This Year, Resolve to Spend a Charming Night Out at Kelly’s Irish Times

Kelly's Irish Times

Irish you were here: Kelly’s Irish Times stands proudly – though perhaps not too conspicuously – amid its larger, shinier neighbors on F Street. (cp_thornton via Flickr)

Yes, once in a while I even eat at the places I write about, attend a show at a venue I highlight, or use something I tout. Today, I’ll feature one such place: Capitol Hill’s Kelly’s Irish Times (though they do sport a Northwest address).

This pub seems like it’s been around forever, though I’m not sure just how long. The following paragraph will give you a little clue on some of the backstory of this storied pub:

Known the world over, not only for being one of the most celebrated Irish Pub’s in America, but for Kelly’s famous wall. With over 100+ years of history gracing this facade, you see details such as 1930’s Dublin Police Patches; one-of-a-kind unopened beer bottles from the 1800s; antique galvanized ice buckets from Glascow; torn Redskins Superbowl tickets, Sonny Jurgensen autographs and a multitude of celebrity/politician what-nots.*

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(As you can see, this website blurb is quite informative and interesting in terms of copyediting. I encourage you to read the asterisked paragraph at the end of the post for a detailed explanation of why that is.)

So yes, Kelly’s Irish Times is quite a place, a truly old-school Irish pub with a closet-sized men’s bathroom in furious need of renovation.

View Larger Map Kelly’s Irish Times
14 F St., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001

When I went there recently with a friend, I had a cheeseburger and fries ($8, but I have to say, while the burger was good and rare how I ordered it, the portion of French fries was pathetic). Here’s their menu, which stocks both pub grub and “Irish Classics” like Guinness Irish Stew ($11) and Tavern Steak (with fries), which is topped with Jameson Irish Whiskey butter ($15). For what it’s worth, they also have fish tacos ($9).

Our waitress was a nice, charming young girl who worked on the Hill, and who was also nice enough to chat with us and suggest a Belgian white I can’t remember the name of. But it came in a can that looked suspiciously like an energy drink. It tasted like … a Belgian white ale. I of course had a Smithwick’s beforehand, being in an Irish bar and all. The place wasn’t very crowded, which was unusual (or so I thought) for a Friday night. I’ve been there when it’s packed.

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My friend and I shared some tasty nachos after our meal, which of course isn’t on their online menu.

The site says Pete Papageorge takes the stage Thursday-Saturday from 9 p.m. until close; they also claim to have a world-class jukebox. The place has been listed as one of the “Top 10 Irish Pubs in the U.S.” at, so a trip here is worth it.

Kelly’s Irish Times is conveniently located a short walk from Union Station, which of course boasts a Metrorail stop on the Red Line by the same name.

So come out to Capitol Hill for a lucky time, and if you like what you see, maybe you’ll stay for a while.

*In the website blurb, you’ll see they used an apostrophe with “1930s” and “Pubs” (and unnecessarily capped the “P” for good measure) when they shouldn’t have, though those are common enough mistakes. And “what-nots” should be whatnots, also somewhat excusable … though not really. But to misspell Glasgow, however, is pretty unforgivable for a pub whose ancestral home is across the North Channel from Scotland. They also misspelled Super Bowl, making it one word, which I assume to be a common error as well. And I’ll let them slide on “over” instead of “more than,” partly because, even though I prefer the latter before a number, experts themselves disagree on the topic. I’ll also give them a pass on the use of “+” instead of “plus.” Whether this is a rare instance of editorial goodwill or a one-time effort to be less persnickety, I’m not sure. On the other hand, and I always try to be fair, they spelled Sonny Jurgensen right, made the right call on both “1800s” and “one-of-a-kind,” and they used their semicolons correctly. While I myself am not a fan of such usage in a list unless the clauses are so long as to be confusing – preferring the cleaner comma – the fact that they were grammatically correct here wins them back some points.

Boy, that part about “over” and “more than,” as well as the comma and semicolon being equally correct shows you how hard it must be to learn English as a second language. It would be like me learning Chinese, only not as funny. You may ask why I insist on correcting grammar once in a while on here. Well, BECAUSE I CAN. The English language is important to me, whether we’re in the age of cutesy cyber acronyms or not.

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Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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