Subterranean Denson Liquor Bar, opening in Penn Quarter Wednesday, looks like something out of The Great Gatsby. The latest project from the team behind Ghibellina and Acqua Al 2 has an art deco look meant to mimic a 1920s-era New York hotel lobby. Denson is an abbreviation version of owner Ari Gejdenson‘s name.
Located underneath Fuel Pizza on the corner of 6th and F streets NW, the bar is decked out with black patterned wood, hexagonal black and white tiling, and black bronze-inlaid tabletops. That shimmer on the wall behind the bar? It’s not gold paint, it’s actual gold leaf. Meanwhile, panels of glass that partition the rounded black booths come from the Hecht’s warehouse project in Ivy City, where Gejdenson’s restaurant group plans to open three more restaurants.
Even the restrooms are fancy, with cloth towels to dry your hands.
The bar has a vast collection of whiskeys with an emphasis on American and Scottish bottles, although you’ll also find Japanese and Australian whiskeys. The list of classic cocktails are split on the menu between “shaken” (Aviation, Hemingway Daiquiri) and “stirred” (negroni, sazerac). All are $14.
Unlike Acqua Al 2 and Ghibellina, the menu is not Italian. Instead, it has an eclectic, international mix inspired by what you might find at a hotel catering to people from all over the world. Dishes range from a chicken-green curry pie to a Cubano panini to ceviche.
The bar will be open Monday through Saturday at 5 p.m. The kitchen will offer the full menu until 11:30 p.m., after which guests can grab cheese and charcuterie boards from the more limited late-night menu.
In other news: stay tuned in the coming weeks for the opening of Sotto, located in the basement of Ghibellina, which will double as private dining for the 14th Street NW Italian restaurant and as a blues and jazz bar. The space, after all, used to be home to jazz club HR-57.
More photos of Denson Liquor Bar below.
CORRECTION: The initial version of this story referred to Ghibellina and Acqua Al 2 partner Ralph Lee as an owner of Denson. He is an investor.
Denson Liquor Bar, 600 F St. NW; densondc.com
Photos by Jessica Sidman