This weekend, the management team at fine-dining fixture 1789 will open a new sibling cocktail bar in Georgetown that will focus on classic drinks, rare Japanese whisky pours, and elegant drinking snacks, all served in a preppy, tweed-filled setting that feels pulled straight out of a Ralph Lauren ad.
Fitzgerald’s (1232 36th Street NW) will debut next-door to 1789 on Saturday, June 26, marking the latest project for longstanding local favorite Clyde’s Restaurant Group. The two-level bar underwent a renovation that took 19 months, breathing new life into a space where art deco nightclub F. Scott’s opened in the 1960s.
Kyoo Eom, the new 1789 chef who already received a winning review from the Washington Post, designed a Fitzgerald’s menu (see full version below) that includes playful plates like herbed truffle fries, tempura calamari served with Grand Mariner aioli, Korean chicken wings, and a vibrant tuna tataki served on a glassy turquoise plate. A plump Peking duck burger features a patty made of foies gras, wagyu beef fat, and duck that’s served with caramelized onions and a fried egg on a sweet potato bun.
“It’s something fun for the guests, not just fine dining with a fork and knife. You can use your fingers,” Eom says.
A shareable “for the table” section is followed by mains like ricotta gnocchi, soy-honey glazed halibut, and grilled wagyu short ribs.
Recently hired pastry chef Erin Garcia contributes a chocolate pot de creme served in a glass coupe dotted with glimmering dollops of black sesame ganache. Garcia also makes a fruit Charlotte cake and an assortment of ice creams and sorbets.
Longtime 1789 bar director and general manager Brian Zipin is also pulling double duty at Fitzgerald’s. He’s sending out a summery, strawberry-infused spin on a pisco sour, a brown butter-washed Buffalo Trace Old Fashioned, and true-to-form classics like a barrel-aged Sazerac and Hemingway daiquiri. An in-vogue espresso martini is on the menu, too.
Eom and Zipin share a love for Japanese spirits, so the bar offers 1.5-ounce pours of everything from 12-year Yamazaki sourced from Japan’s oldest distillery to Ohishi rice whisky aged in brandy casks.
A 70-seat makeover included covering tired grey walls in a handsome dark blue, dressing leather banquettes with tweed pillows, and lining the mahogany bar with 12 mix-and-match stools upholstered in preppy plaids and hunting lodge patterns of ducks flying across velvet.
“It kind of started to feel like a navy suit with oxford shoes [and] take some life to the people who may be coming in,” designer Pam Farrell says.
She insisted on keeping pigskin-brown leather banquettes, which matches old-timey football helmets and cleats worn in the 1920s. Framed paintings of past stars include Hall of Fame Washington quarterback Sammy Baugh.
“We are invoking that old Georgetown feel ... We have this prime location [here] with a lot of history,” Farrell says. “We sat in this space and I said these walls have so much to give.”
Fitzgerald’s contributes to the cocktail bar renaissance Georgetown is experiencing as of late, which includes recent arrivals from L’Annexe, Apero, and Donahue. The Tombs, the stone-framed bar and brunch spot beloved by Georgetown students, is expected to reopen in time for the fall semester.