Building upon the success of their first bar/restaurant project, Copycat Co. in the H Street Corridor, Devin Gong and his team bring their passion and artistry of craft cocktails to Dupont Circle with this luxurious-yet-comfortable hangout. Astoria’s design inspiration emerged from several sources, including its namesake, New York’s first self-made millionaire J.J. Astor. Borne from Gong’s childhood love of trains, Astoria fuses together the design of Astor’s New York City with luxury of The Orient Express trains, where comfort and amenities were integral to the guest experience. Additionally, the combination of French motifs and Chinese elements inspired a contrasting blend of refined and industrial architectural features and materials.
Astoria features a fully renovated historic storefront and a visually stunning interior. Upon entering the bar, guests are transported into the glamorous world of Victorian-era train travel and old-world New York. The design embraces the building’s narrow architecture to focus linear views and sightlines that play up train-like similarities. For example, the curvature of Victorian-era train car ceilings served as inspiration for the custom curved metal lattice layered over the exposed brick wall to form a dramatic pathway. Velvet booths for cocktail service, reminiscent of luxurious train compartments, line the walls leading to the bar. Seating in the back provides a more intimate setting, and includes an elevated, semi-private booth with train-inspired flip-down seats. The varied seating enables guests to be part of the bar activity or nestle into a more quiet nook with friends. Many elements of accommodation, such as coat hooks and phone-charging stations, are conveniently organized within the booths, as one might find such personal features on a train.
The service bar is the shimmering heart of Astoria, with its ornate tile and brass accents that you discover as you walk deeper into the space. The bar’s façade features Astoria’s name in custom blue, white, and gold mosaics, inspired by New York subway tilework. The overhead bottle display draws inspiration from the brass railing found in the bygone Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Two small marble peninsulas at each end of the bar seat two people each, who can watch the bartenders craft beverages. Adjacent bar-height tables provide guests with a “chef’s table” experience nearby. Composed of a simple palette of French blue, white, mahogany tones, and brass, Gong and the design team co-created a visually stunning and harmonious design from its diverse sources of inspiration. The main floor is dedicated to guest seating and features an efficient cookline and food finishing equipment, while the basement is being used for food prep work and storage. Astoria offers guests an ever-changing selection of craft cocktails and a food menu that focuses on dumplings and pasta dishes influenced by Sichuan and Korean cuisine.