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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
Washington, DC