City Paper is not for tourists
Two Petworth restaurant owners are doubling down on a neighborhood they love by opening a cocktail bar. Dos Mami’s from Himitsu‘s Carlie Steiner and Taqueria del Barrio‘s Anna Bran-Leis should open in late April in the former Hank’s Cocktail Bar space at 819 Upshur Street NW. Hank’s relocated to Dupont Circle earlier this year.
While the name suggests a Latin theme, the partners say it will be more of an undercurrent since they’ll pull inspiration from other cuisines and cultures. Ultimately, they hope Dos Mami’s will be a personal reflection of their passions.
“I feel like this is literally us in a bar, and to have somebody walk into that and be able to connect with us in that way, I’m thrilled,” Steiner says. Bran-Leis adds, “It’s intimate enough that it’s like we’re inviting you into our home—we’re entertaining you in our very personal space.”
Steiner is drawing up a list of cocktails priced at $11 to $12 each in addition to a wine list that’s heavy on bubbles. Champagne is Bran-Leis’ favorite drink. There will be a small food menu featuring snacks that go well with drinking such as meats, cheeses, and pickles. (Petworth lost its wine and charcuterie spot when Ruta del Vino closed in the fall.)
Bran-Leis and Steiner share a sense for hospitality and a desire to be socially conscious about what products they pour. “This bar is a celebration of everything that’s important to us,” Steiner says. “Celebrating women, celebrating Latin culture, celebrating the neighborhood, and local, made-in-D.C. products.”
That means cocktails that feature local spirits and spirits made by female distillers as well as a wine list highlighting female wine makers and wines from lesser-known regions.
Dos Mami’s is scrapping the dark drinking den look in favor of an indoor space that’s more open and vibrant. The outdoor area will be converted into a lush green wine garden. Expect an eclectic playlist. One day the speakers will blast hip hop, the next, bachata.
Steiner opened Himitsu with Chef Kevin Tien in November 2016. The Japanese-inspired eatery went on to net local and national accolades and helped land Steiner on Forbes’ and Zagat’s “30 Under 30” lists. After graduating from culinary school, Steiner started her career in D.C. bartending at barmini by José Andrés. She also ran her own consulting company, and frequently participates in and hosts events supporting women and the LGBTQ community. Steiner holds a level one certificate from the Court of Master Sommeliers.
D.C. first got to know Bran-Leis through her company DC Empanadas. The native Guatemalan who was raised in Maryland was one of the first food trucks on the scene. DC Empanadas also caters. Bran-Leis’ plans to open her first brick and mortar restaurant kept landing on the back burner as she battled cancer. But in March 2017 she was finally able to open Taqueria del Barrio.
“This is the first time I’ve been able to do something that’s super fun and that is a collaboration with a woman who I respect and who is doing amazing things in the scene,” Bran-Leis says. “I’ve never worked with anyone before and I’m super proud to work with Carlie.”
“I love having a partner,” Steiner responds. “I think having someone in your pocket that you can bounce ideas off of is incredible…we run in different circles and come from different walks of life, being able to use that to our benefit is going to be our number one success factor.”
Dos Mami’s, 819 Upshur St. NW; dosmamisdc.com