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.