The recent coverage of Joe Englert’s forthcoming H Street Country Club, the pool hall and putt-putt watering hole, has overlooked one important point: The operation will be located in the former space of Phish Tea Cafe, the sprawling, multi-level Caribbean restaurant and nightclub that was one of the pioneers of the H Street NE rebirth.
Opened in the spring of 2004, Phish Tea was apparently ahead of its time and behind on acquiring its liquor license. “I think they kind of did it before they had a liquor license,” Englert says. “They were a little bit behind the eight ball for, basically, their history.”
Phish Tea’s closing made me fret even more about the imbalance on H Street—-too many bars, not enough restaurants—-but Englert says not to worry. The second phase of his development plan includes more solids and less liquids. “The next few places are going to be much more restaurant-oriented,” Englert says. “By design, the first few we opened up are more tavern- and nightclub-oriented because you got to get people on the street first, and usually the younger people come first to a new nightlife area.”
The H Street Country Club itself will serve food in a 40-to-50-seat dining room, Englert says. Douglas Singer, chef for the Argonaut Tavern and Temperance Hall, two other Englert properties, will crank out burgers, dogs, Frito pies, and other “twists and turns on the American grill,” the owner says. Look for the Country Club to start mixing up grease, beer, and putters in July.
Here’s what else is on Englert’s menu for H Street NE:
- The Rock and Roll Hotel at 1353 H St. NE: The bar is set to launch a menu featuring Middle Eastern cuisine, with an emphasis on vegan and veg-friendly food.
- Sticky Rice at 1224 H St. NE: Englert is opening a D.C. outlet of the punkish, in-your-face Richmond, Va., sushi and noodle bar that peddles dishes such as “shiitake happens” and “drawn-and-buttered.” The white (rice) riot is scheduled to begin in June.
- Dr. Granville Moore’s at 1238 H St. NE: Named after the doctor who used to practice at the address, Dr. Granville Moore’s will be a no-frills operation serving Belgian food. It set to open in the spring.
- Ethnic Joints TBA: “I just purchased a property that I’m looking to put an Ethiopian restaurant into,” Englert says. “We’d like to build a little community of several small ethnic, affordable restaurants in the neighborhood.”