Dacha Beer Garden has been a neighborhood fixture in Washington, DC since 2013. A Bavarian concept adapted for an American palette, combining the charm of a classic German beer garden with a modern American bar. Dacha offers a comfortable atmosphere for families, friends, and pets alike with amazing cocktails, delicious Bavarian-inspired food, and an unrivaled world-class beer program.
In the heat of the Great Recession, two long-time friends from college years, Dmitri and Ilya, found themselves out of their corporate jobs. They decided to become partners and open a business – a beer garden.
Looking for possible locations, they came across a small chain-link fence corner parking lot in the middle of Shaw neighborhood. They tracked down the owner and convinced him to rent them the lot. The owner thought they were crazy… a beer garden? outside? in Shaw? He was not the only one. The partners had a short business plan, a lot of determination, and a blessing of naivetés. Putting all their personal savings on the line, they got to work … architects, engineers, permits, approvals, builders, politics… put politely, there was some learning curve.
On September 4, 2013, the Original Dacha, Dacha Beer Garden, opened for business. A small beer truck, a make-shift bar, a few picnic tables, port-a-potties, and a POD container that served as a storage, an IT center, and an office. The rest is history.
Dacha started with humble beginnings - just a small beer truck, a make-shift bar, a few picnic tables, port-a-potties, and a POD container that served as a storage. There was one stand out feature, however - the iconic Liz mural.
An iconic figure herself, Taylor was instrumental in saving lives of those who lived in Shaw and elsewhere in our city through her work with and support of Whitman Walker Clinic during the 1980s AIDS epidemic. Wanting to transform the drab brick wall of the adjacent building, Ilya and Dmitri viewed it as an opportunity to honor the Shaw neighborhood which was going through a renaissance. Thus, inspired by the street art and murals of DC, they decided on a tribute to Liz Taylor.
Today, Dacha is more than just a beer garden. In 2015, we opened Dacha Café – a small neighborhood breakfast shop next door. In 2016, we inaugurated the Dacha Loft, a vibrant, bespoke private events space tucked above the garden. In 2019, we opened our second location and most ambitious project yet: Dacha Navy Yard, located across Nats Park. Growing in 2020, we opened up Jackie - a 150-seat full-service restaurant, craft-cocktails bar, lounge, and event space. Altogether, these locations make up what we like to call the “Dacha Experience”.
|I remembered a poster I saw in passing a long time ago. It stuck in my memory. An advertisement for a 1950s movie Rhapsody, it featured Liz Taylor and was beautiful and mesmerizing. Later, I found an original of that poster in a gallery out in LA and showed it to a local muralist Byron Peck, who agreed to reproduce the image for us on the 40-foot high wall,” said Dmitri.|
Since opening the original Dacha, we are the Dacha family – the team who helped build the brand and customers who have and continue to support us. Together, we are on a journey to make a difference. We are committed to giving back to the communities where we do business. Whether it is through partnering with local businesses, hosting an event, in-kind donations, or volunteer work, we are working to improve the neighborhoods we call home.
When time came to decide how to decorate the three-story wall of the adjacent building, Ilya and Dmitri viewed it as an opportunity to brand the new neighborhood that was going through a renaissance.
“When you see an image of Marilyn Monroe painted on a side of the building on Connecticut Avenue in northwest DC, you know exactly what it is and where it is from. We wanted to create something as iconic,” says Ilya.
Liz Taylor was an easy choice. An iconic figure herself, through her work with and support of Whitman Walker Clinic during the 1980s AIDS epidemic, she was instrumental in saving lives of those who lived in Shaw and elsewhere in our city. The mural was a tribute.
We look forward to continuing to bring joy, inspiration, and, of course, delicious food and beverages to the Washington, DC community in the years to come! We value your feedback and engagement.
Whatever it takes – at Dacha, your Gemütlichkeit is our biggest priority!