West End newcomer Squash on Fire wants to make it easy for guests to both work up an appetite and perhaps tie one on, carving out space at its sleek new sports complex for a full-service bar and restaurant expected to focus on fine wines and Mediterranean fare.
The eight-court, membership-free squash facility, is projected to welcome its first racket-toting participants at 2233 M Street NW on Saturday, May 20. The companion bar and restaurant ventures are expected to follow in June.
The curved wooden bar plays off the modern aspects of the 19,700-square-foot facility, which boasts neon lighting and high-tech features. An outdoor terrace overlooking M Street sits next to the bar area, and a spacious patio upstairs will also welcome diners and private parties.
Anthony Lanier, president of EastBanc Inc., and founder of Squash on Fire owns the mixed-use building housing the recreational venue.
Owners are mum on the planned eatery’s name or any specific offerings for now, but the chef behind the menu hails from Austrian-influenced Leopold’s Kafe in Cady’s Alley. And while health-conscious bites will be included, management says not to expect rabbit food or a rowdy sports bar vibe.
“You’re not going to get your kale juice and smoothie,” Nadine Arsenyev, Lanier’s daughter, told Eater. “We want the bar and food to have sexy and dynamic action.”
Billing itself as the country’s first pay-as-you-go squash facility, each court has video recording capabilities, which will be streamed on the big screen above the bar area, as well as a booking app that automatically turns the lights on the designated court when a session starts.
“You really own your experience,” Arsenyev said.
The name — and racket-holding dalmatian mascot — are odes to the literal location of the project, which sits above the revamped West End fire station. Affordable units are attached above, rounding out EastBanc’s civic project agreement with D.C.
Squash on Fire sits in a growing fitness mecca in D.C.; both Equinox and SoulCycle are neighbors.