It’s here. It’s open. After nearly five years of construction, The Imperial officially opens today.
It’s here. It’s open. After nearly five years of construction, Dram & Grain officially opens today.
The big building at 2001 18th St NW is no longer a liquor store.
It’s a restaurant.
It’s an oyster bar.
It’s a two-level, rooftop bar.
It’s an underground cocktail bar.
From the people that brought you the equally massive Jack Rose, 2001 18th St NW has four unique each spaces, each delivering on a different promise.
The Imperial will be this holiday season’s date destination. It’s gorgeous at night, which works well since it’s open at 5 p.m. It’s currently taking reservations. You may want to make those now. The next two weekends are already booked up.
In addition to the beautiful setting, The Imperial will instantly attract fans thanks to their creative director of beverage, Andy Bixby. We’ve enjoyed his work at Jack Rose and will enjoy his cocktails a few doors down. He’s created new takes on classics with lower ABVs, giving diners a chance to drink a lot more than they could or should at Jack Rose. For example, his Sher-Groni, a take on a Negroni, has a closer ABV to a glass of wine than what you’ll find in a typical cocktail.
Bixby’s drinks are still geared towards cocktail nerds. There’s more thought and science in these than nearly anywhere else in the city. The Hoppin’ Through the Vines is a Stinger meets a Grasshopper but without the crème de menthe. It’s a great example of better living through chemistry.
If you’re a wine drinker looking for something new but familiar, wine director Morgan Kirchner has curated a reasonably priced list of some stuff you’d most likely otherwise pass up. After a brief conversation about the kind of wine I enjoy, she recommended a red from the Texas High Plains. I loved it. I took a photo of the bottle. I’m trying to buy a bottle for my home. That’s the kind of recommendation I want when I’m out. I would most likely have never blindly picked a bottle from Lubbock, but now I’m searching for one.
Chef Russell Jones, who formerly helmed the kitchen at Jack Rose from 2014 to 2016 (see a trend?) is showcasing, “Mid Atlantic cuisine through the lens of southern France.” The steamed happy oysters are good but the fried Old Bay crackers served with it are fantastic. The Beef Wellington and whatever red Kirchner recommends are comforting for cold nights.
Let’s go downstairs. Or next door but not exactly since there’s a shared address. Whatever. The new Dram & Grain is open and in this one is much easier to get a seat. Hell, you can book one right now. They’re also accepting walk ins, something the original in Jack Rose couldn’t promise.
If The Imperial is all about new, low ABV cocktails, Dram & Grain is about the where-did-you-get-this and the how-old-is-this?
There are bottles of spirits I’ve never heard of, let alone seen. Did you know you could buy a gin and whiskey mix? You could! It is a thing that exists! See below.
So for the spirit aficionado who was hoping the Jack Rose owners collected more than rare whiskeys, visit their new library at 2001.
Tonight is The Imperial and Dram & Grain’s official opening night. It’s far, far, far too soon to know how the restaurant and bar will evolve. It’s too cold to even open the roof bar. But it’s not a risk to say that the people that love Jack Rose for their spirits and cocktails will find something to love at The Imperial and Dram & Grain.