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Harold Black, Speakeasy near Eastern Market with Bar Snacks

Capitol Hill Eastern Market Lounge Speakeasy Cocktails Mindful Restaurant Group

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#1 Kanishka

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:13 AM

We ended the night with a cocktail at the new speakeasy next door


Any more on this speakeasy? Is it attached to Suna or Acqua al Due? I'm not familiar with it.



#2 DonRocks

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 04:09 AM

Any more on this speakeasy? Is it attached to Suna or Acqua al Due? I'm not familiar with it.


And does it serve Suna's menu? (I'd guess not, but thought I'd ask.)

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ETA - Answer: No, and since it doesn't, it gets its own thread.

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#3 Pat

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:42 AM

And does it serve Suna's menu? (I'd guess not, but thought I'd ask.)


According to this piece by Jessica Sidman, Chef Spero will be making the bar snacks for the Harold Black speakeasy.

#4 lindzjax

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 11:03 AM

The speakeasy (Harold Black) is totally unmarked, behind a door that is more or less inside of Suna (at the top of the stairs - you turn right to actually enter Suna; the Speakeasy is behind a sliding door on the left). We asked our lovely server if it would be possible to have a nightcap there after dinner and she just popped her head in next door to make sure they had room. We overheard other tables doing the same. Supposedly you need a reservation like the early days of Gibson and they have no listed phone number to do so. This makes it sound like the spot may be uptight or annoyingly but we did not find it to be so. Menu is a dozen or so craft cocktails for $12 and a decent number of both beer and wine. And yes, as Pat noted, bar snacks are made by the Suna kitchen. Great dark, moody atmosphere.

#5 discojing

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:50 PM

Can't wait to try this place out. Apparently you need reservations via an unpublished number. Wanted to try this place after a birthday dinner at Suna, but it wasn't open yet.
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#6 discojing

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:02 AM

Went here last night and it was great. It really is a speakeasy! It's upstairs and through a concealed "sliding wall" door.
You can get the # through Suna or Acqua.

I was excited about the bar snacks from suna, but it seems they're all dishes that just require assembly, not creation by suna. That makes sense since suna was completely closed when we showed up for our 11pm reservation. The snacks were chips & dip, smoky pastrami-wrapped crackers, cracklins', and a pickle plate.

The atmosphere inside reminds be a bit like Milk & Honey in NYC. Nice, comfy booths and friendly staff. I'm undecided if the light level is good or if I could have gone without the exposed filament lamp above. We were seated at a smaller booth in-between two larger corner booths. I could see this going wrong very easily, but thankfully only one side was filled to capacity. As it was, it was very hard to have our own conversation at times when our neighbors stories leaked into ours. Our other neighbors were swapped out for a party of two, so it became a little quieter.

I do wish the space was a bit more insulated. I could see how diners at suna could get bothered by noise leaking through the thin make-shift wall. I went to dinner at suna before HB was open so I don't know the level of noise-leakage in the dining area, but the entrance to suna is open to the hallway where the "sliding wall" is. Not only insulated from noise, but from the elements as well! Many times I would get a sudden draft of cold air and shiver, but switching sides of the booth to sit together and finishing my first drink seemed to help that.

The menu is filled mostly with a list of all of their spirits with a smaller portion of it devoted to "Vittles" (snacks) and beer. The top-most part is divided into 3 columns with just 9 signature cocktails. You would think there would be more for a speakeasy, but for this space, it's just right. Sure, I miss the binder of PDT, or even the 3 page menu of Little Branch. But the small selection forces you to trust the artist behind the bar. One ingredient that would normally cause you to move on to another drink down the page suddenly becomes the most intriguing one. It also doesn't hurt that we had to spend about 10 minutes looking up various ingredients before we could even narrow down the drinks to a "top 3" we wanted to try. We're into cocktails (or "Elixirs" as they're called here), but we were showed up here!

I'm not going to go in to detail too much about the drinks. They were all unique and delicious. I had a pear EDV drink with a fresh grannysmith apple peel that absolutely made the drink. My boyfriend had a bourbon pine drink that I made a serious dent in as well. Another drink (shochu, punt e mas, herbal liquer) was good as well, but I honestly don't remember too much of it.

(Extremely) Long story short: If you're in to spots like Columbia Room, Rogue Spirits, PX, and Gibson, where you don't mind paying some money for excellently crafted cocktails and like a bit of exclusivity, head to HB as soon as you can!

