Photo of Nick Farrell by Rose Collins
Photo of Nick Farrell by Rose Collins

Plans are starting to fall into place for Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s most ambitious project to date. In 2017, City Paper announced that a multi-restaurant, multi-bar concept would be coming to 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE on Capitol Hill.

Since the name of the residential building housing the project is called the Blackbird, NRG is going with “The Roost,” as initially snuffed out by blogger Barred in DC. 

Nick Farrell will lead the first bar to take shape in the 12,500-square-foot space, Show of Hands. You’ve tasted his cocktails at Iron Gate and Hazel.

The focus at Show of Hands will be on low-ABV drinks that use house-made spirits like limoncello, absinthe, vermouth, seasonal fruit liqueurs, and amari as their base. 

Farrell doesn’t think bartenders making their own potions is a new trend. He does it because it’s a personal passion. “I’ve been lucky enough working in restaurant bars to have access to cool equipment to make syrups and infusions a lot throughout my day-to-day work,” he says. 

As to why he’s focusing on cocktails that don’t pack as much punch, Farrell says, “I think in general there’s been a lot more consciousness about what goes into our bodies. We all love the social aspect of drinking, but we like taking care of ourselves as well. Everybody wants to spend as much time with friends as possible, but what do you do after you’ve had your second Manhattan?” 

While low-ABV cocktails will be the focus, Farrell says he will also stock a full bar.

Within The Roost, NRG will compliment Show of Hands with a beer bar from Greg Engert, plus a host of eateries. 

“We’re creating a whole ecosystem that you’d otherwise have to find by moving locations,” NRG founder Michael Babin told City Paper in 2017. “We want it to be a place where, if you live around there, it’s your clubhouse. A place you come to when you can’t decide where you want to go because when you get there, you’ll have a lot of options.”

The Roost should open in Fall 2019. 

The Roost, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE