Hank’s Oyster Bar that opened Monday night, July 23, on Capitol Hill. The location features a showcase bar, dubbed The Eddy, where Chersevari and her crew chip fresh ice for the fashionable drinks that accompany Leeds New England style fin fare. We stopped by shortly after the doors first opened to find the joint hopping.
The Look: Clever design transformed a long, narrow storefront into a cool, chic destination. Choice tables are clustered near the tall windows that open to the street. A long marble bar runs down one side of the restaurant, while a plush, raised banquette hugs the opposite wall. An eye-catching, dramatically lit oyster shucking station is on a platform at the rear. Flattering lighting from nautical themed fixtures and whitewashed plank trim evoke the shore.
The Food: Expect Leeds' popular seafood specialties, notably, raw and fried bi-valves, along with her hearty meat and two options, are menu staples. A chalkboard lists market-fresh specials, and soft-shell crabs were among the tempting choices on opening night. Desserts are not served at her other venues, but here homey treats like peach cobbler and key lime pie can finish a meal.
The Drink: Stylishly displayed in backlit jars behind the bar are colorful, house-infused spirits, cordials, bitters and tinctures that are used to craft punches and cocktails like "Virginia is for Lovers" (gin, raspberry shrub and mint). Draft and bottled beers, and small production wines are also served.
The Crowd: The neighborhood has plenty of saloon-feeling eateries. Hank’s offers a bit more panache, backed by an accomplished mixologist, and American seafood and comfort fare. Judging by the crowd on opening night, seats along that marble bar will be at a premium.
623 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; 202-462-4265.