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At the Bar: Service Bar

Washington, D.C., has quite the contrasting scene when it comes to drinking and dining. Every season, we are presented with new and refreshing concepts. Case in point: Service Bar, the cool new kid on the (U street) block. HBIC Cori Sue and I were graciously invited to check out the bustling new bar and experience the exclusive Snug Room on a crisp fall evening. We accepted this invitation with much enthusiasm. 

The Movers and the Shakers

Service Bar’s proprietors, Glendon Hartley and Chad Spangler, have quite the history in the nation’s capital, having developed cocktail programs at Ocopa, Provision 14, Chaplin, and Bonfire. When they joined forces, they sought to create a service-driven experience with killer cocktails. Service Bar prides itself on creating high-quality cocktails without the pretense and steep prices. And that’s a concept we can get behind. 

Photo credit: Mark Gaunt

The Vibe

We spent our Thursday evening previewing Service Bar shortly after its opening. While there were small groups occupying the bar, it was apparent this was still a well-kept secret.  The small, cozy bar has eclectic wall hangings ranging from napkin art to a metallic deer head on its brightly colored walls. The decor is inventive and festive—offering no shortage of conversation topics when it comes to the space. The comfy, bright bar space seats 48, and incorporates wooden accents and shades of blue. Cocktails are served in a stunning array of  vintage, tiki, and copper glassware.

Photo credit: Mark Gaunt

Hidden behind a wooden door adjacent to the bar lies the Snug Room, a cozy, private space available only by an in-person reservation, a concept inspired by bars in Ireland and the UK, we’re told. Snag a spot if you can, as you’ll be green with envy to discover the delights that lie behind the door for those enjoying the absinthe-colored room.

The Snug Room boasts its own menu, and bar-in-bar concept for beverages and bites that promptly arrive in style through a little window in the wall. We were rather startled when the window popped open, revealing Glendon brandishing cocktails.

The large copper swan—meant as a vessel for boozy punch— is not be missed as it sets the tone for the glamorous, playful, and memorable experience.

Photo credit: Mark Gaunt

Is This Seat Taken?

Cori Sue and I were fortunate to be able to snag the four to six seat Snug Room, as it’s available by in-person reservation only. If we weren’t close enough already, we were about to be even more so in the distraction-free room. While Service Bar itself is ideal for a group of pals or a hot date, the Snug Room is meant for a truly intimate experience for anyone you’d like to get snug with. Service Bar is a perfect spot for a post-work cocktail or to unwind with a nightcap.

The Libations

The cocktail menu is appropriately titled  “Cocktails & Tomfoolery.” The menu certainly doesn’t miss a beat with affordable all-day specials for just $7 including Old Fashioneds, daiquiris, and more.  We put our full trust in the Glendon’s hands and he did not steer us wrong with the heirloom carrot margarita. I figured I needed my daily dose of Vitamin A, anyway. The healthy cocktail consisted of tequila, cointreau, and lime with heirloom carrots. We could easily drink this all day.

Photo credit: Mark Gaunt

Glendon continued to whip up quirky cocktails while we noshed on fries, fried chicken, and an heirloom tomato salad. As a citrus girl, the Blood Orange Sour was right up my alley.  This was certainly an innovative take on a whiskey sour complete with blood orange, lemon, tequila and Japanese whiskey.

We were in for a real treat with the Uber Colada, a tropical beverage served in a pineapple and only available in the Snug Room. The Uber Colada is uber refreshing and makes a statement, concocted with pineapple rum, gin, clarified lime, and coconut. What more could you possibly want? The tropical cocktail transformed us back to days spent poolside in Miami. 

Lastly, you’re not doing the Snug Room or Service Bar right if you don’t order the Parisian Bubble Bath, a champagne, cognac and truffle cocktail, priced at a steep-but-worth it $17. We’ve experienced many decadent and innovative cocktails in our time, but this truffle honey-infused champagne cocktail takes the cake. The truffle flavor is prominent without sacrificing the bubbly. We felt absolutely spoiled ending our evening with this stunning creation that combined our two favorite things. 

Photo credit: Mark Gaunt


We loved the fresh and inventive cocktails at this edgy neighborhood retreat. Be sure to reserve the Snug Room for a truly intimate and distraction-free experience.

Service Bar
926 U Street N.W.
Washington, D.C.
(202) 462-7232

Shruti Shah

NYC Editor & Resident Vegetarian

Shruti has a love affair with gin and spicy food. By day she's hustling in PR for leading consumer brands. When she's OOO, you can find her at Daybreaker dance parties, exploring kitschy cocktail bars and reviewing veggie-friendly brunches.

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