A European-inspired all-day cafe and bar, off the beaten path of DC’s Dupont Circle neighborhood. Residents specializes in intricately created cocktails, a renaissance of the espresso martini and curated experiences for patrons.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Andrew Williams Contributing writer
Transient is a characteristic often associated with the District. Despite the label, the city’s culinary and beverage culture thrived over the last decade, and with the evolution came a community of acclaimed restaurants, bars, and speakeasies brought to life by owners representing a variety of races, ethnicities, identities, and nationalities. The nation’s capital is no longer just a past-through: craft cocktail bars and coffee shops in well-defined neighborhoods are now the norm.
Right on queue, Residents Cafe and Bar has anchored itself in the iconic Dupont Circle neighborhood. With an all-day boutique concept shaped by a deliberate belief in building community, it’s quickly become a revered locale. There’s a basic belief that everyone — despite where you’re from — belongs in Residents. Belonging and embracing the city’s diversity are driving principles of its business, a model the team hopes to replicate in other parts of the city and beyond.
While the aesthetic and drink program derives inspiration from modern European cafes, its influences stretch the globe. With two Serbian-born expert bartenders, an immigrant chef of Kenyan descent, and a guest experience guru born and raised in Lebanon, it delivers an immersive well-traveled experience to patrons, many of which with citizenship outside of the United States.
The goal is balance. At Residents, everything is in moderation, except the hospitality and fun.
There’s so much to see, do and absorb here. The service focuses on smell, taste, and ambiance, with a curated soundtrack of artists from around the globe — created weekly by a member of the ownership team who’s a financial executive by day and a DJ, spinning eclectic moods at various hot spots around DC by night — Residents has been made famous for feeding all the senses. From the tropical arrangements on the outside patio, sleek black balcony style signage with a gold-inlay of the Resident’s name, to the sea-green chairs and matching door frame treatments, it’s distinctively out-of-place and yet embodies a renaissance of the surrounding area. It’s more Miami than Mid-Atlantic.
Inside, details of exposed red and white brick; low ceilings with falling lights stretching the length of the stool-lined bar; as well as a glistening white marble countertop and back bar set the pace for the small, but intimate space that’s purposely designed for people to come and want to stay. The familial connection between regulars and bartenders is palpable and part of the allure.
While there’s no single star of the show, the inventive cocktail program is outstanding and seamlessly executed. The artistry of a supremely talented cohort of awarding baristas and deeply knowledgeable mixologists, who have spent time at some of the District’s premier hotels are to blame, as well as a meticulously assembled collection of European spirits — so much so you feel ill-equipped without your passport. As the menu changes between seasons, the focus remains keenly on creativity behind the bar, in addition to ingredients [including housemade juices hand-pressed daily by the staff and fresh ghee butter churned by skillful hands] driven, beautifully made drinks that bring out featured flavors and intricate recipes delivered with precision. But, it’s more about quality and cultivating one’s craft than perfection. There isn’t a better example of this than Resident’s focus on reviving the classic, yet edgy espresso martini with distinctive flair. They have concocted 3 signature espresso martinis with 3 different types of liquor but nevertheless all equally creative and delicious. The goal is balance. At Residents, everything is in moderation, except the hospitality and fun.
There’s a steady influx of cultured, well-traveled patrons and urban explorers at Residents. The team is impressively nimble about catering to the unique needs of everyone, rather that’s building the right drink and/or curating the ideal experience. It’s an artfully devised bar that strikes a chord with locals and travelers yearning for a place that challenges the status quo, prioritizes quality and that is genuinely interested in creating community. CYTIES is stoked to be a Resident and suggests you become one too.
The menu of seasonal cocktails — summer, fall or winter — are musts: We recently had a Green Apple cocktail with vegetable liquor and Pumpkin cocktail with Campari, both of which we highly recommend
Treat yourself to one of their 3 espresso craft cocktails made with unconventional ingredients like ghee butter, almond, and demerara a refined light brown cane sugar coming originally from Guyana.
The bar fare is spectacular, especially the chickpea fritters, black truffle gnocchi, and charred octopus
There’s a downstairs “speak-hard” style bar in the works that will open in the coming weeks