The Cherry Blossom Pub has come and gone, but if you're looking for new bar experiences — a preview of a soon-to-open cocktail bar, or a flashback to a now-closed tiki party — you'll have two options in the next few weeks.
The Truxton Inn, a neighborhood cocktail bar opening near the intersection of Florida and Rhode Island avenues NW, comes from the team behind McClellan's Retreat. The cocktails will be devised by Brian Nixon, who's been creating drinks at the Civil War-themed Dupont Circle lounge for almost two years.
Nixon says the Truxton's menu will have six classic cocktails, including a Manhattan and Old Fashioned, alongside six “new spins” on the original recipes. For example, customers can choose between an original Negroni or the No Se-Groni, a Mexican-inspired twist on the classic with Ilegal Mezcal, Punt e Mes and Peychaud's Aperitivo. Looking for something more than the basic Daiquiri? Go for the tropical JFK on Vacay, made with pineapple rum, funky rhum agricole, passion fruit and lime. All 12 drinks, including the variations, will rotate every other month.
The first six drinks will be featured at McClellan's Retreat on April 18 and 20, beginning at 4 p.m. each night. Drinks cost $12 or $13, and during the pop-up, 10 percent of all proceeds will benefit the Washington Humane Society.
If all goes well, Nixon says, Truxton Inn might open the week of April 24 at 251 Florida Ave. NW.
Hogo Pop-Up at the Passenger, early May
The newest concept from Passenger owner Tom Brown and his talented team includes flaming scorpion bowls, potent rum punches and smooth, smoky mescal cocktails, plus belly-busting Hawaiian diner food, such as the moco loco — rice and gravy topped with a hamburger and a fried egg — and sushi-style spam musubi.
If that sounds familiar, you might have been a customer at Hogo, the rum bar that once sat next to the original Passenger location. Brown is a big fan of rum drinks, but they haven't featured too prominently on the menus at his bar's new location. That changes in early May, when Brown will bring back Hogo to the Passenger's second floor bar, complete with “guest bartenders and tiki nuevo,” for a limited time. “With summer coming on, I got to thinking that I wanted to do tiki for a couple of weeks,” Brown says.
He's building tiki torches from bamboo, ordering crazy glassware and prepping a cocktail menu. Bartender Mick Perrigo, who works at Brown's Left Door cocktail bar off 14th Street, is coming over to help out.
While Tom's brother Derek has had success with pop-up bars, including the holiday-themed Miracle on Seventh Street and the recent Cherry Blossom Pub, Tom says the return of Hogo isn't the result of sibling rivalry. “The pop-ups he's doing are very cool, very thematic,” Tom says. On the other hand, “Hogo is something I'd like to open again, so I wanted to get back into the swing of things.” However, Tom concedes that, with Passenger and Left Door open, he's not looking for a space yet.
The exact opening date hasn't been finalized, but Hogo will occupy the upstairs bar at the Passenger Monday through Saturday, from 5 p.m. until last call. That's another change for the bar: The second floor isn't usually open during the week.