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New U Street Venue Wants People to Sit Down and Eat Wood-Fired Pizzas In a Nightclub

Brooklyn is expected to open on Monday, February 11

Brooklyn replaces the space formerly occupied by dual Italian restaurants that closed in 2016.
Aaron Hernandez/Brooklyn
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

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.”

While New York City-born STK famously failed in 2016 at its Dupont Circle location, Mathis thinks the U Street neighborhood is ready for a restaurant-meets-club.

The new venue, which slides into the two-level space formerly occupied by Nonna’s Kitchen and Alphonse, is a tale of two vibes.

“People’s social feeds are everything — they want to show this is where I am at,” says Brooklyn co-owner Mitch Mathis.
Aaron Hernandez/Brooklyn

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.

During the week, the upstairs lounge will house overflow food service if needed.
Aaron Hernandez/Brooklyn

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.

Cursive neon signage spelling out Biggie’s lyrics “It was all a dream” hovers above the stairs.
Aaron Hernandez/Brooklyn
Pizzas made in its pricey brick oven hope to fuel up customers before they head upstairs to dance.
Aaron Hernandez/Brooklyn
The space got a complete makeover, but its antique silver ceilings stayed put.
Aaron Hernandez/Brooklyn
Bartender Tracy Javier (POV) pouring bubbly behind the bar.
Aaron Hernandez/Brooklyn
Stoli Vodka made a branded bottle for Brooklyn that lights up.
Aaron Hernandez/Brooklyn
Hennessy, D’Usse cognac, and Japanese Suntory whisky round out the spirits section.
Aaron Hernandez/Brooklyn
Mozzarella-topped pizza at Brooklyn.
Aaron Hernandez/Brooklyn
The downstairs kitchen was pushed to the back to reserve real estate for a DJ booth.
Aaron Hernandez/Brooklyn

Brooklyn On U Street

1212 U St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009