Other British touches are campy. There’s a bust of the Queen Vic herself perched on the bar, British Invasion-era tunes blasting and an ATM housed in a red-painted closet that mimics the iconic crimson phone booths of London. A “wall of crap” along the upstairs bar invites customers to tack up their best U.K. regalia, and some have complied. There’s a portrait of the bar’s eponymous queen from the gang at the Pug, and Wonderland bar in Petworth donated a framed postcard of Big Ben.
The menu features British standards such as fish and chips, bangers and mash, and steak and ale pie. Curry dishes are a nod to the Indian influences in British cookery. But this isn’t the sad, bland pub fare that gave England a bad culinary rap for centuries.
The aforementioned charcuterie plate is an example of Gordon and Stein’s commitment to keeping everything house-made: Vegetables and onions are pickled in-house, foie gras is poached in apple whiskey and headcheese is slow-simmered. Even the mustard is chef-crafted: Stein soaks mustard seeds in Guinness and Newcastle beers, then purees them with vinegar for a tangy condiment that’s a far cry from the standard school-bus-yellow offering.
Such attention to detail extends to the rich “tomato jam” that subs for pedestrian ketchup and the hamburger buns, which are baked in-house.
And despite the cheffy provenance, prices are reasonable. A heaping platter of fish and chips (with a side of oh-so-British mushy peas) is $11, and the sharable charcuterie platter is $25.
For now, the Queen Vic is serving dinner only, but Gordon plans to soon offer a weekend brunch and a “Sunday roast” dinner. A small upstairs patio will expand the number of seats to about 120 this spring.
All the more room, patrons may find, to go whole hog.
James Jones, communications director for DC Vote, tapes a "DC Constituents Service Day" sign on the wall as he stands with other DC residents outside of Rep. Andy Harris's office on Capitol Hill to protest Harris' actions against D.C.'s marijuana laws on Thursday, July 24, 2014. DC Vote encouraged DC residents to bring their complaints about city services to the Maryland congressman.