Fight Club returns to the ring, but this time it will be throwing sandwiches and punches on its own turf.
The irreverent pandemic-era pop-up from the team behind Beuchert’s Saloon and the upcoming Newland lands in Capitol Hill’s former Hank’s on the Hill space at 633 Pennsylvania Avenue SE this spring with an expanded menu, games of arcade and plenty of seating.
Co-owners Andrew Markert, Bart Hutchins and Mackenzie Conway launched Fight Club at Beuchert’s Saloon in 2020, while the Capitol Hill saloon, known for classic cocktails sipped in an old-school, Prohibition-era setting was on pandemic pause. Unlike Beuchert, Fight Club isn’t about classic cocktails or resorting to civilized paraphernalia like forks and knives.
Located just five doors down from where it began, Fight Club can continue to serve the community that embraced and supported it during the pandemic. “We had people going out two or three times a week, people buying gift cards just to keep us going even when they weren’t hungry,” Hutchins says. “Fight Club was a pop-up, but it generated its own regulars. I’m just glad to find these people.
With an aesthetic that Markert describes as “an outdoor punch garden with more edginess,” Fight Club will feature street art murals by local DC artists, arcade games (possible Street Fighter or Mortal Combat), a DJ booth and sports TVs in the dining room and bar. There are approximately 62 seats inside, as well as eight on a patio facing Pennsylvania Avenue.
“We take our sandwiches and drinks seriously, but not ourselves,” says Conway.
In addition to many of the now cult sandwiches and alcoholic Fight Club punches served at Beuchert’s Saloon, the new menu will add a new large-plate menu category that will include hot Nashville lamb shank with coleslaw, spicy pickles and Hawaiian rolls for DIY. sandwiches, as well as half fried chicken and caviar that come to the table with cornbread, honey butter and coleslaw.
New sandwiches, like “po’ boy” shrimp toast topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, sesame remoulade and pickled chilies on a hoagie roll, are also joining the lineup. A new sandwich called “Iowa swine” features a crisp-crusted pork loin with garlic mayonnaise on a sesame bun.
Pop-up era favorites also return to the ring, such as “FC chicken doink” stuffed with crispy buttermilk-brined chicken thighs, maple cake and Crystal hot sauce mayonnaise; and the namesake Fight Club, a version of the classic club with roast club steak, bacon, roasted tomatoes, shredded lettuce and brown butter mayonnaise on white country bread.
Conway and Fight Club bar manager Cory Holzerland bring back cleverly named cocktails like the Sad Boyz Tea, made with vodka, passion fruit iced tea, Earl Gray tea, mint syrup and lemon. New additions to the drink list include Venetian Masque, with chamomile-infused Old Overholt rye whisky, foro amaro, rosemary syrup, bitters and smoked rosemary. Imbibers can also order large format punches to share.
Bar manager Cory Holzerland infused rum with popcorn and gin with Hubba Bubba (for negroni bubble gum). “It’s a gorgeous negroni with this really bubblegum aromatic nose,” says Conway.
Joining Beuchert’s and Newland as the latest piece in the Capitol Hill team’s hat-trick, Fight Club will be open for all-day service seven days a week as well as weekend brunch. The DJs will spin during the weekend brunch. Fight Club will also offer takeout when it opens.
“For me, the big excitement is that number one we found a space, and number two we found it here on Capitol Hill – for this specific neighborhood; for that specific community,” says Hutchins.