I personally do not need much of an excuse to head to Bar Rouge after work on a random Tuesday. This is particularly true now that the sleek hotel bar has reinvented itself as a modern wine lounge, with an impressive 50-plus wine list (many available in 2, 5 or 7 ounce pours), wine on tap and expertly handcrafted wine-based specialty cocktails. Bar manager and mixologist Rico Wisner, formerly of Kimpton-owned Poste Modern Brasserie, also created some interesting cocktails using fresh herbs from the rooftop garden of the hotel. My favourite so far is the Taurus 38 Special 9, which combines cachaça, prosecco, lemon juice with a blueberry and sage simple syrup. Bar Rouge also enlisted the help of Chef Thomas Dunklin of B&O American Brasserie in Baltimore to design some appropriate food pairings. Of course, you can’t really be a wine bar and not serve cheese and charcuterie, but there’s more to the menu than that, including some more substantive eats like the Bar Rouge Burger or the Bistro Steak and some small plates to share.
Summer asparagus salad with prosciutto, English peas & sherry vinaigrette
My favourite dish at Bar Rouge right now is probably not the most popular, but I simply adore white anchovies and I’m always excited to see them appear on a menu. Other tasty dishes I tried include the lamb meatballs, the truffled fries and the bacon wrapped oysters, which are perfect paired with the Sauvignon Blanc on tap. Trust me. I also loved the summer asparagus salad, picture above. (photo credit: me)
But back to needing an excuse to go to Bar Rouge on a random Tuesday… if the wine on tap, $3 happy hour sweet potato tots, fabulous cocktails and tasty small plates are not enough to lure you in, perhaps national punch day will! Tuesday, September 20th is National Punch Day and Rico Wisner happens to make a mean punch, the recipe of which changes weekly but always feature some unique liqueurs, house-made syrups and herbs grown on the rooftop of Hotel Rouge. Try a free glass of signature Rouge Punch tomorrow from 5PM to close with the purchase of any seasonal American small plate (limit two per person).
Bar Rouge is located at 1315 16th Street, NW neighbouring the Hotel Rouge (and my office, which is why I never need an excuse to drop by after work…). The lounge is open from 5PM to 10:30PM for food, and to close for drinks.