An upper Northwest sports bar all decked out in blue opens this month with beer-and-shot combos, margaritas, and a meaty menu from a rising Guatemalan chef who grew up in the neighborhood.
The Bull Bar & Grill is the latest 14th Street NW venture from Latin restaurateur and fellow Columbia Heights native Aldo Cruz (4628 14th Street NW). Cruz already has a customer fan base on the strip at Toro Bar, a popular pool hall he debuted during the dawn of the pandemic (3708 14th Street NW). The Bull, located a few blocks north, can fit 75 patrons inside and another 30 across its front and back patios.
His teammate at The Bull is also chef Omar Marroquin, whose opening “Triple-Double Overtime” cheeseburger will star a whole pound of meat between a bun. The pair of patties, comprised of brisket and an Angus chuck blend, come topped with cheddar, provolone, and pepper jack cheese. All burgers and fried chicken sandwiches come with a side of Old Bay curly fries.
Marroquin, who showcased his Central American cooking skills with pandemic pop-ups at Truxton Inn and McClellan’s Retreat, will also send out wings slathered in D.C.’s beloved mumbo sauce; an array of sliders (braised beef, barbecue grilled chicken, or pulled pork); and queso and grilled elote dips with homemade tortilla chips. Marroquin also leans into his Latin heritage with savory desserts like a fried plantain sundae and empanadas filled with chocolate-hazelnut sauce and fresh banana.
Aldo Cruz’s mom, Maria, is an immigrant from El Salvador who planted restaurant roots in the Northwest neighborhood in the 1980s. She opened Tienda La Union, Salon de Belleza, and most recently La Libertad, which closed in January to make way for The Bull Bar & Grill.
“Now ready for some well-deserved leisure time, it’s her son’s turn to keep tradition going,” says general manager and beverage director Miguel Prado.
Comeback hits from Maria Cruz’s La Libertad menu include “Mama’s Carne Asada” made with her “secret” marinade. A flank-cut beef rib main in a citrus-herb marinade comes with jasmine white rice, refried red beans, and pico de gallo.
The Bull’s bar, stocked with tequila, mezcal, and whiskey from small-batch distillers, will also offer beer-and-shot combos and drafts by local brewers like Hellbender, Atlas, and 3 Stars. House cocktails like a margarita and Old Fashioned will join one-off creations from its staff.
“Our bartenders will curate their own bar menu on the nights they work,” says Prado.
Cruz plans to carry on his mom’s legacy by continuing to provide jobs to Central American immigrants living in the neighborhood. Interested bartenders, servers, and food runners can email resumes to email@example.com.
The Bull will be open for lunch and dinner daily. Here’s an early look at the menu, which is subject to change: