Who would have thunk it? If you strip down bar design to its most basic elements, focusing instead on outstanding bartending, great conversation and a tailor-made experience, you get something very rare -- 600T. It’s a “no-name” bar that’s hell-bent on providing an alternative to the trend of brightly colored, instagrammable cocktail joints.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Andrew Williams Contributing writer
600 T is a cocktail bar stripped down to its purest form. The den-style “no-name” location (600 T is as much an address as it is a moniker) that opened under the radar in the fall of 2017 is a bonafide instant classic. With soft lighting and a prevalence of stone and wood, it’s discreet, sexy and raw. It’s the counter-narrative to the belief that eye-catching signage and instagramable design should eclipse substance, choosing instead to let its creativity behind the bar shine.
Hand-built by two brothers, one of which lives right upstairs, bringing the concept to life was truly a labor of love. Though it feels more like it was unearthed than constructed. As co-founder Steve Lawrence expressed, “building it from scratch makes it real.” There’s an intentional unfinished quality complemented by exceptional bar-tistry [we’re trademarking that], a roaring fire in the winter and a mix of wooden high tables and black leather bar stools.
Bars often fall short of delivering on the things that matter most. This is the District’s response. It’s a subtle protest to the peacocking characteristic of many modern establishments
The drink menu pays homage to vintage recipes, but also offers spirit tastings and original creations rotated out on a monthly basis. To date, the team has created more than 220 unique cocktails, all from scratch and each identified exclusively by their flavor profile. Here, it’s about the experience, the feeling their drinks evoke and the community built. There’s a palpable closeness with patrons and fluidity to the way staff navigate the space; The same bartenders that deliver badass drinks double as servers and barbacks.
The lack of definition to many of its aspects is equal parts disarming and refreshing. But, “why define something that doesn’t need it?” Cocktail bars with colorful concoctions and memorable names have their place and it’s not here. 600t is a vessel, “through which three talented bartenders display their craft to people who will truly appreciate it.” Coming here once feels like you’ve been a hundred times before. It imprints on you in all the right ways.
Soul oozes from every inch and there’s a bluesy curated soundtrack to drive the sentiment home. If it’s true that cocktail bars are about escapism, then you can serenade the CYTIES team any day with Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong’s They Can’t Take That Away From Me — the last track playing as we closed out our check during our visit.
Bars often fall short of delivering on the things that matter most. This is the District’s response. It’s a subtle protest to the peacocking characteristic of many modern establishments and a testament to the industry’s prohibition-era roots, when less was always more.
The bar only serves small snacks, so be sure to grab a bite nearby if you’re in it for the long haul. We recommend HalfSmoke
The team makes great mocktails, if not in the mood for a spirit
Definitely sit at the back of the bar when the fire is burning
If you like wood and stone, this is your kind of place