When the Imperial opens next year, the new venue from Jack Rose Dining Saloon owner Bill Thomas will debut three different spaces. Projected to open in early 2019, the building will feature a sun-drenched dining room and bar on the main floor, a subterranean Dram & Grain cocktail den that will be relocated from the basement at Jack Rose, and a palm-filled rooftop bar.
The highly anticipated 5,500-square-foot spot at the South end of Adams Morgan (2001 18th Street NW) is years in the making. Thomas purchased the trio of corner buildings 2015, opting to combine the spaces to create a multi-part drinking and dining destination similar to the setup of the sister spot up the street.
The main floor will be the bright and white counterpart to Jack Rose’s dimly lit dining area. Dram & Grain will look much like its current location, but it will be nearly three times larger, with room for up to 75 people. A “Fireplace Room” will, of course, be outfitted with a gas fireplace. The Imperial’s lush rooftop garden and bar will fit about 50 people.
Former Jack Rose chef Russell Jones just signed on to return to the group following a stint in South Carolina. The known vegetarian, whom Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema called clever in 2014, plans to pepper Imperial’s menu with plant-based options. Customers can also expect seafood and raw bar options, dry-aged steaks, and pastas made on-site.
Thomas, who runs one of the biggest whiskey programs in the U.S. with over 2,500 varieties, is ramping up his vintage collection at Imperial with over 400 bottles filled with a gamut of spirits. Think 80-year-old Chartreuse, pre-embargo Cuban rum, 1900s California brandy, and other retro gin, genever, cognac, and tequila options. That rare booze will make its way into big-ticket drinks dubbed “Sacred Slaughter” cocktails.
Dram & Grain is expected to open in January 2019, followed by the rooftop bar and dining room pieces. The Imperial eventually wants to grow into all-day service, offering lunch, brunch, and a coffee program.