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Photos By Armando Gallardo, Words By Brandon Wetherbee

There’s another reason to go to the W. In addition to the amazing rooftop view, the extremely nice suites and the also new Pinea is Root Cellar, an intimate whiskey bar that should be full early in the evening every night.

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Walk to the back of Pinea, head down the stairs and you’re hidden from a very busy 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue. The space is small but not claustrophobic. Seating for 15-20 (we used the word intimate correctly), a few standing tables and a small but solid selection of whiskeys (they have five different types of Pappy Van Winkle behind the bar), Root Cellar will be the happy hour destination for the Hill staffer who wants to avoid old school standbys.

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The Root Cellar is dark. It’s a dramatic, dark room. It’s a great winter room and it’s winter so the neat fireplace and the neat lighting design looks great in the middle of January. It’ll be interesting to see if the W decides to redecorate when the sun lasts past happy hour, but for now, the place looks like it could be the set in a Richard Gere romantic comedy or drama with a solid love story. Maybe I’m just thinking of Autumn in New York. Did anyone else see Autumn in New York? Why did I see that movie?

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The happy hour will go from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and feature half price “merenda,” Pinea’s menu of sharable dishes and drink specials. We recommend the crab and guanciale croquetas, the grilled Asian pears wrapped in Serrano ham (you should get Serrano ham whenever you can because you are a living person) and the daily charcuterie. Executive Chef Barry Koslow knows what whiskey drinkers like and has designed a happy hour menu that will please anyone that agrees with Ron Swanson.

Root Cellar opens Thursday, January 15.

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