Angie Duran knew she wanted to create a wine garden the moment she stepped into the lush courtyard patio of West End boutique hotel 2500 Penn.
“I was like, man, I would kill for a great glass of sparkling wine. There was no other beverage that came to mind,” says Duran, who spent the last five-plus years as the general manager at Centrolina.
So, Duran tapped another Centrolina alum, sommelier Erika Parjus, to bring her craving to life. Bottles Wine Garden opens tonight with 70 outdoor and 50 indoor seats, and plenty of lounge furniture for leisurely sipping.
Parjus started her restaurant career as a teenager, and was eager to hop behind the bar at RPM Italian when she finally turned 21. Five years later, she’s pursuing her “passion project for the next generation.”
“Younger people can be scared of wine, or think it’s unaccessible,” Parjus says. So she curated a wine list with interesting finds under $50—and glasses starting at $12—with lengthy tasting notes, and a decoding key that notes bottles that are organic, biodynamic, sustainable, minimum intervention, and/or from female winemakers and vineyard owners. “This space itself is the right environment to make a program like this,” says Parjus. “We’re not reinventing the wheel—we’re giving insurance and highway assistance. People can always feel comfortable.”
Parjus’s menu of around 45 bottles checks off the heavy-hitting Old World regions, but also showcases less-common finds like an unfiltered white from Patras, Greece (description: “Consider this your Mamma Mia moment: sea spray, lemons, and a boat that’s calling your name”) or a wood-aged Portuguese red from a woman-owned vineyard in Alentejo. There are also a handful of “treat yourself” wines in the $97 to $135, Champagne-and-Burgundy range.
Though wine is clearly the focus here, popular spirits and three local beers are represented at the bar. There’s also a light menu of charcuterie and cheeses for when your Mamma Mia moment needs some sustenance.
Bottles Wine Garden. 2500 Pennsylvania Ave, NW. Wednesday through Sunday, 5 PM to midnight.