With its second chef in under a year, Barcelona Wine Bar is working to remain relevant in year five by launching one of the earliest-starting happy hours along the 14th Street corridor — which means grabbing a few bites for under $20 is now feasible in what’s become an increasingly pricey neighborhood to eat and drink.
From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, the Spanish-themed eatery (1622 14th Street NW) is now serving $4 tapas including crispy fried chickpeas, pork tenderloin, shishito peppers, and spiced meatballs slathered in a tomato sauce. Also offered under the new “social hour” specials: $6.50 cocktails such as the Summer Street Sling (chamomile-infused Tito’s Vodka, grapefruit, lemon, grapefruit bitters, and Peychaud’s), $5 glasses of sangria, and house wine for $5.50.
Late last year, Honduran native Juan Rivera was named executive chef at the Logan Circle location, moving over from its sibling establishment in Reston, Virginia. Rivera replaced short-lived NYC chef Alex Ureña, who cited restaurateur David Bouley as his mentor.
Rivera launched his culinary career 10 years ago as line cook at Jaleo and later worked his way up to corporate chef at recently shuttered Ping Pong Dim Sum. He was among the last who got to learn under the late Michel Richard, as sous chef at Central. Before his move to the Barcelona in Reston, he was corporate chef trainer at Richard Sandoval’s restaurant group.
Other menu additions introduced by Rivera include risotto verde with basil and Brussels sprouts; red beet gnocchi with sage brown butter and manchego cheese; and broccolini salad with peas and manchego. He tells Eater he also plans to expand the location’s seafood selection while adding more proteins into the mix.
Connecticut-based Barteca Restaurant Group owns 14 Barcelona Wine Bar locales across the U.S. No more are currently in the works for the D.C. area, a spokesperson tells Eater.