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Ri Ra Irish Pub Opens in Georgetown, Have a Look Inside and at the Menu

by Prince Of Petworth December 31, 2013 at 10:30 am 21 Comments

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3123-3125 M Street NW

Back in April we learned Ri Ra Irish Pub would be opening in the former Mie N Yu space in Georgetown. They’re now open. From a press release:

“Rí Rá Irish Pub (3123-3125 M Street, NW; 202-751-2111), destined to become Georgetown’s favorite gathering place, boasts cuisine that defies ‘Irish pub’ standards in the United States, a comprehensive beverage list and authentic Irish décor. The dining room and main bar are now open daily, beginning at 4pm on weekdays and 10am for brunch and dinner on weekends, with breakfast and lunch service scheduled to debut later in January. Rí Rá is also finalizing its Whiskey Room, a comfortable specialty bar upstairs, scheduled to open in mid-January as well, which will offer the most extensive Irish whiskey selection in the Washington area alongside a menu of modern Irish small plates.

The cuisine at Rí Rá Georgetown showcases the best of modern Ireland—the delights of traditional fare created with a nod towards the contemporary. Designed by Rí Rá Executive Chef Christian Struck, the Georgetown menu presents pub favorites, starters, carvery sandwiches and fresh salads, crafted with true Irish flair and prepared with local ingredients.

“Pub fare in general can be seen as drab and heavy; we work to create items that trend more toward comfort and work the lighter elements in where we can and where they make sense,” says Chef Struck of his cuisine.

What truly sets Rí Rá Georgetown apart is the not-so-traditional. The menu will change with the seasons, something new for the brand. Mouthwatering starters include organic Irish smoked salmon served with boxty blini, capers, pickled onion and lemon aïoli and stout mussels prepared with smoked bacon, Guinness, cream, fresh herbs and a crostini.

A selection of Chef Struck’s dishes may be enjoyed all day including Irish classics like shepherd’s pie—minced lamb, carrots, peas, leeks, savory gravy, and a mashed potato crust, and fish & chips—made only with the highest quality North Atlantic cod, served with freshly cut chips and house made tartar sauce—one of the many dishes served with Batchelor’s mushy peas, a homey Irish accompaniment. Guests looking for lighter options can find burgers and carvery sandwiches such as the Dubliner—a ground lamb & rosemary patty, with grilled red onion, goat cheese, topped with curry aïoli, and the publican Reuben—made with local Sweet Farm Sauerkraut, and traditional corned beef & cabbage.

Come late January, the lunch options will include a burger unique to Georgetown—the 202 with a beef patty, shaved rib, melted Swiss, caramelized onion and horseradish aïoli, served on a savory pretzel bun. In addition, the restaurant offers a healthy selection of salads. The Rí Rá is a succulent combination of cold smoked salmon, baby spinach, pickled onion, rasher, Irish Cashel Blue and lemon dressing.

Entrée offerings expand at dinner with roast pork made with apple & cider poached cranberries, champ and garlicky green beans, topped off with a Magners cider glaze, and roast chicken served with baby spinach & potato tart, spiked peach chutney and rosemary incense.

Guests can indulge with a menu dedicated to “sweet pots” after a meal. Delicious desserts include banoffe pie—sliced banana, house toffee, whipped cream and a biscuit crumb, and the trinity—Bailey’s chocolate mousse, Jameson whipped cream, topped off with decadent Guinness chocolate sauce. Stick around for a nightcap and choose from the extensive selection of Irish whiskeys and after-dinner drinks.

Brunch specialties will be available Saturday and Sunday starting at 10am. The menu boasts delectable sweet and savory options. The savory Quay’s waffle is topped with Irish smoked salmon, house made potato waffles, fried capers and lemon aïoli. The sweet Bailey’s Brulée French toast is made with Irish cream spiked batter and finished with a fired sugar crust and maple syrup.

Current hours are as follows: Monday – Friday 4pm ‘til late; Saturday – Sunday: 10am ‘til late.”

You can see their full menus here.

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More photos and details about the space after the jump.

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From a press release:

“Opening this January, Rí Rá Georgetown, located at 3123-3125 M Street NW, will be crafted in the warm pub style of 19th and early 20th century Ireland, custom-made with salvaged material straight from Ireland. Each rescued artifact has been carefully restored in County Wicklow, a scenic area just south of Dublin, and then shipped to Georgetown. Co-founders Ciaran Sheehan, David Kelly and team have overseen the restoration of these materials, the essential gems of the Irish pub on both sides of the Atlantic.

Step Through the Doors and Back in Time with Matchless Décor

Walking through the front door of Rí Rá Georgetown, guests will be transported back in time as they enter the beautiful Victorian bar originating from Gerry Nangles Pub from Summer Hill, Dublin. The bar, back bar and key elements on the Victorian bar have been salvaged and restored by master craftsmen over the last six months. Summer Hill has a rich history and this pub would have been considered a “Gin Palace” in its day.

Unfortunately over the years, this area of the city fell on hard times. As a result, the entire block where the pub was located was demolished in 1969. Luckily, the foreman of the demolition crew, Kevin Ryan, held on to the interiors until he passed away in 2006. As guests enjoy cold pints they can reflect on the countless occasions that were marked in Nangles, and the thousands of perfect pints served there over the decades.

