One reason busier-than-ever restaurateur Ian Hilton is happy to finally be switching on the lights January 29 at new bar Gaslight Tavern is because he’s tired of sending everyone who asks him for dinner recommendations to sibling establishment Chez Billy Sud.
“We want it to be a little more grown up than the other places around here,” the co-founder of surrounding bars including Mexican-themed El Rey, barbecue-friendly American Ice Company, British-themed Brixton, and rock-n-roll diner Satellite Room, says of his vision for the latest arrival at 2012 Ninth Street NW.
The new bar, which features wood floors, multiple fireplaces, artsy light fixtures, patterned wallpaper, and a fenced-in patio that will continue taking shape this spring, was designed by American Ice co-owner Joe Reza. Hilton says the renovation took about a year, but that it was worth it to capture the “1920’s tavern feel” that the principles wanted to foster here.
Both the bar up front and a second one tucked away in the back room will serve the same stuff: five draft beers — including an IPA from local producer Vanish Farmwoods Brewery, 3 Stars Brewing Company’s Above the Clouds pale ale, and Ommegang Brewery’s Hennepin saison — prosecco on draft, seven canned and bottled beers (all beers will run from $5 to $9 a pop), a dozen wines by the glass, and nearly a dozen cocktails ($12 to $13).
Chef Brendan L’Etoile, who also runs the kitchen at French-themed Chez Billy Sud, sprinkles gourmet touches across the small plates-centric menu here. He’s excited for customers to try poutine smothered in miso-spiked gravy, and says a salad featuring gem lettuce, radishes and buttermilk dressing reminds him of dinner around his family table. He describes his mushroom toast — which summons thick-cut bread doused in a sherry reduction and topped with sauteed mushrooms, goat cheese, and a lacy fried egg — as a tartine-like take on the meal.
Hilton, meanwhile, is rooting for the house cheeseburger, and a short rib stew featuring beef, bacon, onions, and roasted carrots.
The bar is scheduled to open for dinner to start .Hilton says brunch is expected to follow, and leaves the door open to adding lunch service “if the neighborhood dictates it.”
Status: Certified open. 2012 Ninth Street NW