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Bar Review: The Dubliner

Submitted by on October 25, 2009 – 11:36 AMNo Comment
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The Dubliner
520 N Capitol St./4 F St. NW
Washington, DC

Hours: Sun. – Thurs.   11 AM – 1:30 AM

Fri. – Sat.    11AM – 2:30 AM

***Also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and brunch on weekends.

Best time to visit: Any time (mellow at meals, a bit more lively after dark).

There is a need for real Pub atmosphere near our nation’s domed Capitol, and the Dubliner fills it.  It is as close as one needs to get to a genuine Irish Pub, despite Capitol Hill prices.

dublinerOkay, the prices are not over-the-top, considering the location – near both the seat of Congress and Union Station – and the ambience.  But if you want a quick cheap pint, this is not your place.  If you want a beautifully-poured pint in a supremely elegant setting, make yourself at home.

The bar area is something out of Victorian times, woody and idyllic.  The array of taps on display adds to this glory, for any fan of the beers of the British Isles.  The Guinness is as good as any this side of Boston, and is backed up by a reasonable selection of other beers, from the US and from across the waves.

The Dubliner also is the first bar on this side of the Atlantic to offer Kilkenny – another Irish brew which is common abroad, but unique here.  It is a fine beer – not exceptional, but surely worth a taste.

Less worthwhile, at least for Guinness aficionados, is the Guinness 250.  Unlike Nitrogen-dispensed Guinness, the 250 comes from a standard CO2 tap, and tastes no more like Guinness than it does any other stout you’ll come across.  It is a perfectly drinkable beer, to be sure, but someone hoping for some kind of “Super-Guinness” will be disappointed – especially after dropping $7 for a pint.

The food is what one would expect from a pub established ages ago by the son of a genuine Irish immigrant.  It is the real thing, and Pub fans will appreciate all the traditional Irish-American favorites, from Beef Stew to Shepherd’s Pie.  Not every pub can claim to draw people just for the food, but the Dubliner has that appeal.

The crowd here consists largely of business folks, still in their suits and ties after a hard day’s policy making.  Don’t be afraid; they tend to keep to themselves.  There is also a separate dining area to enjoy a meal without the activity around the main bar, but a smaller bar tending the dining room can be just as busy.

This is the curse of a successful business, but the enjoyment of dining or downing a pint at the Dubliner never suffers due to its popularity.

Pros: Style; Friendly staff; Good beer and food.

Cons: A good pint shouldn’t need to cost more than $5.

Rating:  4 out of 5