Two long-time restaurateurs and area natives are teaming up to open a neighborhood wine bar in the 700 Penn development near Eastern Market in Southeast D.C. The Eastern should open this spring, serving small plates that pair well with wine. “The most important thing is we do not want drinking wine to equal pretentiousness,” says co-founder Matt Weiss.
Weiss opened his first restaurant in the District in 1995 and still owns and operates Union Pub, The State Room, McClellan’s Retreat, and Truxton Inn. He’s partnering with Mike Schuster, who has helped bring D.C. Trusty’s, Compass Rose, and Maydan. Both men own Barrel, located across the street from The Eastern.
Schuster and Weiss are calling the 1,500-square-foot wine bar a sister bar of Barrel because the yet-to-be-named sommelier will take a similar approach to wine as Barrel takes with bourbon. They hope to appeal to both wine novices who are just starting to explore, as well as connoisseurs on the hunt for cool finds. Cocktails and beer will also be offered.
Barrel Executive Chef Walfer Hernandez will also head up the kitchen at The Eastern. Details on the style of cuisine are sparse, but Weiss says Hernandez will serve house-made charcuterie. “We plan to do some pop-ups of menu items and wine tastings at Barrel as we get closer to opening,” Weiss reveals.
The Eastern’s kitchen doesn’t have a hood, which limits the food possibilities. Hernandez will look to source produce and other products from the neighboring market, according to Weiss.
Design-wise, Weiss says they’re going for a mid-century “Mad Men” aesthetic.
The Eastern, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. SE