Does the name “Beuchert’s Saloon” ring a bell for you? If you’re a time traveler or a connoisseur or D.C. history, you may just be familiar with the cozy establishment bordering Eastern Market. If you weren’t around for its 1880s inception and haven’t been boning up on your District dining of yore, you’re in luck; Beuchert’s Saloon is once again opening its doors and it’s more beautiful than ever.
With a menu based on the owners’ family farm and an aesthetic based on the historic restaurant and documentation, the team behind Beuchert’s will open its doors by the end of the month sporting vintage taxidermied American Buffalo, craft tap soda, cocktail, beer and wine programs and a fresh menu.
Stepping into the space is like stepping back in time, where the hand-lacquered floor boards creak beneath your feet and the beer is poured from vintage taps (in this particular case, ranging anywhere from the 1890s to 1920). Everything in Beuchert’s has had a past life; reclaimed oak stacks the floors, reclaimed walnut wood accents the walls. The closest the saloon’s decor comes to the 21st century are the hand-laid subway tiles, bought new albeit by the same company that restored Ellis Island. (Impressive, no?)
The owners–all D.C. natives–wanted to recreate the past; who wouldn’t with a building’s history like that of Beuchert’s? The space became one of the first female-run speakeasies during prohibition, operating behind fronts like a Singer sewing machine store and a gramophone shop. When booze reigned legal once again, the Beucherts sold it to a man historians believe was a founder of Clyde’s restaurant group. To preserve the heritage, the spot’s new owners did everything themselves to ensure perfection, which includes (but is not limited to) the reconstruction of floor cloths, canvas varnished–historically with boat varnish–that now hang along the walls of the bar’s hallway.
The beer and wine selection is equally vintage-tinged with a spirit program that specializes in high-end brown liquor selection and small batch. An all-draft, large format beer program will pour from those vintage taps; one-half of the drafts will stay, and another five or six will rotate. They’ll offer something for everyone, including a gluten-free beer option. Wine enthusiasts can find roughly 10 whites and 10 reds, with roughly five rosés getting as we approach the season.
Diners will find some mouthwatering dishes, all seasonal and many sourced directly from the family farm. Try dishes like the braised lamb with rosemary gnocchi, pommery mustard, spinach and orange zest, or the striped bass with garlic potatoes, squid, mushrooms, rosemary, and lemon cream. In fact, with a menu this appetizing, the comfy bar (kitchen seating included) and back patio garden (opening in spring) make for an appealing place to perch for a bit. Instead of buying new and making things look old, Beuchert’s bought old and made it look young again; it’s got style in spades.