Opening in May, one of the District’s newest restaurants, dLeña Wood-Fire Mexican Cocina & Mezcaleria, is ready to unveil “dLeña ROJA,” a mezcal lounge located on its lower level.

Now that coronavirus-related capacity restrictions have been relaxed, the lounge will open Friday. It’s a perfect place for patrons seeking a place to relax with friends. The restaurant and lounge are at 476 K Street NW in the Mt. Vernon Triangle area.

“ROJA’s whole experience is meant to feel like you’ve stumbled upon a private room of a Mexican dignitary’s drinking room, where important conversations and decisions are made over a bottle of smoky mezcal or tequila, said General Manager Josh Gray.

Designed in warm shades of brown, dLeña ROJA has comfortable, rich leather banquettes lining crafted tambour wood walls. It’s a warm and cozy environment. Walls are draped with hangings handmade from Oaxaca, Mexico, the region where the restaurant created its cuisine. The art and decor were obtained locally from second-hand stores around the D.C. area and internationally from South America, India and Mexico, including intricate wall hangings created by artisans in Querétaro.

“Art was selected to create a slightly irreverent tone for this after-hours den,” continued Gray.

There are 44 custom tequila lockers that border the edge of the lounge. Guests can reserve lockers for six-month leases to keep their tequila or mezcal in good hands. Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from any type of agave plant. Tequila and mezcal selections are plentiful from dLeña ROJA’s library of over 300 spirits.

Space in ROJA works for small gatherings, wedding welcome drinks, a birthday celebration and other types of social events. The lounge handles up to 90 guests standing and 50 guests seated. ROJA was designed by PETERMAX Co. The space can be accessed from a stairwell in the dLeña restaurant or from a private entrance on 5th Street NW.

Assistant General Manager Mike McDonald conceived ROJA’s 14-page beverage menu with more than 250+ tequila and 50+ mezcal options alone. Restaurant Chef Richard Sandoval and Chef Carlos Camacho have designed ROJA’s small plate menu of modern Mexican cuisine.

“ROJA’s menu consists of seven dishes meant to complement the 300+ mezcal and tequila offering,” said Gray. “Of the seven dishes, five are only available downstairs in ROJA.”

The word “roja” means “red” in Spanish. Gray was asked out the use of that color in naming the lounge below the restaurant.

“It will be left to your discovery of the space,” said Gray with a smile.

dLeña ROJA currently has the same hours as its upstairs sister restaurant dLeña. ROJA does not accept reservations. Both the restaurant and lounge are under the umbrella of Richard Sandoval Hospitality. (Click here for The Informer’s review of the restaurant dLeña Wood-Fire Mexican Cocina & Mezcaleria.)


Twitter and Instagram: @DLenaDC


Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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