All Souls, the new Shaw bar which quietly opened a week and a half ago, couldn’t be more simple: Thirty-tree seats, three cocktails, fewer beers and wines than you could count on your fingers and toes, and a jukebox. There’s no food for now, but eventually the bar will add a few snacks.
“We really like the idea of having just a clean, simple place,” says owner David Batista. He previously worked with Think Food Group for about nine years, as a bartender and bar manager at Jaleo and then as a bar manager at Zaytinya. Batista literally brought part of his former employer with him: the 15-seat curved copper bar at All Souls came from the original Jaleo.
The drink menu features three red wines, three whites, and two sparkling plus five beer bottles and cans and four drafts (ranging from Sapporo to Heavy Seas Powder Monkey Pale Ale) available in 10- or 16-ounce pours. Three cocktails ($9 each) include a Manhattan, Negroni, and The Barcelona—a Marker’s Mark sidecar with a splash of cava.
The most unusual offering: The All Souls—sparkling rose with a shot of Marker’s Mark ($11). “Why choose?” Batista says, explaining he’s always been a fan of bubbly, and Marker’s is his bourbon of choice. “They actually kind of complement each other pretty well.”
Batista says the bar has a very small kitchen with no hood, which means no grill or fryer. But in the near future, he plans to add snacks like olives, nuts, and cheeses. As the bar evolves, so will the menu.
The space itself previously housed two storefronts, which had been abandoned for decades. The look is just as no-frills as everything else with dark brown leather banquettes (with a big corner booth), painted brick walls, and the original black tin ceiling.
As for the name All Souls? Batista says it’s partially an ode to storefront churches and specifically All Souls Church off of 16th Street NW, where he used to see shows. “It seemed to convey a welcoming feeling, kind of throwing the doors open to everyone.”
All Souls, 725 T St. NW; (202) 733-5929; allsoulsbar.com
Photo by Jessica Sidman