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Resurrected Dive Bar Sign of the Whale Reopens Today

The college drinking den is back with cheap beer, flavor bombs, and “crazy” burgers

Bar staff mixing up a cinnamon tequila-fueled “Making Waves” cocktail at the revamped Sign of the Whale.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

Dupont Circle watering hole Sign of the Whale (1825 M Street NW) resumes pouring beers, shots, and buckets of oversized mystery drinks Thursday, May 10, following a rebranding effort that just didn’t take.

The long-standing drinking and dancing den closed in late 2017, morphing into its short-lived successor DC Tap House. That experiment flamed out in February 2017. Sam Gobrail, one of the three owners behind the latest version of the Whale tells Eater he and his partners — including first-time restaurateur Victoria Fakhoury, and hospitality vet Britt Swan (now-defunct Rhino bar, the previous iteration of Sign of the Whale) — are bringing the bar back (again) because locals demanded it.

“People miss their ‘favorite bar,’” Gobrail says of the stories he’s heard from recent graduates on up to retirees who have fond memories of nights spent inside the Whale’s four walls.

Modifications to the existing space have been minimal. “We scrubbed it down and slapped on a fresh coat of paint,” Gobrail says. The largest bar remains downstairs, with a secondary bar located up above in the balcony that overlooks the first floor.

The freshly polished and brightly lit downstairs bar at Sign of the Whale.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

The menu is pretty straightforward. In keeping with its allegiance to the Philadelphia Eagles, Gobrail says the bar will serve Yuengling and the kitchen will prepare cheesesteaks smothered in Cheese Whiz. The remainder of the beer list will be rounded out by local brews (DC Brau) and commercial standbys (Miller, Budweiser).

Themed happy hour specials will be available from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and will be in effect all day on weekends. Featured offerings include $3 beers — which will drop to $2.50 on college nights (Tuesday and Thursday) — discounted whiskeys on Mondays, wine and sangria deals on Wednesday, and shareable “chum bucket” cocktails on Saturdays. Food options include chicken wings, chili-cheese fries (or tater tots), and 1/2 pound burgers stacked between grilled cheese sandwiches. Gobrail says Sunday brunch should come online in a few weeks; he plans to roll out cocktails other than mimosas and “weird, delicious” dishes that will change regularly.

“Our rule is if they have it at IHOP, you can’t get it here,” he says.

Sign of the Whale is projected to operate from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The exterior of Sign of the Whale has been painted bright blue.
Warren Rojas/Eater DC

Status: Scheduled to open at 11 a.m. 1825 M Street NW; website.

Sign of the Whale

1825 M Street Northwest, , DC 20036 (202) 964-6200 Visit Website