Guard a Chicken Man’s Henhouse on a cold winter day.
When Star Bar, 756 E. Washington Ave., opened in the Constellation building in January 2014, it was one of the first businesses in the revitalizing East Washington corridor. Reclaimed wood, industrial lighting and ’80s memorabilia (think Rubik’s Cubes and Gizmo gremlin dolls) set the tone, though the bar does not seem to have quite found its identity. Is it a beer bar or a cocktail lounge, a neighborhood pub or a hipster hangout? Yet an evidently loyal customer base has found it a good place to get a beer or even a glass of bubbly and play a game of Connect 4.
Star Bar rotates its cocktail list seasonally, and the latest iteration aims to have something for everyone. There’s a classic sidecar with Templeton Rye, limoncello and bitters. Granny Smith’s Dirty Secret has notes of fall with apple cider whiskey, pecan praline whiskey and Bailey’s salted caramel. The Christmas in Cancun is Star Bar’s version of a margarita, and Snow White’s Smudged Lipstick is a red apple martini. I opted for the Chicken Man’s Henhouse, a Manhattan made with Bulleit rye whiskey, vermouth and Campari, served on the rocks with an orange peel. A booze-forward drink, the sweet vermouth and bitter Campari cut through the whiskey and make for a warming and pleasant sipper on a damp, almost winter day.