When Sugar Shack Donuts opens its first D.C. location, it’ll serve more than fried dough. In the basement of the shop going into 1932 9th St. NW will be a bar called Nocturne, says Sam Brooks,who will run the beverage program. The set up should look familiar to patrons who have frequented speakeasy Captain Gregory’s, tucked in the back of the Sugar Shack Donuts in Alexandria, where Brooks is the general manager and beverage director. Both are under the ownership of Rob Krupicka.
“It’s the Wild West in D.C., so we’re going to do lots of cool stuff,” Brooks says. He’d already been pushing the envelope at Captain Gregory’s with potions like red miso and banana-infused bourbon and a book of original cocktail recipes so thick it could prop open a dungeon door.
Brooks says the 20-seat bar will be accessible by elevator. Fifteen of the seats will be for regular bar patrons, while the other five will populate a tasting counter where a prix-fixe menu of cocktails will be offered. They may use a ticketing system, similar to Columbia Room, where guests could pay ahead of time (inclusive of tax and tip). “We’re definitely going to be pushing the limits when it comes to fine dining,” he says. “We won’t have food, but we want to bring that mentality to drinks,” he says. He doesn’t rule out, though, that Nocturne could serve small bar snacks.
“Nocturne will be a bartender-focused, custom, romantic and unique drink experience,” Krupicka says of the project. “The bartender will be the ‘show’ and the space will be designed to highlight the hand-crafted nature of everything that is produced.”
Both Sugar Shack Donuts and Nocturne will open in 2017, or earlier, depending on the permitting process, Krupicka says.