24 Feb Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Maxwell Park DC Wine Bar
Maxwell Park Wine Bar is one of the hottest spots in Washington DC right now. Modern, friendly, energetic, educational yet playful, it is a perfect wine bar for all wine lovers, no matter how much or how little you know. And that is why Maxwell Park Wine Bar (aka Maxwell’s DC) is the Please The Palate pick of the week.
Maxwell’s DC opened in June of 2017 in the Shaw neighborhood, one of the hippest areas of Washington DC. Sommelier Brent Kroll is the founder of Maxwell’s DC which he named after Maxwell Park, a park he played in as a kid in Detroit. His partners, Daniel Runnerstrom and Niki Lang are also sommeliers.
Previous to owning his own wine bar, Kroll was the Wine Director for the Neighborhood Group for four years. During his tenure, he opened ten restaurants and oversaw the wine programs at all of them. Now he is focused on just one place and it is a gem.
The 33-seat bar features 50 wines by the glass and 30 of those wines change each month. Unlike the common trend of opening “natural wine bars”, Kroll is open to any and all wine. Each month there is a theme. For example, February was called “Love Stinks” and they featured smelly wines ranging from perfumed to pungent. March is bringing the theme “Formation” and they will feature female winemakers from around the world. And April’s theme is “The Life Aquatic” where wines that live by the sea will be featured.
Large producers and small producers, known producers and unknown producers, common varieties and less common varieties, it is all fair game at Maxwell’s DC. “What is in the glass is what matters,” Kroll explained.
Kroll, Runnerstrom and Lang are all knowledgeable about the wines and are happy to walk customers through what they are tasting. They all can be found behind the bar or working the floor. The collaboration and teamwork is evident as they seem to move through the crowded space and without communicating, know who to help and what services are needed.
A unique feature at Maxwell’s DC is the high-tech refrigeration system. There are four digitally controlled refrigerators each set to different temperatures – 45, 50, 55 and 60 degrees. Through this system, all wines are served at the ideal temperature for the particular wine.
A fun element of Maxwell’s DC is the slate counter tops. Along the counter tops are jars of chalk for drawing on the counters while tasting wine.
In addition to the wines, Maxwell’s DC has a succinct but creative menu of wine-friendly dishes, including cheese, charcuterie, raw vegetables with carrot tahini and lamb shank with white beans and arugula.
Maxwell Park Wine Bar has a casual vibe but is serious about wine. While it may be named after a playground from his childhood, Kroll describes Maxwell Park Wine Bar as the “playground I always wanted.”
1336 9th St NW
Washington DC 20001