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Lounge 201 wants you to know that it is not a club and never has been. The Capitol Hill restaurant and bar is now trying to change neighbors’ misperceptions with a new look, new menu, and new name: 201 Bar.
The bar completed renovations in its front area a few weeks ago, and it will finished revamping the back section by the end of August. Workers are renovating the bar at night, so 201 won’t close in the interim. Gone are the bright red banquettes, leopard print ottomans, and patterned brown and beige carpet. Now, the floors are wood and overall, the space has a more modern look. Operating partner Brad Ingwell says the bar plans to install more flat-screen TVs—15, up from four.
The pub-like menu, which previously consisted of small plates, will expand to include entrees and desserts when 201 officially reopens in mid-September. Fish tacos and shrimp mac and cheese will carry over to the appetizer section of the new menu. New entrees will include risotto and scallops, an $8 chipotle burger, and a $14 steak marinated in Woodford Reserve.
The bar, which aims to be a more upscale version of its sister restaurant Union Pub, will expand its beer taps from two to 10, and will sport more than 50 bottles. The drink menu will also include about 30 cocktails and 20 wines.
201 Bar will have slightly lower prices than Lounge 201, and it recently introduced a happy hour from 5-8 p.m. every day with $3 beers, $3.50 rail drinks, $5 specialty cocktails, and $5 food specials.
“We want staffers, interns, and government employees to feel like we are a great happy hour bar,” says Ingwell. “On the Senate side, there’s not a lot.”
Lounge 201, 201 Massachusetts Ave. NE; (202) 544-5201; lounge201.com
Photos courtesy of Lounge 201