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Shuttered 1905’s Becoming a Tequila Bar

Takoda crew is working to open a Southern California oasis by next March

This rooftop will morph into a “tequila bar” in its new life as Cortez.
Photo: 1905
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The team behind Shaw beer garden Takoda is taking over recently shuttered neighborhood restaurant 1905 and transforming the 2,400-square-foot space into a bright, boozy paradise dubbed Cortez, complete with a rooftop tequila bar, fish tacos, and other coastal-inspired accents.

The planned conversion of the dimly-lit space (1905 Ninth Street NW) will result in a “playful and eclectic experience” for customers, says founder/owner Ryan Seelbach, who’s taking on the redesign with business partner Jeff Sunderland.

A light aqua hue will appear throughout Cortez, which is named after the Sea of Cortez along the eastern coast of the Baja California peninsula. The exposed brick on the first floor will get a white paint job, and colorful murals will be splashed throughout. Cacti will be scattered about, as will funky and festive furniture and glassware.

The plan is to open in March 2018, two years after Seelbach’s twice-as-big Takoda debuted up the street. Seelbach tells Eater he’s been in talks with 1905 “for a while,” but that the deal to buy the business just closed this week.

The two-story structure, built in 1922, will include a dining area for 40 and the rooftop bar will fit another 40. Drinkers should expect nearly three dozen tequilas, as well as select rums, Latin American beers, Mexican cocktails, and frozen beverages. The kitchen plans to focus on tacos stuffed with grilled swordfish, fried mahi mahi, carnitas, and “lighter” Mexican fare like tortilla soup and elote grilled corn.

The rooftop will run year round, thanks to gas heaters and umbrellas. Customers can cozy up with provided Baja wool blankets. Some festive fabrics could also be integrated into seat cushions too.

Cortez is just one of many new bars they hope to plant in Shaw over the next few years.

“We actually have a call this afternoon about another space,” Seelbach says. “We are looking to expand aggressively but thoughtfully. We really believe in D.C. as a center for hospitality, in Shaw particularly.”


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