An intimate cocktail bar hidden inside the Eaton DC hotel. Once you find your way, low lighting, rich red accents, and a stunning Alice-in-Wonderland-esque mural stir your imagination and set the tone for an immersive cocktail program.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Andrew Williams Contributing writer
Storytelling, like drink-making artistry, is ever-evolving. Stories are often vehicles through which moments and heroes become immortalized. Enter famous oil painter Eric Thor Sandburg’s collaboration with Allegory, a sexy speakeasy inside the social justice-minded Eaton DC hotel. With stunning imagery, Sandburg’s art absorbs us into the legacy of Ruby Bridges, the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary in Louisiana. This powerful narrative is the backdrop for a dapper cocktail bar in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C.
Unless you’re looking for Allegory, you might not find it. Just beyond the hotel’s main lobby and front desk, your journey bleeds into a contemporary library of beautiful wood, chic decor, and floor to ceiling socially-conscious books — a room that also cleverly conceals a secret. Hiding in plain-site, behind a handsome black door, is a distinctive space featuring literary-inspired drinks, low intimate lighting, cozy couches, leather touches, and large rounded pendant lights.
The design is flawless and purposeful. Accents of red paint, animal print carpet, and bright mood lights add a glow to the room. The ambiance enables Sandburg’s Alice in Wonderland-inspired artwork to leap right into your imagination. The artist’s mastery of dark fairytale landscapes draws you right into Bridges’ story, making patrons both observers and characters in the fable and the bar’s immersive cocktail program.
Allegory’s soulful repertoire is on full display with drinks like the Open Veins, featuring genever, orange curaçao, and açaí berry — a nod to late Uruguayan novelist Eduardo Galeano’s work and the 2666, featuring tequila, mezcal, and creme de cacao — a reference to late Spanish novelist Roberto Bolaño’s final novel. It’s clear from the depth of the menu that Allegory’s bartenders also have an excellent command of the classics. We didn’t waste any time and immediately ordered a Boulevardier: bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth and an orange peel followed by The Last Word: green chartreuse, gin, maraschino liqueur, and lime juice. From our first sips, we knew this place was special.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you also can request something off-menu. It’s the perfect chance for your bartender to flex their imagination, rifting off of Sandburg’s visionary mural, to conjure up a drink tailor-made to your specific taste — CYTIES suggests something brandy-based. Offering “bespoke” cocktails vibes with what Allegory does best — storytelling. Each person’s experience is unique and they aim to honor that. It’s fitting that, on the far right wall, the culminating scene in Sandburg’s visual drama is of a young Bridges wielding a sword to slay a dragon. Like her life, every aspect of Allegory is triumphant.
Allegory regularly hosts local DJ’s
Check out the American Son Restaurant near the front of the hotel
There’s a radio station onsite, as well as a Wellness center
The cushioned seats near the back wall are really cozy, take it from us…