The “New Asylum,” as its Facebook page has referred to the Adams Morgan bar’s renovation over the past several months, officially opens tonight as Smoke & Barrel. The new beer, bourbon and barbecue joint is the brainchild of John Andrade, the man behind craft beer-focused Columbia Heights hangout Meridian Pint, as well as the original Asylum, which has been sequestered to the building’s lower level.
The beer program, overseen by the Pint’s beer director Sam Fitz, features 24 rotating drafts and a steady collection of 25 cans. The list will remain heavy on BBQ-friendly brews from all over Europe and the United States, including several bocks, alts, and Oktoberfest styles. The opening draft menu, which shows Fitz’s plans to carry a mix of local brews, classic crafts and international rarities, includes an oak keg of Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen from the smoke beer capital of Bamburg, Germany. Haandbryggereit Royk Uten Ild, a smoke beer from Norway and Evil Twin Soft Dookie, an imperial stout from Denmark, are a few more standouts. Pictures and more details after the jump.
Nearly 50 bottles of bourbon have been curated by general manager and “tavern keeper” Matthew Heffernan, who plans to expand the list to between 80 and 100 bottles through frequent trips to Kentucky that will start next month. Hal Winslow, who heads up Smoke & Barrel’s security, helped develop a unique menu of boiler crafters, or drinks made from pouring a shot in a beer. The “Governor Hal,” a glass of Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial India pale ale with a shot of Woodford Reserve, is named after him.
The food menu, created by recent Arkansas transplant Vincent Waide, contains a slew of slow-smoked spice-rubbed meats, including brisket, ribs, and chicken, served in a variety of sandwiches and meat plates. The menu also boasts starters like twice-baked sweet potatoes with spicy chipotle honey butter and toasted pecans and BBQ egg rolls filled with pulled pork and coleslaw, as well as the usual suspects for sides such as BBQ baked beans, fried okra, and french fries.
Interior renovations include touches like a bar top and bulkhead fashioned from the ceiling joists of a local home, bar stools made from old barrels, and textured Amish wood as wall trim once used to grow mushrooms. The restaurant also has plans to convert part of a large wooden barrel currently being used as the host stand into a locked safe for Heffernan’s most significant bottles of bourbon. See for yourself at the grand opening on Tuesday, September 27, at 5 p.m.
Smoke & Barrel, 2471 18th St. NW, (202) 319-9353