Two women walk into a bar—and change everything. That’s what happened when Himitsu co-owner Carlie Steiner and Anna Bran-Leis, owner of Taqueria Del Barrio, took over the former Hank’s Cocktail Bar space neighboring their Petworth restaurants. The duo have replaced the moody decor with a color blast of mint green, teal, yellow, and pinks (hot and millennial) and turned the back patio into a “bubbles garden.” Dos Mamis, a self-described “good vibes neighborhood cocktail bar,” opens Friday, June 28.
“We’re both looking to do something really fun, really low-key, very neighborhood-esque” says Steiner. Bran-Leis chimes in: “We just want to evoke joy.”
What sparks joy is a personal thing, and so is the bar for Steiner and Bran-Leis. Each brings something different to the 75-seat indoor/outdoor space. Steiner, who runs the lauded cocktail program at Himitsu, is behind the booze and also a “sobrio” menu of non-alcoholic drinks.
“What you’re going to find is no proof, low proof, and a whole lotta proof,” says Steiner. The duo designed the menu to be inclusive for all—including drinks priced at a wallet-friendly $9. “At the end of the day people just want something in their hand to make them feel comfortable, so we want to provide that.”
On one end of the potency spectrum you can order a Woman-Hattan, a “pink and pretty” riff on the classic Manhattan with rum, curaçao and grenadine. On the opposite side there’s a Nah-Groni mixed with Seedlip—a popular non-alcoholic spirit—and zero-proof spins on a vermouth and Campari that Steiner created herself. (She’s dubbed the latter “Camparty.”) Both are infused with herbs and botanicals to mimic negroni ingredients. Somewhere in the middle: frozen cocktails like the Buenas Ondas (translation: “good vibes”) with rum, lime, and homemade cold-pressed strawberry-ginger syrup. The team is also playing with Pedro Ximénez sherry soft-serve for those balmy afternoons.
On the garden patio, Bran-Leis will highlight rums from her native Guatemala and a spectrum of sparkling wines, from $9 happy hour bubbles to $70 splurge-worthy bottles. You’ll also find other “bomb, crushable, quaffable” wines, per Steiner, like rieslings (“mother nature’s gift to earth,” she says) and chilled reds. Think a cool, summery Sangiovese—not necessarily rosé. Picnic and ping-pong tables have been replaced with lounge furniture and a Peruvian coin toss game called Sapo.
Dos Mamis is named for the greeting—“Hey, Mami”—the two neighbors often give each other in passing. The concept is designed to keep that casual, convivial vibe—definitely more bar than restaurant. A small kitchen will turn out plates of cheese, charcuterie, and snacks like croquettas. But the space, from designer Natalie Park, doesn’t look like your typical cocktail haunt (dark, candlelit). The Dos Mamis say the brightness is intentional to create a safe environment.
“The big thing we want to make clear is that our space is for everybody. We’re going to do that by physically turning the lights up and verbally telling people that. Also by keeping our eyes out and training our staff properly,” says Steiner, who adds that the team will work with Safe Spaces DC for harassment training. “Before we’re thinking about making a drink we’re thinking ‘Is this person safe?’ People don’t do that enough.”
Dos Mamis. 819 Upshur St., NW. Opening Friday, June 28.