Urbana is a hip wine bar with an award-winning happy hour and menu of Northern Mediterranean fare—but that’s only part of the story. The popular after-work destination is located in Dupont Circle, one of DC’s most vibrant and fashionable neighborhoods since the late 1800s. Given this location, the crowd inside is young and stylish, with a mix of locals and visitors enjoying artisan cocktails made with house-infused liquor and selections from an extensive wine list passionately curated by resident wine director Sean Quinlan. In the kitchen, chefs craft dishes from Northern Italy to Southern France, with fresh ingredients sourced from small, local farms and markets. Pastas include squid ink papardelle with maine lobster tail, while main courses feature roasted alina duck breast with celery root and grilled northeast swordfish with a black garlic puree. Nearly a dozen pizzas are also available, such as the prociutto arugula and the carne with hand-crushed tomato and sausage.
Urbana also distinguishes itself with its Earthcare program, for which they won the 2012 Mayor’s Sustainability Award. The tenets of this program—sustainability, conservation, efficiency, rooftop garden, green cleaning supplies, and soy inks and recycled paper—find their way into almost every aspect of the business. Produce and meat are organic and locally sourced, and their seafood selection adheres to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch standards. The staff pours organic and biodynamic wines, as well as organic, shade-grown, fair trade coffee. They also eliminated their use of bottled water, use 100% biodegradable packaging, recycle all glass, paper, and cardboard, turn cooking oils and grease into bio-diesel fuel, and compost 54,773 pounds of food scraps each year. Additionally, they grow a variety of herbs and vegetables, and clean the restaurant with eco-friendly cleaning products while humming tunes about the environment.