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Eric and Ian Hilton are cooking with gas. The brother restaurateurs will open Gaslight Tavern at 2012 9th St. NW next month, bringing their grand total of bars on the block to five with El Rey, American Ice Co., Satellite Room, and The Brixton.
Ian describes the vision for the bar as an old, American-style tavern designed to look and feel like the early 1900s. “There won’t be a lot of technology,” he says, adding that he wishes he could hide the computers that servers use to punch in orders and replace them with pads of paper and pens. “We want something that feels kind of simple.”
Enter the outfit’s expansive patio, with its black benches and urban landscaping, and you’ll feel like you stumbled upon a city park. Only unlike parks in America, you can drink all the wine you want at the 3,000-square-foot bar. Part of the patio is covered so it can be utilized throughout the year.
Gaslight Tavern is adjacent to the catering kitchen that cranks out food for American Ice Co. and El Rey. “This will be the first time it will be used as an active line during service,” Ian explains. “Here, they’ll be able to do more real shit.” The chef is yet to be determined. Ian says to expect small plates in a similar style to the cuisine at Bar Pilar.
Drinks will be heavy on wine and classic cocktails.
The Hilton brothers have been sitting on the property for years, toying with different ideas for the space. They cycled through Korean BBQ, a coffee shop, a butcher shop, and even a radio station. The name was easier to come by.
“Gaslight was the original name for American Ice Co.,” Ian explains. “We really liked the name but then we found there was an old American ice company that had operated out of that building, so we went with it.” They’ve been sitting on the name Gaslight Tavern and finally found a fit. “We’ll have actual gaslights out front.”
Ian says the bar will have a more feminine feel than some of his other bars. “We like women more than we like men, don’t we?” It’s as if the city collectively decided it had enough dark and broody bars that look like man caves. Several other restaurateurs have decided to go more feminine with design, including Primrose coming to Brookland and Calico, now open in Blagden Alley.
Gaslight Tavern is slated to open in November, likely right after Thanksgiving. The Hilton brothers are toying with the idea of opening for lunch.
Gaslight Tavern, 2012 9th St. NW