I imagine that if Willy Wonka had made a foray into the world of baked goods his creations would have been much like fanciful creations of Barrack Row’s The Sweet Lobby. Upon entering The Sweet Lobby my brother and I were inundated with images of colorful spun sugar perfection. I can imagine readers rolling their eyes at the prospect of yet another DC cupcakery. Bear with me; The Sweet Lobby distinguishes itself in more ways than one. The Sweet Lobby is tiny, with a great deal of space being devoted to what is truly important: sweet treats. The shop quickly becomes crowded on Saturday afternoons lending to a charmingly communal atmosphere among the customers, all wide-eyed and excited with anticipation at the selection of treats. The lighting in this boutique bakery is very low, with ceiling lights that highlight the splendiferous selection of cupcake perfection. On a daily basis they offer the usual selection of vanilla, chocolate, carrot, and red velvet to name a few. It is when owners Winnette and Timothy McIntosh step off the beaten path that the Sweet Lobby truly shines. Straight from their Cupcake Lab (yes, with chemical engineer degrees from MIT, these people take their cupcakes very seriously) you’re presented with flavors such as Mexican Dark Chocolate, Passion Fruit White Chocolate, and Mango Mousse.
In even more impressive deviation from the norm, the owners of The Sweet Lobby have offered customers the opportunity to express their creative side; allowing them to order their own concoctions from the lab. Of course you’re thinking: a cupcake is a cupcake is a cupcake. The first bite into a Sweet Lobby cupcake will force you to reassess that mantra. Where others have left succulent moist cake, the artists and engineers of The Sweet Lobby, decided to fill those cupcakes with pure happiness in the form of sweet-potato, caramel, and other flights of fancy. I had the vanilla toffee cupcake on my visit, and was present with a flavorful moment of pure perfection. Patrons will be further amazed by cocktail cupcakes offered in flavors such as amaretto, Irish cream, and rum raisin.
The Sweet Lobby cupcakes are only overshadowed by the colorful offerings of Parisian macaroons, that sit stacked behind glass, mercilessly taunting patrons with a cacophony of flavors such as lavender, salted caramel, and cappuccino.
If this weren’t enough to ensure a dedicated following, the owners of The Sweet Lobby, took the delights of macaroons and filled cupcakes and put them together into a wildly imaginative confection that they call a MacTop. As advertised by The Sweet Lobby: “You don’t have to choose”. The MacTop made its debut while The Sweet Lobby competed on the Food Network show: Cupcake Wars.
Their first appearance found them with a decided victory and a place in the Cupcake Wars hall of fame. The general consensus among the DC set is that they were robbed of the win on their second appearance. I have not seen the MacTop yet, but am awaiting it’s release with bated breath. At trip to The Sweet Lobby on Saturday afternoon to obtain a cupcake and a macaroon, perhaps even a MacTop, followed by a walk around Eastern Market can only be described as the way that God meant us all to spend our sunny summer afternoons.