If you’ve ever waited half an hour for a beer at a bar crowded with people waving $20 bills in the air, Peter Bayne can relate. With his latest venture, Franklin Hall, the co-founder of restaurant group Tin Shop DC and his business partner Geoff Dawson are setting out to ease your pain.
There’s something about Big Chief, the cavernous New Orleans-themed bar in Ivy City. Maybe it’s that the warehouse-like space is so massive (7,000 square feet!) that it rarely feels annoyingly crowded. Maybe it’s the cheap tallboys — or the fact that most people come in having already imbibed at one of Ivy City’s distilleries.
This beer-focused, watering hole, carved out of the historic Manhattan Laundry Building in the U Street Corridor, brings a self-service approach to the drinking scene, flanking its bar with ordering kiosks, and serving its creatively topped sausages and Frito pies from a walk-up window. Long wooden tables fill the exposed- brick, industrial space that's outfitted with salvaged artifacts and flea market finds. There are two lounges as well.
This 5,600-square-foot newcomer isn’t your Opa’s beer hall, though tenets of the classic setup remain: namely, good food and big beers. A list of nationally representative beers is available mostly by the pint or liter (except for the high-octane stuff), which can be properly paired with grilled sausages such as spicy chorizo, Thai pork and kielbasa, available “naked” or “dressed.”