Food

8 New DC-Area Bars and Restaurants to Try This Week

On our list: Mama Chang, Zeppelin, the Pembroke, and much more.
Mama Chang from famed Szechuan chef Peter Chang and his family opens in Fairfax. Photo by Rey Lopez

Mama Chang
3251 Old Lee Hwy, Fairfax
You might know famed Szechuan chef Peter Chang for his scallion bubble pancakes—though they’re really the creation of wife/pastry chef Lisa Chang. The matriarchs of the family are getting the spotlight at the newest restaurant in the Chang empire, which opens in Fairfax City on March 8. Look for home-style Hunan, Hubei, and Szechuan specialties like sesame shaobing (flaky pastries topped with sesame seeds), pork rib soup, and duck spring rolls.

The Pembroke off Dupont Circle. Photo by Rey Lopez.

The Pembroke
1500 New Hampshire Ave., NW
The new hotel bar/restaurant in the former Cafe Dupont space is a looker with its airy, glass-enclosed rooms and 78-seat terrace. Veteran chef Marlon Rambaran, who formerly helmed Scarpetta Miami and was a sous chef at Philadelphia’s Le Bec Fin, runs the kitchen. Dishes mostly take influence from the western Mediterranean (lamb shank tagine, dove sole meunière) with a few offerings from the hotel group’s native Ireland. 

Zeppelin sushi omakase Japanese cocktails patio Shaw late-night karaoke.
The first-floor cocktail bar at Zeppelin in Shaw. Photo by Jeff Elkins

Zeppelin
1544 9th St., NW
Shaw’s new spot for Japanophiles has a lot going on: sushi, yakitori, 80-plus sakes, Japanese cocktails, late-night karaoke, and luxe omakase menus—all from the team behind nearby Chaplin’s and chef Minoru Ogawa (Sushi Ogawa, Mandarin Oriental). It unfolds in the two-story row home (plus a big patio) that once housed The Shaw Bijou.

Hank’s Cocktail Bar opens in Dupont with a savory and sweet lineup of drinks. Pictured: an oyster-infused riff on a gin martini. Photo by Evy Mages

Hank’s Cocktail Bar
1624 Q St., NW
Fancy oysters and cocktails—or oyster cocktails? The new bar above Hank’s 13 year-old flagship has both, plus a new food menu (get the crab dip), list of 40-plus concoctions, and an extensive happy hour. Most of the drinks are new, though a few carried over from the shuttered Petworth location, including the awesome “martini service.”

Cherry Blossom PUB’s “Honeydew, Honey See” cocktail. Photo by Nicholas Karlin.

Cherry Blossom PUB
841 Seventh St., NW
The festive spring bar from Drink Company is back—this year with a trippy ramen room where you can eat ramen surrounded by faux ramen noodles (the former comes courtesy of Uzu). You’ll also find new Japanese-inspired cocktails, a photo booth, and more than 100,000 cherry blossoms canopying two bars.

Roy Boys fried chicken. Photo courtesy Roys Boys.

Roy Boys
2108 Eighth St., NW
Cocktails, fried chicken, and oysters are focus of this new bar/restaurant in the Atlantic Plumbing building (previously Tasty Burger). The casual place is already open late with a night owl happy hour. Co-owner Scott Parker (Don Tito, Barley Mac) plans to soon serve hot fried chicken, ice cream tacos, and other eats through a to-go window until 5 AM on weekends.

The pork belly taco is inspired by the flavors of a banh-mi sandwich.
El Bebe’s pork belly taco is inspired by the flavors of a banh-mi sandwich. Photo by Lauren Bulbin

Él Bebe/Circa
99 M St., SE
Metropolitan Hospitality Group just launched a massive 3,300-square-foot restaurant space near Nationals Park—one part Circa, their American bistro mini-chain, and the other Él Bebe. The new Mexican concept features a global variety of tacos, a big tequila bar, and weekday happy hour throughout the entire indoor/outdoor space.

The Lapis owners revamp cafe and cocktail bar Lapop in Adams Morgan. Photo by Joy Asico.

Lapop
1847 Columbia Rd., NW
Adams Morgan’s subterranean coffee bar recently got a boozy remake from the Popal family (“lapop” backwards), who also run Lapis next door at The Berliner in Georgetown. The theme nods to 19th-century Parisian and Viennese cafes with literary cocktails, a stocked bookshelf, and bites like lamb meatballs with yogurt and herbs. It’s also open for weekday lunch from 11 AM to 3 PM and serves Lapis’ brunch menu on weekends. 

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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.