Last night I was privileged to be invited to Nick Stefanelli's much anticipated opening of Officina on The Wharf. This three-level market, restaurant and general party space (definitely check out the rooftop on the third level) should definitely splash out, literally, on the dining and social scene of Washington, D.C. Particularly, if last night's soiree was any indication of the overall thirst for Officina, as well as fans of Nick's Michelin-starred Masseria, Nick will have another hardy success on his hands.
PHOTO: Bar on the second level with Nick making drinks alongside David (c) Sery Kim
As for the decor itself, I didn't spend much time at all on the first level market space or the third level open-air space -- it was really cold last night in D.C. -- but instead, since I am not an amateur to Friends-and-Family Nights where the scene tends to be crushed with people, I posted up to the bar on the second level. I put my purse down on one of these gorgeous and VERY comfortable leather bar-stools and stayed for the next four hours. This was definitely the smart choice of the evening because I got to run into literally everyone I could possible want to meet: from the current Mayor of D.C. Muriel Browser to the former Mayor of D.C. Adrian Fenty to dear friends like Scott and Allison Drewno (owners of my favorite Eastern Market Chinese/Korean fusion restaurant Chiko), the very talented Haidar Karoum of Chloe, Vinoda Basnayake owner of HEIST and Azam Mirza the owner of Chicken + Wisky as well as Gravitas.
PHOTO: The Negroni, Prosecco and "When You Scan The Radio" (c) Sery Kim
Platters of food went out, which I didn't get to taste much of because hands went quickly toward the food, but I honestly was quite impressed by the cocktails. Two of my newest favorite bartenders in D.C. -- Caroline (we love you!!!) and David (so nice!) -- were there behind the bustling/hectic second floor bar to make sure all of our drinking pleasures were satisfied.
And boy did they satisfy! Nick did not hold back when it came to cocktails last night!
Generally, the crowd was offered a selection of Negroni, "When You Scan the Radio" made with Bourbon, Amaro and Chocolate Bitters; "Venetian Rowing Machine" made with vodka and lemon verbena tea; "With My Grin Spread" made with Gin, Aperol, Chamomile and Honey; as well as Prosecco, white wines and red wines. I definitely started with the Negroni because I love it and quickly went into the Prosecco before sampling the super delicious and complex "When You Scan the Radio." Then Nick was handing out some very expensive Dom Perignon so I quickly drank some of that expensive champagne before moving back to the "Venetian Rowing Machine" and the "With My Grin Spread." I absolutely loved the Venetian Rowing Machine for it's punchier flavor.
PHOTO: Venetian Rowing Machine and With My Grin Spread
Then, after a few hours, the crowd made the spacious place feel incredibly dense. It was a real party! How nice it must have been for Nick to have so much support!
With so much attention and alcohol flowing everywhere, we began to do Amaro shots - "Uh hey Nick! We did shots!." Nick has an amazing collection of Amaro at Masseria and this has definitely carried over to Officina. I joked with Nick at the start of the evening, "I have never been as drunk as I was after my meal at Masseria," because they kept bringing out alcohol and more alcohol and even more alcohol. At Officina, I felt like I was at the best party I have been to this year: the atmosphere, the conversations, the drinks ... it was a special night! I definitely felt like I drank a few.
PHOTO: Drinking Negroni (c) Sery Kim
PHOTO: Lovely awesome Caroline pouring Amaro shots (c) Sery Kim
PHOTO: Yet another Amaro shot (c) Sery Kim
I really wish I could have stayed and lingered longer than I did -- but even at that we were some of the last ones standing, along with the General Manager and Deputy General Manager of The Hamilton. Could not have had a better time ... and I can't wait to get into Officina to finally try the food!
Be sure to go as soon as you can! It will certainly be the highlight of your trip to The Wharf.