After years of planning, first-time restaurateurs Lawrence and Justin Harbin expect to open the twin eateries still taking shape in the Atlas District — a ground-floor beer den with a 24-hour diner up above — this coming fall.
The first-floor English-style pub, now under construction behind a facade of modern garage doors and sleek woods, will be dubbed Spile & Spigot Tap House. Above it is the 160-seat Blue Diner, which lives up to its name with walls already sporting a bright cerulean paint job as well as complementary light fixtures and bar seating.
The two venues at 1248-1250 H Street NE — featuring separate kitchens and menus — are firsts for the father-son team. Lawrence Harbin, an attorney and real estate investor, is overseeing the build out and gave Eater a construction tour of the evolving site. Justin Harbin’s been in the hospitality industry for over a dozen years and currently works at The Pub and The People in Bloomingdale.
Spile is expected to focus on hand-pumped specialty brews imported from England in small casks. What to eat at the 80-seat spot? Think: shepherd’s pie and fish ‘n chips — pub grab staples also served at H Street mainstay The Queen Vic, which is located on the same block. Lawrence Harbin says Blue Diner will serve “normal everyday stuff” like spaghetti and meat sauce, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, roasted chicken, and salmon.
A rooftop garden remains in the works, emulating the microgreens grown by urban farming company Little Wild Things in the The Pub and The People’s basement.
Lawrence Harbin calculates that Spile is about three to four months away from opening. He says Blue Diner will likely open first because no liquor license is required (though one will eventually be added).
Photography by Tierney Plumb / Eater DC