Anchovy Social is all about chilling out over a martini, seafood towers, and taking in the view.

Credit: Courtesy of Union Square Hospitality Group

When it comes to his restaurant names, Danny Meyer often goes for the literal, like Union Square Café or Gramercy Tavern, both named after their neighborhoods. Anchovy Social, Union Square Hospitality’s new bar opening on the roof of Washington D.C’s Thompson Hotel this winter, is all about whimsy. Meyer says he envisions the bar’s mascot as a smiling anchovy clutching a martini glass, yakking it up with her friends.

“Anchovies are one of those divisive foods––you either love them or hate them. We just felt like using them to tell people to relax and have fun, especially in a time where we could really use a little fun,” Meyer says. “People always talk about how no one in Washington gets along, but I’ve spent time in D.C., and it’s a very social city. When you’re around the table, you do talk and get along.”

In May, USHG announced that the new Thompson Hotel would also house Maialino Mare, the sister restaurant to New York City’s popular seafood spot, Maialino. Anchovy Social will operate with an entirely independent staff and a concise, intentional menu tailored for a rooftop with 360-degree views of the city, drawing inspiration from existing USHG concepts like Manhatta and Vini e Fritti. There will be large-format drinks, a seafood tower, potato chips cacio pepe, and, yes, anchovies. Meyer says the group currently has no other plans to expand into Washington D.C., and the Thompson Hotel project has been many years in the making.

“When you take your show on the road, there’s kind of liberating impact,” Meyer says. “You want to happen for a community, you don’t want to happen to a community.” He says that his team has learned a lot from bringing Shake Shack to a number of cities across the United States, especially when it comes to humility and acknowledging that many New York City restaurateurs have a reputation for arrogance. “You don’t want to ever go to another city and show them how it’s done. You want to go to another city and learn from their food and beverage leaders.”