Adams Morgan sure has it good with Tryst. I’m always in envy of my friends who live in close proximity to this classic coffeehouse – as they lounge around, using it as their office so often they get sandwiches named after them. It’s hard to believe Tryst’s been in operation since 1998, one of the pioneers of the cafe/bar/lounge hybrids that have become so deservedly popular. When you can hang around pounding down well-poured Counter Culture coffee morning til afternoon and then switch over to happy hour and sip well-crafted cocktails, all the while randomly meeting up with friends and catching up spontaneously, that’s a true “third place.” I love it.
Tryst’s beverage director, David Fritzler, not only knows his coffee but can mix up a daring Blue Blazer, as we learned in a Drinks profile last year. He’s also started up Tiki Tuesdays with ten new cocktails and a fiery Volcano Bowl (wait, trend alert! Tiki must be in, as Tryst is following in the footsteps of The Passenger’s popular Tiki Tuesdays. It’s only a matter of time before we’re all Tiki bar-hopping in hulu skirts!). Plus as it’s Rickey Month here in DC, you can try his version of DC’s official cocktail – the Summer Lovin’ Rickey.
Just as in love with Tryst is Scoutmob, newly launched in DC last week offering deals that are exclusively from locally-owned restaurants and boutique shops. As we’re all about local here at We Love DC, we’re happy to partner with Scoutmob as they showcase what’s unique about our city. Today they’re offering a 50% off discount to Tryst, which would certainly help a cappuccino obsession like mine. It’s free, like all Scoutmob’s deals. But in addition they’ve got a special giveaway for our readers – a $365 Tryst giftcard! You’ve got a week to enter for a chance to win, just by joining the mob and signing up for their email alerts. Seriously, $365 of Counter Culture coffee drinks, housemade sodas, craft cocktails, not to mention all-day brunch and the Ben sandwich and… ok, I’m heading over now. Meet you there.
We Love Drinks authors Kirk and I were really spoiled this year. In 2010 with wine, beer and cocktails alike we saw a resurgence of the desire to enjoy and educate ourselves in the world of libation. Sure we still like a shot from a dive bar but we also love craft cocktails. It’s not a drunk town, it’s a drinks town!
In addition to the old favorites, a number of new places opened up. We found ourselves covering everything we could despite busy day jobs (it certainly improved my tolerance level. shut up, pesky liver, wine is good for you!). There was the continuation of the wine bar explosion with cosy Dickson Wine Bar, DC’s raging beer love with Biergarten Haus and the promise of DC Brau, luscious cocktail smoothies at Fruit Bat, the rough-and-tumble American Ice Co. – I know we missed a few, and I’m going to do my best to stay on top of 2011. We’ve got burning questions in the coming year – will the winter opening of Jack Rose get me to hang out in Adams Morgan again, or will the Bier Baron successfully revive the faded Brickskellar space (and reputation)?
Anything you’d like to see covered? Interested in joining our merry drinks band? Drop me a line, I’d love to know.
David Fritzler pours up a Blue Blazer cocktail at Tryst. Photo credit: Samer Farha.
We Love Drinks continues our series where we look behind the bar, profiling the many people – from mixologists to bartenders, sommeliers to publicans – who make your drinks experience happen.
I first met David Fritzler back in January when fellow WLDC author Samer and I watched him pour up an impressive flaming Blue Blazer at Tryst. You might think such pyrotechnics indicate a showy brash personality, but that’s far from the case. As I saw this summer when he served up his Rickey Contest entry, he’s a thoughtful crafter of cocktails. It was that Smokin’ Joe Rickey, somehow reminiscent of Lapsang Souchang tea, that made me want to learn more.
“The drink is never more important than the people enjoying it,” David says, “It’s not all about the cappuccino or the cocktail. It’s about the moment and memories that the drink facilitates.”
David was kind to sit down with me at Tryst this past weekend and let me sample a few of their new warming cocktails while discussing his drinks philosophy. Tryst has been an Adams Morgan neighborhood favorite since it opened in 1998, and it’s still going strong, recently winning Best Local Coffeehouse of 2010 in Express Night Out. For many of my friends it’s their “third place” – office, studyhall, living room – and it inspires a great deal of local love. David’s been there almost since the beginning, ten years of dedication.
As beverage director, it’s not all flash – at the end of our chat he was off to Open City to take apart the espresso machine. Continue reading →
David Fritzler burns up a Blue Blazer. Photo credit: Samer Farha.
For many people I know, Tryst is “The Office.” Well, now they can drink on the job in style!
Last week the Adams Morgan coffeehouse pioneer rolled out a new cocktail menu, and fellow WLDC author Samer and I were treated to some fine libation as they branch away from the bean. And as we all await the impending snowflakes of doom, it’s nice to note that Tryst will be open throughout the storm!
In operation since 1998, Tryst has always aimed to be a neighborhood gathering place true to its fun motto, “No Corporate Coffee, No Matching Silverware.” Of course they opened the year after I’d already left Adams Morgan for Logan Circle, so I’ve never been one to hang out there – but several friends really do treat it as their office, setting up with laptops and getting social over the screens, fueled by lots and lots of coffee. Just as the java isn’t corporate, when it came time to debut a new cocktail menu, Tryst wanted to do the same for drinks. With David Fritzler at the helm, Tryst’s beverage director for the past ten years, and two new bartenders – J.P. Cacares and Lana Labermeier – the new menu is billed as “quality cafe cocktails” ranging in price from $6-10.
As David told us, “I want to bring pre-Prohibition cocktail knowledge, quality liquors and fresh ingredients out of the speakeasy and expensive hotel bars and to the general public.” As a member of the DC Craft Bartenders Guild, he’s already dedicated to a high standard of cocktail culture. We parked ourselves at the bar and knocked back a few to see whether the drinks would succeed.