James J Jackson
James J Jackson
James J Jackson

The lobby cocktail bar inside Eaton Workshop is now open Mondays through Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and its drinks and decor do more than hint at the hipster-as-hell hotel’s aggressive progressiveness

Allegory is named for stories and artworks that have double, often deeper meanings. The bar is positioned directly behind Eaton Workshop’s twee library and seating area.

“Allegory is very apropos for where we are in the hotel located behind the library that’s full of a lot of progressive works and alternative narrative books with different viewpoints,” says Eaton Workshop Beverage Director Alexandra Bookless.

Washingtonians have her to thank for getting them tipsy at The Passenger for five years and most recently she’s been organizing pop-up dinners with her husband Michael Turner. She got connected with the project back when Drink Company was involved, and she stayed on when they bowed out. 

Several of the cocktails on her menu are titled after some of the works available for reading. “Open Veins” with genever, sweet vermouth, orange curacao, acai berry grenadine, lemon, and egg white ($16) is named for Eduardo Galeano’s book, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Another curious cocktail is the “Kokoro” that’s a variation on a gimlet. Instead of gin, Bookless uses sake, rum, and sherry and adds lime cordial and a tincture made from sake kasu—the lees from the sake brewing process that gives the cocktail a bready flavor. See the menu below.

Patrons who don’t see something they like on the drink list can ask a bartender for a custom potion based on flavors they enjoy. There are also three “spirit-free” libations ($6 each) and a small selection of beer and wine. Only complimentary bar snacks like Sriracha nuts and olives are available.

Allegory is dimly lit and windowless but has murals splashed on the walls from D.C.-based artist Erik Thor-Sandberg for contrast. According to the hotel, the artwork is a tribute to Ruby Bridges—the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana in 1960.

The 35-seat bar and the rest of the property was thought out by Japan-based hospitality company Plan Do See. Their motto is omotenashi or “selfless service.” It’s an idea that Bookless hopes to embody. 

Katherine Lo, whose family operates the luxury Langham hotel company, is behind the hotel that boasts 209 rooms, a movie theatre, a radio station, a wellness studio where you can take a sound bath, a co-working space, a gym, and several food and drink outlets. The lobby-level coffee shop Kintsugi is already open. As is the rooftop bar and live music venue, Wild Days. It looks like a terrarium with lots of little terrariums in it.

Photo of Wild Days by James J Jackson

Chef Tim Ma of Kyirisan is the culinary director for Eaton Workshop, meaning he has a hand in all four food and drink venues. His main project is the hotel’s full-service restaurant American Son.

Both he and Bookless have drank the Kool-Aid that Eaton Workshop is D.C.’s new home for resisters to hang out. “It’s wildly progressive,” Ma says. “Wildly so,” Bookless echoes. 

Eaton Workshop,1203 K St. NW; (202) 900-8501; eatonworkshop.com/hotel