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Inside Barracks Row’s New Veteran-Friendly Bar

Valor Brewpub is now slinging burgers and beer at 723 8th Street SE

Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Valor Brewpub quietly opened this week on Barracks Row under The Ugly Mug, bringing the historic military neighborhood a new late-night dining option.

The 2,500-square-foot brewpub (723 8th Street SE) comes from Gaynor Jablonski (Jake’s American Grill, Ugly Mug), who worked with the D.C.’s Office of Veterans Affairs to staff Valor with a small army of veterans. General manager and beverage director Brian Marvel and brewmaster Greg Maddrey served in the Navy, for instance.

Sister spot Jake’s American Grille in upper Northwest also salutes the military — specifically, owner Gaynor Jablonski’s grandfather, who was in the Navy — but newcomer Valor is going all out with patriotic-themed tributes.

“The space is really about celebrating our veterans and creating a community with them,” District Restaurant Group general manager Joey Allen tells Eater.

Executive chef Ryan Hackney (701, Bibiana, Lucky Buns) puts his spin on iconic American fare, with a hearty “Mariner’s Chowder” (butter poached Maryland crab and shrimp with cilantro and Old Bay bread crumbs); the “The Tropic Thunder” basket of buttermilk marinated fried chicken with Thai chili mambo sauce and toasted sesame seeds; a flank steak and cheese sandwich; towering “Valor” cheeseburger with smoked bacon; and root beer float for dessert. Starters run $9 to $15 and mains are $12 to $23.

Military-themed cocktails ($12 to $15) include the Petty Officer (KO Navy Strength gin, fresh lime juice, cucumber simple syrup, tonic water), and there’s also batches of French press cocktails like the plum basil gin fizz that serves up to four ($40).

Some dishes feature an Asian bent, reminiscent of Hackney’s ongoing presence in the kitchen at Adams Morgan’s internationally-inspired Lucky Buns. There’s the KFC (Korean fried chicken wings with sweet and tangy black vinegar, crushed peanuts, and Thai basil) or the K-Town BBQ main course: vinegar and sweet soy braised pork butt, pickled cabbage, and pickles. New rotisserie ovens are also used for his take on Peruvian chicken.

Valor, open daily at 11 a.m., keeps the kitchen running late until 1 a.m. Thursday to Saturday. A grand opening is planned for Monday, October 1.

Scroll on for a look inside the new space:

The rustic and industrial space was transformed from its life as The Ugly Mug, which has since moved upstairs.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Valor owner Gaynor Jablonski says the bar’s slogan is “by veterans, for veterans.” Expect lots of fundraisers on-site to support veteran organizations.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Valor beers ($7 to $8) play up local makers, like Hell Bender Brewery and Fairwinds Brewing.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Valor’s space is lined with patriotic-themed decor and images from military tours.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Valor’s outdoor patio.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Valor’s bar pays homage to former military members with wines, spirits, and beer from veteran-owned businesses.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Valor features a 60-seat main dining area, 20-seat bar, and 12-seat patio.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Valor Brewpub executive chef Ryan Hackney.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

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