WASHINGTON — DC diners and drink lovers are learning quickly that restauranteurs and bar owners aren't sacrificing taste when it comes to tantalizing their vegan clientele.
'DC Vegan' started as a catering company in 2015 specifically designed to bring vegan options to large parties. In 2020, the DC Vegan restaurant opened on P Street NW, just a block removed from Dupont Circle.
This year, the husband and wife proprietors of DC Vegan expanded into the beverage space - opening 'Botanical Bar' in the ground floor space just beneath their restaurant.
"It’s 100% plant based and we celebrate plants through the food and through the beverage program," said CEO and co-owner Leah Curran Moon. "We try to make everything really plant forward."
Patrons will notice the new bar space appears as a garden oasis. Curran Moon took charge of the decorating and the local flair shouldn't be overlooked.
"I sort of imagined a night-time greenhouse when we designed the space," said Curran Moon. "I got this wallpaper from Transylvania that highlights nighttime botanicals and I commissioned a local artists to make drawings of nocturnal DC wildlife, so it's a local flora and fauna."
Both Curran Moon and her husband, co-owner Michael Moon, are bubbly and excited to bring this concept to a major metropolitan space that lacks more robust vegan offerings.
"We just love what we're doing. And I think when you love what you're doing and you love sharing it with people, I think people can feel that," said Michael Moon.
The drinks offered at Botanical Bar include a delectable array of ingredients that make for a truly unique beverage experience. As a journalist who is new to covering food and beverage options in the DC area, I found the drinks at Botanical Bar extremely original and effervescent; evoking a strong green quality.
"This is an aquafaba-based cocktail which is chickpea water. We use that in replacement of egg whites, and it's a hibiscus liqueur with aquafaba and B-12 droplets," said Curran Moon of the 'Flower of Life' drink infused with vodka. "We really went for that flavor with this. What can bring us into a garden. What has that nose and that flavor and here's where we landed."
All of DC Vegan's restaurant options are available for the bar patrons as well and Michael Moon introduced us to a few of them.
"We've got the buffalo cauliflower wings, we've got the ricotta & herb focaccia and we've got the king trumpet mushroom calamari," said Moon.
We ate as we talked about the Botanical Bar. I devoured his offerings in a matter of minutes.
Michael Moon fancies himself a "zero proof" guy, so it was important to him that the Botanical Bar had a wide selection of non-alcoholic vegan drinks.
"So we call them zero proof and I'm a zero prefer myself so I was really interested in creating something special," said Moon.
You can check out the Botanical Bar menu HERE.
More about DC Vegan is located HERE.