No Kisses is set to open tomorrow night in Park View, bringing the neighborhood a cocktail bar that will make visitors feel like they’re drinking underneath a giant Lite-Brite board.
The ceiling in the bar (3120 Georgia Avenue NW) is covered in square light panels that have been retrofitted with LED bulbs programmed to change colors. Strategically placed plants, forest green banquettes, and dark floral wallpaper offset a hot pink glow from underneath the bar, creating a neon jungle atmosphere. Compared to the analog-era design of Sonny’s pizzeria, the sister spot next-door that opened last week, No Kisses looks decidedly electric.
“It’s the kind of dark, groovy bar I had in mind,” co-owner Max Zuckerman says.
The building that houses the cocktail bar and the pizza parlor was originally one space, but Zuckerman says he liked the idea of splitting them up to create separate experiences. He and business partner Ben Heller already own Colony Club, the coffee shop on the same strip that morphs into a bar at night, and Zuckerman says they wanted to try out the opposite approach.
The partners brought former Pineapple and Pearls bartender Cody Hochheiser on board to design a concise cocktail menu and help curate the wine list.
During a research trip to Montreal, Zuckerman was struck by groups of young people sharing “really good bottles of wine.” He’s convinced the stories behind the grapes and communal aspect of ordering a bottle will encourage some people in Park View to switch over from craft beer.
“Some people are intimidated by a bottle of wine that’s 40 bucks or something, but they won’t hesitate to get a bunch of beers that are more expensive,” Zuckerman says.
The only natural light that comes into the bar streams through a back door that leads out to a patio that stretches across Sonny’s and No Kisses. Informally known as the “pizza garden” for now, the outdoor space will unify the two venues once the weather warms up.
A 1974 Citroen H van parked out back has been converted into a drink car with space for two kegs. Zuckerman says they bought it from a guy in Annapolis who gave up trying to turn it into a coffee truck. Eventually, Zuckerman says, people will be able to order drinks and pizza from the vehicle.