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New Kids On The Block: Shaw And U Street’s Hottest New Bars

In this 21-and-over edition of our New Kids On The Block series, we take a look at the slew of new bars in the U Street and Shaw areas.

Gaslight Tavern

2012 Ninth St. NW

Restaurateurs Ian Hilton, Eric Hilton and Joe Reza opened Gaslight Tavern last month at 2012 Ninth St. NW.

Aiming to appeal to a more mature crowd than nearby watering holes, the owners sought to re-create a 1920s tavern atmosphere. They hearken back to the decade with old family photos, oil paintings, antique bronze work, wood floors, a wood-burning fireplace, patterned wallpaper in the main dining area, exposed brick in the bar area and old-fashioned barstools and high tables throughout.

The menu is dominated by hearty Montreal and French Canadian offerings. These are rounded out by some standard American fare with unexpected Eastern influences.


Morris American Bar interior

D.C. master mixologist David Strauss and business partner Vinoda Basnayake opened Morris, an upscale Shaw cocktail destination with whimsical and charming interior, Feb. 1 at 1020 Seventh St. NW.

The 1,400 SF, 63-seat, Swatchroom-designed den, with its periwinkle-blue walls and comfy modern décor, is a marked departure from its surrounding, more conventional Shaw bars. Orbs of light, ornate mirrors and floral pictures lend a decidedly feminine feel to the bright airy space.

The den serves no food, has no standing room and takes no reservations. It compensates with theatrical in-house ice production and a lean-yet-innovative menu of classic cocktails all for $12. The drinks menu rotates monthly.

Five to One

903 U St. NW

Renowned cocktail master Trevor Frye opened the 1,700 SF music-themed bar Five to One at 903 U St. NW in June. Five to One celebrates the nearby 9:30 Club’s varied acts by crafting cocktails tailored to the venue’s performance lineup.

Attentive and improvisational bartenders reflect on the 9:30 Club artists’ set lists before creating the custom libations. Patrons of the new establishment should expect surprises, but not garnishes. Frye has banned garnishes to maintain consistency.

Frye grew up in D.C., and after attending two-and-a-half decades of concerts, chose to decorate his bar with memorabilia collected from past 9:30 Club performances.