JUNCTION BAKERY CAPITOL HILL
About this project
Project: Junction Bistro, Bar and Bakery
Opening Date: March 1st, 2020
Address: 238 Massachusetts Avenue NE, DC
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Total Square Footage: 3,100 square feet
Seat Count: 15 bar seats, 42 indoor seats, 30 outdoor seats (87 total)
Located just steps away from Washington, D.C.’s bustling Union Station — amongst bars, hotels and historic residences — is Junction Bistro, Bar and Bakery. This Capitol Hill location marks the brand’s second outpost, following the established Alexandria, Virginia space.
Inspired by the concept of ‘monumental artisans’—the people and physical structures behind the great buildings of Washington, D.C.— multidisciplinary architecture and design firm //3877 examined the contextuality of the locale when strategizing its design approach for the eatery’s newest location. Celebrating the ‘nitty-gritty’ materials of the built environment, Junction’s design prioritizes a pared-down, eclectic aesthetic, favoring reds, blues and natural wood tones; red tile is a nod to the timeless history of the Capitol Hill brick, and the inclusion of natural wood brings warmth. Navy blue balances this warmth, in addition to acknowledging the District’s political history.
The 42-seat restaurant, which has an additional 15 seats at the bar and 30 outside, embraces the aesthetic of the original Junction outpost, known for its relaxed, neighborhood bistro-vibe. In the long, narrow space, colors and textures are layered to create a sense of depth throughout the length of the room. At the front sits the main bakery counter and cozy banquette, where patrons can pick up a coffee and fresh pastries. Enameled countertops and reclaimed wood sourced by the owner defines the bakery and coffee zone. Retail shelving flanking the entry to the bar and main dining space creates a threshold from pick-up/bakery to restaurant and bar. The 15-seat bar acts as the anchor of the bakery/bistro space, wrapping around the space in its entirety.
Progressing through the space, loose seating is adjacent to the open expo line, providing a peek into the activity in the kitchen. At the back space, the community table provides a cozy nook with a backdrop of original exposed brick, and a hand-painted mural by artist Selene Mendez.
Furthering the ‘monumental artisans’ concept, exposed rebar is utilized throughout the restaurant and bar areas, working as a double-duty material that is simultaneously practical and ornamental. Climbing the wall into the ceiling to solidify the structure into the building itself, the rebar also appears as the bar footrest and retail shelving. Decorative tin ceiling tiles are used as the face of the bar front, providing texture and continuing the language of decorative utilitarianism.
Junction Bistro, Bar and Bakery is lit with generous, natural light, and the expansive windows are framed by rich red pattern tiles. Whimsical painted bentwood seating dresses the main dining space, and the custom marble mosaic tabletops have an artisan quality–the perfect backdrop for that Instagram shot.
The zinc bar top with decorative edge detailing is a nod to the decorative nature of materials found throughout the Capitol Hill area. The chalkboard, located near the restrooms, not only references the original Junction Bakery, but also encourages community engagement by allowing patrons to scribble, draw, and share messages.
Junction’s design is a celebration of Capitol Hill’s unique architecture. Defined by its strong architectural elements and simultaneously delicate construction details, //3877 mirrored this dichotomy found within the city to create a bistro, bar, and bakery that is equal parts eclectic as it is inviting and familiar.