Remember Porter’s, the Dupont s**thole that even off-shift dancers from Camelot stayed away from? My fondest memory of the bar was getting kicked out one Saturday night for being a destitute college grad who smuggled in my own beer. With those days long gone, both myself and the space at 19th and M have regained some dignity.
The guys behind Mighty Pint have completely revamped the location into Irish Whiskey Public House, which boasts a bar stocked with over 50 Irish whiskeys and offers a menu of contemporary Irish-American cuisine. With three levels of green plaid banquettes, protruding whiskey barrels and funky pulley-affixed light fixtures, it gives new meaning to the term “rustic chic”…if that term even exists.
While I expected nothing less than fabulousness out of the cocktails (special shout-out to the Irish Triathlon for effortlessly taking the edge off: a light Irish creme concoction accompanied by vodka and Celtic Crossing honey liqueur), the big surprise came with the bar snacks and menu items, which surpasses a lot of the “bar food” I’ve tasted in the city.
Highlights were the comforting house-made pretzel bites with a spicy mustard dipping sauce, on which I overdosed as a preemptive tactic against the whiskey-induced spike in my blood alcohol content; the pan seared filet mignon with a perfectly crisp cheddar potato cake in a silky Jameson whiskey cream sauce, which I wouldn’t mind putting on everything I eat from now on; and the large, succulent fried oysters with a delightful crunchy coating.
Even though the creepily charming fox hanging near the door may startle you upon entering, Irish Whiskey Public House has something for everyone, including a violinist playing cheery Irish folk tunes in the basement bar a couple nights a week and reasonably-priced quality whiskeys. Except for the Knappogue Castle 1951, which costs $177 a shot and would force me to return to my old ways–only this time I’d be smart enough to go with the ever inconspicuous airplane bottle.
Photo: Lisha Yates
Irish Whiskey Public House
1207 19th Street, NW
Lisha grew up in her potty-mouthed grandma’s soulful kitchen, asked for a bread-maker on her 11th birthday, loves whiskey and once ate a whole spit-roasted guinea pig in Ecuador. Lisha has been a GMF contributor since 2011, and now lives in Oakland, CA, where the intersection of food, identity, and community has sparked her interest in sustainable and equitable dining. When she’s not working as a finance professional and dance instructor, Lisha is side-hustling as a biscuit entrepreneur.