By Travis Mitchell
Georgetown’s 1789 Restaurant, at 1226 36th St. NW, has introduced a new bar area for guests looking for a craft cocktail or a draft beer in a historic Washington setting.
The final phase of the restaurant’s 19-month renovation, the Sidecar Bar & Lounge opened in January, replacing F. Scott’s, the former art-deco nightclub and event space. About 50 new seats have been added in total, a welcome supplement to what was previously just a five-seat bar in the main restaurant.
“We’ve been wanting to do this renovation for a while,” said Tom Meyer, president of Clyde’s Restaurant Group, which purchased the restaurant in 1985.
The Sidecar offers a more casual and vibrant atmosphere than the main dining room, where jackets are part of the recommended dress code. That’s not to say it’s not an upscale place to meet for an evening drink. The long mahogany bar, wooden columns and leather seating in the surrounding lounge fit the cozy, old-school atmosphere. The lower level was designed with elements like a mirror with a handcrafted frame and exposed painted-brick walls for a more contemporary feel.
The new space has allowed for an expanded liquor selection. Drinks (priced between $12 and $15) are rooted in the classics but adapted to modern sensibilities. Among the options are the Irish old fashioned, with Jameson Black Barrel whiskey and Bénédictine, and the winter paloma, a mix of Tromba Blanco Tequila, Campari, grapefruit and hopped grapefruit bitters. Or sip on the namesake spiced pear sidecar, made with St. George spiced pear liqueur, brandy, triple sec and lemon. There are also four taps for draft beer, previously unavailable.
The Sidecar Bar also serves a bar menu with dishes such as bucatini with black truffle and yellowfin tuna tartare. The full 1789 dinner menu is available à la carte as well. On top of expanding the food and beverage options, the renovation introduced another long-awaited amenity: ground floor bathrooms for dinner guests.
According to Meyer, the neighborhood reception has been positive since the launch, with Georgetowners appreciating a gathering spot away from the bustle of shoppers on M Street and Wisconsin Avenue.
“It’s kind of the perfect spot for Georgetowners to wander into,” he said.