Joy Asico

Lapop is one of those places you’re grateful to know about. The lounge appointed with Afghan rugs, eclectic furniture, art, and full bookshelves under Lapis in Adams Morgan is about to get even cooler, especially if you consider yourself part of D.C.’s creative community.

Starting Feb. 20, Lapop will be more than a daytime coffee shop and yoga studio. The Popal Group is relaunching the 2,200-square-foot space as a nighttime gathering place and cocktail bar with small bites inspired by 19th Century European cultural salons or places like New York’s Algonquin Hotel, where artists and intellectuals would gather.

“People get together in these spaces to talk politics, love, and life,” says Lapop Co-owner Omar Popal. “For the curious few who see the neon sign and hopefully come down the stairs into this garden of Eden, we hope they ask, ‘What is this space?’ It’s everything!” 

Popal has big plans for the space. Expect everything from Bollywood screenings and musicians playing the tabla to yoga classes and rotating art exhibits from refugee and immigrant artists. The most eye-catching piece is a mural depicting a map of America with all of the different languages spoken in the U.S.

Gordon Nester, formerly of Truxton Inn, will lead the bar. He drew up a menu of 10 cocktails inspired by books that can be found on the shelves at Lapop such as the “None of Us Cared for Kate,” with mezcal, orange, lime, and house-made kiwi-ginger-habanero soda or the “Green Darkness” with rum, pistachio cream, demerara sugar, and iced coffee. 

Even the books on the shelves have a story behind them. The Popal Group partnered with The Lantern Bookstore (3241 P St. NW) to sell books whose proceeds are used to fund scholarships for women to attend Bryn Mawr College. Lapop also uses some of the proceeds from the book sales to fund women’s education in Afghanistan. (The Popals are Afghan.) 

To pair with Nester’s cocktails or a selection of esoteric wines from wine director Rachel Crossno, Lapop will serve snacks like sautéed turmeric-ginger shrimp with red chutney; whipped feta with black bean salad; and lamb meatballs with strained yogurt, mint, cucumber and pickled red onions.

Lapop will be open for drinks and snacks Wednesdays through Sundays from 6 p.m. to close. Additionally, lunch consisting of bento boxes, acai bowls, soups, and salads will be served weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Popal Group, consisting of partners Omar, Zubair PopalShamim Popal, and Fatima Popal, is also behind Malmaison, Cafe Bonaparte, The Berliner, and Lapis.

Lapop, 1847 Columbia Road NW; lapopdc.com