For nine out of 10 Takoma Park residents that Jeff Black encounters, their first questions about his new restaurant Republic are not about the hours, the location, or the food. “The first question is: Are you going to have a bar?” Takoma Park has a serious dearth of watering holes, especially ones where you can get a good cocktail.
So, yes, Republic does have a bar. The restaurant, which opened this weekend in partnership with one of Black’s longtime chefs Danny Wells, has a 20-seat bar, to be exact. In addition to classic cocktails like Manhattans and Negronis, bar manager Brett Robison has created drinks with names that play on the “free-spirited and politically active” neighborhood. Among them is the Fascist Killer with Bulleit bourbon, Averna amaro, green chartreuse, basil,and lemon zest; as well as the Sammie Abbot with Hennessy, Suze, sugar, bitters, Pernod, and lemon—a nod to the Takoma Park political activist and former mayor. The bar will also feature local brews from Port City, DC Brau, and Flying Dog plus a wide variety of draft and canned beers.
Republic also takes its coffee seriously with a direct trade blend, Brazil Daterra, from Ceremony Coffee Roasters in Annapolis. A barista will be on staff all day.
As with all of Black’s restaurants, sustainable seafood is a main attraction, and the raw bar will serve Black’s signature Black Pearl and Old Black Salt oysters. Wells really likes Mediterranean flavors so look for new dishes like Portuguese seafood stew and beluga lentils simmered in spiced tomato cream with cauliflower and flatbread. Some dishes carryover from Black’s other restaurants, like Pearl Dive Oyster Palace‘s grilled oysters, BlackSalt‘s wood-grilled sardines, and Addie‘s mussels. Don’t want seafood? There’s a burger with mustard-ale cheese, smoked bacon, and crispy onions on a pretzel bun, as well as a duck confit Cuban sandwich and slow-braised beef short ribs
The space used to belong to a video store and an ice cream parlor. The neon sign for Video Americain now lights up the outdoor patio. The Republic team went all over the place looking for reclaimed items to decorate. Jet engine parts were refashioned into light fixtures above the zinc-top bar, and old Argentinian doors close off the private dining room.
Check out more photos plus the dinner and dessert menus below. (Keep in mind they are subject to change.)
Republic, 6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park, Md.; (301) 270-3000; republictakoma.com
Photos by Jessica Sidman