Clarendon is a long way from California, but the neighborhood may feel a little closer to the West Coast with the opening of Bar Ivy this spring. Blagden Hospitality Group, which operates transportive spots like Hong Kong-inspired Tiger Fork in Shaw and Union Market rooftop bar Hi-Lawn, is expanding to Virginia for the first time. The breezy coastal-style restaurant and bar will have a lush 125-seat patio for sipping local coffee drinks in the morning and sampling wines alongside seafood towers in the evening.
Business partners Greg Algie and chef Nathan Beauchamp say the idea for Bar Ivy started over two years ago as a spinoff of Calico their indoor/outdoor hangout in Shaw’s Blagden Alley—but they envisioned a more food-obsessed, grownup sibling.
“Calico morphed into what it is—a younger crowd coming in for pouched cocktails, and the food supports the bar,” Beauchamp says. Given his 25 years of restaurant experience, which includes helming the kitchen at the late Restaurant Eve in Old Town, Beauchamp is ready for his next kitchen challenge. “There’s definitely a boisterous drinking crowd in Clarendon, but there are still a lot of people who want a place to go without that college setting.”
A kiosk will open in the mornings with drinks from Pennsylvania-based Passenger Coffee, plus fresh pastries and other dishes; lunch and brunch will launch in the weeks following the opening. In the evening, Beauchamp and Bar Ivy executive chef Jonathan Till (formerly head chef at Del Ray’s Evening Star Cafe) will offer a seafood- and vegetable-focused menu combining specialties from the West Coast and Mid-Atlantic. In lieu of a traditional raw bar, shellfish towers will be stacked with composed plates—you might find California spot prawns or abalone. Till, a forager, plans to highlight seasonal dishes that highlight discoveries like wild mushrooms or baby fennel—plus plates with meats like duck and lamb.
Blagden Hospitality Group barman Ian Fletcher is planning a something-for-everyone drink menu. Classic cocktails will be joined by a lineup of non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks—plus approachable wines in the $25 range, vermouths, and amari. When the weather cooperates, the patio—shaded by flowering crepe myrtles—will be the place to gather outside the bungalow-style restaurant. DC-based design talents Edit Lab at Streetsense, who are also behind the standout spaces at Tiger Fork, the Dabney, and Columbia Room, will be behind the look here.
Bar Ivy won’t be the team’s only foray in the suburbs. A second location—also in conjunction with Carr Properties and its buildings—is planned for Bethesda, and will open in downtown Bethesda’s new mixed-use development the Wilson & the Elm (7272 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda). Bar Ivy will be among a number of DC-based restaurants making a foray into Bethesda this year— the teams behind Red Hen and All-Purpose, and the Salt Line, are headed there also.
Bar Ivy. 3033 Wilson Blvd., Arlington.