Setting up shop in a high-profile location (740 15th Street NW) just blocks from the White House, the new drinking den that unofficially started slinging drinks November 21 consists of a long rectangular-shaped main room. It’s got hunter green paint job, exposed brick, dark wood accents, booths, and glowing bulbs affixed to the walls.
Its name is an ode to the building it resides in: the Union Trust Building, which also counts Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab, and the American Bar Association as tenants. The new bar used to function as Union Trust’s mailroom back in the day. Some elements of the space were salvaged, including a huge white column and rising steel beams that act as a backdrop behind the lengthy bar.
Co-owner Tony Tomelden hails from Atlas District standby The Pug, while partner John Solomon is vested in Solly’s on U Street; both men are involved with Brookland’s Finest Bar and Kitchen in Brookland.
Union Trust is a 180 from the neighborhoods they’re used to, but they’re OK with creating a more mature bar.
“We are older now,” says Tomelden, adding that Union Trust’s dimly lit ambiance can also be found at The Pug and Solly’s.
From start to finish, the whole project took 10 months — nearly a year less than it took to erect their other spots.
While there will be a high concentration of nearby government workers, they anticipate regulars from Solly’s and The Pug, many of which are industry folk, to also pack the 1,800-square-foot spot.
Along with eight beers on draft, including selections from local producer DC Brau Brewing Company, there’s a pre-mixed cocktail and prosecco that’s ready to pour.
There’s no food, and the plan is to also push a straightforward and “low-key” vibe when it comes to booze: the menu-less cocktail lineup is limited to classics like Manhattans. There will be an “economical” happy hour, but Tomelden warns that “pricing is different down here.” Expect discounts on wines, draft beers, and Jameson starting at 3 p.m.; their neighbor Joe’s starts its happy hour at 2:30 p.m.
The owners are forgoing any immediate signage above the front door for now; they’re hoping folks will find them via word of mouth.
“In six months [we] might have to put something out but we will see,” says Solomon.
Union Trust is projected to operate from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m., Friday and Saturday.
Status: Grand opening is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Monday, November 27. 740 15th Street NW