The Commodore, a once-bustling Logan Circle bar that was known for local beers, $10 cocktails, and Southern comfort food before it closed in November 2019, will return under new ownership next spring at a Dupont Circle location.
A Facebook post from the pub’s account announced the Commodore will take over the space at Brick Lane bistro (1636 17th Street NW) in 2021. Founding partner Brian Westlye and new owner Matt Crofcheck confirmed the news to Eater.
Multiple staff members who lost their jobs when Westlye’s Proof Hospitality group closed the Dupont location of whiskey bar Rebellion will return to work at Commodore. Rob Van de Graaff, who was the general manager at Commodore and Rebellion, has already started working with Crofcheck at Brick Lane.
Westlye and Proof culinary director Travis Weiss will consult on the new Commodore, ensuring the integrity of customer favorites like totchos, barbecue plates, and burgers and chicken sandwiches piled high with exorbitant condiments like pimento cheese and bacon jam. Crofcheck says his goal is to keep the same “five-star dive bar” style that made Commodore popular in its original location at 11th and P Street NW.
“This wont’ be identical to the old one, but it will be enough of the same that for a lot of the old people who were there, it will feel familiar,” Crofcheck says.
Brick Lane, which boasts a large patio and sidewalk seating on 17th Street NW, will continue to operate through at least February, Crofcheck says. He plans to close it after Valentine’s Day for some minor renovations and hopes it will be ready for a grand opening in early March.
“I’ve got a 7-foot tall Mark V diving suit that’s being custom made,” Crofcheck says. “I’ve got the big ship’s wheel. I’ve got a bunch of antique diving helmets.”
Crofcheck says he bought Brick Lane in August and has been looking for ways to help the restaurant establish a new identity ever since. He met Weiss while interviewing chefs to consult on the restaurant’s menu and felt the introduction was “serendipitous.” Commodore’s logo is an antique diving helmet, and Crofcheck has been collecting them for years. He even has one tattooed on his arm.
“We drank a couple bottles of Malort and decided we’d relaunch the Commodore here,” Crofcheck says.
Rebellion, meanwhile, continues to expand outside of the District. Along with locations in Arlington and Wilmington, North Carolina, Rebellion recently opened an outpost in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and is working on opening another in Leesburg.