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Inside Hank’s Cocktail Bar, Dupont’s New Second-Story Mixology Lab

Eater logo Eater 2/19/2019 Gabe Hiatt
a group of people performing on a counter in a store: The glowing orbs at Hank’s Cocktail Bar in Dupont are the same as they were in Petworth. © Rey Lopez/Eater D.C. The glowing orbs at Hank’s Cocktail Bar in Dupont are the same as they were in Petworth.

The revamped watering hole opens above Hank’s Oyster Bar tomorrow

When the reincarnation of Hank’s Cocktail Bar opens tomorrow night in Dupont, regulars from its former home in Petworth shouldn’t feel too out of place. When chef and restaurateur Jamie Leeds decided to leave Upshur Street NW, she took the heart of the old bar with her.

What used to be known as the second-story up-bar at the flagship Hank’s Oyster Bar is now a separate venue painted in shades of purple and gold. The heads of various horned creatures have come along, remnants of the Hank’s Cocktail Bar’s original name, the Twisted Horn. Glowing orb lights hang from chains attached to a dark ceiling. The trippy black-and-gold mural of a girl peering into some alien object made the move, too.

For Leeds, making the move wasn’t an indictment of the bar she opened in Petworth a little more than three years ago. She says the restaurant group’s mixology lab had actually become such a strength that she wanted to bring it to a bigger audience. And she felt like the old space above her first restaurant wasn’t meeting its full potential.

“We’re constantly having to reinvent ourselves and take advantage of opportunities to make things better for the neighborhood,” Leeds says.

a close up of a bottle © Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Horned creatures on the wall nod to a time when Hank’s Cocktail Bar was called the Twisted Horn.

At the new cocktail bar, that reinvention included opening up the floor to increase capacity. A former private dining room will now serve as lounge seating for the bar or overflow seats for the restaurant downstairs.

“It’s just amazing,” Leeds says. “The space feels twice the size that it did before.”

That should increase the audience for bar program manager Hunter Douglas, who has concocted a menu of more than 40 drinks while experimenting with savory ingredients and applications that drive sustainability. That means mixing Talisker scotch with jalapeno shrub and playing with kitchen scraps to come up with a drink that tastes like a Thai salad.

Take a first look inside the renovated Hank’s Cocktail Bar:

a dining room table © Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Hank’s Cocktail Bar brings darker colors to the former up-bar at Hank’s Oyster Bar.
a close up of a brick building © Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Bar stools pull up to a trippy piece of art brought over from the Petworth location.
a kitchen with a stove and a brick wall © Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Exposed brick walls at Hank’s Cocktail Bar.
a person standing next to a fireplace © Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Purple and gold paint give the space a familiar feel.
a large room © Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.
Bench seats and stools add more space for people to eat or drink upstairs.

Hank’s Cocktail Bar is located on the second floor of 1624 Q Street NW. Hours are 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Tuesday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

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