MVT Spotlight: Eye Street Cellars – Eye Street Cellars opened in the spring of 2014 at 425 I Street in Mount Vernon Triangle. The 3,000 square foot shop features select (and customer requested) wines and spirits from around the world, craft beers, cigars,

Sunday November 15, 2015

Eye Street Cellars opened in the spring of 2014 at 425 I Street in Mount Vernon Triangle. The 3,000 square foot shop features select (and customer requested) wines and spirits from around the world, craft beers, cigars, artisanal cheeses, and other gourmet foods, along with delicious frozen desserts. The shop is open every day of the week including from noon to 6 PM on Sundays. The ownership of Eye Street Cellars also operates Harry’s Reserve. We asked owner Pankaj Malhotra to update us on the shop.

MVTCID: Pankaj, this is not your first shop in DC; can you tell us how you decided to locate in Mount Vernon Triangle?

Pankaj: This area is developing at rapid speeds and is already one of DC’s hot spots. And it doesn’t feel like development for the sake of development. It’s well planned and maintained. It’s a vibrant community full of young and upcoming professionals.

Looking at the diverse selection of dining and retail establishments in the area, we knew a fine wine and spirits store would be well appreciated; especially since with our tastings and other customer-centric events, we were providing a unique experience in the neighborhood.

MVTCID: Eye Street Cellars has become a go-to spot for interesting tastings, barbecue nights and custom orders – tell us about the response from the neighborhood to the shop and what plans you have for the future.

Pankaj: The response has been great! We feel very welcomed in the neighborhood. One of the common themes in people’s responses has been how they love the ambiance and friendly and knowledgeable staff. The way everything is presented in the store is not something people are used to from a “liquor store”. They are very impressed with the range of products and of course our tastings and customer appreciation events. And people love that we are pet friendly.  It might be the never-ending supply of treats, but very often I see pets pulling their owners into the store even when it wasn’t a scheduled stop!

We have some plans for the mid-term future that involve introducing growlers, and expanding our tastings. This year we did some exclusive events with Single Malts that were a step above our usual tastings.  These were private events with a limited number of people where we had Brand Ambassadors, or in one case the Master of Scotch from Glenlivet, come in and provide our customers with a special educational event. Encouraged by the tremendous response to those events, we plan to expand that to wines in the coming year. We are going to start frequent wine classes which will be separate from our weekly tastings.

We are also going to soon launch our website, which will have educational blogs, and well as online ordering facilities. Through this, we also plan on improving our delivery services.

MVTCID: What are the favorite items sold at the shop and what are a few of the most unusual spirits you have that people should know about?

Pankaj: At last count we had over 1,260 wines, 940 different spirits and over 400 different beers, a majority of which are craft beers, and that does not include the various seasonal beers that we carry when available. With such a wide variety, chances are that we have everyone’s favorite. And if we don’t have something, if it’s distributed in the DC area we will bring it in for you.

We also carry some very rare spirits; high end or otherwise hard to find Bourbons, Ryes, Single Malts, Japanese whiskies, etc. such as Pappy, Blanton’s, Willett, Eagle Rare (as well as other Buffalo Trace Antique Collection varieties) and Yamazaki. One of the most unusual is a very fine tequila in a ceramic, skull shaped, jeweled bottle that was very popular over the Halloween weekend!

MVTCID: Do you have a favorite restaurant or retailer in the area you would like to share?

Pankaj: That’s a tough one to answer. There’s so much variety here.  Whether you are in a rush and need to quickly grab a sandwich, or want a fine dining experience, you can choose from American, Mexican, French, Italian….there’s something for everyone here! Among retailers, I think the people at Eye Street Cellars are doing a fine job! It’s a great place to shop! Haha!

MVTCID: Thank you, Pankaj and we look forward to all the classes, new website and special events to come!