It is your last chance to dine on Scotch eggs or bangers and mash while gushing down pints of British ales and American craft beer at Commonwealth Gastropub in Columbia Heights. The doors of the London-style “farm-to-table” pub, which first opened in August 2008, will be closed for good after Sunday.
As reported by The Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema in his regular online chat last week, Commonwealth owner Jamie Leeds is selling the business to the new Irving Street Restaurant Group, which is fronted by Terry Cullen. Cullen and his associates are also opening Lou’s City Bar, a sports bar that will be located just down the block from Commonwealth on Irving Street between 14th and 16th Streets, Northwest.
According to commenter Michael Wilkinson on a Prince of Petworth post last week, plans for the new venue include removing Commonwealth’s private dining room to expand the bar area, putting down hardwood floors, and adding more mainstream items to the food menu. The last change is good news to anyone who found Commonwealth dishes like deviled sweetbreads hard to stomach. Cullen is planning a May opening for the new but similarly-themed restaurant.
As for executive chef and owner Jamie Leeds, the sale enables her to focus resources and energy on expanding Hank’s Oyster Bar in Dupont Circle, which she also owns. As Sietsema reports, Leeds got the opportunity to purchase the rowhouse next door to her original Hank’s location and jumped at the opportunity to expand her six-year-old seafood restaurant.
I dropped by Commonwealth this week and the place was as busy as it has been any time I have visited. So busy, in fact, that I lost interest in waiting to order a beer. The solid but bit pricey draft list included Victory Prima Pils, Tröegs HopBack Amber, and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA alongside British pub mainstays like Strongbow, Smithwick’s, Bellhaven, and Guinness. If you intend to say goodbye to this gastropub with a quality beer in hand, I suggest hitting the bottle menu (or what’s left of it), which has long had a strong selection of American breweries like Smuttynose, Ommegang, and Weyerbacher and regional favorites like Flying Dog and Heavy Seas.
Photo by Flickr user Mr. T in D.C. using an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license