Fall Preview: 10 Most Anticipated New Washington Event Venues

By D. Channing Muller August 29, 2011, 9:10 AM EDT

The Fillmore Silver Spring

Rendering: Courtesy of the Fillmore Silver Spring

These new (and renovated) restaurants, hotels, bars, and loungesand even a concert hallin Washington are opening this fall and have indoor, outdoor, private, and semiprivate spaces for small and large groups, for meetings, events, holiday parties, and business entertaining.

1. This October, barbecue eatery Memphis Barbeque will open in Arlington. The 5,480-square-foot restaurant will specialize in its namesake city’s famous barbecue recipes, with meats slow-cooked over hickory wood and charcoal and topped with tomato- and vinegar-based sauces. The main dining room will be decorated with recognizable photographs of Memphis scenes and have seating for 170. There will also be a patio accommodating 48 during the spring and summer. 

2.  Also opening in October is Vietnamese diner BonMi near Farragut West. The casual eatery’s menu will feature its twist on the traditional Vietnamese hoagie, along with a selection of salads and summer rolls. The intimate restaurant will be decorated with a mosaic Asian scene on the wall in shades of blue, green, and orange, with seating for 40 inside with a patio accommodating an additional 20.

3. A new entertainment outpost will come to Maryland with the opening of the Fillmore Silver Spring in September. The Live Nation-operated performance space will have regular music programming and three spaces for events. The main level’s music hall can seat 200 with a theater setup, or host as many as 650 for receptions. The balcony can host an additional 520. There is also a V.I.P. space for receptions of 50 or seated events for 40. The lobby can be used as prefunction space as well, and buyouts are available for groups as large as 1,200.

4. Glover Park bar Gin & Tonic closed its doors in earlier this summer, to undergo a renovation into what will be the Mason Inn upon its reopening in early September. Renovations to the 3,000-square-foot space include the addition of eight 60-inch televisions and 100-inch projection screen, and a new stage and sound system. The seating has been completely overhauled, with the addition of new walls for more intimate dining areas, mahogany booths, high-top tables, and a 50-foot oak bar seating 130 throughout. Groups as large as 300 can be accommodated for receptions.

5. New York-based Spanish restaurant Boqueria is coming to the District in November. The tapas restaurant will take over the former Penang Malaysian Cuisine outpost just south of Dupont Circle. The 2,550-square-foot dining room will be able to seat 80, plus an additional 22 at the bar. The dining space can be divided to create two semiprivate areas for parties of 16 or 26. There will also be a private dining room seating 28 or hosting 40 for receptions, and a patio for about 20. The eatery will be designed similarly to its New York locations with a stone bar, tiled and wooden walls, counter seating, and a tapas bar just inside the entrance with various breads, salads, and Spanish meats and cheeses. 
6. In July, the Courtyard Washington in Dupont Circle began an $1.3 million renovation to its lobby. Expected to be completed at the end of September, the refurbishments will have the 146-room property adopting the Courtyard's Refreshing Business lobby concept—currently in more than 100 hotels around the country—which caters to business travelers. Changes include tech-savvy features like a 55-inch LCD touch-screen television with information about local attractions, weather, news, and business headlines. The hotel has one 308-square-foot meeting room, seating 30.

7. Opening its doors in late September is joint venture Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and BlackJack. The 5,670-square-foot venue will be split between the oyster restaurant downstairs and lounge on the second floor. The 78-seat downstairs space will comprise a bar, counter, oyster bar, and traditional table seating. The second-floor lounge will feature a boccie ball court and be able to accommodate 80 seated at its bar, booths, lounge areas, and spectator’s platform and counter.

8. Upon opening in September, Opera Ultra Lounge will mix up the local nightlife scene with its unique amphitheater-style layout. The 6,000-square-foot nightclub is designed in the round, with a centrally located V.I.P.-style area separated from the main space, with curved gold banquettes and large columns. Lounge seating lines the walls of the circular space for additional seating. The venue is equipped with full lighting, video, and sound systems and can accommodate as many as 300.

9. Founding Farmers will expand its Washington area footprint with a second location in Potomac, Maryland, in October. The 7,000-square-foot restaurant will seat about 200 people in its main dining room, plus an additional 40 on the patio. Like the downtown Washington flagship, this new location will be owned by a group of family farmers and local investors focused on sustainable agriculture. The restaurant will be available for large events in early 2012.

10. Modus Hotels, the brand behind 10 properties in the Foggy Bottom and Georgetown areas of Washington, is renovating and rebranding its Washington Suites Georgetown hotel. The 125-room property is expected to relaunch as Avenue Suites in November. Improvements include an enhanced lobby with new furnishings, a new facade, redesigned guest rooms, and updated gardens and outdoor space. For meetings, there will be a new boardroom just off the lobby, accommodating 10, and a 750-square-foot meeting room seating 30 or hosting 50 for receptions.

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