There’s a new neighborhood wine bar and market in Crystal City where neighbors can drop by for bubbles by the glass or bottle, gluten-free pasta and a slice of “Big Ass Chocolate Cake.”
Champagne & Sugar Beauty Shop (576 23rd Street South, Arlington) is located a short drive from Amazon’s headquarters. This champagne and wine bar/market is a partnership between two women in the DMV restaurant industry: Eat Good Food Group’s Meshelle Armstrong (the co-owner of Kaliwa and the dearly deceased NoVa outposts, Restaurant Eve, Society Fair, PX, and Eammon’s a Dublin Chipper) and Zena Polin (founder of The Dish & Dram and The Daily Dish of Maryland).
After meeting through a friend, the duo hit it off so much they wanted to work on a project together – and post-pandemic, a 150-seat restaurant wasn’t appealing to them.
“We thought what we could do would be fun, that we could do together, which is what people are looking for now,” Polin told Eater. “People always want wine. They always want cookies, pantry items, comfort food. That was the idea. »
The result is reminiscent of a smaller version of Armstrong’s charming Society Fair food market in Alexandria (where Mae’s Market is currently located). In fact, elements of Armstrong’s former restaurants live on at Beauty. A twinkling light fixture from Eve’s Restaurant sits in this Victorian-style house on Fern and 23rd Street, and Society Fair favorite sweets like Coconut Cake, Rice Krispies candies and its infamous Big Ass Chocolate Cake make the menu here too.
Polin also contributes to the patisserie’s desserts, like its brown butter and sea salt chocolate chip cookies, seven-layer bars, and the equally creative “Knock You Naked” bars, a brownie-like concoction with chocolate chips. chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel.
“I tasted it and I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is amazing.’ I ran to Michelle’s house saying, ‘You must have this. It’s so good,’ Polin jokes. Another of his decadent desserts is ‘The Guilty Pleasure’, made with homemade marshmallow fluff. , pieces of dark chocolate and potato chips.
The market is divided into different areas, with a wine shop on one side grouping wines by price for easy shopping (the wine selection prioritizes local and women-owned wines). A “Belleza Wine Club” starting this spring will offer tastings, courses and special discounts. The Wine Room has its own section for bubbles and champagne, while a “Cocktail Kingdom” across the room offers mixers for a home bar.
At the front of the store, there’s a selection of Armstrong-curated gummies, chocolates, and candies, as well as pantry items like pasta and baking mixes. Shelves are stocked with items from women-owned businesses, like coffee from Southeastern Roastery and Blissburg candles in scents like “Sexy Thyme” and “Subbourbon Dad.”
A section of the space is set up with tables where neighbors can come for a drink, whether it’s a glass of wine, a bubbly tasting trio, or the “Bizzarro Love Triangle” cocktail mixed with Bizzarro Aperitivo, prosecco and raspberry simple syrup. The 12-seat restaurant will also serve simple savory dishes, like flatbread and dips, cheese and charcuterie, soups, salads and sandwiches.
“It’s not a place that’s open late at night,” says Pollin. “You come before dinner, you come while the kids are at school, you come after dinner and have a little drink or a piece of cake.”
Beauty Champagne & Sugar Boutique opening hours are Tuesday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.