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First Look: Petworth Citizen, Bar & Reading Room
September 25, 2013 | 11:30AM

all words: Svetlana Legetic
all photos:
 Stephanie Breijo

It has been a hectic week over here at BYT but the second we stepped into Petworth Citizen, the new bar from Room 11, The Passenger and Hogo co-proprietor Paul Ruppert, a sense of calm washed over us and we couldn’t get rid of it, no matter how much our stressed-out selves tried to do so.  The space is spare, just dim enough to be flattering even in broad daylight and copper accents add a soft glow of relaxation-to-come to every corner.

The bar, located on 829 Upshur Street (same block as Domku and across the street from a future restaurant planned by the same team), is in soft opening now through tomorrow, with the official doors opening Friday.

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The front part is a traditional bar/restaurant, with the menu overseen by Makoto Hamamura (previously of CityZen) and a menu brimming with soon-to-be comfort food favorites like roasted beet sandwiches on pretzel buns and mac’n'cheese platters you can freely throw some chorizo on. They have their own smoker and they’re planning to put it to full use too.

The drink menu is overseen by Kristi Green (previously at Firefly and Vinoteca) and features a small but well curated selection of wines and beers, but also a daily punch selection, and both classic and custom cocktails. We, being ourselves, couldn’t resist ordering the one called KILL BILL Vol. 1 (rittenhouse rye, sesame & ginger simple syrup, orange bitters), a slightly Asian variation on a less sweet old fashioned and with the first boozy, aromatic sip we could easily imagine ourselves cradling it for the majority of the colder months to come. Other crowd favorites are bound to be: BOO RADLEY (tequila + plum wine, anyone?) and the refreshing, apple brandy driven JACK ROSE.

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The back portion of the space is where things get really interesting though. Ruppert, whose Warehouse Theatre in the back of The Passenger, has long been one of DC’s premiere small/special event spaces is aiming to create a space for DC literary events there (our friends at Barrelhouse, 826 DC, Runcible Spoon, The Intentional and beyond, we hope you’re paying attention) AS WELL as a free public library, operating on a take-a-book-leave-a-book principle. The concept is bound to be a popular one since, apparently, people from the neighborhood have already taken to dropping boxes of books as donations. The reading room will NOT be ready for the official opening this Friday, but within the next month or so-it will. Perfect for a cozy winter evening spent surrounded with a few KILL BILL Vol. 1′s and some actual, physical pages to turn.

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