The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2017

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24  /  the tasting panel  /  march 2017 Service Bar has an all-day happy hour featuring mainstay cocktails like classic Daiquiris, Old Fashioneds and Mint Juleps for $7. A Service Bar tiki mug. WHAT'S NEW IN D.C. T he District of Columbia boasts some of the wealthiest ZIP codes in the nation, neighboring some of the poorest. Billionaires brush past unpaid interns in the halls of our great institutions, and those struggling to climb the corporate ladder may find themselves seated at the bar next to those perched at the top. It is a dichotomy that plays itself out repeatedly in our fair city, but there is one thing we all can agree on: We all love a well-made drink. If it sports a good price, all the better. Service Bar, a new hangout in the trendy Shaw neighborhood, plays to the bargain-hunting crowd with its all-day happy hour, featuring mainstay cocktails like classic Daiquiris, Old Fashioneds and Mint Juleps for $7. "Our all day happy hour theme started from a conversation we had as con- sultants before the bar opened," explains Glendon Hartley, one of Service Bar's owners. "It wasn't the regular 'Let's have some craft cocktails so we can charge extra.' We wanted to pass on the deals we get from the distributors to our guests, instead of putting all the profit in our pockets. We wanted to establish value as an idea central to the menu." Hartley, along with co-owners Chad Spangler and Chris Willoughby, also wanted service to be a focus, with friendly bartenders who introduce themselves by name and get to know their guests. Of course, if you want a more exotic cocktail experience, the bartenders are happy to oblige, with the ultimate experi- ence to be had in "The Snug," an intimate private booth that seats up to ten people. The catered cocktail menus—the Cocktailery Menu for $30 per person and the Tom Foolery Menu for $75 per person—feature drinks tailored to each group, paired with Service Bar's fried chicken-focused menu. Overall, Service Bar is a friendly place for locals to chill without breaking the bank. Across town, a decidedly different crowd populates the lobby bar of the new Trump International Hotel, housed in the "Old Post Office." Washingtonians cheered the renovation of this beloved building, with its bell tower that falls just short of the Washington Monument in height and offers great views of the city. The atrium space that used to be a sparsely-utilized food court now features the beautiful Benjamin's Bar and Lounge, named for America's first postmaster, Benjamin Franklin. This vast and soaring space, with its crystal chandeliers and plush couches, welcomes the well-heeled crowd with a luxury experience. Bring your platinum card, though. Signature cocktails at Benjamin's start at $24, although the pours are generous. If you happen to be hanging out with a wolf of Wall Street or a golden-parachuted lobbyist, try the namesake cocktail, The Benjamin, for a mere $100. "I wanted to create an innovative Ben Franklin–inspired cocktail," says Daniel Mahdavian, the hotel's Director of Food and Beverage, "and I wanted it to be priced at 'a Benjamin.' We make a Martini with the highest-quality vodkas and serve it with three seasonal raw oysters and one ounce of Osetra caviar—the ultimate luxury food!" Whether your bankroll is thick or thin, cocktails in the District are a luxury everyone can enjoy. A Cocktail for Any Budget PHOTOS COURTESY OF SERVICE BAR At Service Bar, a new hangout in the trendy Shaw neighborhood, fried chicken tenders in a waffle. by David D. Denton, CWE IBWE

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