Originally published on August 14, 2019, in Washingtonian.
Hypothetically, once Astro Beer Hall opens, you could arrive for a morning latte and not leave until last call. The shared venture between restaurant group Tin Shop and Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken—which will serve fresh doughnuts in the morning, lunchtime salads, and all-day beers—is slated to open in early fall.
Taking over the Mackey’s Public House space near Metro Center, the two-level bar/cafe will feature a downstairs game room (complete with Ms. Pacman and pinball) and an upstairs restaurant/coffee shop. It’ll adjoin Astro’s existing takeout space (diners can order from either menu).
The concept is a new one for both brands. It combines the bar experience of Tin Shop founders Peter Bayne and Geoff Dawson—who own Penn Social and Church Hall—with the comfort food at Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken, the brainchild of former Capitals player Jeff Halpern and his childhood friend Elliot Spaisman. “It’s a little bit of an experiment here,” Bayne says.
The combined effort will have a counter service restaurant with a larger version of the original Astro menu, plus over 20 beers on tap and La Colombe coffee drinks. They’ll leave some taps available for a rotation of “more of the esoteric, more expensive” beers.
“People always said they want coffee or a cold beer” with Astro’s doughnuts and fried chicken, Spaisman says. Although the menu from Chris Kujala (formerly the pastry chef at Ris and Kinkead’s) isn’t yet finalized, expect happy hour items like fried pickles, plus breakfast sandwiches and made-to-order cake doughnuts. The kitchen is also working on a recipe for vegan doughnuts.
The two-level space won’t look anything like the Irish pub it is replacing. The decor will lean modern and industrial, with quirky space-themed details and murals. A pinball league is in the works, and the bar plans to make itself available for events like office parties.
Astro Beer Hall will open at 1306 G Street, NW.