A D.C. mixologist who worked his way through some of the city’s best cocktail bars is riding out the coronavirus pandemic in an unusual location: an opulent mansion sitting on Dupont Circle that houses a members-only social club.
José Cox is the new beverage director at Patterson Mansion + Ampeer, an events space that also rents out micro-unit apartments for short-term stays. Cox, an alum of Barmini, Oyamel, McClellan’s Retreat, the Gibson, and, most recently, the Wydown on H Street NE, is now whipping up high-brow drinks with Jerusalem artichokes, house tonics, barrel-aged rums, and absinthe air at the property’s bar.
Although bars are closed for sit-down service during D.C.’s dine-in ban, the mansion (15 Dupont Circle NW) is opening its bar for takeout. The mansion advertises that members are allowed to roam its social spaces — a balcony, a sprawling library, ornate common areas — with their drinks at a responsible distance.
“We do practice 6-foot [protocols] and do not allow drinks at the bar but spaced around the facility, as we are large,” he says.
Cox makes a spin on James Bond’s favorite cocktail, the Vesper, comes with Kettle One, Tanqueray, Lillet, bok choy, and absinthe air. His “Flower Girl Punch” comes with a blend of aged rum, lavender cordial, lemon, and clarifying milk. The drinks list, heavy on low-ABV options, rotates weekly.
Tabard Inn chef Cliff Wharton is making members spring rolls, kale salads, vegetable pancit, and other Filipino street foods he ate growing up. Wharton also runs months-old Filipino ghost kitchen Lasing Na Baboy on a delivery basis.
A deal for two snacks and a cocktail for two comes out to $28. Service industry members are welcome to visit and sample house kombucha, lemonade, and tonics.
The mansion, which sounds like a clubhouse for bored, rich teleworkers, also offers members free WiFi, work space, breakfast, coffee and espresso drinks, and gym access (limited to two at a time). Memberships cost $250 a month, $650 per quarter, or $2,500 for a year. Members craving a change of scenery can also book one of 92 micro-unit apartments and stay overnight.
“We want to give the neighborhood something special,” Cox says. “Come do work and relax.”
Cox came on board in February, when the original plan was to convert the mezzanine-level perch into a speakeasy for local members and travelers. When bars reopen, the mansion hopes to revive its speakeasy for members only and host collaborative dinners with chefs around town.
“We started it in March, and a week later the city shut down,” Cox says. We said, ‘Wow, what do we do now?’”
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the mansion is named after Chicago Tribune editor Robert Patterson, who built the residence in 1903. President Calvin Coolidge stayed there while the White House underwent repairs.
Developer Saul Urban renovated and rebranded the property as Ampeer in 2017. The short-term rentals were added as a high-end option for transient diplomats, government officials, and young professionals with money to burn.
View this post on Instagram
Rent a room and get some quiet/work done! Memberships are now available monthly and quarterly. Have a work vacation from your normal workspace, aka home . We’re offering free wifi, breakfast, coffee machine, work space, plus an active bar (carry out) and gym (limited to 2 people at a time). DM for details! #getoutofthehouse #safely
Another iconic D.C. property also offers remote workers a place to get away for a day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through June 1, the Hamilton Hotel downtown lets single patrons book a room during the week (check-in at 9 a.m. and check-out at 5 p.m.), with access to the hotel’s high-speed WiFi, Keurig coffee maker, printing and office supplies.
In-room amenities like bathrooms stocked with Dyson SuperSonic blow dryers are also fair game. Standard rooms cost $89, and suites are $199. Guests get a $20 credit to order in from its lobby-level Italian restaurant Via Sophia, which just started takeout and delivery services.