Update: Lyman's won't be opening at 11 a.m. on June 2. Owner Kevin Perone says the bar is still waiting for its insurance paperwork, and won't be able to open until it's processed. He's hopeful he'll be able to get the insurance on Monday, which could mean a Monday-night opening. We'll update this post when we have firm news.
Update #2: Lyman's Tavern is opening at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 2.
Here's news that residents of 16th Street Heights/Petworth/Columbia Heights have been waiting for: Lyman's Tavern opens for business at 11 a.m. Monday.
Lyman's, from Raven owner Merid Admassu, former Cafe Saint-Ex bartender Jessica Kleinmann and Dodge City and Raven bartender Kevin Perone, occupies 3720 14th St. NW, a former laundromat next to the Red Derby. It's a one-room saloon with half a dozen draft beers, four pinball machines, a killer jukebox and free popcorn fresh from a popper behind the bar.
Wooden slats along the wall and the mounted head of a jackalope over the bar give the place a rustic, western feel – there's also a mounted "Montana Militia" sign – but Perone, a former Montana resident, says the decor is not meant to evoke any particular place. (He's also adamant that there's no theme.) That's why you'll also find shelves containing Perone's collection of Super 8 and other cameras, a selection of vintage portable bartender's equipment and other bric-a-brac.
Here's what you can expect from Lyman's:
Some people are going to hate the antique wrought-iron barstools, which are comfortable, but bolted to the floor. Positive: They're spaced widely enough that it's easy for someone who's standing to chat with a seated friend without feeling crushed against them. Negative: The space is also wide enough for a standing customer to lean in between two chairs to order from the bar, which means your conversations with your friend/spouse seated next to you might be regularly interrupted by someone who needs a drink.
Also worth noting: Located under the bar in front of every stool is a double hook for jackets, purses and umbrellas, and there are outlets all the way down the bar for charging phones.
Food and drink
One of the six draft offerings will always feature DC Brau – they're starting with a nitro version of the On the Wings of Armageddon IPA, followed by Corruption IPA – while the others will include Pabst Blue Ribbon, Long Trail Double Bag, Bell's Oberon, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald and Atlas District Common. Expect to pay $3 to $7 per pint.
Due to a tiny kitchen, the menu will be short: Think White Castle-esque sliders, cold-cut sandwiches, deep-fried mac and cheese, and a choice of chili or soup. (They've taken Dodge City's convection oven, so mini-pizzas may also be in the future.) One thing that will always be available: free popcorn, fresh from a movie theater-style popper behind the bar. This is the second new popper I've seen in recent months, after Jackpot's, and it's a trend I can get behind.
The mythical creature – a rabbit with the horns of a deer – is the official mascot of the bar. A mounted head over the bar was a gift from Perone to Kleinmann a few years ago. A jackalope also appears on the men's room sign. (A horn-less jackalope marks the ladies' room.) Expect jackalopes to adorn the bar's T-shirts and koozies.
As a fan of playing pinball while drinking beer, it's good to see that Lyman's has four machines, including AC/DC and Street Fighter II. There's also the iconic '80s arcade game Super Off Road, which lets three players race trucks against each other on dirt tracks.
The 100-disc jukebox has an eclectic mix: 50s doo-wop, vintage country, Leonard Cohen, Judas Priest and the Black Keys. Coin-operated mini-jukes at four tables in the front half of the bar will allow customers to pick from the first 50 CDs. If you want a larger selection, or to play Metallica, you'll have to get up and walk to the jukebox.
There's piano in the back corner of the room, next to a comfortable couch, and Perone says there will eventually be a stage for live bands.
The great outdoors
The owners have plans for a large patio on Quincy Street, but those are on hold while they sort out public space permits. "It could be two weeks, it could be two months," Perone says.
A section of the front wall slides up, garage door-style, to allow a breeze on warm days. A window behind the bar will do the same, allowing customers on the patio to order drinks directly from the bartender.
Lyman's Tavern, 3420 14th St. NW. 202-723-0502. www.lymanstavern.com.