This lot near Union Market might not look like much now. But come Memorial Day weekend, it will be transformed into a summer beer and cocktail garden full of greenery, picnic tables, and bocce courts.
Bartenders Gina Chersevani of Buffalo & Bergen and Suburbia and Jason Strich of Hank's Oyster Bar are behind the drinking outpost, which will be called Neal Place Tap & Garden.
A mix of 25 beers and cocktails will be available on tap from a bar trailer. The cocktail offerings will include a Negroni lemonade and—yes, really—a Long Island iced tea.
"It's going to be a delicious version of a drink that's been bastardized for too long," says Chersevani, who comes from Long Island. Her not-too-sweet version includes vodka, gin, tequila, rum, Cointreau, fresh lemon juice, and a cola made at Buffalo & Bergen. "I've wanted to do a Long Island ice tea for so long, and now I finally have a good excuse to do it," she says.
The beer selection will be overseen by Suburbia's Brian McSwain and former Chocolate City Beer brewer Ben Matz. All drinks, including cocktails, will be between $4 and $9.
Food trucks will rotate through the beer and cocktail garden. There will also be an oyster happy hour, including a "buck a shuck" deal on Fridays with Rappahannock.
Chersevani describes her vision for the lot as a beer garden meets zen garden. Chef Nick Stefanelli, who owns Masseria next door, will be setting up a garden on-site. "I'm not opposed to poaching," Chersevani says.
The team also plans to plant different types of hops on the lot and will host beer education sessions with various brewers. The space seats around 200 and will be dotted with picnic tables and bocce.
Neal Place Tap & Garden is slated to open May 27 and run through Oktoberfest. It will be open Tuesdays through Sundays (plus Memorial Day Monday) beginning at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. on weekends.
Neal Place Tap & Garden, 1300 4th St. NE
Photo by Jessica Sidman