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See the Soon-to-Be Most Instagrammed Rooftop Sushi Spot in D.C.

New arrival O-Ku has a striking view of an evolving area

Once new Japanese restaurant O-Ku opens next week, expect friends’ social media feeds to explode with galleries of fancy sushi rolls raised skyward while the Union Market sign glows in the background.

The ready-made photo op comes courtesy of the first rooftop deck available to D.C. diners in Northeast’s evolving warehouse zone. The long-standing industrial complex has over the past few years become home to Michelin-starred Masseria, restaurant-filled Union Market, homegrown bakery Pluma, vegan eatery Shouk, and the regional training center for nationwide coffee chain Blue Bottle. Next up: a bigger version of Brooklyn tavern St. Anselm is opening just a few doors down from O-Ku later this summer.

The airy, dangling bulb-dotted perch above 1274 Fifth Street NE is just one of the areas O-Ku has created for those interested in checking out what the Charleston-based restaurant has in mind for D.C. The two-story, 120-seat establishment also contains: a main bar with room for over a dozen drink aficionados; a brightly lit main dining room sprinkled with two- and four-tops; a sushi bar with room for nearly 20 nigiri and sashimi lovers; an upstairs cocktail lounge with two oval-shaped banquettes designed for parties of 10 to 12; and a chill seating area with low-slung chairs that will eventually be accessible by an entrance facing the adjoining alley.

Status: Scheduled to open June 22. 1274 Fifth Street NE; website.

Scroll down to see inside the rest of the space:

Upon entering through the giant wooden door, O-Ku customers will walk an into industrial chic space with wooden floors and walls wrapped in rusted metal.

The main bar at O-Ku is currently stocked with offerings from local producers, including gin from D.C.-based One Eight Distilling and whiskey made in neighboring Northern Virginia.

Managing partner Kimball Brienza tells Eater the leaves cut out of the metal sheets displayed on O-Ku’s walls are a nod to the restaurant group’s obsession with all things oak.

The central sushi bar at O-Ku has a built-in binchotan grill that executive chef Bryan Emperor says can get over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Each place setting at the new O-Ku includes polished wooden chopsticks with rubber grips for easier handling.

Some of the freestanding tables in the sushi room at O-Ku can be pushed together to accommodate larger groups.

The upstairs lounge at O-Ku has its own bar, some high-top tables, and access to the rooftop deck.
R. Lopez/Eater DC

The still-in-the-works sitting room at the far end of O-Ku’s upstairs lounge is supposedly getting a couch and some pop art on the walls.


1274 5th Street Northeast, , DC 20002 (202) 888-8790 Visit Website

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