I have to imagine being the first restaurant to land in a neighborhood you’re trying to beef up is no easy task. Will the locals end up coming back? If you’re off the beaten path, can you still draw a crowd? How do you bring any foot traffic off the sidewalk and into a seat at the bar? When I visited Trademark Drink + Eat a little more than a week after their opening in November, their boisterous, mostly full bar and high-top tables on a week night seems to indicate they’ve figured it out.
Named after the neighboring U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Trademark the pub is located just beyond Old Town in the Carlyle District. Google maps says it’s an eight minute walk from the King Street metro, which isn’t far if you’re looking to head somewhere different for drinks and a bite to eat in Alexandria.
Trademark has both casual bar fare like warm pretzel bites or deep-fried pickles, and more sophisticated, hearty dishes such as the Chesapeake pot pie with piping hot crab, rockfish, shrimp, roasted corn, peas and potatoes wrapped in a buttery dough. Sit at the bar for a short while and you’ll find yourself devouring the restaurant’s version of corn nuts, a pleasant reminder that the little bowls of bar snacks do not have to be stale or overly salty. While you’re at it, don’t pass up the bacon candy, which is a thick slice of bacon on a stick with a sweet yet light, sugary coating. I should have had you at bacon. On a stick.
Courtesy of Three Lockharts PR
Other dishes that left an impression were the “pork ‘n’ beans,” a large grilled pork chop with smoky, baked beans which is nothing like the canned version it’s playfully named after. The theme of comfort food plays on in the rotating menu of mac and cheeses. The Cuban mac and cheese with ham, bacon and a mustard crust will definitely stick to your ribs.
In addition to the solid, hearty pub fare, Trademark is putting an emphasis on its house cocktails. And they are strong. Mixologist Christopher Bassett, who previously worked with Todd Thrasher as one of his managers at PX Cocktail Lounge, is in charge of crafting the drinks at Trademark. The old-fashioned with Jefferson’s Reserve Whiskey, pomegranate juice and Bitterman’s grapefruit bitters isn’t for the faint of heart. For something a little lighter with less punch, go with the the Headless Horseman with Boyd and Blair vodka, Angostura bitters, ginger beer and lime.
So for that next time you find yourself wanting to go a little beyond the standard places in Old Town for a bite or a quick drink to ease the pain of a long work day, check out Trademark.
Trademark is located at 2080 Jamieson Avenue in Alexandria, VA. For more information, follow @trademarkva or call 703-253-8640.