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under construction: Meridian Pint

It looks like one of Columbia Heights’ newest bars is going to be a great addition to the District’s craft beer scene. Meridian Pint, the first solo venture by Asylum co-owner John Andrade, is set to open in June at 11th & Park, NW. I recently had the chance to visit the bar, which is currently under construction, to see it taking shape and talk with the owner about his new venture.

Look & Feel

Meridian Pint is comprised of a main floor restaurant/bar with an accompanying basement bar called The Joint Chiefs.  As the ground floor takes shape it seems like they are going for a “lived in” feel (broken in, but not broken down.) They are using as much re-purposed materials gathered both locally and throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Some timbers from the original building are being reused in varying capacities. Carved wood bar panels came from a church in Pennsylvania, and 7-foot tall wooden gear from a turn of the century factory in New York is being used as a room divider. The ground floor will offer a slightly refined atmosphere while the basement will have a more industrial feel.

The ground floor and the basement bar will have separate outside entrances but you will be able to easily pass between floors from the inside. The basement will have a TVs, a stage for one or two musicians or possibly DJs, 3 pool tables, shuffleboard tables and darts. The bar looks like it will seat about 15, but there will be plenty of tables and a series of U-shaped booths along the east wall. They will offer the same draft beers as the ground floor.

Meridian Pint will focus on dinner and weekend brunch, but will occasionally open for lunch if there is a special event, like the World Cup in June. There will also be cafe-seating for 40 outside.

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Beer & Food

John Andrade said that Meridian Pint aims to serve the best and freshest American craft beer with a few European offerings.  Andrade said that he considers today’s American brewers and the beers they are producing to be considerably more “innovative and exciting than the majority of their European peers.”  Fresh beer means kegs only; no bottles or cans. Fresh also means many beers from the local / Mid-Atlantic region. Andrade does this as much out of a love for the environment as he does for his love of good beer. “Because local beer doesn’t have to travel as far, it will be fresher, use less fuel, and less refrigeration getting it to the DC area beer-lover.” Think of it as the “Eat Local” philosophy applied to beer. Then again, beer IS food. Andrade mentioned being influenced in this regard by friend, fellow cycle enthusiast, and owner of The Reef, Brian Harrison. If you are not familiar with The Reef and their progressive food/beer ethos, check out their website.  Andrade wants to combine his passion for beer, cycling, and environmentalism. He plans to organize van trips to local breweries where he will lead bike trips in the surrounding area culminating in a brewery tour.

In addition to many of the local-ish brews you may recognize like Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, Dogfish Head, and Starr Hill, Andrade is trying to introduce Devil’s Backbone into the DC market. Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company of Roseland, VA (near Charlottesville) has only been open since November 2008, but has already garnered accolades with one Gold and three Silver medals from the 2009 Great American Beer Festival. Although Devil’s Backbone does not currently bottle their beer or distribute outside of their immediate region, Brewmaster Jason Oliver told DCBeer.com they are investigating the possibility of opening a production brewing and bottling facility in the future.

The kitchen will offer casual pub fare in addition to more formal entrees, both accompanied by a well-curated wine selection.  Similar to Asylum, Meridian Pint will incorporate vegetarian and vegan offerings into their menu. The menu will be designed with beer pairings in mind.  Meridian Pint will also cater to early-risers; opening for brunch at 10:00am on Saturdays & Sundays.

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With Meridian Pint pairing early hours on the weekends, outdoor seating, and flavorful food with fresh beer I think Andrade has got something beer and food lovers in DC will get behind.  DCBeer.com will have more information as Meridian Pint gets closer to opening.

Meridian Pint
3400 11th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010
http://www.meridianpint.com

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