With Royal Sands Social Club, owners Fritz Brogan and Reed Landry give the term “pool bar” a whole new meaning. At Navy Yard’s new Florida-themed bar (26 N Street SE), opening today at 4 p.m. across from Nationals Park, guests can sip tropical cocktails, pop conch fritters, and dance the night away on the floor of what looks like a (water-less) swimming pool. Aqua-blue tiles, portholes, and a 30-foot-tall “lifeguard tower” DJ booth adorn the floor-level bar—just one of three—inside the massive venue sized for over 700 guests.
The 14,000-square-foot, two-story party pad joins other lively and booze-heavy rooftops on that same stretch across from the ballpark, including Silver Social, Takoda, and neighboring Mission, which is also owned by Brogan and Landry.
The duo, who own five other D.C. restaurants and bars under Mission Group, have made a point of zeroing in on 20s-something neighborhoods. Dupont is home to the original Mission and The Admiral, while Salazar and Hawthorne are separated by just a few blocks on the U and 14th Street corridor. Landry says it’s a model that continues to work for them. “We’ve found that they play off of each other — they create a destination,” he told Eater.
The latest party pad is the first to take on a tropical outlook, inspired by Brogan’s Florida roots. Heavy on the beach theme, rooms are outfitted with hanging plants, tropical wallpaper, wood accents, and huge TV screens, with an upper level overlooking the ballpark. The pair says it’s their most difficult undertaking yet. “We’re definitely kind of taking things to the next level,” Brogan told Eater, “kind of doing everything a little notch better than we’ve done it everywhere else.”
Landry and Brogan tell Eater Royal Sands boasts a lot of “firsts” for Mission Group: the first to have bottle service, the first serving lobster and frozen cocktails—and it’s also probably the first with a lit-up palm tree.
The menu is made up of poolside-friendly fare. Sharable options include pineapple guacamole, teriyaki gator bao buns, and conch fritters. Classic sushi rolls are dressed up with thematic names. A California Roll is called “The Floridian” and the “Tsunami” is a dressed-up spicy tuna. A “signature” Lobster Royale accentuates lobster tempura with eel and yum yum sauce. The range of mains is wide: there’s mango shrimp tacos, steamed shrimp bucket with corn and potatoes, and steak frites with a mushroom duck confit.
But like at Brogan and Landry’s other locations, drinks are the priority at Royal Sands. The owners say the bar has “by far” the most extensive drink menu in the company, including bottle service with labels ranging up to a $15,000 Louis XIII. The bottle service menu will be available after its big New Year’s Eve party.
Cocktails ($15 or $20) include “Royal Rum Punch” dosed with mint syrup and crushed peach, “Sunny Place for Shady People,” made up of vodka, grenadine, key lime juice, and neon pink coconut foam topper, plus two frozen options: a piña colada and peach bellini.
Craft beers on draft ($8) include locals like Frederick, Maryland’s Flying Dog brewery and D.C.’s Right Proper. Reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines are available by the glass or bottle.
The bar will ramp up to full hours on January 3rd. It’ll be open seven days a week, likely until 2 a.m. during the week and 3 a.m. on weekends. Daily happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.