Belgian Restaurant, the Sovereign, to Move Into Former Champions, Blue Gin Space
The Sovereign, a bar and bistro to be located at 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW in Georgetown, will open in the late fall, according to owner Neighborhood Restaurant Group. The restaurant will be in the building which once housed the famed Champions Sports Bar and later Blue Gin in an alley on Wisconsin Avenue, just north of M Street. The space has been vacant for almost four years.
"The two-story bar and bistro will be comprised of an 84-seat first floor dining room and 47-seat bar on the second floor," according to the restaurateurs. "Known for his award-winning beer lists at Birch & Barley, ChurchKey, Rustico and more, beer director Greg Engert is curating and creating a Belgian beer list unlike any other at the Sovereign alongside a menu of classic Belgian cuisine from executive chef Peter Smith."
"There is substantial talent behind this operation," said investor and business partner Greg Talcott, who has been a Georgetown restaurateur for decades and was involved with Blue Gin and the Third Edition. Working with Mike Babin of NRG on some of the details to finalize plans for the bar and bistro, Talcott said, "Getting the process completed has taken a long time."
The company noted its own serious authenticity: "The Sovereign will showcase the widest array of drafts and bottles from the very best Belgian brewers. With 50 drafts and 200+ bottles, the beer program will feature the work of Belgian brewers who embody the standards, techniques, and innovative spirit that underpins the fabled Belgian brewing culture.
"Just as the Sovereign will be championing brewers that use simple, true recipes and let technique and patience yield complex flavors, so will the menu feature rustic ingredient-driven dishes of Belgian cuisine, which draws from French, German and Dutch cooking traditions. Executive chef Peter Smith of PS7 and Vidalia has developed the menu –which will be available throughout the restaurant and bar– by combining his French training with experience gained while traveling through Belgium with Engert."
The new place looks like it will be more than beer heaven. It will include many old-world favorites, such as Dutch-style mussels, anchovies and pickled onion or gruyere with caraway seeds. Expect old-world wines as well.