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Make no mistake: Restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier‘s new Bethesda establishment, Villain & Saint, is first and foremost a music venue, not a bar and restaurant. The Haight-Ashbury-inspired rock and roll music hall will focus on blues and jazz, indie rock, the ’60s, and heavy metal. But the chef behind fine dining restaurant Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck, and more casual Mussel Bar certainly isn’t looking to leave the crowd sober and hungry.
“Most music venues that you go to, it’s hard to get a drink, the food’s mediocre,” says Wiedmaier. “And we didn’t want to do that here.” (Wiedmaier has partnered with chef Brian McBride, Frank Shull, and Joe Lively.)
The Americana menu is split into meaty “villain” dishes like smoked pork ribs and a black angus grilled cheeseburger and “saint” vegetarian options, including grilled asparagus and wok-fried Japanese eggplant. Chef Tom Meyer, formerly of Pesce restaurant in Dupont Circle, will also serve up bar food like pimento cheese with bacon jam and grilled or cast-iron calamari with pimentón and chorizo. Prices range from $6 to $21.
The bar serves 14 beers on draft plus 60 in bottles. There are also 100 wines and an extensive list of whiskeys. If you’re a bacon enthusiast, try the “Can’t See You,” a chocolate-infused bourbon with a bacon-infused ice sphere. (Yes, you read correctly: bacon ice.) All the cocktails ($7-$10) are named after famous songs. “Bye, Bye Miss American Pie”—a lyric from Wiedmaier’s mother’s favorite song—contains housemade Fireball, Calvados, and lemon. “American Pie” will also close the bar every night with a light show.
Wiedmaier is bringing back the lava lamp with a wall filled with the ’60s psychedelic decor. Another wall pays tribute to deceased rock and roll greats. A sign reading, “In through the out door”—a nod to the Led Zeppelin album—leads to a patio in the back. The outdoor space has its own bar plus a TV that will live stream whatever band is playing inside.
Check out the full list of musical acts coming to the venue at villainandsaint.com.
Villain & Saint, 7141 Wisconsin Ave. NW; villainandsaint.com
Photos by Jessica Sidman