Restaurateur brothers Eric and Ian Hilton are in major expansion mode right now with new spots coming to the Wharf and a hotel in Penn Quarter—not to mention the redevelopment of Chez Billy into Ten Tigers Parlor in Petworth. Why stop there?
The owners of Gibson, American Ice Company, Marvin, and others are bringing two bars to the new building at Rhode Island and 14th Street, Northwest that will also house Shake Shack. Details on the basement bar are still being finalized, but the place above the burger joint is tentatively called French 75 and will focus on Champagne-based and other French-inspired cocktails.
Gibson bartender Brendan Murphy is putting together drink menus for both bars. Chez Billy Sud chef Brendan L’Etoile will create a food menu for French 75 that’s similar to the one at the Georgetown restaurant’s sister bar, Bar à Vin. The limited offerings will likely include charcuterie, baguette sandwiches, bluefish rillettes, and other snacks.
Ian Hilton describes the look of the 3,500-square-foot place as a “1970s French disco” with mirrored ceilings and “interesting finishes.” The designer behind Denson Liquor Bar and Maketto—Michael Francis of Queue Design Agency—will be behind the decor.
“The look and feel will be closer to a Chez Billy Sud than an American Ice Company,” Hilton says. “It’s not like you’re going to get an industrial feel or a lot of exposed brick or reclaimed wood or Carrara marble [that] became fashionable the last time we went through this sort of expansion phase.”
Both Logan Circle bars are slated to open in late spring or summer of 2017. That means they’ll arrive after the Southern-inspired diner and cocktail lounge coming to Penn Quarter’s Pod Hotel, but before the waterfront pub headed for the Wharf.
Meanwhile, Ian Hilton says they’re finally starting to redevelop the Montserrat House at 2016 Ninth Street, Northwest. Last year, there was talk about turning the space into a Korean barbecue restaurant, but now that’s not likely.
“Man, it is an uphill battle,” Hilton says. “It’s so freaking cool, but pulling it off—just from what the fire marshal would allow—looks difficult.”