D.C.’s going-out scene gets a big boost tonight with the simultaneous openings of two distinct hangouts featuring weekend DJs and drinks flowing until 2 a.m. The completely separate projects, both opening Friday, December 8 at 5 p.m., include a chic Italian lounge downtown (Grazie Mille) and a Tulum-themed perch across town in the Union Market District (Treehouse Rooftop Lounge). Both lounges also happen to be fresh replacements to former dining establishments. Read on for a closer look at each.
1100 15th Street NW (behind/attached to Grazie Nonna)
The team behind Midtown Center’s essential American-Italian hotspot Grazie Nonna (Grazie Grazie’s Casey Patten and chef Gerald Addison) unveil a stylish lounge in the back serving elegant cocktails, cicchetti (small snacks), and shared plates. The 68-seat spot, adorned in chandeliers, gilded frames, and jewel-toned banquettes, is the team’s moodier and mature replacement to casual Little Chicken (which plans to reopen at the Wharf soon).
At Grazie Mille, Addison gives New Orleans-style charbroiled oysters an Italian identity with pecorino, breadcrumbs, and Calabrian chili. Other dishes include mafalde, a pasta dish stuffed with truffled cream, roasted mushroom and provolone and family-style saffron risotto topped with short rib and gremolata. Gorgeous cocktails like the Milano (brandy, rye, cochi rosa, orange bitters) join a list of wines and bubbles by the glass or bottle.
The kitchen opens Sunday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. The bar opens Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and weekends until 2 a.m. Reservations are available via Resy.
411 New York Avenue NE
Situated five stories in the sky atop the newly rebranded Union Market Hotel, Treehouse channels Tulum’s lush landscape and nightlife culture with a state-of-the-art sound system and panoramic views of the buzzy Northeast neighborhood. The open-air sanctuary with room for 150 standing (plus a 12-seat bar) comes from VERSUS, the growing hospitality group behind D.C. hotspots like Ciel Social Club, Morris American Bar, and Heist.
Spirits are available the bottle, straight, or in cocktails made with seasonal ingredients and repurposed byproducts like beet puree scraps and corn husks. Highlights include the house margarita (tequila, sotol, and fermented corn syrup); a reinvented mojito with mint washed rum, green chili liqueur, and angostura amaro; and an interesting Old Fashioned featuring toasted rice syrup and root beer bitters. Shared bites include ceviche tostadas, General Tso’s cauliflower tacos, and escabeche grilled chicken (cilantro rice, avocado, feta cheese, fire-roasted poblanos).
A separate after-hours “Jungle Room” offers plush lounge seating for bottle service and dancing around the DJ booth, where Latin-leaning tracks from local and international DJs join house and electro beats. Hours are 5 p.m. to midnight during the week, extending to 2 a.m. on weekends. An adjoining market and cafe serving brunch and lunch is coming in 2024.
The industrial-chic brick building, originally home to Bolgiano’s Seed Factory, turned into the Selina hotel with its own rooftop bar last year. Locals Brook Rose and Dennis Lee stepped in to take over and transform the 106-room boutique property into the Union Market Hotel.
“The [new] owners felt that the Selina team wasn’t activating the property to its full potential, so they were excited to rebrand ... and revamp the hotel,” says Versus CEO Vinoda Basnayake, who has a longstanding relationship with Rose from their partnership in D.C. salon Karma by Erwin Gomez. “When he was looking for a new hospitality partner, it was a no-brainer for us.”
Grazie Mille menu: