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Capitol Hill self-pour wine and beer bar Rapport is a concept made for these times

Chef Mike Laws, left, and owner David Clawson (Image: Rapport)

The COVID-19 crisis has knocked away many hopes and dreams but it won’t keep Capitol Hill from getting its first self-pour wine and beer bar.

Rapport, Café, Bar and Kitchen is slated to open on Capitol Hill in early August putting the large space left empty by the exit of Starbucks and its Roy Street Cafe from the northern end of Broadway last year back into motion with a concept that seems perfectly crafted for these times though the idea for it was born long before the pandemic.

When fully realized, Rapport will feature “100+ artisan wines and beers by-the-glass” poured “directly by guests at will.” Rapport will also feature “barreled & bottled” craft cocktails and food by chef Mike Law, previously executive chef of Sitka & Spruce.

While the reduced contact and efficient business concept sounds like a perfect distillation of some of the COVID-19-era food and drink trends we’ve seen play out across Capitol Hill, Rapport’s start will also be limited by some of the restrictions from the outbreak.

“We are excited to open this wonderful community spot, with an initial focus on artisan coffee, chef-driven grab-and-go and Rapport@Home, our evening takeout meal experiences plus retail wine, beer and craft cocktails rounding out the mix,” owner David Clawson said in an announcement on the planned August opening. “Our philosophy is based on great hospitality in a convivial environment; we originally thought we’d be welcoming guests freely and spontaneously into this beautifully reimagined communal meeting place, but that is yet to come.”

Clawson says he is “excited for the days of in-house dining to return” but Rapport will start out focused on “small batch roasted coffee creations” and “terrific take away food and beverage offerings.”

Law’s menus will emphasize flatbreads and pizzas, chef’s boards of cheeses, pates, and pickles, and a selection of plates for dinner like shrimp, gnocchi, or porchetta with beans and greens, along with fresh baked goods and pastries for the morning. The launch takeout menu will emphasize the flatbreads, salads, and a few small plates.

CHS first reported on Clawson’s plans last October as the wine entrepreneur was returning to his home after 15 years in London and scored the former Roy Street space for a trend Clawson said he saw growing in the United Kingdom and Europe of self-serve wine and beer.

A credit system on the cafe’s cards will ensure that the law is followed. After 10 ounces of wine or 24 ounces of beer, the card must be reactivated so staff will be able to assess whether a customer is in proper shape for another round.

With construction halted during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, work is finally nearing completion on a redesign of the space by Strata Architects planned to give the space a “lightened up,” more modern feel.

When it debuts, Rapport is planning for a 7 AM start to its days with lunch service beginning at 11:30 AM. Hours for dinner and beyond are still TBD.

Rapport is planned to open at 700 Broadway E the first week of August. You can learn more at

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