Lulu’s Wine Garden, a group-friendly indoor/outdoor wine bar, opens anon abreast U Street. Photography address of Julep PR
Wine bar trends accept gone through abounding cycles, from adorned and old apple to bounded and natural. Now the aggregation abaft LeDroit Park cocktail bistro Royal are aggravating article different: Lulu’s Wine Garden, a bottle-centric, group-friendly, beer garden-inspired circuit on the concept. The abundant calm bar, bookended by two ample patios, takes over buyer Paul Carlson’s Vinoteca space, which bankrupt in November afterwards 12 years. Lulu’s, called for babyish babe Lucilla, is slated to admission by mid-February.
Carlson partnered with wife and restaurant arranger Brittany Carlson and Royal chef Cable Smith for the new venture. (Full disclosure: the Carlsons are friends.) Like abounding industry vets, they say their abode is modeled afterwards the affectionate of atom breadth they appetite to adhere out—with friends, kids, and patio pups in tow.
“Wine confined are generally created for the couple, either because the basement isn’t accessory for groups or they can get actual pricey,” says Paul Carlson. “With this abstraction we appetite to actualize an advantage for bodies who absolutely adore wine, but atom the pretentiousness and accept a acceptable time.”
The aggregation adapted Vinoteca’s dining allowance into a warm-toned, veranda-esque lounge abounding with alive greenery, broiled Guatemalan flowers, and continued board tables outfitted with congenital ice buckets. Keeping with the group-friendly theme, bottles will comedy a arresting role on the card against the ten-odd wines by the glass. Carlson curated 40-plus bottles from baby producers and bottom apparent regions like Baja, Mexico. All are priced at $49—moderate by industry markup standards. The accumulating takes a something-for-everyone approach, spanning Mexican whites, algid reds, rosés, archetypal California Cabs, offbeat Pinot Grigios, and accurate French Champagne.
“We were one of those wine programs, aback in the day [at Vinoteca] that would acclaim we had 60 wines by the glass,” says Carlson. “There’s a abundant abode for that, but there’s a lot of decay associated with it and there’s a lot added amount affairs by the bottle. We appetite bodies to accomplish choices based on [flavor] contour or arena against price.”
In accession to the under-$50 bottles, the bar will accept a abate “minis and mags” account that includes half-bottles, cans, and party-time magnums. Carlson is additionally alive on a splurge-worthy alternative of absorbing and limited-edition finds. Cocktails from the abounding bar, zero-proof options, and beers are additionally accessible for non-wine drinkers.
Chef Smith, who’s abaft Royal’s arepas and all-day fare, is abandonment the archetypal cheese and charcuterie boards for patio party-inspired eats. Abounding of the dishes nod to the southern and littoral climes breadth abounding of the wines are from, as able-bodied as Smith’s New Mexican roots and years spent affable in Austin. Shareable dishes accommodate white queso with locally fabricated tortillas, backtalk and broiled grapefruit tostadas, brittle craven sandwiches smothered in chili sauce, avocado Caesars, and smoked pastrami-style pork abdomen on Texas toast. Brunch dishes will barrage on weekend canicule bottomward the line. Similar to several beer breadth in the area, ample groups will be able to assets amplitude via Resy after fees or minimums of acceptable clandestine rooms.
Service is additionally activity the accidental route. Customers can adjustment aliment and alcohol at the calm or rear alfresco bar (opening this spring), from ambulant servers, or application GoTab. The closing allows assemblage to adjustment and pay on their phones by scanning a code, no apps required—handy if you’re sitting on the patio and appetite to arouse a canteen of rosé.
Lulu’s Wine Garden. 1940 11th St., NW.
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Anna Spiegel covers the dining and bubbler arena in her built-in DC. Prior to abutting Washingtonian in 2010, she abounding the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA affairs in New York, and captivated assorted affable and autograph positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.
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