construction on the building began around August 2011. In order to open up the building’s interior for modern use, crews removed load-bearing masonry walls and replaced them with a massive steel grid designed to carry the weight of the structure.
LivingSocial worked with architect and interior design firm Streetsense to design and complete renovation of 918 F Street.
918 F Street [Photo: LivingSocial]