The much-anticipated District Distilling Co. will start pouring drinks and feeding customers on Friday. The gigantic 8,000-square-foot space eats up multiple historic row houses at its highly-visible 14th and U Street location. The first floor contains a craft distillery and retail store, while a full-service kitchen and bar serving upscale American fare lives on the second.
Two towering column stills start at the base and cut through to the top, taking advantage of height and giving patrons at the upstairs bar a glimpse of the process as they sip. Other than that — and accents of wood, barrels, and bricks throughout — the floors tell two different tales. The simple decor downstairs gives a playful nod to the technical distilling process, with a framed poster of colorful fruits, flowers, and mints to describe the science of esters. Dominating the grey walls are two giant pictorial drawings detailing the journey of how barrels and alcohol are made. The 140-seat restaurant and bar has a softer and trendier vibe, with green seating and artsy lighting.
At the helm is District Distilling president and CEO Chae Yi, who's joined by head distiller Matthew Strickland, a Tennessee native, and executive chef Justin Bittner (of Bar Pilar and 8407 Kitchen Bar fame). District Distilling will make and serve their own vodka, gin, white rum and bourbon onsite, with launches starting this fall. Distillery tours and brunch service are also coming soon. D.C. has been ramping it up on the distillery front lately, next with Cotton & Reed set to open this year near Union Market.
District Distilling Co., 1414 U St. NW, website