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Cheat Sheet: Red Light Cocktails and Dessert Bar on 14th Street

By Rina Rapuano
April 9, 2014
Photo by: Under a Bushel Photography

The Gist: The former Bar di Bari space has been converted into a burlesque-inspired ode to sweets and cocktails - with pedigreed mixologists Ari and Micah Wilder, who have created cocktail lists for places like Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, and pastry chef Robert Underwood, who crafted desserts for Komi and Marcel’s. The restaurant, which opens tomorrow night, will have a 44-seat patio and plans to introduce brunch at the end of the month.

The Vibe: The rustic, vintage interior and the risque theme definitely impart sexiness and romance, making this an ideal third-date spot following up dinner at one of the many wonderful 14th Street restaurants.

Eat This: The slightly spicy Mexican chocolate tart with dulce de leche-like cajeta, housemade fluff and cacao nib chantilly.

Drink This: The refreshing Peep Show cocktail made of Genever, Pimm’s, cucumber, darjeeling tea and Wilder Bros. ginger beer. (True to its name, the cocktails comes with a performance - the rosemary is blow-torched when served.)

Skip This: The Cobblestone, a blend of bourbon, apricot liqueur, mint and peach nectar that was somehow even sweeter than the drink called the Cake Shake.

For Fans Of: Co Co. Sala, Room 11, Palena

The Damage: Desserts range from $8-$10 and cocktails run from $9-$11 - with a pre-fixe option, which includes a cocktail, beer or wine pairing, available for $22 per person.

The Verdict: ​The combination of fairly sweet cocktails and desserts was a bit of a sugar overload for our taste, but sticking with an on-tap Negroni or a glass of bubbly with one of Underwood’s sophisticated desserts might be the way to stave off sugar shock.

Red Light Cocktails & Dessert Bar, 1401 R St. NW; 202-234-0400

Places Mentioned


Greek • Dupont Circle

Food28 Decor22 Service28 Cost$176
Marcel's by Robert Wiedmaier

Belgian • West End

Food28 Decor26 Service28 Cost$95
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

Oyster Bar • 14th Street Corridor

Food26 Decor23 Service23 Cost$42
Co Co. Sala

Dessert • Penn Quarter/Chinatown

Food24 Decor24 Service21 Cost$41
Room 11

Eclectic • Columbia Heights

Food26 Decor23 Service25 Cost$36
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