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Kramers Has a New, Expanded Bar Alongside Its Bookstore

The light is supposed to be good for reading while tippling.

Photograph courtesy Kramers.

Kramers opens a new, expanded bar today, the latest upgrade in the 45-year-old bookstore and cafe’s reinvention.

What was previously the travel and kids book sections, as well as storage for old books, is now a 26-seat bar serving 18 craft beers on tap, natural and small producer wines, and cocktails like the “English 75” with earl grey-infused gin. (Don’t worry, the travel and kids books still have a home in the shop.) Along with a new drink list, the bar has rolled out its own food menu with chicken and waffles sliders, French onion dip, and a spicy carrot chickpea tartine.

The 970-square-foot bar is outfitted with special lighting better suited for reading books, plus red bar stools and literary-themed wallpaper. Kramers plans to use the space for cocktail tastings and social events too.

Owner Steve Salis—the entrepreneur who also acquired Ted’s Bulletin and founded Federalist Pig—has made a slew of changes to the bookstore/cafe since taking ownership in 2016, including revamping the all-day restaurant, adding a barber shop, and rebranding as “Kramers” rather than “Kramerbooks.” Over the past month, he expanded the operation into the space next door (1521 Connecticut Ave., NW). Still, Kramers may not necessarily stick around in the long term. Salis announced in 2020, amid a legal fight with one of his landlords, that the business would move out of the Dupont Circle locale. He clarified, though, that a move could be as far off as six years when the lease ends.

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.