Before craft cocktails and speakeasy-style gimmicks took over DC, there was the Gibson. Hidden behind an unmarked door, the candle-lit U Street haunt was one of the first city’s first destination cocktail bars when it opened in 2008—a place where you could feel cool and in-the-know while sipping a serious Sazerac. Yesterday, owner Eric Hilton announced that the bar would end its 15-year run on January 1, 2024. He’s still considering relocating the Gibson elsewhere.
“It’s truly the end of an era — the Gibson has had a long, great run and will always hold a special place for me. Unfortunately, there are too many challenges to continue in its current form,” Hilton said in a statement. (Washingtonian has reached out to Hilton for additional comment and will update this story when we hear back.)
The Gibson’s closure follows that of other bars that kickstarted the modern cocktail movement in the DC area. Barman Todd Thrasher closed his pioneering Alexandria spot PX in 2019 and now runs Wharf rum distillery and tiki bar, Tiki TNT. Meanwhile, Derek Brown, who helped open the Gibson, shuttered his acclaimed cocktail destination Columbia Room in 2022 to focus on a new career as a wellness coach and consultant on no- and low-alcohol cocktails.
The Gibson will host a farewell party on New Year’s Eve. Look for tickets shortly after Thanksgiving. In the meantime, the bar will continue to operate Mondays through Saturdays from 6 PM to close.