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Up until now, restaurateur Aaron Gordon hasn’t said much about his new concept replacing Bar di Bari on 14th Street NW, except that it will be called Red Light. It turns out that the name is in fact a reference to the neighborhood’s “colorful past as a red light district in the nation’s capital.”
The cocktail and dessert bar will have “rock and roll” meets “classic romance” look with “sensual textures,” says designer and SwatchRoom co-owner Warren Weixler in a press release. The 27-seat space will include “love nest” red leather banquettes plus an 18-seat bar where guests can watch chefs at the pastry bar. “The design will illuminate the natural allure of voyeurism and the intoxicating art of the performance; specifically preparing craft cocktails and delectable desserts,” Weixler says. (As far as we can tell, though, no stripper poles.)
And about those sweets: chef Robert Underwood, previously the head pastry chef at Komi and Marcel’s, will prepare 10 daily changing desserts. The opening menu will include dishes ($8-$10) like a white chocolate Grand Marnier soufflé, ale batter beignets with chocolate stout filling, and quinoa brûlée pudding with caramelized bananas and spicy candied cashews. Red Light will also offer a prix-fixe menu with cocktail or wine pairing for $16 to $20 per person.
Cocktails and boozy desserts will be created by brothers and local mixologists (cocktail pimps?) Ari and Micah Wilder, who are also behind Fed Restaurant in Adams Morgan. Among their concoctions (love elixirs?): the Riverstone Slush with ice wine, seasonal nectar, shaved ice and winter fruit; the Double Down with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, rose bitters, maple syrup, grapefruit, and lime; and the Cake Shake made with red velvet cupcake, homemade ice cream, Atlantico dark rum, Velvet Felernum, and cocoa bitters. Also look out for eight to 10 Champagnes by the glass, including four on tap.
Red Light is scheduled to open in April. And while all the treats may force you to loosen your belt, this is not the kind of place where you will need to take it off altogether.