The nightlife team behind a crop of popular Clarendon bars just debuted its biggest endeavor yet in the form of a cabana-covered hangout on the banks of the Anacostia River. The Cove comes from B Social Hospitality (The Lot, Coco B’s/B Live, Rebel Taco, Roll’d, Pamplona, Clarendon Ballroom), who also run Alias on 14th Street NW.
The Cove (25 Potomac Avenue SE) dedicates its spacious real estate for yard games, scenic lounge seating, a dedicated snack hut serving grilled meat, seafood, and veggie tacos, and multiple bars slinging beers, wine, and tropical cocktails. Hours to start are Thursday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends starting at 2 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday and 10 p.m. on Sunday.
With 40,000 square feet to play with, there’s ample room for multiple sections to get their own name and identity — starting with a waterfront Beach Club welcoming guests upon entry. Look out for a huge handmade sign spelling out “The Cove” and a big swing coming soon. The nucleus of the Cove is a soaring DJ pavilion decked out with dangling greenery, woven basket lights, and custom, live-edge tables. In a section furthest away from the water, “bungalows” can be reserved for parties partaking in sand-lined cornhole and darts. All in all, four truckloads worth of soft white sand filled out various areas of the Cove.
The Cove has a big-name celebrity investor in Vernon Davis, a former NFL star-turned-TV personality who splits his time between Los Angeles and Maryland. “Vernon was coming out all the time to Clarendon Ballroom and expressed interest in wanting to invest in us,” B Social co-owner Mike Bramson tells Eater. The sprawling, one-acre setup formerly housed Bardo Brewing, and B Social picked up the prized patch of waterfront land last year.
“It’s a lot of lounging around and relaxing. There’s so many nooks and little areas to hang out in,” says Bramson, who took many trips to Tulum with B Social co-owner Christal Bramson for inspiration.
A standalone snack hut sends out a Mexican fusion menu from the group’s chef Juan Oliver. Dips like guac and smoked paprika-flecked hummus come surrounded with grilled naan, and the same soft bread acts as vessels for tacos dressed with avocado puree, chimi pico de gallo, crispy onions, and lemon herb yogurt. Two-taco orders ($10-$12) feature fillings like steak, shrimp, chicken curry, or chickpeas. A full bar plays up rum runners and punches, and partnerships with beer brands Corona and Pacifico are evident everywhere (the latter supplied some of the palm trees).
The outdoor setup plans to keep the party going nearly year-round, aside from a necessary closure during D.C.’s coldest months like January and February. Seasonal activations call for early fall luaus and cookouts, horror movie screenings and graveyard parties for Halloween, and a tented winter wonderland with fire pits and Miami-styled Christmas trees.
“The goal at all our concepts is to transport people somewhere else. Everyone’s been commenting on how ‘this is so not D.C.,’” he says.