I don’t know about you, but I’m a girl who thoroughly enjoys sneak peeks, previews, and just generally experiencing things before anyone else. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to preview the new Tryst at the Phillips Coffeehouse Bar and Lounge the day before it opened to the public.
When I read the invitation and did a little research on the new installment, images came to mind of a sleek, modern (I mean, it is a modern art museum) bar with dark lighting and ambient music, giving a funky chic vibe.
After I arrived I realized that coffeehouse bar and lounge was a little misleading and that a quaint café would be a better description of Tryst at the Phillips. It was brightly lit with sun streaming through the multitude of windows, a small coffee and pastry bar to the left, and creative-yet-understated murals on the two walls to the right.
Couches and chairs were aligned against the mural-covered walls to give art connoisseurs a place to sit, admire and converse. Along the second wall the hosts of the event put out an array of different foods for attendees including hummus and vegetables as well as green bean and pea salad.
Avy, my friend that so kindly accompanied me to the event, and I took a look around the small café. While the murals on the walls were beautiful and the café did have a charming allure, I have to say that it didn’t exactly stand apart among cafés and cafeterias featured in other museums.
The one thing that did make it stand out among the rest was the beautiful outdoor patio. Two glass doors lead out onto a patio that has stairs connecting to a fairly spacious courtyard. The courtyard features a few pieces of modern art, but has a great view of some of the District’s surrounding architecture.
As for the food, it was nothing memorable. They didn’t have any of their sandwiches to try laid out so I can’t speak for the quality of the food they actually serve there, but overall it felt like a cafeteria. I had some of the hummus and veggies and a little of a chicken pesto mixed dish. They were decent, nothing incredibly wow worthy.
Unfortunately, the glass of wine I would not recommend to anyone. It was a Chardonnay that was supposed to be dry but had sweet undertones. The desserts were better—the carrot cake was actually incredibly delicious, super moist with the perfect amount of cream cheese frosting!
If you find yourself at the Phillips Museum to look at art and need a glass of water and some fresh air, I’d recommend Tryst at the Phillips, but for dining purposes I might suggest another Bitches Who Brunch recommendation.
If you’d like to experience the Tryst at the Phillips for yourself it’s now open to the public, and its hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays 5–8 p.m.
The Phillips Collection
1600 21st Street N.W.