Local absinthe, barrel-aged cocktails, toasts and charcuterie coming to Ashburn Whole Foods

The Whole Foods Market opening in Ashburn, Virginia, will be the first in the D.C. area to serve spirits, along with beer and wine. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)

ASHBURN, Va. — When Loudoun County’s first Whole Foods Market opens on July 29, customers will be able to purchase more than groceries — they’ll be able to grab a gin cocktail.

The 45,000 square-foot store, located in Ashburn’s Belmont Chase shopping center, is the first in the D.C. area to have a pub that serves spirits, along with beer and wine.

A Sazerac featuring rye from local distillery Catoctin Creek and absinthe from Middleburg’s Mt. Defiance is on the pub’s menu of signature cocktails, as is a mango cardamom punch bowl to share with friends.

Dana Stanley, regional coffee coordinator for Whole Foods Market, says the pub is meant to serve as a gathering place for the community. There will be trivia night on Tuesdays, a weekday happy hour, live music on the pub’s patio and board games available for public use.

“We wanted to tie into the community and connect there, so that the customers in the area will feel like this is their neighborhood bar and a place that they can come and really feel at home and feel like they’re getting something special,” Stanley says.

In addition to Catoctin Creek and Mt. Defiance, the bar will feature rye and gin from Copper Fox Distillery out of Sperryville, Virginia, and beer from Ashburn’s Lost Rhino Brewing Company.

“It’s all about honoring and celebrating the suppliers you can find right here,” says Katie Malloy, regional public relations manager for Whole Foods Market. “Having a bar like this is really an opportunity to do that and really play around with it.”

In-house barrel-aged cocktails will also be available, as will a special raspberry-basil collaboration beer, made by Old Ox Brewery and Whole Foods Market Ashburn’s beer specialists.

“We want you to forget that you’re in a grocery store,” says Amy Gomez, regional specialty coordinator for Whole Foods Market.

The grocery store vibe might seem like a hard concept to shake, but the bar’s etched vintage cocktail coupes and comfy leather reading chairs will sure help. So will a food menu that has everything from more refined plates (house-cured charcuterie boards and toast “flights”), to traditional pub fare (tater tots loaded with bacon and cheese and house-made guacamole and chips).

Of course, customers can also bring anything from the store’s prepared-foods section into the pub, including the fried-to-order doughnuts, special to the Ashburn store.

On the second floor of the pub/café area, a new food concept will be showcased nightly. An oyster-shucking station or a cart serving specialty sandwiches are a few examples of what the store has planned.

“We’re going to be the place to go; everybody’s going to want to be here, and that’s our goal,” says Jillian Phifer, the marketing team lead for Whole Foods Market Ashburn.

Whole Foods Ashburn opens on July 29 at 9 a.m. The pub will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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