It’s an exciting time to eat at at bars in DC between spots like Szechuan drink den Astoria, Filipino sports pub The Game, The Imperial with its many cocktail and raw bars, and smash hit Korean gastropub Anju. Now in: Reveler’s Hour, a pasta and wine bar from the Tail Up Goat team that opened on New Year’s Eve.
The 70-seat venture is billed as Tail Up’s more relaxed sister, though with a team of Komi and Serow vets at the helm, it’s casual in a “we have snacks from a wood-burning oven and 50 glasses of wine” kind of way. Chef Jon Sybert’s passion for Mediterranean flavors recreated with local and homemade ingredients carries through, as does his fondness for delicious carbs.
The menu is filled with fresh-baked bread and butters, homemade potato chips and dip, crackers with a “fancy” parmesan version of pimento cheese, and comforting pastas like garganelli with house-made Autumn Olives farms pork sausage, chilies, and fennel. (We also have our eye on Genovese-style beef ragu that co-owner Jill Tyler describes as “familiar and comforting, like French onion soup.”) Small plates lean more on seasonal catches and vegetables, such as wood-grilled oysters with garlicky butter and hot sauce or seared veggies with bagna cauda.
Matching the rustic fare is wine director Bill Jensen’s huge by-the-glass list, which he describes as “wonderfully non-committal” in its approach—though oenophiles can go deep by homing in on a producer, importer like Kermit Lynch, or region.
“I love the idea of people tasting through a bunch of wines from the same place or same person and building a fuller sense of both,” says Jensen. “Part of what’s so intoxicating for us about wine is the way it can tell those stories.”
Jensen’s list boasts four themes to start: Beajoulais, “the birthplace of the natural wine movement;” the Roman Wine Route that focuses on central Italy and native Italian grapes; New California, “a movement driven by a new generation of vignerons which seeks to broaden the scope of what is available in Cali and move beyond the stereotype of over-oaked, over-extracted cult wines the state became known for;” and Provence, “a sadly neglected corner of France that has so much more to offer the wine world than just rosé.” A fifth section will be devoted to friends and local producers.
For now, the restaurant is open for dinner and drinks, Tuesday through Sunday, and takes reservations via Resy as well as walk-ins. It’ll eventually expand service to seven nights a week and weekend brunch.
Reveler’s Hour. 1775 Columbia Rd., NW