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The move is nearly complete. On Nov. 9 Cork Wine Bar and Cork Market will be under the same roof at 1805 14th St. NW. By stacking their two businesses, married owners Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts will save on rent. They’ll also provide D.C. with a new, two-story temple to wine.
“It’s everything we think a person in the neighborhood wants,” says Gross, who has lived in Logan Circle since before Cork Wine Bar opened at 1720 14th Street NW in 2008. At its new address, the second-floor wine bar has 60-seats, a private dining room to be used for events and wine classes, and an outdoor patio that can seat 30. The menu remains unchanged.
While Cork Wine Bar is the business that moved in, the first floor market saw the most change. It’s set up like a cafe with first-come-first-served seating for 25 people, plus a 20-seat tasting bar for brunch, lunch, and dinner. The market is more casual than the restaurant upstairs. Think dark jeans at Cork Wine Bar and yoga pants at Cork Market.
The new downstairs menu includes cheese, charcuterie, salads, sandwiches, fried chicken, and kid-friendly food like mac and cheese. Grab-and-go sandwiches will still be available, but the sandwiches will now be made-to-order.
Pitts and Gross are most pumped about the rosé wine they’ll be making on-site at the market with the help of a winemaker. “We’ve been to so many different vineyards and seen parts of process at different times, but we’ve never done the whole process and worked with someone hands-on,” Gross says. The rosé will be released in 2018 and it’s made from Virginia-grown grapes.
“My wife and I grew together as a couple learning about wine,” Pitts says. “The opportunity to continue that exploration as a couple and lovers of wine is really exciting.” Other wine bar owners have started dipping their toes into producing wine, including Sebastian Zutant, who is readying to open Primrose in Brookland.
Cork Market will launch a monthly wine subscription program they’re calling “Flight Club” with the reopening. Wine fans can sign up to receive three themed bottles of wine each month in three, six, or nine-month installments. There will be quarterly pick-up parties so Flight Club members can get to know each other, and the first pick-up party is Dec. 10.
The Cork owners used neighborhood contractors and designers for the renovations. Eric Gronning of nearby Gronning Architects revamped the space with handmade tiles from Ann Sacks. The wood floors are from Floors on 14th, the glassware is from HomeRule, and Amanda McClements of Salt & Sundry and Little Leaf designed the patio.
Pitts and Gross look forward to opening the doors to their new venture next month, but they’re reminiscing about Cork Wine Bar’s original location at the same time. “We’ve had so many people at Cork who had their first dates there, got married, and had kids,” Gross recounts. “People who lived in the neighborhood who were priced out came back and told us stories about meeting at Cork and getting engaged at Cork,” Pitts adds.
He’s grateful that many of 14th Street NW’s hospitality pioneers have managed to stay on the strip through rapid, explosive development. “We’re talking 25 new restaurants that didn’t exist when we opened up,” he says. “From Bar Pilar and Saint-Ex, these small independent folks have stayed even though the neighborhood has changed and the clientele has changed. It’s great to be part of this.”
Cork Wine Bar and Cork Market, 1805 14th St. NW; (202) 265-2674; corkdc.com