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Downtown Gets a New Sports Bar in Proper 21

Burgers, wings, and more

Proper 21’s truffle burger is a hit at its sister NYC spots.
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

A New York sports bar arrives in D.C. today with the debut of Proper 21 near Metro Center.

The 8,000-square-foot “upscale sports bar” comes from NIEUW Group, which also owns Manhattan Proper and Proper West in NYC. All three carry the same look—think velvet wallpaper, orchids, sleek gray booths, black-and-white sexy artwork—and modern American dishes, including truffled fries and burgers, Chimichurri shrimp, and citrus salmon.

NIEUW Group, named after the original settlement of Manhattan, Nieuw Amsterdam, was started by Robert Zahn and Will Strozier in 2010. Their new 200-seat Proper 21 is the brand’s biggest venue yet, and cheaper rent prices were one reason for coming to D.C. (another: the partners have roots here, from early years to grad school). “Here you can get a lot more square feet for your money,” says Strozier, noting how New York prices typically start at a whopping $100/square foot. Executive chef Edward Janda, who’s cooked at Fig & Olive in New York and Los Angeles and Tavern on the Green, came on board last year.

Strozier, whose former real estate career includes directing a W hotel in NYC, took charge of the aesthetic. Shrubs, flowers, and palm trees are a big part of the space, as he explains “plants make things feel more lived in.”

The expansive space houses two bars, a private room that can be reserved in the back, and 18 TVs throughout. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday and until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The team wants to launch a late-night food menu since there aren’t many options in the neighborhood. As for the cocktail program, expect classics found at its NYC outlets like Moscow mules in copper mugs, and naturally, a Manhattan (their version has Fernet instead of Vermouth).

Status: Certified open, 1319 F St. NW, website