What to Expect from the Wharf’s Bars and Restaurants on Opening Weekend (and Beyond)

All of the development’s big-name restaurants are delayed, but you can still snag free snacks, drinks, and more casual fare.

The Wharf. Rendering courtesy of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront.

The Wharf officially launches on Thursday, with a slew of festivities planned for opening weekend. Thousands are expected to descend for the Foo Fighters concert at the Anthem, and free entertainment throughout the complex. Unfortunately none of the Southwest Waterfront’s big-name restaurants will be up and running due to delays with permitting, final inspections, and training.

The plan for many of the higher-end restaurants is to serve limited menus or snacks to celebrate the launch, and then close and reopen later. More casual spots like Shake Shack, the Brighton—a seaside-inspired spinoff of the Brixton—and Kirwan’s Irish pub are ready for service.

Chef Kwame Onwuachi’s Kith and Kin was the final hope that one of the Wharf’s star chefs would open for full service on October 12—an aspirational deadline given to the restaurateurs by the Hoffman-Madison Waterfront. Onwuachi’s team says the InterContinental hotel eatery has encountered “a few standard delays.” The restaurant plans to open this month, but won’t be serving any food or drinks this weekend.

In total, over 30 bars and restaurants are slated to open in the development through 2018. In addition to openings this fall and winter, another wave of construction will bring exciting additions like a new Rappahannock Oyster Bar, rum distillery, Italian market/restaurant, and more.

Here’s a rundown of what to expect from the Wharf’s bars and restaurants for this weekend, and openings in the near future. We’ll update as information becomes available.

The Brighton 

Owner Ian Hilton says the British pub is giving away food for the opening on Thursday, and hopes to serve a full menu starting Friday (think casual fare like English cheddar burgers and curry-fried calamari). Opening hours are noon until to 2 AM on October 12th, and 11 AM to 3 AM on Friday.

Del Mar

Chef Fabio Trabocchi’s catering team from Casa Luca is serving a small menu of snacks out of the Del Mar space, Thursday through Sunday (hours are limited and subject to change). The restaurant will then close and reopen at a later date, possibly late October or early November.

Hank’s Oyster Bar

Drop by Hank’s patio for free snacks and swag, Thursday through Sunday from noon to 7 PM. The New England-style seafood shack will then close and reopen, likely the week of October 23.


Chef Cathal Armstrong’s Filipino/Thai/Korean restaurant is currently slated for a winter opening.

Kith and Kin

Chef Kwame Onwuachi’s restaurant, which takes inspiration from Creole, Caribbean, and Nigerian cuisines, still plans to open this month. An exact date is TBD. As of now, no food or beverage will be served for the Wharf’s opening weekend.

Kirwan’s on the Wharf 

This “true” Irish gastropub will be open on October 12th from 4 PM to 2 AM. Expect plenty of beer, Irish whiskey, and from-scratch pub grub like fish n’ chips and Guinness pie.

Pearl Street Warehouse 

The all-American concert venue from the Cantina Marina crew opens October 12 with a show from Booker T. Jones (and more planned for the weekend). Its adjoining diner serves a limited evening food menu for now.

Red Hook Lobster Pound

Get your lobster fix at this kiosk near the main pier, which dishes up Maine crustaceans in tasty rolls, mac n’ cheese, BLTs, grilled sandwiches, and more. We also like their chowder for warming up on a chilly day. The food truck-turned-brick-and-mortar will be at their Wharf location for at least six months, and may eventually move to the fish market.


Restaurateur Mike Isabella’s team is whipping up “party food for the masses,”  on Thursday from 5 to 11 PM, and Friday through Sunday from 11 AM to 11 PM (the bar may stay open later). A limited drink menu is available alongside items like sandwiches, salads, and steak. Requin will then close and open officially for dinner on October 23.

Shake Shack 

The burger chain is open and ready to serve a special DC collaboration patty (October 12 only). The Super Fry Frickle Burger comes with crispy marinated shallots, Gordy’s Thai basil pickled jalapeños, and ShackSauce. Beyond that it’s business as usual.

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.