Let’s just say that when Veritas closed, there was an palatable sadness amongst my circle of friends who live in the Dupont Circle area. Never mind that some hadn’t been to Veritas in ages. The idea of losing a quality neighborhood hangout, well, that was disappointing. And a blow to our views of the world (and our place in it, of course).
And then the signs for McClellan’s Retreat started to appear. And let’s face it, having read Team of Rivals, a Seward biography and other fictionalized versions of life in DC during the Civil War, I was excited to see a bar named for McClellan. Not that I’m an expert, but my readings formed a strong opinion: Retreat is an apt name.
And McClellan’s Retreat? Great location. Beautifully designed bar – Civil War themed, but not overwhelming so. Good drinks. Friendly staff.
A cute touch – I liked that the drink of the day was called the “daily ration.” And the spiked apple cider they served at the soft opening? Really delicious, and probably incredibly alcoholic.
My mixologist was adorable. He asked what I liked to drink, poised to help me. Scotch, I responded. But he was ready. And Barren’s Hill was terrific, a scotch cocktail with a clean lemony waft. Hand-cut ice, even. But no extra cost.
I also tried the Bull Run, a mint julep of sorts. While I loved the presentation – the silver cup heaping with crushed ice, the mint sprig, the metal straw + spoon for slurping up the bourboned ice … The drink itself didn’t suit my taste quite as much as the look of this particular drink. That said, I look forward to trying the other cocktails and making my way through the rest of the menu.
Bottom line: McClellan’s Retreat will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood, especially with everyone missing a local watering hole.
Officially opens today: Wednesday, November 12.