Bar à Vin Opens In Georgetown with Classic French Style

The wine bar from the Chez Billy Sud team debuts this week.

Bar à Vin, a wine bar from the Chez Billy Sud team, opens in Georgetown. Photograph by Sam Vasfi

It wasn’t too long ago that Washington seemed to have more dedicated wine bars than cocktail dens, but as the drinking trend moved towards spirits, fewer of the former appeared. Now for the first time in awhile, Georgetown has a new wine spot worth exploring: Bar à Vin, a sister venture to Chez Billy Sud from restaurateurs Eric and Ian Hilton.

Similar to the restaurant next door, the 50-seat bar focuses on the French classics.

“There’s been so much focus on wine regions that are up-and-coming,” says sommelier Andrew Wooldridge, who oversees the program. “We’re looking to go back to the basics—the old world regions that have traditionally produced some of the best wines in the world, and explore them in more depth.”

The 50-seat bar focuses on wines from classic regions like Burgundy and Bordeaux.
The 50-seat bar focuses on wines from classic regions like Burgundy and Bordeaux.

Renowned wine producing regions like Burgundy and Bordeaux are often synonymous with high prices. While Wooldridge has sourced some splurge-worthy bottles, the list is designed to be accessible and offer a variety of price points, with glasses running the gamut from $9 to $25. The bar will also offer a number of rotating flights, meant to go more in-depth that sampling, say, three pinots. Instead, Wooldridge designed focused tastings, such as a lineup of three producers from a tiny village in Burgundy.

“We’re trying to introduce wines that tell a story, and bring people along on an adventure of a place, a time, of people,” says Wooldridge. “We’re expecting a lot of people to ask us if the wine is corked. Yes, it’s supposed to taste like olives, and sea salt, and mushrooms.”

Chez Billy chef Brendan L’Etoile designed wine-friendly snacks for the bar, such as lamb rilettes, wild boar sausage, smoked duck, and a collection of European cheeses. The decor matches the rustic fare, with a copper-topped bar and wood-burning fireplace.

Bar à Vin is slated to open this week.

Bar à Vin. 1035 31st St., NW. Open daily 4 pm to 2 am.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.