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#7 Gadarene

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:15 PM

I had a slightly bizarre experience here last night.  I had just finished the collaboration dinner at Suna (amazing!) and felt like a nightcap around 8:30, so I dropped by next door hoping to grab a drink.  Beyond the two hosts/bartenders, there was one customer at the bar and a party of four in one of the booths; otherwise, the place was completely empty (as one might expect fairly early on a weeknight).  I made my way to one of the five or six vacant bar seats and took off my coat, and as I was about to sit down I was approached by one of the barstaff.  He was very friendly and asked me how my dinner at Suna was.  Then he asked if he could mark off my name from their list.  I smiled and told him I didn't have a reservation but that I was hoping to be able to have a drink.  He went to the front of the bar to consult their book, and after a couple of minutes he came back and apologetically told me that they wouldn't be able to fit me in for another twenty minutes.

 

I thanked him and told him I didn't really want to wait (not fancying hanging out in the cold for twenty minutes or going somewhere else until they could offer me a seat), but in retrospect I find the whole thing very confusing.  If they have a straight-up policy of not accepting any walk-ins, then I guess that's one thing (although it seems to be a policy that would cost them easy money on slow nights), but I don't understand how or why I would need to wait twenty minutes to be seated when the bar was 85 percent empty.  It's hard to imagine that they had names on their books that would be filling up those bar seats during the next twenty-minute period and then vacating them after that, when there was no one to be seen.  Moreover, the drink pairings for the Suna dinner were exclusively wine and beer, so it wasn't even as if the barstaff was busy preparing cocktails for Suna diners (as they would be on almost any other night).  I could have asked him to elaborate, but at that point I was just bemused and felt like heading home.  

 

Can anyone offer any insight?  I guess I saved myself the $50 or so I would otherwise have spent, but it doesn't really make me inclined to want to go back.  (Even though the barstaff was, as I mentioned, super-friendly about the whole thing.)



#8 DaRiv18

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:05 PM

The way you describe it, I agree it is puzzling. But I would encourage you to try it later. We know they arent really ready for prime time yet as it's reservations only, if you know the double secret phone number. I would give them the benefit of the doubt, you didnt work the channels and they did give you conditional access. You already know that cool chefs want to work with them, that must signal a legit experience. Maybe they didnt feel prepared to offer you an experience to their standards. Anyway, it doesnt sound it was personal on their end. Maybe others see it differently.

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#9 DonRocks

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:15 PM

The way you describe it, I agree it is puzzling. But I would encourage you to try it later. We know they arent really ready for prime time yet as it's reservations only, if you know the double secret phone number. I would give them the benefit of the doubt, you didnt work the channels and they did give you conditional access. You already know that cool chefs want to work with them, that must signal a legit experience. Maybe they didnt feel prepared to offer you an experience to their standards. Anyway, it doesnt sound it was personal on their end. Maybe others see it differently.

 

Just from a quick read, I agree with DaRiv18, and would give them all the benefit of the doubt here. 


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#10 collije

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:53 PM

Stopped by here yesterday after doing the 4-course tasting menu at Suna (me was happy, I'm getting counter seats next time and enjoy the show watching the kitchen do their thang). I reserved it while making the Suna rez.

Not a bad space for some post-dinner drinks. Lots of locals who I didn't see at all while eating at Suna. Dimly lit, decent initial list of preformatted drinks, but I spied a good selection of spirits to try off-menu drinks next time. Friendly welcome and service by bar manger Maro. I believe that Maro stated to me that they're moving to a less hush-hush approach with providing the contact number (don't hold me to that though). Should be quite popular with the Eastern Market crowd (and much closer for many than walking to Wisdom), this would be a regular spot for me when I used to live here. 

 

EDIT: So here's the news that they're partnering with CityEats for reservations with a few spots available for walk-ins.



#11 DaRiv18

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 06:48 PM

Collije, it's not clear to me whether you had a drink there or just peeped your head in there to make reservations for later. Did you drink anything, if so I wonder if you liked it.

"All martinis taste good but do not promote fine distinctions in taste or other areas of intellectual discrimination." Raymond Sokolov, How to Cook


#12 collije

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:55 PM

Oh sorry,

 

I did have a couple of cocktails at the bar (had a reservation there scheduled 2 hours after the start of dinner at Suna) with my +1.

 

My 2 cocktails were on-point and strong, at least the ones I chose lol (it would have been Rye or Bourbon based, strong spirits enough and they weren't doing light pours). Didn't capture the names though at the time (and no website) which I do try to note when I post, but I was wrapped in a convo with the +1 while I was there and didn't even think to capture a pic of the list. But I did like them. I'm more of a off-menu drinker regularly if I trust the staff well enough (Hogo / Passenger, WIsdom, Gibson, PX, etc).

 

I need another go there to really focus on the drinks, but I did like the drinks they served us, There wasn't a large list like Gibson, so I'm likely going to try off-menu if they're up for it.


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#13 DonRocks

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 04:01 AM

Now that Suna is gone, does anyone know where Harold Black sources its food?


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#14 Pat

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 08:26 AM

Now that Suna is gone, does anyone know where Harold Black sources its food?

 

I was under the impression it was coming from Acqua, but I'm not sure now that I think about it.







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