D.C. native Mitch Mathis says his hometown has plenty places to cut loose alongside hot DJs (read: Heist and Echostage), and there’s no shortage of options for dining out. But he doesn’t see many places to do both under one roof.
Mathis hopes Brooklyn, his first-time venture, will offer a combination of the two when it officially opens Monday, February, 11, at 1212 U Street NW. To test the space, Brooklyn has already hosted an invite-only party and Super Bowl festivities.
“Some people don’t want to go crazy popping bottles at a late-night club, but they still want that atmosphere,” Mathis tells Eater. “They also don’t want to be just sitting down eating.”
The new venue, which slides into the two-level space formerly occupied by Nonna’s Kitchen and Alphonse, is a tale of two vibes.
On the first floor, there’s a 75-seat restaurant with sleek banquettes, cocktails served in etched high ball glasses, and a DJ situated next to the kitchen, where personal pizzas will parade out of its existing Marra Forni oven. Upstairs, there will be 10 tables for bottle service, plush emerald green couches, and a DJ booth painted gold.
The menu is still being finalized, but diners can expect truffle fries and D.C. classics like chicken slathered in mumbo sauce and a Maryland crab cake.
Brooklyn shares the strip with some of the city’s historic venues, including Ben’s Chili Bowl and the Lincoln Theater.
“You need places that rep the new U Street and what it is now,” Mathis says.
Mathis, who’s been throwing nightlife events since his teens, says U Street’s changing demographic is similar to what Brooklyn has experienced over recent years.
“U Street has a Brooklyn kind of vibe — it’s the hipsters, all races and nationalities. I like that because Brooklyn represents bringing everyone together,” he says.
Mathis says he wants Brooklyn to adopt a feminine identity. Marketing materials feature slogans like, “she’s coming soon.” Lots of greenery and white flowers emerging from brick walls also help soften the “hardcore” connotation of the New York City borough — “you think of Biggie and Jay-Z,” Mathis says.
Some details from its former life as Alphonse stayed put. Existing garage doors along the entrance will roll up when weather permits, and its antique silver ceiling also lives on.
To carve out the drinks program, Mathis tapped the mixologist team from the W’s POV rooftop lounge as it undergoes renovations downtown.
“[The timing] worked out in my favor,” he says.
Brooklyn is expected to start daily dinner service at 5 p.m., with brunch entering the mix later.