Irish Whiskey opens

Irish Whiskey opens tonight in the former Porter’s Saloon space on 19th Street NW, offering 50 kinds of whiskey, live music and plenty of room to hang out.

Tonight marks the grand opening of Irish Whiskey, an Irish-themed tavern on 19th Street NW between M and N. You might have misgivings if I mention that (a) it’s by the owners of the Mighty Pint and (b) it’s in the old Porter’s space. But it probably isn’t the party bar you might be expecting. There are no shamrocks on the walls, no leprechaun-themed cocktails. You can try 50 kinds of Irish whiskeys, however — there are seven varieties of Jameson, including the 18-year-old Limited Reserve, which will set you back $16 per shot taste. (Sorry, when it’s that expensive, you won’t want to drink it too quickly.)

The building’s three spacious levels have been redone with slightly different themes, though there are commonalities, including acres of exposed brick, gleaming wood fixtures, paintings of whiskey bottles (and a portrait of boxer John L. Sullivan, for whom a famous whiskey is named) and Irish plaids covering the banquettes and seats. The basement-level Dublin room, with a long bar along one wall and a houndstooth-checked ceiling, is where an Irish fiddler will play on Thursday nights and acoustic musicians on Fridays and Saturdays. The more spacious main bar features a wall covered with butts of whiskey barrels and more seating; the bay window looking out onto 19th Street will be a prime spot. But I think the coziest space is the upstairs Dublin Room, with its corner bar, gas fireplace, huge couches and plenty of boxy little (plaid) seats to perch on.

Fourteen taps include your standard Guinness/Magner’s/Harp/Smithwick’s ($6 each), and there are dozens more in bottles. A cocktail list features Irish-made vodkas and liqueurs as well as whiskey; I’d suggest the Big Fella (named after IRA leader Michael Collins), a variation on a whiskey-and-ginger with Michael Collins whiskey, orange bitters and fresh lemon, or the sweet, citrusy Brotherhood, with Michael Collins and Grand Marnier. For snacking, grab a bowl of the house-made pretzel chips and tangy mustard dip. Perfect with a pint.

Source: Fritz Hahn, washingtonpost.com

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