The new perfectly unpretentious underground cocktail bar, The Speak, opened in downtown DC this week. Hidden beneath the bustling K Street corridor, The Speak is owned by former One Lounge owner Seth McClelland.

Those who remember (and mourned the closing of) One Lounge will be happy with this upgraded reincarnation of the laid back bar. The new space is cozy, dark, and promises seasonal craft cocktails and cold drafts that won’t break the bank. Cocktails are $11, vodka shots are $8,  and beers set you back only $5.

“I want this to feel like a classic neighborhood bar with super friendly staff, while also offering a cocktail menu rich with a variety of ingredients, house-made syrups and unique garnishing,” says McClelland. “Our goal is to give customers the ability to start their cocktail journey in a place where they feel comfortable.”

The Speak owner Seth McClelland
The Speak owner Seth McClelland

McClelland is such a believer in comfort he helped design the 1,750 square-foot, 100-person bar.  Invoking a homely  1920’s prohibition era, guests can expect subtle stylistic gestures like old wooden shipping crates and raw steel.

Locally sourced 100-year-old wood from a nearby barn in Frederick, Maryland bedecks the entrance to the bar, giving partygoers the impression of descending into an underground cottage. From textured, ceramic-woven walls to custom furnishings – including vintage banquettes and polished, dimly lit chandeliers – the space is fraught with fine-tuned yet comfortable details.

DC bar-goers will have the chance to indulge in classic craft drinks such as the Moscow Mule and Negroni as well as unique cocktails including the Bobby Burns, Scofflaw, New York Sour and Old Cuban

ABOUT THE SPEAK: The Speak is located at 1413 K Street (downstairs) NW, DC.


Tuesday5pm – 2am
Wednesday: 5pm – 2am
Thursday: 5pm – 2am
Friday: 5pm – 3am
Saturday: 10pm – 3am

Happy hour is from 5:00-7:30 PM Monday-Friday and includes $9 cocktails (tax included), $2 off beer and $6 glasses of wine. 

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The Speak opens on K Street for happy hour and late night

The Speak head bartender Jeff Cole
The Speak head bartender Jeff Cole
The Speak 1
The Speak
The Speak 4
The Speak

Photos in this article by Joy Asico

Ursula Lauriston Avatar

Ursula Lauriston is the Founder & Chief Digital Strategist at CAPITOL STANDARD. A dynamic speaker and syndicated writer, she's been featured in Huffington Post, The Vault,Washington Post, and more.