Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Trouble Bird (Washington, DC)

Trouble Bird Bar
1346 4th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
Wed 11/29/2023, 05:05p-07:35p

Trouble Bird Exterior

The last time I visited DC, I enjoyed a fantastic meal at Michael Rafidi's Albi in Navy Yard. Walking there, I had noticed a cocktail bar a couple doors down, also situated in the Guild apartment complex, and decided to give the place a try on this latest trip to the District. Opened on February 28th this year, Trouble Bird takes over the former home of Brent Kroll's Maxwell Park, a wine bar that shuttered in late 2022 (the original outpost in Shaw remains open). Following the closure, Kroll still had the space, so he partnered up with barmen Andrew Hurn and Justin Cara-Donna to launch a new concept here. The two both worked at Columbia Room, quickly became friends, and later bartended at Silver Lyan together (Hurn was also at The Green Zone in between) before leaving to launch Trouble Bird.

Trouble Bird Interior
Inside, the same basic layout from the Maxwell Park days remains, though the decor has been redone to reflect a somewhat more whimsical aesthetic.

Trouble Bird Menu Cover Trouble Bird Cocktail List Trouble Bird Beer & Wine List Trouble Bird Food Menu
And here we see the menu. Inspired takes on tried-and-true cocktails are joined by a smattering of beer and wine, as well as a small selection of bar food. Click for larger versions.

Everything Bagel Sazerac
Everything Bagel Sazerac [$16.00] | Pierre Ferrand 1840, Rittenhouse, Sesame-Aquavit, Chive Gomme, Poppy Seeds, Peychaud's, Umami
If we're talking about bagels, my propensity is generally for the "everything" variety, hence my first cocktail choice. It was a tasty rendition of a Sazerac, with the right herby, spicy, and boozy notes, though the bagel seasoning was subtler than I was expecting.

Pop-Eye & Sesame
I was then allowed to taste some of the drink's ingredients individually, which were of course much more discernable.

Amaretto Sour
Amaretto Sour [$16.00] | Don Julio Blanco, Double Almond, Salted Apple, Lemon, Absinthe, Egg White
Next came this smart, easy-going riff on the classic sour cocktail, a rich, fruity, creamy concoction that actually reminded me a bit of a Creamsicle.

Pimento Cheese
Pimento Cheese [$11.00] | Cheddar, Chili Crisp, Piquillo Pepper, Kettle Chips
I couldn't resist the pimiento cheese, and it was a solid rendition of the Southern spread, with a nice hint of heat. An apt pairing with those salty potato chips.

Sawada Punch
Sawada Punch [$15.00] | Don Q Cristal, Espresso, Matcha, Vanilla-Miso, Cocoa Puff Whey
I was pretty fond of this punch as well, inspired by Sawada Coffee over in Chicago. Citric and nutty on the nose, the cocktail showed off plenty of aromatic coffee, commixed with caramel-like notes, a touch of earth, and a smidge of green tea.

Smoked Trout Dip
Smoked Trout Dip [$13.00] | Cornichon, Mustard, Kettle Chips
The trout dip was calling my name, and didn't disappoint. I got a toothsome marriage of smoke and brine, offset by the tang of pickles and mustard, and again, the chips fit the bill nicely.

Morning Glory Colada
Morning Glory Colada [$17.00] | Toki Whisky, Banana, Sour Coconut H2O, Absinthe, Colada Foam
The decidedly tropical-leaning cocktail married banana and coconut in a seamless manner, accented by hints of absinthe, and I was quite the fan of that fluffy foam, too.

Chili Dog + Meats & Foods Halfsmoke
Chili Dog – Meats & Foods Halfsmoke [$12.00] | Mustard, Onion, Chili, Cheddar
Of the various hot dog options, I went with the chili version, and I think I made a good decision. Composed of beef and pork, the sausage itself had a great snap and a more-assertive-than-usual taste that took well to the chili, all while the onion provided a much-needed zestiness.

Flapjack O.F.
Flapjack O.F. [$15.00] | Wild Turkey 101, Banhez Mezcal, Brown Butter, Robust Maple, Buckwheat Bitters
Fittingly, my final cocktail was the heftiest of the bunch. This one smelled of citrus and caramel, and taking a sip, I got loads of rich brown butter and maple all over the place, offset by spice, bitters, and a healthy dosing of alcoholic heat.

Trouble Bird hit the spot, and was pretty much just what I was looking for, with drinks that were fun and creative, yet still recognizable, served in a semi-understated environment. This is a neighborhood-y sort of cocktail bar, but one that's interesting enough to make it a bit of a destination as well.


Blogger Wandering Surf said...

Did you get to Green Zone on this trip?

Sunday, January 21, 2024 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

I did not unfortunately, though I was actually planning to. I'll certainly try to make it out on my next visit to DC.

Monday, January 22, 2024 12:33:00 AM  

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