Ashlar Restaurant and Bar has opened at the renovated Kimpton Morrison House in Alexandria, Va. Designed by Los Angeles-based design studio DH Design, the neighborhood retreat gets its name from the “perfect ashlar”, a stone that represents an upstanding Freemason, a member of one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the world with deep roots in Alexandria.
Ashlar brings Mid-Atlantic flair in the form of an upscale tavern, marrying rustic elements with fine dining. Helming the kitchen is Chef Bobby Surdam, formerly of Red Owl Tavern in Philadelphia.
The 32-seat dining room is flanked by a new 18-seat bar. The beverage program, led by Bartender Maria Concepcion, uses Alexandria’s founding in 1749 as an inspiration point, emphasizing spirits that harken back to that time, including rum, madeira and sherry. The program also boasts a wide array of local Virginia whiskey, beer and wine.
Three crystal liquor decanters have been transformed into lighting pendants strung from the ceiling along the bar, which is built from musky charred oak, accented with brass strapping. A warm amber glow lights up the area behind the bar. The design element was inspired by the color and process of making whisky in charred casks. This warmth contrasts with the sky blue walls of the dining area, which are adorned with gold trim and art.
The dining room drew inspiration from the rich history of craftsmanship in Alexandria. Tables were built from oak and brass banding and feature a color palette of sage and sand. Three modern lighting sculptures made of open-weaved wire inspired by fishing nets hover overhead and bring a romantic glow to the space.
Ashlar is part of an overall strategy for Kimpton that involves creating fine and destination dining locations inside their hotels.