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When chef Alex McCoy traveled throughout Southeast Asia, an Australian buddy of his would give everyone a nickname. “Everyone has these weird, funky little nicknames when you’re traveling with people for a couple weeks,” he explains.

In that spirit, he’s naming his forthcoming Petworth “expat bar” Alfie’s after one of these monikers.

“It’s not a nickname for me, it’s just a nickname I really liked,” McCoy explains. “We had another friend that we met in Bali who he called Alfie.” Alfie’s real name is Albert, and McCoy says he hasn’t had a chance to talk to him yet about the name. “We’ll see how he feels about it when he ends up going there, if we’ve honored the name properly.”

McCoy says he went through “hundreds and hundreds” of names. He didn’t want something with a trendy ampersand (think Crane & Turtle, Fig & Olive, Stanton & Greene).

“It’s its own thing. It’s Alfie. It’s a little restaurant. It’s got its own personality. It’s a tiny little place. And we wanted to give it its own persona,” he says.

Alfie’s will be modeled after expat bars that McCoy encountered during his travels. He says they’re the kind of places where you can get an authentic curry but also food from the expat owners’ home countries or travels.

McCoy is headed to Thailand with his kitchen team on Sunday for research. The restaurant is slated to open at 845 Upshur St. NW in November.

Photo courtesy Alex McCoy