Words by Kaylee Dugan
Photos by Clarissa Villondo
Stepping into the Truxton Inn feels like going back in time. Every inch of the space, from the gold and green bar to the black leather chairs feel like they’re from a different era. It’s a little art nouveau, kind of neoclassical, and maybe even a sort of victorian. It’s highly stylized, but what stands out the most is that as soon as you cross the threshold, you just feel comfortable.
I’ve forgotten how comforting a dark bar can be. These days when I’m heading to a new bar or restaurant, I almost always know what it’s going to look like before I step in. There’s probably going to be shiplap, or Edison bulbs, or touches of white marble, or high ceilings, or exposed beams, but above all, there is going to be good light. I get it. The more Instagram friendly your dishes, drinks and decor are, the more buzz. It makes sense from a business stand point and the restaurants that pull it off look great.
But sometimes, you want a dark bar. Sometimes you want to hide away and sip Old Fashioneds all afternoon. Sometimes you want a spot that’s not too crowded. That’s not too loud. The Truxton Inn is trying to be that spot. I can’t promise it’s going to succeed. It might become just another D.C. bar that’s packed to the brim every weekend, but if it doesn’t, you’re going to want to spend a lot of time here.
Just like their sister restaurant, McClellan’s Retreat, the Truxton Inn focuses on the classics. Half of their cocktail menu is devoted to tried and true favorites like negronis, martinis and manhattans. If you only stick to the classics, you’ll have a good time here. If you’re feeling a little adventurous flip to the Recommendations page, where they present their own takes. The No Sé-groni features mezcal, Peychaud’s aperitivo and Punt E Mes instead of the classic gin, campari and vermouth mixture. It’s smoky, but retains that beautiful sweet bitterness you get from a well crafted negroni. I could drink these until the day I die.
The JFK On Vacay is a twist on the daiquiri, and is made with Maui Pineapple rum, Rhum Agricole, passionfruit, lime and simple syrup. It’s sweet without tasting cloying and it’s very crushable. Too crushable. These are going to get someone in trouble. Likewise, the Congressman’s Lunch is a play on your classic gin (or vodka) martini. It adds Lustau Fino sherry, Cocchi Americano, picke brine and lemons to the mix. I don’t like martinis. I’d happily drink this one.
The Truxton Inn opens next Tuesday. If you need a place to hideaway, you can’t do better than this.