Napoleon Bistro

Nap Time

A French Date Spot Is Reborn

1834c6565f22c6ff209eecc35bc766db01b132b47 PhotosNapoleon Bistro
These independence days have a way of piling up on you come July. No sooner are you staking out a spot for the fireworks than you’re thinking about old jails to storm and people in powdered wigs to overthrow.

Or just a good bistro for mussels and steak frites.

Someplace like Napoleon Bistro, the Adams Morgan stalwart that’s just transformed itself into a noirish first-date destination.

No, this place hasn’t returned from exile to rule yet again. It’s just gotten a face-lift inside, outside and in the kitchen while you weren’t looking. The main coup you’ll notice is that they’ve done away with the red in favor of something more... mysterious. Namely, a whole mass of candles, black velvet curtains and black walls.

Might we suggest you show up with your date on an upcoming Tuesday, when you can settle in on a black leather sofa and watch a classic French film over a bottle of burgundy and duck confit and lamb sausage cassoulet.

And while you can’t go wrong betting on black, if you want to lighten things up—figuratively and literally—they’re redoing the outdoor café area with tall light fixtures, a vertical herb garden growing up the brick wall and a tiny bar from which a bartender whips up drinks with said herbs Thursdays through Saturdays.

He spends his other days pruning.

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