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Monday, September 14, 2015

Heads Up: The Partisan

I like it when a pub is vested one way in your mind, and when you go, it is completely spun around the other way.  It speaks to the freedom that a bar can have. Even though you are pretty sure it should be one way, it turns and proves itself is something completely different. I had that experience recently at a place called The Partisan.

The Partisan (, 709 D Street, NW, Washington, DC V: 202-524-5322) is right behind the Archives Station on the Yellow/Green Line on the Metro.  It is tucked into a building storefront with only a small entryway. When you go inside it gets bigger, taking up two store fronts. It also has the unique character of having the bar in the back and the seating areas up front. The bar itself is really quite large and occupies about 60% of the floor space.

I actually had to make a reservation at The Partisan, which is something unique in Washington. A party of one is generally a pretty good bet to get into a place, but they The Partisan is busy enough to have denied me twice already. So, I made a reservation on a Monday, and prepared for what I thought was going to be a haute cuisine experience.

Trade Winds
Initially, I was right in my belief that the bar was a little bit high on itself. I was seated and the waiter was a bit flippant in his attitude. So once the battle of the attitudes was finished, I order my first beer of the evening, which was a Trade Winds by the Cairngorn Brewing Company. This beer is a 4.3% ABV with no IBU and it is classed as a American pale wheat. Light golden in color, with high proportion of wheat giving the beer a clean fresh taste. The mash blends together with the Perle hops and elderflower providing a bouquet of fruit and citrus flavors. That elderflower really sold me on it. It just a hint of the flower, but it goes a long way. I gave it an Untappd score of 4.25.

One thing that they did which rather irked me was that the beer seem to come in wine glasses. Not all the beer, but mine certainly came this way. Now I understand their reasoning, the flavor and the smell had to be allowed to coalesce in these taste groups, but I still don't buy it. Beer belongs in certain style beer glasses and wine glasses do not cut it. Wine belongs in wine glasses and beer belongs in beer glasses. Period.

Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien
My next order was like night and day. Same server, but it was like we had come to some agreement and the gloves had come off. I asked the server for his suggestions from the menu and picked out an Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien by Brasserie Des Franches-Montagnas which is classed a a Biere de Garde. It is a 11% ABV and is also no IBU. The nice thing is that this is Swiss Ale De Garde aged in oak barrels, so it has a little bit of umph behind the hops.  I gave it an Untappd score of 4.5.

While I was having the glass of Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien, I had a long conversation with the manager to understand the coming together of the management and the professional staff. Fascinating how they managed to pull it off and gave me a better understanding.

I paid and walked out feeling that I had really gotten an education on the placement and stand-up of the The Partisan and that I had a really different feeling about the restaurant. The Partisan belongs in the bar restaurants and it will be interesting to see how it fairs. I know I will be going back.

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