New U Street bars and affordable cocktails aren't typically synonymous, but that's about to change this week.
Service Bar DC (SBCD) is set to open Thursday, Oct. 20 with an all-night happy hour of $7 classic cocktails, as well as $7 Pop and Ponies (beer and a shot) and buy-one-get-one shots. Find its inconspicuous entrance at 926-928 U St. NW, across the street from El Rey. If the names behind the brand sound familiar, it's because they've got some deep booze roots in D.C.
Owner Chris Willoughby ran JIN on 14th and U and Mango's, and bartenders Chad Spangler and Glendon Hartley are partners in consulting group Menehune Group that builds bar and cocktail programs for Ocopa, Provision 14, and Bonfire, to name a few.
Drinking is definitely encouraged here—the menu reads "Cocktailery & Tomfoolery"—and funky wall hangings include ornate frames, a silver metallic deer head, and vintage book pages. Bright blue and wooden accents weave throughout the 48-seat space.
A six-seat tasting room, dubbed the "Snug Room," will have its own cocktail list like "Hipster in Heaven," made with mint leaves, vanilla syrup, lemon, Fernet, stout, and Brandy. The bar-in-bar concept, also found nearby at The Columbia Room and Dram & Grain, is modeled after the small lairs from 18th century pub culture.
The cocktail menu will be seasonal and rotate, inspired by their creators' travels. Think "The Italian Bubble Coat" (which comes bottled and boxed) made with 10 spice Limonata, Eucalyptus-infused Maraschino, Menehune Tonic Syrup, Clarified OJ and Gin.
As for food, expect a fried chicken-based bar menu offered until close. Hours are 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekends.
Service Bar, 926-928 U St. NW, website