Service Bar may still be one of the newer cocktail bars in the city, but its staff is constantly striving to improve and keep things from becoming stale. There are a lot of exciting, new happenings on the horizon at this tiny bar with big ideas. We were invited in earlier this week for a chat with owners Chad Spangler and Glendon Hartley and a preview of the fun changes.
Beach Vibes Sunday Brunch
Sunday Funday fans get excited. Service Bar is launching a new Beach Vibes Brunch that will keep the party going all day long. Have you ever left brunch with your friends only to realize everywhere has closed until dinner? Now you can head straight to service bar for a tropical party like no other.
This is far from your typical brunch. For starters, it doesn’t kick off until 2 p.m. – perfect for late risers. And while you can certainly order a Bloody Mary or a mimosa, there are a plethora of other fun drink options on offer. What else would you expect from a bar with a menu of over 50 cocktails?
To really get the beach vibes flowing, you can indulge in frozen strawberry daquiris and piña coladas. For something a little lighter, fresh orange and grapefruit crushes are a must.
If you’re with a group, try a bucket of rotating punch or a customizable beach tote filled with mimosa fixings and multiple mixers.
If you’re hungry, there are a handful of delicious dishes available. We loved the hearty chilaquiles with tortillas stewed in guajillo and tomatillo, queso fresco, salsa verde and a fried egg.
The brunch menu also features a lil’ bacon sandwich, ricotta toast with house made strawberry preserves, churros with maple tamarind cream and country fried chicken legs just to name a few.
There will also be a live DJ playing tropical house music to keep the beach vibes going. Rumor has it that spontaneous dance parties are not off limits. I really have a feeling that this is going to be one of the most happening places to be in the district on Sundays.
A New Chef + Regional Cocktail Menus
Since opening, Service Bar has featured regional cocktail menus from New Orleans and Mexico. Now they’ll be drawing even more regional inspiration as new chef Jerry Zawacki, who has recently worked at such local hot spots as Petworth Citizen and Rose’s Luxury, takes over the kitchen. Chef Zawacki is currently cooking up Parisian-inspired fare to complement a Parisian cocktail menu.
The standout offering is definitely the duck confit sandwich with Gruyère, Dijon on warm, buttered baguette.
This sandwich is the perfect drinking food, but with an elevated touch. We also sampled the chicken liver mousse with toasted French bread and house made strawberry jam.
Pro tip: Take a little bit of the chicken liver mousse and add it to the duck confit sandwich. You’re welcome. I should also note that I hate Dijon mustard, typically eschew any chicken liver products and don’t consider duck one of my favorite proteins, yet I could not get enough of this sandwich. It’s a real winner.
Glendon Hartley drew upon a recent trip to Paris to research brandy when crafting the Parisian cocktail menu. He and Chad really wanted to pay homage to the French drinking culture, which starts at happy hour and continues late until the evening (not unlike DC eh?). As such, you’ll find a couple of cocktails that are lower in alcohol for drinking longevity.
The Blanc Swizzle is a play on the traditional Chartreuse-based swizzle, with lower-alcohol Lillet Blanc serving as the base of the drink and only a splash of green Chartreuse. The Rosé All Day cocktail combines strawberry, peach, grapefruit and lime juice with rosé and Wild Foraged gin.
My favorite Parisian concoction was the Parisian Cherry Fizz with sweet and sour cherries, lemon and Armagnac.
You’re also not going to want to miss the Au Pistou cocktail, a gorgeous creation inspired by the Provençal soup of the same name.
Creating a Zero Waste Kitchen
Service Bar’s cocktails feature the freshest fruits, vegetables and herbs from local markets. Chef Zawacki is also working with the team to incorporate the many seasonal ingredients used in the drinks into the his cooking to eliminate food waste. For example, leftover strawberries are turned into the house made strawberry jam featured above. The goal is to eventually operate a zero waste kitchen.
These are just a few of the many reasons you should head to Service Bar as often as you can. I’m not sure I’ve ever met a staff as dedicated to providing such a fun customer service experience. These are people who truly love what they do, and it comes through in each drink and dish they create.
A big thanks to Service Bar for hosting us! Check out the new brunch this Sunday at 2 p.m.