Theodore Roosevelt-themed restaurant Teddy & The Bully Bar is getting ready to open downtown on June 24. It’s the second presidential-inspired eatery from restaurateur Alan Popovsky, who also owns Lincoln Restaurant.
And like Lincoln, which has about a million pennies embedded in the floor, Teddy has some clever decor details from O’Neill Studios’ Maggie O’Neill. She and Popovsky walked Y&H through their homage to the 26th president, which includes a monocle chandelier, faux-taxidermy, and lots of little Mount Rushmores.
As an homage to Roosevelt the hunter, O’Neill wanted to display taxidermy. But instead of real skin and fur, there’s a paper maché and lace moose, a denim bull, a wood and plaster rhino, and a cyborg deer all made by different local artists.
Chris Cooley’s Pottery
Roosevelt reportedly drank a gallon of coffee a day, so there’s a little coffee nook displaying mugs and other pottery from longtime Pigskins tight end Chris Cooley, who has his own pottery gallery in Leesburg. Cooley, a friend of O’Neill’s, also created a bull head out of his own pottery shards to hang with the rest of the faux taxidermy.
The Mount Rushmore Wall
Popovsky really wanted to have a Mount Rushmore on the wall, but O’Neill was wary of Disneyfying the restaurant. Instead of one large carving, there are nearly 500 miniature plaster molds.
The Monocle Chandelier
In honor of Roosevelt’s signature monocle, this chandelier hangs right above the entrance.
The Presidential Booth
Lincoln Restaurant features a giant white penny-studded chair, a nod to the chair where Abraham Lincoln sits on the National Mall. This booth (unfinished in the photo above) will be Teddy & The Bully Bar’s equivalent. The wall will be covered up to the ceiling with glossy blue Venetian plaster and a quote from Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, that reads, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit next to me.”
The Big Stick Forest
The white woods in the private dining room are not just a statement about Roosevelt’s conservationism, but also his foreign policy approach, “speak softly, and carry a big stick.” “It really was meant to be this room of sticks,” O’Neill says. The initials of the owners’ kids and other people instrumental in the restaurant are carved into the trees.
This light fixture in the back private dining room is designed to look like the badge Roosevelt wore as commissioner of the New York City police department, when he tried to rid the city of prostitution.
Rifle light fixtures
“Let’s be honest, Teddy was a little aggressive as a president. He was very much for expanding the United States territory and defending it,” Popovsky says. He quickly adds a politically correct disclaimer: “We certainly are not promoting guns in any capacity.”
At first glance, the men’s restroom, which is designed to look like an outhouse, doesn’t seem so scandalous. But look closely at the forest wall paper, and you’ll notice some naughty behavior. The team did a photo shoot in Rock Creek Park with a Roosevelt lookalike and some scantily clad women. The women’s restroom has some sexy paintings printed on lace and lingerie. “Each stall is getting its own fantasy,” O’Neill says.
Teddy & The Bully Bar, 1200 19th St. NW; (202) 872-9200; teddyandthebullybar.net
Photos by Jessica Sidman