Jack Rose in Adams Morgan built a reputation as destination for whiskey aficionados and rare spirits specialists, touting its massive bottle collection as one the largest in the western hemisphere. Now, with an escalating health and economic crisis, all 2,700-plus bottles are up for sale starting Friday, March 20. The bar and and new sister restaurant Imperial are also selling drams of rare whiskeys, wine and beer, cigars, and a takeout food menu.
“When we come out of this on the other side I want to be debt-free and get everyone back to work—that means selling a shit ton of whiskey,” says owner Bill Thomas. “It’s going to take a little creativity, a little elbow grease. We’re doing everything we can.”
Thomas amassed the collection over decades by “hunting” rare and interesting spirits through online auctions, estate sales, and dusty liquor-store shelves. Now the public can search through the treasure trove by stopping into the bar, browsing the “whiskey bible” menu (available online for no contact), and talking to Thomas himself. He’ll be there daily and will even put together flights to go. “Anything anyone wants,” says Thomas. That could mean 20- or 30 year-old pours of Arbeg and Macallan, hard-to-find Willett Family Estates, or Jack Rose’s own private barrels made in collaboration with Blanton’s and other distilleries. The drams will be packaged in little sealed bottles that can keep on a home bar. In an effort to further support funding for staff, Thomas is selling gift cards for future whiskey flights that can be redeemed when the bar reopens.
Pours of the “rare stuff” (anything $100-plus per ounce) will be 50 percent off, while all other pours are 20 percent off. Bottle prices will vary. (Only unopened bottles are available for whole purchase.) Thomas says he plans to offer the spirits at a lower price than what consumers would find on the secondary market—anything from a $30 bottle of Johnny Walker to a pricey vintage Scotch.
For the many who can’t splurge at this time, there are other options. To-go cocktails ($10 each) are available from all three company bars—Jack Rose, Imperial, and Dram & Grain—from classics like old-fashioneds and Manhattans to Dram’s whimsical creations. Bottles of wine and beers are available, too. Chef Russell Jones is preparing a takeout menu that blends Jack’s Southern saloon fare and Imperial’s French/Mid-Atlantic dishes such as shrimp cocktail, chicken skins, biscuits, and charcuterie.
The pop-up whiskey shop will be open daily 1 PM to 10 PM starting Friday. Call 202-588-7388 for advance orders and curbside pickup. Delivery will start next week.