Sandwiched between the White House and Farragut North, Equinox is a natural spot for downtown workers to wait out traffic with a cocktail and a snack, but the restaurant, owned by chef Todd Gray and his wife, Ellen, has always felt more appropriate for a celebratory tasting dinner than a quick drink. The couple are hoping to change that with the hire of Steve Oshana, the newly appointed corporate beverage manager for their restaurant group, which also includes Watershed, Muse at the Corcoran, and the food options at the just-opened Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia. Oshana recently resigned from the bar at nearby BLT Steak, where he played around with barrel-aged drinks and house-made cordials while maintaining the steakhouse chain’s classic vibe. Over the past couple of years, BLT has attracted a healthy bar crowd who regularly pop in for that restaurant’s 5 at 5 happy hour, featuring some very good food and drink specials.
For the Grays, Oshana will create seasonal drinks based on the classics that will pair well with Equinox’s Mid-Atlantic-inspired food. Options will extend to their catering program—customers will be able to customize the boozy offerings at their events, according to Oshana. Chef de cuisine Colin McClimans is developing some bar bites in keeping with the restaurant’s lunch and dinner menus, including house-made sausages that he’s smoking in the alley behind the restaurant. Ellen Gray says she’d like to see some lighter cocktails to go with the house-made sodas at the restaurant. In addition, Oshana is planning to develop some dessert drinks—spins on Irish coffee and so forth—to pair with confections by pastry chef Brandi Edinger.
Oshana says he’ll also ramp up the drinking options at Muse, the cafe the Grays operate in the lobby of the Corcoran. Down the road, look for weekly cocktail receptions on Wednesdays, when the Corcoran stays open until 9, and new “brunchy” cocktail options during the vegan Sunday brunch buffet.
We’ll update with an Equinox happy hour menu when it’s available.