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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Everything you need to know about the first nonalcoholic bar to enter the District

Jordan Tovin | Staff Photographer
The vast options of cocktails, beer and wine served at Binge Bar are all 100 percent zero proof, yet they still capture the traditional alcoholic taste through substitutes of wine and spirits.

Binge Bar introduced the concept of a zero-proof bar to D.C. when it opened earlier this month, packing hotspot potential in the community for those looking to have fun, minus the alcohol.

Owner Vergie Arandid opened the bar on the H Street Corridor as a comfortable spot for people seeking nonalcoholic drinks, whether they are sober, in recovery or just aren’t the biggest fan of the substance. The menu is worth the 20-minute drive from campus, with drinks ranging from the Blueberry Smash cocktail ($14) to 0.0 red wine ($10/$40) and Filipino-inspired snacks, like the buko fruit salad ($6) and lumpia rolls ($7/$14), celebrating Arandid’s Filipino heritage.

During her own journey to sobriety, Arandid recognized a need for an alcohol-free space that cultivates a similar social bar environment, particularly when she went out to support friends working in restaurants and nightlife. When the space became available to her in 2020, she decided to bring her idea to life and open the first alcohol-free bar in D.C.

“The inspiration actually is sort of an extension of my lifestyle,” Arandid said. “I am going to be six years sober this year. There are so many places where you can get alcohol, but here what we offer is that nonalcoholic twist, a healthier option, an extension of someone’s lifestyle.”

Binge Bar opened at a fitting time as nonalcoholic beverages like nonalcoholic beers, wines and spirits have gained popularity, more than doubling their market presence since 2018 while sales in regular beer and wine have dropped.

Upon entering the lower-level bar, I ventured down a set of stairs to find an open layout featuring a small dining room and bar. Set with eight tables throughout the floor and eight seats along the bar, the dining room fills up quickly, so booking a reservation in advance is wise to guarantee a spot.

The room appeared relatively dark with the exception of the green LED lights illuminating the bar and the light pouring in from the staircase and bathroom area. The exposed brick and neutral colors give the space a clean and trendy look while the green plant decor and vibrant paintings liven up the interior. The upbeat music choice of artists like Dua Lipa, The Weeknd and Beyoncé contribute to the buzzing atmosphere.

Binge Bar divides its drink menu up into cocktails, beers, wine and ready-to-drink canned beverages like craft cocktails and wines. The cocktail menu, created by Arandid and head mixologist Brandon St. Peter, offers nonalcoholic alternatives to drinks like margaritas, Moscow mules and spritzes all priced at $14. The beer list includes beers from breweries like BrewDog ($7) and Stella Artois ($8). The wine list, ranging from $9 to $10, offers a variety of both red and white options. The ready-to-drink beverages consist of cocktails ($14) and gluten-free wine ($8) from canned beverage businesses Mixoloshe and Lali.

[gwh_image id=”1181562″ credit=”Jordan Tovin | Staff Photographer” size=”large” align=”none” /]

If you’re looking for something to eat, the Binge Bites portion of the menu is made of small plates that Arandid describes as “a twist on our Filipino roots.” She honors her Filipino heritage at the establishment through her Filipino-inspired dishes like buko fruit salad ($6), a traditional Filipino plate made of mixed fruits, coconut, sugar palm and sweetened condensed milk. Binge Bar serves primarily vegetarian dishes including a brie almondine ($14) and a cheese board ($12/$24) to savor while sipping on your drink. For those craving meat, the charcuterie board ($14/$28) made of cured meats, fruits and cheese is a viable option. The menu also includes a daily special – lumpia rolls ($7/$14), which are deep-fried veggie rolls that were offered the day I visited Binge Bar.

Aside from the eye-catching menu items, the shining star is the menu of nonalcoholic drinks, which set Binge Bar apart from a traditional D.C. bar. The vast options of cocktails, beer and wine served at Binge Bar are all 100 percent zero proof, yet they still capture the traditional alcoholic taste through substitutes of wine and spirits.

As a fan of anything mango, I first opted for the Mango Mintz Spritz cocktail ($14). The beverage, served in a small plastic cup, consists of muddled mint, mango puree and alcohol-free sparkling wine, topped with a mint leaf that contrasts the bright yellow color of the drink. The prominent sparkling wine flavor mimicked an alcoholic taste that complemented the sweet and fresh flavor of the peach and mint.

My friend ordered another cocktail, the Cucumber Mangorita ($14). Garnished with sliced cucumber, shaved strawberry and jalapeño flakes, the drink is made with muddled cucumber, mint, jalapeño, cucumber juice, mango puree and tonic water. The drink’s light green shade translates to a strong but refreshing cucumber flavor in the fizzy drink, overpowering the mango. The jalapeño enhanced the beverage with a mild aftertaste.

For a less costly option, the beer and wine drinks range from $9 to $10. I ordered a glass of Ariel Chardonnay ($9), a wine that our server accurately likened to a light kumquat flavor. While I am not exactly the best fit for reviewing wine, I found the chardonnay as a nearly perfect replica of the regular alcoholic version through its dry taste, eliminating the potential for a hangover in the morning.

The bar advertises the tagline “come as you are,” a mindset that exudes through Arandid’s welcoming personality, reflecting upon each of her customers as she greets them with a smile. Arandid said she has seen a mixed audience of people taking interest in Binge Bar and felt grateful she could provide customers like a Muslim couple and an 8-month pregnant woman with nonalcoholic alternatives when they visited.

“I noticed that there is definitely cross-culture and overlap in my clientele, which I really, really love,” Arandid explains.

Binge Bar, D.C.’s only destination offering strictly zero-proof drinks, presents a new option to the District where people can escape the alcohol-centered atmosphere throughout the city. The incomparable drinks, snacks and environment at the bar make exploration into nonalcoholic drinks smooth and inviting.

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