It’s been long in the works, and Mount Vernon neighborhood pub A&D finally opened last night to a packed house. The new venture is the third on the Ninth and N street block for Ali Bagheri and Dan O’Brien, the duo behind market turned supper club Seasonal Pantry and neighboring sandwich shop Sundevich. The business partners are each taking their turns in the bar’s small kitchen area—O’Brien still runs the multi-course meals out of Seasonal Wednesday through Saturday—which dishes out a concise number of eats to go along with cocktails and brews. Here are four things to expect from the new spot.
Gin ’n’ (dirty) juice: As you’d want with any neighborhood watering hole, you can drop in for a can of beer or go more upscale with a creative cocktail. The high-low mix mainly applies to the brews, with cold Schlitz and PBR alongside DC Brau and Dogfish Head drafts. It’s doubtful anyone would dissuade you from a shot of rail booze, but you’ll find house liquor concoctions on a framed chalkboard. Seasonal sips like the 9th St. Coquito—house-made eggnog spiked with brandy and vanilla-infused rum—run alongside signatures such as the A&D, a riff on a dirty martini with locally made Green Hat Gin and pickle juice.
More seats than you’d think: Walk into the front room, and you may think a seat is out of the question. The dark-wood bar and three tables were filled by the time we arrived at 5:45 (big caveat: it was opening night), and the crowd was lively and buzzy. If it’s packed and you’re hoping to sit, head toward the second room in the back. There you’ll find more space with several high-top bar tables and a long wooden ledge against one wall lined with additional stools and accented with glowing candles.
Better-than-bar eats: As much a bar as place to grab a casual bite, the concise menu reads like the kind of list you want to browse after downing a bourbon or three. Snack on small bites like curried pickled eggs or cornbread with honey butter, or share a take on poutine where spicy chips are smothered in gravy and topped with crumbles of bacon and blue cheese. Heartier appetites can opt for the large plates section, filled with the likes of chicken pot pie or meatloaf layered onto warm, crisp bread with onions and melted cheddar. The commitment to quality ingredients at Seasonal and Sundevich carries over, so expect jarred items to come in the form of house-made pickles from the crew’s market next door.
A rustic touch: Timely for a winter debut, little says “hole up with a beer and friends” like dark-wood paneling, exposed-brick walls, and warm lighting. You’ll find menus hand-written on chalkboards, vintage signs in the bathrooms, and water doled out in Mason jars. Yes, it’s a familiar decor theme of late, but we’re not complaining (remember the colored lights and white Cosmos of the ’90s, people?). Still (at least in our drop-in) the playlist ran more Eminem and eclectic lounge beats than anything bluegrass.
A&D. 1314 Ninth St., NW; 202-290-1804. Sunday through Thursday 5 PM to 1 AM, Friday and Saturday 5 PM to 2 AM.