Bier Magazine
Home » bar reviews, maryland

Bar Review: McGinty’s Public House

Submitted by on October 26, 2009 – 11:47 AMNo Comment
Bookmark and Share

McGinty’s Public House
911 Ellsworth Dr.
Silver Spring, MD

Hours: Sun. – Thurs.   11 AM – 1 AM

Fri. – Sat.         11 AM– 1:30 AM

***Quiz:  Mondays: 7 – 9:30 PM

(Happy hour ends at seven, so get there early for ½-price bar chow.  Happy Hour also features $1 off drafts; Sam Adams stays on special all night.)

So-called “Irish Pubs” often receive excessive criticism, and why not?  They tend to be generic, over-priced, and often have no connection to Ireland beyond Guinness on tap and an “O” preceding the bar’s name.

McGinty'sOr, in this case, a “Mc.”  McGinty’s is one of those pubs, to a point.  It is little pricey unless you’re there at Happy Hour.  It is also a tad artificial; it faces a pedestrian mall out the front, and adjoins a shopping mall in the back. – hardly evoking sensations reminiscent of a visit to the Green Isle.  The existence of another McGinty’s branch not far away (in Virginia) further saps its credibility as a genuine Local Pub.

But, if one puts these gut-reactions to the side, there is ambience – desperately needed in the friendly-but-suburban heart of Silver Spring – and, thankfully, the Guinness isn’t half bad.

It offers what you would expect of an Irish Pub, in that there is beer, along with friendly service, and all your Pub favorites pouring forth from the kitchen. Taps are varied and good, and a dollar off during Happy Hour renders them reasonably priced.  There is also considerable space.  The minute dining area around the bar downstairs belies the huge dining room and bar upstairs.

This is what sets McGinty’s apart.

The dining room serves as a tasteful country restaurant, and suddenly the prices of the dishes seem reasonable – the difference between a nice restaurant and a standard bar.

The massive space devoted to the upstairs bar is also put to good use.  Several TVs allow additional seating for big games of all sorts, from NFL and Rugby to proper football, if you will.  But several nights a week there is also music – often for free – and, best of all, there is a Pub Quiz, each and every Monday at 7:00.

This is a great way to spend a Monday evening – even if you work, since it generally wraps up by 9:30.  Though presented by an outside concern (Brainstormer Quizzes), the hostess (or “Quiz Mistress,” as she unapologetically introduces herself) provides personality and individuality to the proceedings.

7 rounds (or so) of about 10 questions each (sometimes more, sometimes less, often with various “bonus points”) cover categories from straight-forward general knowledge to music, films, and celebrities, some sports and history, and a weekly “special round,” which could be anything from Award Ceremonies Gaffes to Natural Disasters.  The variety keeps it interesting, and prizes (certificates for credit at the bar) for the top three teams and one randomly-chosen “also-ran”) mean everyone has a chance.

So, Irish Pubs have their good and bad points.  But, in the heart of quiet Silver Spring, it’s not a bad thing to be able to step off the sidewalk and grab a decent pint, and test your knowledge of otherwise-useless information.

Pros:    Good crowd, good beer; location (central).

Cons:   Pricey (aside from specials and Happy Hour); location (mall).

Ratings: Bar: 3 out of 5     Quiz: 4 out of 5