Last year, Mount Pleasant restaurant Tonic opened another outpost in Foggy Bottom, smack in the middle of The George Washington University’s creeping campus sprawl. Despite the name of the joint, Tonic co-owner Jeremy Pollok had a hard time getting the okay to use his beautiful new bar to serve campus regulars anything stronger than grape juice.
“We were open for the first six months with nothing,” says Pollok, who graduated from G.W. in 1994 with a Psych degree. Last winter, though, Tonic was freed to sell some tonics—-beer, wine, and Bloody Mary’s for brunch. “We got a full license from the city, but we had agreed with the University to start off with just beer and wine to see how the students reacted and to see what sort of purveyors we were,” says Pollok.
After a successful semester, Tonic has finally earned a passing grade with the U., and is free to start stocking the harder stuff. Still, the Foggy Bottom outpost won’t offer up all the options of the Mount Pleasant location.
“We won’t be carrying Red Bull, we are not going to be serving shots, and we won’t have things like Jagermeister—-you know, the foo-foo stuff,” says Pollok. “We are trying to reduce the risk of students—-or anybody, for that matter—-over-indulging. We are aware that we’re on a college campus, so we want to keep that at the front of our minds.”