D.C. Eatery Red Light Speeds to April Opening

On Saturday, April 12, partners Aaron Gordon, Robert Underwood, and brothers Ari and Micah Wilder will softly open Red Light, Cocktails & Dessert Bar at 1401 R Street, NW, in Washington, D.C. A limited-dessert menu will run for two weeks, from April 12-26.  

Guests can stop by nightly, from 4 p.m. to close, to indulge in the restaurants' desserts and innovative cocktails. Then, on Sunday, April 27, the restaurant will open with a full menu and regular hours: Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to close, Friday and Saturday from noon to 2 a.m., and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.

“Distinctive craft cocktails and inspired desserts in a fun, relaxed bar will be the ideal complement to 14th St., [which is] D.C.’s top restaurant destination," says partner Gordon.

Gordon tapped Robert Underwood as executive chef for Red Light. Underwood was previously the head pastry chef at award-winning Komi and Marcel’s in Washington, D.C. His menu at Red Light will offer 10 desserts changing daily, reflecting the season, and a featured soufflé. 

Opening selections planned include Soufflé of the Moment with white chocolate Grand Marnier; Pistachio Tea Cakes with local strawberry jam and lavender gelato; Abuelita’s Tres Leches with toasted coconut cake and Zapaca rum; Black & Tan Donuts, which are ale-batter beignets with a chocolate stout filling; and a Quinoa Brûlée Pudding with caramelized bananas and spicy candied cashews. Dessert choices will be priced from $8-$10. A prix-fixe menu, complete with a cocktail or wine pairing, will also be available for $16-$20 per person.

The cocktail menu and wine list is being developed by the Wilder brothers, who will serve as Red Light’s beverage directors. Since 2008, when they founded Wilder Bros LLC, they have created more than a dozen successful cocktail programs and opened Fed Restaurant in May 2013.  

Their innovative list for Red Light will include a selection of eight to 12 specialty drinks, as well as adult desserts that combine cocktail and dessert ingredients for a spirited treat. 

Red Light’s upcoming list will include the Riverstone Slush, which is ice wine with seasonal nectar, shaved river stone ice, and winter fruit; the Double Down with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, rose bitters, B grade maple syrup, Ruby Red grapefruit, and lime; and the Cake Shake with Red Velvet cupcake, homemade ice cream, Atlantico dark rum, Velvet Felernum, and cocoa bitters. The menu will also offer a boutique wine selection as well as eight to ten Champagnes by-the-glass, including four Champagnes on-tap.

Design studio SwatchRoom is responsible for the scheme for Red Light. The intimate, 27-seat interior will have love-nest seating options of red leather banquettes and club chairs for lingering, plus a sprinkling of two- and four-top tables. Guest can grab a stool at the dramatic concrete 18-person bar and see the chefs in action at the display pastry bar. The seasonal 44-seat outdoor patio has a warm and inviting environment featuring communal, cocktail, and lounge seating.

“The contemporary design for Red Light will call back to the dangerous and salacious history of 14th Street, a dessert lounge and a place where the edge of rock and roll is juxtaposed to classic romance through color palette, found objects, and sensual textures,” says Warren Weixler, co-owner of SwatchRoom. “The design will illuminate the natural allure of voyeurism and the intoxicating art of the performance—specifically, preparing craft cocktails and delectable desserts.”

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