Young and Hungry

New Toledo Lounge Owners Have Big Plans For Beer

The beer program at Toledo Lounge in Adams Morgan is getting an overhaul, thanks to new owners. Yesterday sisters Mary and Stephanie Abbajay, who opened Toledo Lounge in 1994, finalized the sale to three partners with neighboring 18th Street establishments.

Black Squirrel owner Amy Bowman and former co-owner Tom Knott, who now owns soon to open Black Squirrel Brewing Company, have partnered with Scott Auslander, owner of nearby Ventnor Sports Cafe. The team has plans to re-define the beer list and expand the food menu but will do little else to change the beloved 18th Street dive bar.

In renovations projected to be complete in three to four weeks, Bowman plans to install eight new draft lines and focus, appropriately, on beers from Ohio. While two taps will be dedicated to pale American lagers such as Miller High Life, at least two will always have beers from Cleveland-based Great Lakes Brewing Company.

The rest of Toledo Lounge drafts will be up for experimentation says Bowman. "I'm going to explore some styles that we don't carry at The Black Squirrel. For instance, I love German beer but because we focus on American craft beer I'm rarely able to have German beer on our lines. The same goes for the Belgian imports."

As for bottles, the new owners plan to start with a list of 20 to 30 beers that will be heavy on imports. Bowman says she will look for "quirky" beer that will complement the Toledo space. She also has plans to bring in Ohio beers that are not currently distributed in D.C. for special events similar to those she has done at the Black Squirrel with breweries like New Belgium Brewing Company in Colorado. "I've been researching the Ohio craft beer scene and the state has some interesting breweries."

Photo by Flickr user Joel Washing using an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license

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  • grover

    Hopefully this means some Hoppin' Frog and Thirsty Dog. I'm not sure if Buckeye and/or Columbus Brewing make it out of the state though.


  • Chuck

    I'm about due for a bout of chronic heartburn. How about adding Tony Packo's hot dogs and paprika dumplings to the menu?

  • Cranky Editor Guy

    Yeah, yeah beer is important and all, but they better not mess with the fries and grilled cheese....

  • Tammy Tuck

    According to TBD's post, Black Squirrel chef Gene Sohn will take Toledo’s traditional bar fare of nachos, fries, and wings up a notch and feature casual modern American items similar to Black Squirrel’s. I'd say the grilled cheese is safe and there will be no want of heartburn.