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Excuse me, have you seen my pub?

  • r

Another thread got me thinking - where IS a nice normal pub with good food around here? You know, like Four Fields without the...I don't know, what is it I don't like about that place? Or Stoney's but with a better...atmosphere. I'm pretty sure what Stoney's is lacking is atmosphere.

I mean, okay, a certain kind of pub/bar can be found. I like Pour House. It's rowdy. It's fun. I like Wonderland - good beer selection, great patio. And then there is the "beer lounge." But sometimes, I DO want to go somewhere where the staff clears the tables, but I don't want to go somewhere with (ack!) a line. I want, you know, a place to go with friends OR on a date. Where you're just as likely to go for dinner as for drinks.

You know, I think the one place I've been that had the right feel I'm looking for is Columbia Firehouse. But they only had the big long bar - no bar tables. But the restaurant atmosphere was great - cozy. I almost like the basement at Paradiso in Georgetown, but again, no booths or tall tables. Any thoughts? I feel like I always end up at some Clyde's. Again. Ugh.

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  1. The Ugly Mug on Capitol Hill.

    The Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan.

    Also have heard good things about The Reef and Madam's Organ, but I haven't been.

    The Black Squirrel
    2427 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    Madam's Organ Restaurant & Bar
    2461 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      The Reef is also a good suggestion.

      1. re: hill food

        A bit too preppy for my tastes. That goes for Georgetown in general these days. I still miss Mac's Pipe and Drum at 34th and M, the Shamrock, Charing Cross, JJ's and all the other dives of yore. Is J Paul's still around? The Hawk and Dove?

        Hawk and Dove
        329 Penn SE, Washington, DC

        J Paul's
        3218 M. St. N.W., Washington, DC 20007

        1. re: flavrmeistr

          flavr: HawknDove is still going strong.

      2. Well if you like Columbia Firehouse youll probably like Logan Tavern. Big Hunt (dont expect much on the food but its got everything else you are looking for). RFD? Royal Mile Pub sounds a lot like what you are describing but thats way out in Wheaton. Back in town, maybe Iron Horse Tap Room? Toy Land perhaps but avoid it late on weekends when it fills up with hipsters. And check out Little Miss Whiskey's Golden Dollar if your idea of "atmosphere" leans more toward the eclectic. Not sure about the food but they have a beer selection you would never expect in a place like this. But I think the place you are really describing is Max's. Interesting pub level food. Rowdy but friendly. Cozy but has multiple bars upstairs and downstairs, front and back. Plenty of bar seating and bar table seating. And not at all chain-like. Real character and one of the best beer selections on the east coast. Unfortunately its in Baltimore...

        Royal Mile Pub
        2407 Price Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

        Logan Tavern
        1423 P St NW, Washington, DC 20005

        The Big Hunt
        1345 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

        1 Reply
        1. re: Insidious Rex

          Rex: while I like RFD, it's a little hard-edged and industrial for some tastes in the atmosphere department. but in that area after a few belts you have a ton of dinner options. and if on a date, a little back and forth over what kind of food can be a useful eye-opener or confirmation depending on the outcome.

        2. You are looking for Lola in Eastern Market.

          Also maybe try Bourbon in Adams Morgan.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Elyssa

            Lola's is cool, but haven't tried Ted's or Chesapeake in that same stretch, wondering how they stack up.

            1. re: Elyssa

              Ah, okay, looks like I'm due back in Eastern Market. And I do really like Bourbon - almost exactly the kind of place I was thinking of. You know, the kind of place you could go on a date, not just with friends, but not where it's actually a restaurant.

              I would just like to add, also, that I would probably not take a date to RFD unless I was planning on sitting on the patio. I wouldn't say the atmosphere is industrial...I would say it's more like a dining hall. School cafeteria. You know what I mean. With bad service.

              1. re: Elyssa

                I just looked up Lola's and realized it's *that* place. YES. That is exactly the kind of place I'm looking for.

                1. re: Raids

                  The only downside to Lola's is that it is *tiny.* As in, it seats maybe 30 people, max. which sometimes makes it hard to get in.

              2. In Gaithersburg I like both Dogfish Head and Growlers. Both have excellent beer and above-average bar food, and the bartenders are friendly at both.

                I do, however, really miss Dr. Dremos. I'm not sure it 100% qualified as a "pub" but it was definitely one of the more fun places to get a drink.

                1. Penn Quarter Sports Tavern, 7th and Indiana. Beer, TVs, bar food

                  Penn Quarter Sports Tavern
                  639 Indiana Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

                  1. I like a lot of these recommendations, and will just add Churchkey on 14th.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: katecm

                      Oh yeah, I love that place. On Sunday. But it is the beer *lounge* I was referring to in the OP. To be honest, I suppose Bourbon has more of that vibe also.

                      Anyway, I can't really take Churchkey without a table or a spot at the bar where you're just standing around, and I really like it on Sunday when you can talk to the bartenders and try out some interesting beers.

                      Another place I'm thinking of now that people are making suggestions? The Science Club on the main floor. But the bar area in front tends to get filled up with kind of obnoxious types sometimes. Still, they have a nice atmosphere on the main floor.

                      1. re: Raids

                        Have you been to Dodge City? A good place to sit at the bar and chat up the bartender. I've actually never gone upstairs because I've always been able to snag a spot at the bar - but that's usually around 8ish or 9ish.

                        1. re: Raids

                          what I like about Science Club (esp if on a date) are the tiny 2 person booths

                          1. re: hill food

                            How about downstairs at Darlington House? It has decent, though not mind-blowing beer selection, but it also comes as close to Cheers as you can come in real life.

                            Darlington House
                            Washington, DC, Washington, DC

                            1. re: katecm

                              That sounds *perfect* Thanks so much - I've never run across the place.

                      2. I like Irish Times. It's very close to work, they pour a good pint of Guinness and I love their fish and chips.

                        1. What about Eatbar? It used to be pretty crowded, but is less so now that there are so many other places in Clarendon, has tables, decent menu. Cocktails aren't the same since Gina left, but...