Since boutique wine bar Maxwell Park opened in Shaw two-plus years ago, it’s drawn fans—and national accolades—with its delicious offbeat pours and fun menu themes (i.e. “Bone Dry” bottles “that’ll make you feel you’re chewing on a cottonball”). Now, sommelier owners Brent Kroll, Niki Lang, and Daniel Runnerstrom are bringing their serious-yet-un-stodgy style to a second location of Maxwell, opening tonight in Navy Yard.
The 40-seat Maxwell Park 2.0 adjoins Albi, chef Michael Rafidi’s brand new wood-fired Mediterranean restaurant in which Kroll is a partner. The chef also designed a small wine bar menu of cheese and charcuterie, trendy tinned seafood, an share plates such as crab lettuce wraps and truffle grilled cheese. While Kroll’s wine list for Albi is centered around Mediterranean and Middle Eastern finds, his pours next door will differ from both the restaurant and Shaw location. Two constants: a highly specific climate control system, which allows bottles to be stored in four different temperature zones that play to their flavors, and a wide range of pours, from 2.5 ounces to full bottles.
The new Maxwell offers a curated core menu of the usual suspects (whites, reds, bubbles) alongside skin contact, fortified, and dessert wines (plus beers and cocktails). Instead of month-long thematic menu takeovers, you’ll find a regular list of “mini themes,” which “are meant to be versatile and not overly serious,” per Kroll. Among those to start: wines from islands that’ve been associated with the mythical underwater city of Atlantis (why not?) alongside a showcase of Merlot, “the queen of red grapes.”
“Because some people still think Merlot sucks,” says Kroll. (Thanks, Sideways.)
Maxwell Park Navy Yard. 1346 Fourth St., SE.
Check out sample menus: