When the team behind Tail Up Goat opened Tail Up Goat, they thought it would be a neighborhood spot. In the four-ish years since they opened the doors to that beautiful dining room, they’ve received tons of accolades, earned their place as one of the best dining destinations in D.C. and made many diners happy, but they’re not quite a neighborhood go-to. Tail Up Goat feels like the kind of spot that necessitates a reservation, not the sort of restaurant you can swing by after opening your fridge and realizing you forgot to go grocery shopping (again).
Yet, the team never gave up their dream of crafting the perfect little drop in oasis, the kind of restaurant that would satisfy locals and travelers and people who could wander in without reading a review in the Post. Enter Reveler’s Hour. Tucked in a sizeable spot right across the street from The Line on Columbia Road NW, it’s a pasta and wine paradise brought to you by the magic (mainly Jill Tyler, Jon Sybert and Bill Jensen) behind Tail Up Goat. You could pass by its all black and glass exterior a million times before you noticed the culinary (and wine) gem inside… But you should not pass go. You should not collect $200. You should sit down and eat your weight in pasta, and drink your weight in wine and stumble back home happy. Hopefully home is close.
Just like its sister restaurant, Reveler’s Hour’s dinner menu is relatively simple. Broken up into sections featuring snacks, small plates and pasta, it allows you to get just as wild as you’d like. Want to have some chips and sip on a Miller High Life? You can do that. Want to down a spritz and eat meat on a stick (more on that later)? You can do that. Want sip on a wine made by a friend of the restaurant and eat hearty, flavorful pasta? You can most definitely do that. More than anything, Reveler’s Hour is made for the person who wants to dive headfirst into their 50 wines and six different pastas, the person who likes to take the familiar and experiment, but even if that’s not your end game, you’ll be happy here.
And we were happy there. Reveler’s dining room, with its vintage wine posters and bistro feel, is as cozy and comfortable as their dishes. The grilled Cape May oysters, perched on their rock salt cairns and infused with hot sauce and garlic butter are unmissable. They’re warm, spicy and salty little flavor bombs that bring out the best flavors in an oyster without smothering it. They’re the best way to start a meal at Reveler’s Hour and they might be the best way to end a meal as well. They pair well with the Cape May scallops (shocker), which are cooked on their wood-burning grill and then paired with slivers of kumquat and celery. The dish is served in a small and unassuming bowl that almost belies the zippy combination of savory and sweet awaiting you.
Reveler’s Hour is all about taking dishes you know (cold cut sandwiches, chips and dip, cheese and crackers, broccoli) and remixing it into something you’ve never had before. To that end, one of our favorite dishes of the night was something you could probably order at the Renaissance Festival. The aptly named “meat on sticks” is exactly what it says it is. It’s meat (pork to be specific) popped on a stick and drizzled with a fish pepper honey I wish they would bottle. You’re going to want to order more than one serving.
After you’re done snacking and sipping and exploring, it’s time to get serious. It’s time to tuck into that pasta menu. From ribbons of mafalde coated in cheese to swirls of bucatini threaded with onions, every dish looks as pretty as a picture. The capunti, with its hardy, melt in your mouth beef genovese, smoky grilled carrots and a healthy serving of breadcrumbs, feels like eating heaven. It’s rich, decadent and utterly addicting. We were also wooed by the killer spicy sausage that spiked the garganelli, but that dish leaned on the drier side and didn’t have quite the same enchanting flavors as the rest of our meal.
The best thing about Reveler’s Hour is that as soon as you leave, you immediately want to go back. It has a built-in return appeal. I want to go back to try the meatballs. I want to go back to try the campanelle. I want to go back to try the bread and fish butter. I want to go back to drink more wine. I want to go back and take a picture of their bathroom filled with wine illustrations. I want to go back. Hopefully, you will too.