Alias on 14th, which bills itself as a “secret social club,” is opening this weekend beneath Logan Circle restaurant Dolce Vita (previously the spaces that housed restaurant/lounge combo Ghibellina and Sotto). The speakeasy-esque venture, with space for 100 customers, is a collaboration between restaurateur Med Lahlou and husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Mike and Christal Bramson, who operate nightlife spots like Rebel Taco and Clarendon Pop-Up Bar.
So, how secret is the secret social club? Let’s just say you’ll probably be able to find it from the hot-pink neon on the “unmarked” door (not to mention the well-marked Mediterranean-fusion restaurant above, which has a massive “LOVE” mural painted on the building). Christal Bramson, a New York native, says the faux-secret-speakeasy theme is more about the feel.
“Sometimes speakeasies are somber and dark—we want to have a playful, fun element and electric vibe. It’s our dream to bring that New York energy and give to DC.”
Cocktails (mostly $16) break from prohibition-era tradition. Take the Bubble-Icious, a fruity concoction with citrus vodka, raspberry, and fresh lemon—all capped with drinkable bubbles from a throwback bubble gun. Drinkers can also pick from a handful of beers and wines, or a more extensive list of Champagnes and sparklers. Though Alias is designed to be a pre- or post-dinner destination, Dolce Vita chef Elier Rodriguez will offer Spanish-Med mezze such as a variety of carpaccio and crudo, crab-stuffed piquillo peppers, spankopita, and more.
The more secretive way to access to Alias is located through the back staircase of Dolce Vita. Mike Bramson says servers at the restaurant will randomly select “VIP” diners and slip them custom-designed poker chips, which will grant access to the bar with a gratis round of drinks. There’s also a VIP section of the club outfitted with turquoise velvet sofas. Resident DJs will spin Thursday through Saturday nights.
The Bramson picked the name, naturally, for its hush-hush connotations (by day, Christal Bramson is an attorney with the U.S. Secret Service).
“What’s more mysterious than an alias?,” asks Mike Bramson. “When you’re entering into another world, you be anyone you want to be.”
Alias. 1610 14th St., NW. Open 8 PM through 2 AM, Wednesday through Saturday.
Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.