An intimate upstairs bar featuring inventive and classic cocktails, in a fun and funky atmosphere. Dim lighting, curious details and a fondness for sugar cane-distilled spirits make it a unique destination in the District.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Andrew Williams Contributing writer
Left Door is the consummate neighborhood bar: a whimsical and intimate space featuring funky cocktails, with an ambiance defined by vintage style, curious details, fantastic hospitality, and ageless music.
The anticipatory ascent up the stairs is part of the fun; Clanking, mixing, shaking, chatter and a playlist [played at a restrained level] curated by formidable audiophiles all converge on you. Of course, a great cocktail bar is measured as much by the quality of service provided on hushed nights, as it is by the deftness on display during peak hours. At any moment, time stands still here in the best way possible. It’s because no single component is an after-thought or forced, especially not the soundtrack.
Let’s just say it wasn’t difficult to convert the CYTIES team into groupies.
A cross-generational, cross-genre blend of tunes on rotation reads like a badass musical anthology: Oldies from the ’20s, 30’s and ’40s, Fats Domino, Otis Redding, Go-go, Indie, French yé-yé from the 40’s and 50’s and female R&B singers. It’s compelling flavors paired with a schooling in music history.
Speakeasies are, by nature, time machines paying homage to the illicit establishments of the prohibition era and quirky comes with the territory. Left Door is uniquely peculiar: From the plush green velvet chairs in the far corner and green leather stools lining the bar to its slightly creaky wood floors and bar manager Faith Alice Sleeper’s cherished collection of squirrel family art, it’s an old soul with new tricks.
Sugar cane-distilled spirits, classic and inventive seasonal cocktails and a premium Champagne flight anchor a diverse drink program. Attentive to cultivating a more nuanced appreciation of Tiki culture during its current renaissance, Left Door also has introduced a monthly Tiki Queen Tuesday, showcasing guest female bartenders with expertise in Tiki mixology – an art form celebrated for its complexity, as well as the deftness and execution necessary to achieve the right balance.
Glimpsing into the bar’s future, the menu will soon incorporate more international flavors, a move that grooves with its eclectic ambiance and is inspired by Sleeper’s Caribbean upbringing. Let’s just say it wasn’t difficult to convert the CYTIES team into groupies.
If you’re in search of a simple cocktail on a rainy day in the company of quick-witted and knowledgeable bartenders, give it a try. You might just leave with an earworm you can’t shake, a better appreciation for tropical rum or a favorite new spot for any time you return to the District.
The Black Cat, an iconic bar, cafe, and alternative-music venue is right around the corner
For an upscale night out, the popular french brasserie Le Diplomate is just minutes away
We recommend you check out the bar view from one of those plush green chairs
The premium Champagne bottles are very reasonably priced if you’re in the mood for bubbly