We decided to check out Franklin Hall, where DC Mayor Muriel Bowser celebrated her re-election last month. Bowser chose a good spot for her victory celebration. Franklin Hall, which can accommodate up to 300, is ideal for large gatherings.
The “American” beer hall is ensconced in Shaw’s historic Manhattan Laundry Building. Built in 1877, the complex originally housed a traction facility for a streetcar company. In 1892, the space was converted into a printing plant, and became a laundry in 1905.
Created by Geoff Dawson and Peter Bayne of Tin Shop Bar & Restaurant Development, Franklin Hall opened in June 2017. The moniker is a nod to founding father Benjamin Franklin.
Seated at communal tables and a long bar, patrons can watch sports on several huge TVs while choosing from 24 draft beers, wine and cocktails. After placing orders at the bar, customers retrieve their victuals at the carryout window. Food is definitely secondary. By far, the tastiest item we tried was the jumbo pretzel ($10), served piping hot with melted Port City beer cheese. Among the kitchen’s highly touted “all day” breakfast tacos, our carnitas taco was disappointing. Only a few strands of pork lurked under soggy scrambled eggs. Grilled sausage is a better choice; Polish kielbasa is smothered with chili and cheese whiz and sprinkled with pickled jalapenos. Other choices include crispy chicken wings, fried mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce, frito pie, Brussels sprouts lettuce wraps and burgers, including a black bean veggie version.
Tin Shop sister restaurants are Church Hall (in Georgetown), RS Sports Bar (downtown), Ivy City Big Chief (Ivy City), Highline Rust and Relaxation (Arlington). Located at 1348 Florida Ave. NW, Franklin Hall is open nightly, plus weekend lunch/brunch. Call 202-750-8646 or visitwww.franklinhalldc.com.
Watch These Spaces
Coming soon, (hopefully) next summer to NoMa: Brookland-based pizzeria Menomale (Italian for “thank goodness”) and sister deli Salumeria 2703. You’ll find the 3,000-square-foot establishment in the Belgard apartment building at 33 N St. NE. The building will also house Sweet Science coffee shop.
Operated by the wife-and-husband team of Maria Rusciano and Naples native Ettore Rusciano, Menomale creates pizzas with ingredients from southern Italy’s Campania. Pies are fired in a hand-built wood-fired oven. A best seller is the spicy Diavola with for di latte mozzarella, salami, red peppers and San Marzano tomatoes. For updates visitwww.menomale.us.com.
Heading to Shaw is an offshoot of Scott Parker’s northern Virginia popular pubs Don Tito and A-Town Bar and Grill. The DC outpost will settle in the Atlantic Plumbing Building at 2108 Eighth St. NW, replacing recently departed Tasty Burger.
Fed up with winter already? You have until the end of December to cozy up at the U Street corridor’s Archipelago. The popular tiki watering hole is among a dozen, coast-to-coast, hosting tiki Christmas pop-ups. Veteran mixologist Jeff “Beachbum” Berry teamed up with award-winning bartender Brad Smith to create holiday-themed cocktails. Glassware also features a tropical twist, such as Santa riding a surfboard instead of a sleigh. Archipelago is known for its retro tropical drinks (a la Trader Vic’s, which departed Washington in 1995 but still has locations worldwide).
Archipelago is located at 1201 U St. NW; pop-up hours are Sunday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday until 3 a.m. For more information call 202-627-0794 or visitwww.archipelagobardc.com.
More Holiday Cheer
You have until year’s end to enjoy Miracle on Seventh Street, back for the fourth year to 1843 Seventh St. NW. Among highlights are images of DC’s beloved pandas, a Hanukkah mural, a giant New Year’s Eve ball and a mistletoe “kissing” photo booth. To drink: funky cocktails, including Snow Angels, Ice Skating, Cookie Dough & Snuggles.
On Dec. 31, Miracle will serve dinner from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. At 9:30, the party gets rolling as Taittinger Champagne hosts New Year’s Eve. The $20 tab will include a glass of Champagne, punches, party favors and a countdown inside the Miracle New Year’s Eve Ball. For tickets go to Eventbrite or purchase them at the door. For more information, visit www.popupbardc.com.
Shaw’s Gaslight Tavern, 2012 Ninth St. NW, is going casual, swapping fancy shrimp cocktails and oysters for down-home burgers and sandwiches. Chef Brendan L’Etoile (who also wields his whisk at sister restaurant Chez Billy Sud) shapes burgers from Allen Brothers prime beef, enhanced with American cheese, onion escabeche, lettuce, kimchi, bacon, fried egg and the like. Sides include fries, spicy broccoli rabe and Brussels sprouts. There’s also a veggie burger, and fennel sausage with broccoli rabe, provolone, and cherry peppers. Gaslight Tavern is open nightly (except Monday when it’s closed). Call 202-864-6272 or visit www.gaslight-dc.com.
Winterfest at Wundergarten
Through Dec. 16, you can pick up Hanukkah and Christmas gifts at the second annual artisan holiday market and tree lot at Wundergarten, 1101 First St. NE. In partnership with NoMa Business Improvement District, the tented bar will sell local winter beers, spiked hot cider, Irish coffee and peppermint schnapps hot chocolate. Caliburger and Timber Pizza will provide warming victuals. A weekend market for holiday gift shopping will feature wares from Zeke’s Coffee, Who Dog Knits and more.
Congrats to Radiator, the snazzy hotspot at 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Last month, at the Restaurant Association of Washington’s Chilean Chefs Challenge, Radiator executive chef Jonathan Dearden took Judges Food Choice. His entry: Glacier aji Amarillo spiced salmon. The Embassy of Chile, ProChile, RAMW and various sponsors hosted the festive event at the National Restaurant Association headquarters in downtown Washington.
Wine no More
Ruta del Vino, the Petworth wine bar and restaurant that showcased vintages from Latin America, closed last month. According to Eater DC, co-owner Justin Logan stated that “business was down for us, and it didn’t make sense for us to continue as we had been.” His team is searching for someone to take over a lease that runs through 2025 with a five-year option. Ruta del Vino shared an Upshur Street NW block with high-profile restaurants Himitsu and Timber Pizza Company.