Beer drinkers have plenty of options in Falls Church. From Mad Fox and Dogfish Head to the Four P’s and Spacebar, there’s a no shortage of places to sidle up for a brew. But when it comes to sipping on cocktails, there’s no standout destination in The Little City. But Paul Taylor is looking to change that.
For the past five years, Taylor has been behind the bar at Rhodeside Grill, slinging drinks to the Arlington crowds, most recently as the restaurant’s bar manager. Earlier this year, he was named the new beverage director of the restaurant’s ownership group which also includes Ragtime and F.C.’s own Dogwood Tavern. Along with his new position, the Arlington native and member of the D.C. Craft Bartender’s Guild is looking to bring the art of mixed drinks back into the spotlight.
“We want to introduce Falls Church to cocktails,” says Taylor, who has been creating a “cocktail of the week” for Dogwood since February. Three weeks ago, he debuted a new lineup of summertime drinks for the bar, complete with a southern spin fitting in with the restaurant’s Virginia theme. The new menu includes new twists on old classics like the Cheerwine Negroni featuring the cult-favorite North Carolina soft drink, a Virginia julep made with local raspberries, an Old Fashioned which swaps out whiskey for rum and “La Paloma” made with mezcal, black pepper syrup, lime, housemade grapefruit soda and finished off with a sprinkling of pepper. Taylor says the most popular new creation so far has been the Waterloo No. 2, a gin-based drink mixed with basil syrup, lemon, watermelon and soda.
In addition to Dogwood’s new libations, Taylor introduced a New Orleans-themed cocktail menu for Ragtime in May and will debut a lineup of tiki drinks at Rhodeside next week.
Here in Falls Church, the new menu is just the beginning of Taylor’s plans for the Broad Street bar. Later this summer, he hopes to create a lineup of unique frozen drinks (think daiquiris, only more fun) and, citing a strong whiskey following in The Little City, he’d like to feature barrel-aged cocktails in the near future.
And while Taylor says he’s seen a desire for more and better cocktails, he recognizes they’re not for everybody. “Not everyone is going to want a Cheerwine Negroni,” he says. “Sometimes they just want a beer and a shot.”
Fortunately, at Dogwood, they can have all three.
Dogwood Tavern is located at 132 W. Broad St. in Falls Church.