Which Washington Bar Landed on Esquire’s “Best Bars in America” List?

We’re pretty sure it’s Kelly’s Irish Times.

Photograph by Flickr user cp_thornton.

Esquire drinks correspondent David Wondrich returns to Washington for the magazine’s annual “Best Bars in America” list. His favorite: Kelly’s Irish Times, though Wondrich may have sipped enough Bushmills to confuse the pub with neighboring Capitol Hill institution the Dubliner

“This is the kind of place where a president will take his annual Saint Paddy’s Day sip o’ Guinness,” says Wondrich. “If D.C. had an official designated dive, this would be it.”

Though past presidents may have dropped by Kelly’s at one point or another, it was the Dubliner a few doors down where President Obama famously dropped in for a pint of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day. That’s not to say Kelly’s isn’t deserving of the award, and we agree with Wondrich—stiff pours of whiskey are the way to go. 

Unlike last year, when six Washington watering holes graced the list, Kelly’s remains the sole spot in 2014’s roundup. If you feel like taking Wondrich’s lead and venturing further afield, he also highlights the Roosevelt in Richmond and Baltimore’s Rye (“Redeeming Fell’s Point, one cocktail at a time. Okay, more than one. Hey, it’s Baltimore.”). 

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.