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The old Sotto space gets a surprise makeover as Alias, complete with masqueraded murals, florals, and cocktail tables.
Laura Chase de Formigny/Alias on 14th

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A Hot Pink Door Leads the Way to Logan Circle’s Swanky New Cocktail Club

Arlington party starters Mike and Christal Bramson unveil Alias on 14th under Dolce Vita

Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

A Northwest nightlife artery gets an Eyes Wide Shut edge this weekend with the debut of Alias on 14th, a flashy new drinking den from the owners of Clarendon Pop-Up Bar and The Lot.

Located in the depths of Mediterranean newcomer Dolce Vita, Alias opens Friday, April 29, with a bar program that showcases bubbles, fire, and billowing smoke, with an equally theatrical look to match (1610 14th Street NW). The 100-seat space that formerly housed jazz club Sotto also offers a dizzying count of Champagne options, out-of-the-box bottle service, and a one-page meze menu from Dolce Vita chef Elier Rodriguez upstairs.

Hours at Alias are Wednesday to Saturday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

A mysterious stairwell lures diners down to Alias.
Laura Chase de Formigny/Alias on 14th

Lahlou Restaurant Group owner Med Lahlou (Lupo Pizzeria, Lupo Verde) tripled down on the strip last fall with the opening of Dolce Vita, taking over the former two-story home of Ghibellina. Lahlou handed off the basement bar piece to his industry friends at B Social Hospitality to let them do their thing.

Laura Chase de Formigny/Alias on 14th
A list of 20 bubbly options peaks at $1,000 for top-tier Ace of Spades.
Laura Chase de Formigny/Alias on 14th

The two brands are separate, aside from the food menu and one fun factor. A few lucky diners at Dolce Vita will be handed poker chips to continue the night down below. The laser-cut tokens are redeemable for free drinks and grant exclusive entry to Alias down a secret set of stairs in the back of the restaurant.

The full-blown facelift comes from interior designer David Chenault, who’s behind lots of ostentatious looks around town (Nara-Ya, La Vie, and Pamplona).

“We told him the name and he went with it. Hidden identities assuming another identities, and playing off that with a mural,” B Hospitality co-owner Christal Bramson tells Eater.

Past a lengthy bar and DJ booth, a floor full of masqueraded figures, flowers, and candle-lit tables leads to the big finale: jewel-toned velvet sofas perched on a black-and-white checkered stage. Some of D.C.’s top sports stars broke in that back VIP area during a preview party last weekend, with Commanders and Capitals players imbibing side by side.

Laura Chase de Formigny/Alias on 14th
The Smoked cocktail with bourbon, angostura, and orange peel.
Laura Chase de Formigny/Alias on 14th

“The space calls to mind all the hidden speakeasies and bars in NYC. We want to bring that vibe to D.C.,” says Christal Bramson, who hails from the NYC nightlife world. Her husband and B Hospitality co-owner Mike Bramson is a former D.C. club promoter and always wanted to open a lounge in the city.

Accessing Alias from the street is also an adventure by design, starting with finding an unmarked, hot pink door next to Dolce Vita. A neon-lit stairwell invites guests to lose track of time inside the trippy, window-less hangout. Up-lit glass block walls, bathrooms tucked behind padded doors, and a shimmering silver bar all set the stage for show-stopping cocktails from beverage director Evan Cablayan. The tenured bartender’s bicoastal resume includes recent stints at The Watergate and The Graham hotels in D.C., and in LA at Tom Colicchio’s Craft and Suzanne Goin’s The Larder.

A dramatic bottle service area framed with billowing velvet curtains and graffiti commands attention in the back of the room.
Laura Chase de Formigny/Alias on 14th

His opening list of eight cocktails ($16 each) includes the AF1 — a spin on the Paper Plane cocktail by late NYC mixologist master Sasha Petraske. At Alias, he swaps out whiskey for mezcal alongside Aperol, amaro, and fresh lemon.

Bubblicious gum is the muse for another crowd-pleaser that requires a fast photo.

A bubble gun caps off a whimsical Bubbleicious cocktail (citrus vodka, raspberry, fresh lemon).
Laura Chase de Formigny/Alias on 14th
A burst bubble lets out an aromatic smoke show.
Laura Chase de Formigny/Alias on 14th

In addition to traditional bottle service, patrons can assemble their own concoctions with guidance from a server. A bottle of rum, for instance, arrives tableside with glassware, fresh mint, and sugared rims for DIY mojitos.

“Rather than just bottles, sparklers, and club soda, you can create your own cocktails,” she says.

Dolce Vita chef Elier Rodriguez’s pared down menu for downstairs includes spanakopita, hamachi crudo, and beef souvlaki.
Laura Chase de Formigny/Alias on 14th

B Social Hospitality, who also runs Rebel Taco and Roll’d, is gearing up to bring an all-outdoor waterfront bar and brewery called The Cove to Navy Yard this summer.

Alias augments D.C.’s growing subterranean bar scene. There’s Never Looked Better in Blagden Alley, and up the 14th Street NW strip there’s Doi Moi downstairs.

Alias beverage director Evan Cablayan shaking a drink behind the blue bar.
Laura Chase de Formigny/Alias on 14th
After encountering a hypnotic basement, patrons hook a left to access Alias.
Laura Chase de Formigny/Alias on 14th
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