Russia House will not reopen in DC, but a seafood restaurant will (with oysters)

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Dupont Circle restaurant Russia House, which closed temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic, will not reopen, but an oyster bar and seafood restaurant by the same owners will open in at least part of the D.C. building’s space.

Brine Oyster and Seafood House will be the second location for the restaurant by co-owners Aaron McGovern and Arturas Vorobjovas, who opened the original Brine on H Street, Northeast in 2020.



The Dupont Circle location, in Russia House’s high-profile building at 1800 Connecticut Avenue, opens Feb. 3.

Like its sister restaurant, the new location will serve selections from the east and west coasts of North America, and other regions of the world. The menus and specials at Brine Dupont will differ slightly. Among staples will be whole Maine lobster available daily, a fresh catch of the day and plenty of oysters.

Dupont Circle restaurant Russia House, which closed temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic, will not reopen, but an oyster bar and seafood restaurant by the same owners will open in at least part of the building’s space.

While lots of surf is on the menu, there is room for a little turf, including a burger and a steak.

The nautical-themed restaurant seats 47 in two dining rooms and bar, with a couple of outside tables on a private patio.

Russia House opened as a private Russian American club in 1991. It has operated as a Russian restaurant with an Eastern European menu and vodka bar since 2003. It was known for the largest selection of vodkas in D.C., and for its big selection of caviar.

The Brine Oyster and Seafood House restaurant seats 47 in two dining rooms and bar, with a couple of outside tables on a private patio. (Brine Oyster and Seafood House, Google Street View)

Russia House was targeted by vandals on at least two occasions shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The restaurant, and its owners, have no ties to Russia, they have said.

“When the city started opening back up we were then faced with another pandemic of sorts, the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” McGovern said. “We experienced numerous accounts of vandalism and threats against our beloved Russia House. These unfortunate circumstances led to our decision not to reopen Russia House.”

Russia House downsized four years ago, and remodeled the upper levels into a Bed & Breakfast, “The Residence of Kalorama.”

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