all photos: Jeff Martin
Ask anyone with any restaurant experience what goes into opening a new bar/eatery/whathaveyou and chances are you will get an earful of tales of stress, drama, and endless chaos. So, imagine what it would take to open 3 PLACES in 6 months? Just think about it for a min.
And that is exactly what Derek Brown and his team achieved in the June-December timespan of 2013. After the sherry and ham church that is Mockingbird Hill and the Oysters and pitcher cocktail good times that is Eat the Rich the time has come for the third piece of their 1800 block of 7th street to open its doors (which it will do this Saturday).
Much like its sister locations, Southern Efficiency has a very clear identity. Named after a quote often ascribed to John F. Kennedy, speaking to the District’s political handicaps, “Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm” it is all about whiskey and southern, comfort food. J.P. Featherston is still the man behind the bar (and teaching whiskey tasting classes, one of which is TONIGHT if you’re in the mood to register) and Julien Shapiro, who mans the Eat the Rich kitchen next door, will be in charge of the menu.
What to expect? On the table: sure, there will be some mainstays of Southern cooking (and, for one, we will eat ALL the bourbon balls you give us, no questions asked) but the idea is to surprise as well. For example, everyone involved seems to mention the peanut soup in sentences peppered with exclamation points and The Post dropped hints of chocolate mayo cakes too.
Behind the bar: over 30 different whiskeys and bourbons (Brown being a vocal whiskey and scotch fan, during the holidays and beyond), and a to-the-point cocktail list, some of which, naturally, will be served in mason jars.
Sounds like a perfect place to hole up in during the demon that is this winter. And starting Saturday, you’ll have a chance to do so.
CRUCIAL DETAILS: Southern Efficiency is located at 1841 7th St., NW. HOURS: Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 12:30; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 1:30; Sunday 5 to 11:30.