The team behind a pair of popular bars in Shaw will expand to another Northwest neighborhood next month with the opening of a 5,500-square-foot adult playground starring cotton candy, foosball, and 20 beers on tap.
After a decade of boozing up foot traffic-heavy Penn Quarter, Iron Horse Tap Room will close on Saturday, October 26. The dimly-lit drinking den will quickly flip into a colorful destination called The Boardwalk (507 7th Street NW) by early November. Washingtonian first reported the switcheroo news on Thursday.
Iron Horse owners Curt Large and Geoff Dawson (the prolific bar vets behind Franklin Hall, Roofer’s Union, Church Hall, Rocket Bar, Lost & Found, and recently-closed Buffalo Billiards) just inked a new long-term lease to keep the space. They brought on Ryan Seelbach as its new managing partner, whose current portfolio includes Takoda Restaurant & Beer Garden and airy tequila bar Cortez.
“Having a venue this size and being half a block from Capital One Arena, we are joining the big leagues now. It’s a big step for us,” Seelbach tells Eater.
The Boardwalk will pay homage to iconic U.S. boardwalks planted on each coast, from Ocean City, Maryland, to Santa Monica, California. A quick, summer-friendly menu will be filled out by items like popcorn, hot dogs, corn dogs, and cotton candy. Entertainment calls for shuffleboard and basketball arcade games, along with three bars and 20 TVs to catch games.
The first floor’s redesign will be all about the ocean, filled with reclaimed woods and white and blue tones throughout. Downstairs will have more of a funky, street market vibe inspired by eclectic mom-and-pop vendors slinging sweet and savory treats steps from the beach.
Seelbach says the steakhouse and expense account-happy area that counts The Capital Grille and Fogo de Chao as tenants is due for a playful and nostalgic option like The Boardwalk.
Along with 20 beers on draft, 10 tap lines will be dedicated to cocktails. Seelbach plans to import hits from Shaw (like Takoda’s mule and Cortez’s margarita), along with froze and frozen lemonade in the mix. On weekdays, the bar plans to open at 4 p.m. and starting at 2 p.m. on weekends, with happy hour seven days a week.