So far, we have heard plenty about R. House's innovative food concepts and also about its unique fitness lab, and today details have been announced for its bar program. Right in the center of the food hall, the 40-stool R. Bar will offer beverage service throughout the space and feature elevated cocktails, local beer, and some non-alcoholic options.
Heading up the beverage program at R. Bar will be Aaron Joseph, most recently at Wit & Wisdom in the Four Seasons with experience bartending in Washington D.C., St. Michael's, and even the Caribbean. Joseph is looking forward to switching up the menu on a bi-weekly basis and being inspired by R. House's food stalls.
"The best part about this program is there isn't one particular direction for us to go," Joseph says. "We have 11 different food concepts to be inspired by—it's such a great blank canvas with tons of influence around you. I can't wait to get creative and get a little weird with it."
R. Bar will also feature a small selection of local beer and wine, draft cocktails, and milk punches, which is a technique dating back to the 1860s. There is also talk of making seasonal versions of a Tom Collins, with the fall iteration featuring cinnamon and rosemary. Though Joseph has helped open restaurants before, this is his first time starting a cocktail program from the ground up.
"At first, it was a little daunting," he says. "But as you see the construction continue, you get more and more inspired. I am a bit out of my comfort zone but it's a brand new concept for Baltimore, so it will be a huge learning curve for everyone."
Also behind the stick at R. Bar will be Amie Ward, formerly of Sugarvale and Aggio (and also named Baltimore's best bartender), who is widely known for her love of the Italian liqueur amaro. Ward is anxious to see what the space will bring to the neighborhood.
"It's a five-minute walk to work for me," she said. "I bought my house two years ago and this is something the community needs. It's been so fun to build something from scratch and will be cool to see how this unique social experiment plays out."
Ward says that aspects like self-serve water, bottle cocktails, and choose-your-own-adventure food stalls will give the bar staff more time to interact with customers and focus on hospitality. While there will be some notes of her signature amaro on the menu, she and Joseph are thinking about the drinks on a broader scale—everything from a can of Natty Boh to a $15 grappa cocktail.
"We are trying to hit and please so many different people that might walk through these doors," she said. "So we are thinking more globally when putting the menu together."
Located on the first floor of a 50,000-sqaure-foot auto garage in Remington, R. House is a launch pad for 11 Baltimore chefs and their culinary concepts, and is slated to open later in early December. Both Joseph and Ward are hoping to bring that same spirit of innovation and community into its bar program.
"I am excited to make great drinks and not be pretentious about it," Joseph said. "I have always lived by, 'It doesn't matter how great the cocktail is if there is nobody there to taste it.' We want to be inviting and welcome everyone with open arms."