Eat and Drink the Inauguration: Cocktail Specials, Presidential-Themed Tasting Menus, and a Brewers Ball at ChurchKey
Everything you need to know about where to dine out before and during the big weekend.
January 21 marks the public inauguration of President Obama’s second term, and lots of local restaurants are celebrating with special drinks, tasting menus, and—in one case—a twofer hot dog special.
A few related reminders: First, Art and Soul is throwing a late-night party with a bunch of big-name chefs—get tickets as soon as possible if you want to go. Second, don’t forget this list of Obama-inspired consumables we put together for your dining pleasure. Also, look out for a number of bars staying open until 4 AM in honor of the events (Thanks, ABRA!), and 25 food trucks get access to the “exclusion zone.”
Champagne lovers should head to Proof in Penn Quarter, which is shaving one third off the price of sparklers by the glass and bottle during inauguration celebrations (Friday through Monday).
On January 21, Cashion’s offers its regular menu along with a three-course, Barack Obama-themed prix-fixe for $40.14. Expect: tuna poke in a Bibb lettuce cup; dry-aged beef strip loin with creamed spinach and a crispy potato cake; and Hawaiian pineapple upside-down cake. An optional wine pairing is $20.13.
Just down the street from Cashion’s, Napoleon Bistro will mix a special $10 cocktail during inauguration weekend: the Black Forest Berry Bonapartini. That’s made with St. Dalfour berry jam, Absolut vodka, and a splash of Black Forest iced tea.
Popular 14th Street beer bar ChurchKey hosts an Inaugural Brewers Ball on the 21st, welcoming brewers—and beer—from a bunch of craft beermakers. Among the guests: Rob Tod of Allagash Brewing Company, Sean Lily Wilson of Fullsteam, Dan Kopman of Schlafly, Mark Thompson of Star Hill, Jim Caruso of Flying Dog, Hugh Sisson of Heavy Seas, DC Brau’s Mike McGarvey from 3 Stars Brewing. Food will come courtesy of executive chef Kyle Bailey and pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac and include oysters, charcuterie, brat burger sliders, and flatbreads. Tickets cost $150—get some now by calling 202-567-2576.
Fiola, normally closed on Sunday, will make an exception on the 20th. While there, try the El Presidente: light rum, dry vermouth, curaçao, and real grenadine. It’s $15 normally, but just $6 during happy hour (4 to 6 on weekdays). Get that from the 17th through the 22nd.
Over in Tysons Galleria, Wildfire is doing on-theme lunch specials—all $13.95—from January 18 to 21. Choose a presidential spicy chopped chicken giardiniera salad with feta, cucumbers, tomatoes, and ranch dressing; Chicago-style beef au jus with sweet or hot peppers; or an American deluxe burger: twin patties, American cheese, pickles, bacon, Thousand Island dressing, house-made coleslaw, and French fries.
Since November, Charlie Palmer Steak has been featuring a special menu item in honor of a former president. Chef Jeffrey Russell created a beef Wellington in honor of Nixon, pork chops and grits to celebrate Jimmy Carter, and braised pork and cabbage in honor of everyone’s favorite president, Gerald Ford. This week, the kitchen plays homage to Bill Clinton with chicken-fried steak. Available through Saturday, January 26, the Capitol Countdown dishes cost between $28 and $35.
Meanwhile at downtown restaurant 701, try a three-course, $25 lunch through January 21. “Bipartisan” specials have been designed to appeal to both parties, and are available from 11:30 to 3 on weekdays. The specials includes dishes like fig and arugula salad with guanciale and goat cheese; five-spice chicken breast with bok choy and mango curry; and red velvet cake roulade with candied almonds.
Obama said recently that he never compares himself to Abraham Lincoln, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate his reelection at a restaurant devoted to all things Honest Abe. Over at 1110 Vermont Avenue, Northwest, Lincoln is celebrating term two with a special tasting menu. Available from January 18 through 21, the feast costs $45 and includes courses inspired by six commanders in chief: JFK fish chowder; Lincoln oyster salad; Obama olive-oil-poached salmon; a cornflake-baked “fried” chicken for Bill Clinton; rabbit shepherd’s pie to honor Roosevelt (owner Alan Popovsky is opening a spot devoted to all things Teddy this spring); and Ronald Reagan monkey bread.
Head to Bayou Bakery in Arlington on the 21st for a chance to sample David Guas’s POTUS Dog special. For the price of $7, you get two all-beef hot dogs topped, Chicago style, with minced white onion, dill pickle spears, roasted sundried tomatoes, pickled sport peppers, sweet pickle relish, mustard, and a dash of celery salt.
The Odyssey, everyone’s favorite Potomac-transversing vessel, hosts an inauguration dinner cruise on the 21st. It’s $97 and boards at 6 PM. (Ship sets sails at 7 and returns at 10.) Tickets are available online.
In addition to the Jefferson Hotel’s luxe overnight package, the swanky bar there—Quill—will feature a special presidential cocktail: bourbon, Apple Jack, lemon juice, simple syrup with cinnamon, and whiskey bitters. Get it from January 18 through 22.
You’ll also find a special cocktail at DC Coast from the 18th through the 22nd. The Sparkling Second Term—served in a cinnamon-and-sugar-rimmed Champagne flute, is made with Averell damson plum gin, Leopold Brothers New York apple whiskey, and lemon bitters and topped with a splash of sparkling cava wine.
Go to either of two Robert Wiedmaier spots—Mussel Bar in Bethesda or Brasserie Beck downtown—to try an Obama-tini cocktail, available January 18 through 21. This one involves Ketel One vodka, Hypnotiq liqueur, and a float of blue curaçao.
Hit up the Source for a special dim sum brunch service on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday surrounding the inauguration. The restaurant is typically closed Sunday, but will offer brunch and dinner on January 20. Saturday through Monday, try a special sushi and Champagne menu in the lounge, but don’t expect to dine there during Saturday dinner service—the restaurant has been bought out that evening.