In the 1970s and ’80s, the Georgetown space adjoining fine-dining 1789 Restaurant was home to a happening Art Deco-style disco cocktail lounge and restaurant called F. Scott’s. Black marble lined the bar, and there was a dance floor. “In its hey day, it was packed. It was the ’80s of excessive Champagne and caviar and disco, and Sugar Ray Leonard was hanging out,” says David Moran, director of Operations for Clyde’s Restaurant Group, which took over the property in 1985. In the ’90s, though, the scene started to wane, and the space became a private events room. “To be candid, it sort of languished there,” Moran says. In 2018, Clyde’s turned the space into “the Club room,” a more casual offshoot of 1789, but it never really gained traction.
Now, though, the group is hoping to bring back some of the buzz and energy of F. Scott’s (and Georgetown) in its prime with a new cocktail-centric bar and restaurant called Fitzgerald’s. This time, there’s no disco ball. Instead you’ll find a clubby, preppy, Ralph Lauren-type vibe with plaid bar chairs, sporty artwork, and leather banquettes when the place opens on Saturday, June 26.
General Manager and Beverage Director Brian Zipin, previously of Central, is behind the list of rotating classic cocktails (Hemmingway daiquiri, barrel-aged sazerac) and riffs (a blood orange and lavender margarita, brown butter old-fashioned). He’s also got the trifecta of ’90s throwbacks: a pomegranate-apple Cosmo, an appletini, and an espresso martini. Beyond cocktails, patrons can access 1789’s entire 300-plus bottle wine list or sip from a curated collection of 10 relatively affordable Japanese whiskeys, including some rice-based spirits.
1789 chef Kyoo Eom has compiled an eclectic, casual menu with dishes including Korean chicken wings, tempura calamari with Grand Marnier aioli, and ricotta gnocchi. One of the highlights is a Peking duck burger with a patty incorporating foie gras and wagyu beef fat. It’s topped with caramelized onions and sunny side up egg and stuffed in a sweet potato bun.
The navy-walled space seats about 70 across two floors, including a 12-seat bar. Designer Pam Farrell has warmed up the place with plaid, tweed, and velvet pillows, plus football paintings and sports memorabilia.
Meanwhile, the Tombs—a favorite of Georgetown students located below Fitzgerald’s and 1789—plans to reopen the second week of August, just before school starts.
“Our real hope is that by Labor Day, all three of these outlets are up and running and vibrant again,” Moran says. “It’s not easy to close a restaurant for months or even a year and then fire it back up.”
Fitzgerald’s. 1232 36th St. NW.