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Balkan-Themed Basement Bar and Cafe ‘Baba’ to Open in Clarendon

(Updated on Friday at 5:06 p.m.) Clarendon restaurant Ambar will open a sister cafe, restaurant and cocktail lounge called Baba next week.

The business, named after the Serbian word for grandmother, is slated to open in the basement level of 2901 Wilson Blvd by Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Owner Ivan Iricanin said the new hangout is meant to conjure the kind of warm, homey feeling one might get when visiting their grandmother’s house.

“You get fed well, you get treated well, you always have a fire,” Iricanin said. “It’s a rustic feel, but very comfortable.”

In the morning, Baba’s chefs will whip up a breakfast and brunch menu that includes pastries, french toast, oatmeal, customizable grain and veggie bowls, sandwiches and La Colombe coffee. Then, later in the day, the lights dim and the spot becomes a spot for cocktails, sliders and music.

“Grandma here is a little bit modern and a little bit edgy,” Iricanin joked. “It’s very transformative.”

One of the eatery’s specialties will be Rakia, a boozy Balkan beverage made from distilled, fermented fruit juice. Patrons can also order cocktails made from various liquors alongside house-made tinctures and infusions and 20 kinds of wine from countries such as Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia.

“We want you to come here, drink cocktails, get a few bites of this, a few bites of that,” said Iricanin.

But it’s also the kind of place where patrons might want to hang out, he added. The restaurant will feature free Wi-Fi, and outlets with USB ports under every seat.

The 2,400-square foot interior, which was designed by Iricanin’s wife, Nya Gill, features a mix of vintage and modern materials, eclectic artwork and antique glass chandeliers. Going along with the comfortable theme, the bar also has a real working fireplace flanked by two leather “king chairs,” as Iricanin calls them.

“You won’t want to leave,” said Iricanin. “Again, think grandma.”

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As the summer winds down, it’s a great time to look forward to a creative fall! Art House 7 has a terrific selection of classes, for preschoolers to adults. Our fall session, starting September 6, offers painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, ceramics (including the wheel) and sewing. We have specialty classes such as Suminagashi, the ancient art of Japanese water marbling.

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