Famed New York restaurateur Danny Meyer opened his Roman-style seafood trattoria Maialino Mare in Navy earlier this month with a splashy party full of bold-faced names, including Nancy Pelosi and Steve Case. But also worthy of attention is Meyer’s bar, Anchovy Social, which officially opens on the rooftop of the Thompson hotel on Thursday, January 30.
While Anchovy Social has a separate chef and menu from Maialino Mare, it does carry over the restaurant’s Italian flare and nautical theme. And yes, there are plenty of anchovies.
The snacky, seafood-heavy menu is overseen by executive chef Jorge Chicas, an alum of José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup, BLT Steak, and most recently, Cathal Armstrong‘s Hummingbird in Alexandria. (Chicas is also responsible for the Thompson hotel’s downstairs lobby bar, in-room dining, and catering.) Anchovies are paired with fingerling potatoes and salsa verde, and also top one of four small pizzas on the menu.
Other seafood dishes, including tuna-stuffed peppers and a smoked trout dip, are served in tins “to give it that anchovy touch,” Chicas says. You’ll also find Maryland crab deviled eggs with Old Bay seasoning, clams casino, and potato chips “cacio e pepe” showered with pecorino and black pepper. Raw bar fans can opt for a shrimp cocktail or a $48 seafood tower.
Cocktails incorporate plenty of Italian spirits and liqueurs. Amaro makes its way into the “Nor’Easter” with rum and ginger beer as well as “Town Beach” with bourbon and black tea. Meanwhile, Aperol is combined with tequila, passionfruit, and blood orange in a drink dubbed “The Pontile,” meaning pier in Italian. The bar will also offer larger seasonal drinks that can be shared between four or more people. To start, look for a hot toddy amped with ginger-cider shrub, lemongrass, and cayenne that is served in a thermos with campfire mugs.
A list of less than 10 beers comes mostly from Virginia, while an equally slim wine selection leans heavily (but not exclusively) Italian.
As at other Danny Meyer restaurants, “hospitality is included” at Anchovy Social, meaning no tipping is necessary. Labor costs are baked into the price of food and drinks. As such, all cocktails are a flat $16. If people do leave extra cash, the money is pooled and then distributed among the entire team, from the bartender to the dishwasher to the cook.
The lack of tips hasn’t made it any harder to hire, says Assistant Director of Food & Beverage Joshua Scott. Among the benefits, he says,”You can make the same amount of money on a Sunday morning as you do on a Saturday night.”
Anchovy Social has a sizable indoor space with two bars aimed at attracting year-round business and private events. But the main attraction will undoubtedly be its huge wraparound patio with views of the Anacostia River. Out there, no one will mind your anchovy breath.