Random DC Summer Outings – Drink with Pirates (By Robyn)


Piratz Tavern, Silver Spring, MD, originally uploaded by Michael Saffle.

Robyn returns with a new series, Random DC Summer Outings. If you have any suggestions please email princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dot)com

What’s in grog?

“It’ll git yer drunk!” my waitress piped with a post Renaissance-by-way-of-Baltimore accent.

When at Piratz Tavern, a place themed after all things piratey (the Johnny Depp kind, not the Somalian tween kind), do as Pirates do. I ordered, took a sip, and figured out exactly what was in grog: dark rum mixed with more rum, splash of ginger beer, maybe cough syrup/WD40, topped off with rum.

I heard about this place through a random rumor (“supposedly there’s this bar in Maryland where you can drink grog and sing about it at the same time”), but didn’t actually believe it existed. I mean, are Pirates still cool enough to sustain a restaurant? Are they the pioneers behind the next genre of food? Will it be worked into our food vernacular as in on a lazy Friday night when deciding where to eat I will turn to my friend and say something like “where do you want to eat tonight? There’s the Italian joint, I could go for Indian, or what do you think about Pirate?”

I hope so. Because Piratz Tavern is shamelessly cool. A mishmash of unburied treasure line the walls and the bartenders have tattoos, nicotine teeth, dangly earrings and scowls. What makes them cool is that these people really are pirates. The waitress – who I was amazed could breathe or see above her hoisted chest in that corset – is part of a pirate troupe that plays music on the back patio. By music I mean wonderfully raunchy songs that delve deep into pirate vulgarity. And if you don’t raise your grog glass when they tell you to, they put you as the butt of the joke in their next song about an unfortunately impotent pirate or unfortunate looking wench.

As for the moderately-priced seafaring menu –thai mussels are good, as is jerk chicken sandwich. Don’t drink more than 1 mug of grog if you want to be able to stand up, though they’ll encourage you to keep ordering to develop a tolerance only a real Pirate could have.

Piratz Tavern
8402 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20910

20 Comment

  • Sounds like the pirate version of Medieval Times!

  • Uh oh – this is metro accessible. Is it more bar or more restaurant?

    If it is what I picture (some place to get sloppy, sing songs and ARRRRRGGGGG my lungs out), then I have no shame in saying this sounds like the coolest place in the Washington area.

  • I’ll just say this—the loop of pirate songs that is playing constantly on the speakers is worse than the “it’s a small world” ride. But its f*ing pirate themed. You get what’s advertised.

  • Arrrrrrg matey. I went there once. If you eat there frequently, I hear you get scurvy or grow a peg leg and a wooden parrot on your shoulder.

  • I freaking LOVE this place. Seriously, the grog will get you wrecked in short time, and the food’s good.

    Jimmy D – it’s definitely a restaurant, but also definitely a bar. I would say, however, eating there is advised if you don’t want the grog to knock you on your, um, booty.

  • I love this place – have been going since it opened, and have spent Talk Like A Pirate Day and many birthdays there. The service can be slow but is always pirate-tastic. I love the stew, the piri piri chicken, the grog, and the bread’s surprisingly good.

    Beware the grog, though. I’ve seen my fiance drunk maybe four times. Twice at Piratz Tavern.

  • Arrrrr! She blows!

    Piratz Tavern is a cheesy way to blow a few bucks on beers, but the food is worse than Hitler. Or Long John Silver. Or something. And the schtick wears thin after the second visit. Yeah, it’s a couple blocks from the Silver Spring Metro, so at least you won’t kill anyone on the road on the way back home. About the best I can say is that the jerk chicken didn’t give me diarrhea.

  • I once had a hookup with a guy named Aaaaaarnold from there. Aside from the scurvy he wasn’t that bad. The peg leg definitely made things interesting…

  • I’m the above mentioned fiance and have to say the Pirate Bar is one of my favorite places, it’s just a shame it’s so far from where I am currently.
    There are rumors that the galley crew rotates frequently, so some dishes have a range from visit to visit, but always delicious are the Prego no Pao, Mussels, Piri Piri and the grog.

    @Jimmy D
    A bit of both to be honest. The back is all bar. Tight quarters, meet your neighbor, everyone drinks together sloppy fun. The front seats more as a family restaurant, and plays well with kids and visiting parents too. Likewise, the bawdy balladeers keep everything PG up front.

  • Piratz Tavern is pretty sweet. my take away:

    – food is good!
    – it’s family-friendly up front, so go later and sit in the bar if you want to get rowdy
    – Definitely go when the PIRATE MINSTRELS are there, drink some grog (one will leave you buzzed, if not hammered), and sing along with piratey tunes about wenches and yardarms. rumor has it that the pirate bandsman with the eye patch actually lost his eye during a pirate play-swordfight.

  • True to the pirate theme, my waitress even swindled me out of some money by triple-charging my debit card! Yay.

  • Piratz Tavern is a good place to enjoy a strong novelty beverage served by waiters in period costume (think freecreditreport.com commercial – http://tinyurl.com/cjkwcw). That said, I lack faith in any establishment that places its possessive or plural grammar in the hands of the letter ‘z’ and their lack luster seafood and overpriced beer options readily reinforce this belief. When it comes to the dives of Silver Spring I will always opt for a night across the street at the Quarry House.




  • Their Spicy Chorizo will really light a fire on yer poop deck! Arrrr!

  • It’s where the Renfest crew hangs out in the off season.

  • The Grog is totally awesome. The wife and friend went for drinks for the first time a couple of weeks ago. We live in Silver Spring and we couldn’t stop asking ourselves how it was possible we’ve never been there before? Good times. Plus…if you get sick of the pirate music and awkward interactions with the pirate staff, you can always stumble accross the street to Quarry House Tavern (Dog fish head 90 minute IPA on tap!).

  • Certainly not one of my favorite bars, and not even my favorite in Silver Spring, but it’s an amuzing place to stop into for a drink once in awhile, especially on a Saturday afternoon, when it’s happy hour all day (half-price grog and various other ridiculously strong drinks from 12-7:30).

  • @Carragher If you’d like to stick with a nautical theme (though certainly milder than Piratz), Argonaut on H St. has 90 minute on tap (as well as decent dark and stormies).

  • The thing that weirds me out about the pirate bar is the people who are dressed as pirates that don’t actually get paid to dress as pirates who seem to be there every Friday night.

  • @Oregonian One-Eyed Mike did indeed lose his eye during a choreographed sword fight.

    And thanks for the shout-out! Come back and watch us make fools of ourselves anytime! 😉

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