St. Patrick

Proud and central in the Victorian bar will stand a statue of St. Patrick. He was rescued from a burning building on Patrick Street in Cork, on December 11, 1920. Three hundred businesses and homes were destroyed by fire, amongst them City Hall, The Library, The Munster Arcade, and many more notable buildings where a statue could be housed.

St. Patrick has remained hidden away for the last 90 years until his smoke damaged remains turned up at an estate sale in the city in 2011. Evidence of his ordeal can still be seen even after painstaking restoration work carried out by a specialist team in Ireland, most noticeable his charred staff and smoke blackened cloak.

St. Patrick most recently left his home in Wicklow, Ireland, to begin his exciting journey to the nation’s capital in celebration of the newest Rí Rá location opening in Georgetown.

The Theatre

As guests enter, the theater area to the right has meticulously restored paneling and columns from The Theatre Royal, Hawkins Street, Dublin. Over the years there have been four distinct Dublin theatres called the Theatre Royal. The original was built in 1662 located in Smock Alley and closed in 1787. In 1821, Henry Harris bought as site in Hawkins Street and built a 2000 seat theatre for a cost of £ 50,000. It was renovated and added on to in 1897 and again in 1935. The Theatre Royal, fondly called “The Royal” by Dubliners, was the biggest in Europe at one time, seating 3700 people plus 300 people standing. The theatre closed in 1962 because it wasn’t making enough money. Bob Hope and Julie Garland are among the celebrities who performed at The Royal. The screen cinema and a 12-story office block currently housing the headquarters of Ireland’s Department of Health replaced the theatre. Hawkins Street is located just north of Trinity College and south of the river Liffey in the heart of Dublin.

The Whiskey Room

The Whiskey Room & Bar upstairs features one of the most extensive ranges of Irish whiskeys in America, including a number of rare bottles, as well as some unique to Rí Rá Georgetown.The bar itself and the beautiful cabinets were meticulously restored from Maddigans watchmaker and jeweler on Ellis Quay, Dublin. The sourcing of these elements of the pub were a crucial component for Sheehan, who wanted to tie into the M Street buildings history, as the jewelers shop ‘J. Clinton Tribby.

Paneling

The paneling for this area of the pub came from the well-known Royal Bank of Ireland on Baggott St. The original bank dated from 1835, closed in 1967 and was demolished in the mid 70’s. It stood between Larry Murphy’s pub and the current Bank of Ireland headquarters. The original building the bank closed in 1967 and was demolished in 1972 to make way for the current office building.”

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  • Anonymous

    destined to become Georgetown’s favorite gathering place

  • fz

    I stopped reading here: ” modern Irish small plates”
    Noooooooooo!

    • Anonymous

      bangers and Manchego
      gambas al Gairleoige
      Beer-battered boquerones

      • Anonymous

        Blarney Stone Bocadillos

      • m

        way to think outside the boxty!

        • monkeyrotica

          Where the HELL are the Galway BBQ Sliders and Donegal Steak & Cheese?

  • Anonymous

    The average person in Georgetown wants something better than an irish pub.

    • But in fairness this is not a standard pub. It is an incredibly beautiful buildout. The photos don’t really do it justice but if you stop by you’ll see what I mean.

      • This place will do very well as there aren’t any Irish pubs (low key or otherwise) in Georgetown.

  • Quincy St Neighbor

    Wow it’s GORGEOUS! Thank you for salvaging the amazing woodwork and relics of Irish decorative arts. The hard work really paid off, it looks amazing! Looking forward to dropping in soon!

  • Anonymous

    Gorgeous space.
    .
    “…which will offer the most extensive Irish whiskey selection in the Washington area…”
    .
    OH HELL YES! Tell me more…
    .
    “…alongside a menu of modern Irish small plates.”
    .
    I have no words. I am disappoint. :-o

  • Anonymous

    I would say that “whisky, along with traditional Irish gutbusters” would not do as well on a modern DC menu.

  • Anonymous

    happy to see some American microbrews in there as well (lagunitas, bell’s, founder’s, etc.) as blasphemous as that may be.

  • Anonymous

    If they could somehow get the Guinness to taste as wonderful as it does in Ireland, I’d be there every day. But that seems to be an impossible feat.

  • Anonymous

    If there’s any way they could get Caffrey’s Irish Ale – my favorite beer of all time – I would be here weekly. So good.

    • Anonymous

      Oohhhhh, Caffrey’s was so good. But it’s been gone from the US market since 2002, and they don’t even sell it in Ireland anymore. You can still get it in Canada for some reason, though.

      • Anonymous

        Canada is starting to look better and better every year. Need to make a trip to Montreal soon.

  • DIANA ARPAD

    LOOKS BEUATIFUL AND SOUNDS DELICIOUS! CAN NOT WAIT TO VISIT WHEN IN TOWN!!

  • I ate at the Ri Ra in Burlington, VT back in September and was very favorably impressed (and pleasantly surprised). I’d happily go back….

  • TropicBird

    Gosh it’s really beautiful inside! Ireland is a great place to plunder antique interiors apparently. I laughed when they listed burgers and reubens as “lighter fare.” Will def. check it out (on that once or twice yearly expedition to Georgetown.)

  • Anonymous

    Believe me, it could be a lot worse. Georgetown no longer attracts the best of anything, but this might be the best Irish bar in DC.

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