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The Best Beer, Band and Bluegrass in Bethesda!

When one of our favorite places combines with one of our favorite entertainers in the Bethesda area, we are compelled to share the news!

19th Street Band at the Irish Inn Wed Nights

19th Street Band at the Irish Inn Wed Nights

Tonight (and every other Wednesday night) the 19th Street Band is playing at The Irish Inn at Glen Echo beginning at 8 PM.  The 19th Street Band trio includes Caolaidhe on guitar, Meghan on the fiddle and Mike on the upright bass.  The three bring the house down at every performance with a variety of songs including popular country, Celtic, rock and even some bluegrass music!  They get the crowd on their feet and having fun with their impressive acoustic performances and engaging personalities.  You can’t help singing and smiling after attending one of their shows!

The Irish Inn adds the warm, inviting pub atmosphere to the experience and of course, the good beer!  My personal favorite is Kilkenny, an Irish cream beer that originated in Kilkenny, Ireland.  Another little “must have” at the Irish Inn at Glen Echo is their calamari, believe it or not.  It’s pretty fantastic – or at least I thought so last time I was there…of course I had consumed a couple beers and sang a few good songs with the band so the mood was highly elevated!

If you’re looking for a great way to relax, unwind and have some fun, I highly recommend a visit to The Irish Inn on any Wednesday night that the 19th Street Band is playing!  Perhaps we will see you there on the dance floor, clapping your hands and singing along!  Cheers!

Day 155: Tennis Anyone?

Tennis at Cabin John Park

On a day like today, a beautiful June afternoon, you simply MUST get outside and enjoy the fresh warm air and sun before it gets so hot and humid that you feel like a big dog is breathing down your back.  The dog days of summer are coming but today was pretty perfect really.

One of the parks we enjoy most on a day like this is Cabin John Park at 7401 MacArthur Blvd.  This 6-acre park is a short drive from downtown Bethesda and offers a nice blend of facilities for ball games of all kinds – basketball, softball and of course, tennis.  For the little people, there is a little playground and grassy area with a couple of picnic tables too.  That’s where we enjoyed our sushi picnic last week.

7401 MacArthur Blvd

Parking is usually readily available here and it’s a great place to just lay out and relax or challenge your best bud to a tennis match before it’s just too darn hot this year.  There are some nice ball fields here as well but I must warn you not to bring your band of brothers out here to play without booking the field in advance.  The reservation/permit process is easy and it will save you the disappointment of losing out to some other baseball or softball bunch who was smarter than you and planned ahead.  To book the ball field, first open a ParkPASS account (click here for step-by-step instructions) at www.parkpass.org.  Then you’ll be able to go to the Montgomery County website and reserve your facility of choice at any of our local County Parks for a few bucks.

The good news is that you don’t have to do any of that to play tennis at little ‘ole Cabin John Local Park – just show up with your racquets and balls and hope for the best!  If you can’t find an open court, no worries.  There’s some good beer waiting for you down the road at The Irish Inn at Glen Echo!     ~Amy

Day 76: Your Party Itinerary for St. Patrick's Day in Bethesda

Happy St. Patrick's Day

An Irish blessing for our readers (kind of): May the road rise up to meet you.  May the wind always be at your back.  May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains falls soft upon your fields, and if you drink lots o’ beer on St. Patrick’s Day, may you be wise enough to call a cab!

Here’s the number: 240-767-4488.

Better yet, make a reservation on-line ahead of time for a pick up from your favorite local pub.  Here’s the link:  Bethesda TaxiCab – open 24/7.  They accept credit cards and can be your friendly neighborhood D.D.  So may I suggest picking up your cell phone now.  Then program that number into your phone as “Designated Driver.”  Good! 

Now…onto the St. Patty’s Day festivities!

Bethesda area restaurants and pubs have no shortage of fun planned for this St. Patrick’s Day celebration.  Here’s our suggestion for a fun-filled itinerary for the day (we assume you are honoring the Irish by taking the day off work!):

6:30 AM – Visit RíRá’s 1st Annual Penguin Plunge for the NIH Charities.  Stop by the Shoppes of Bethesda parking lot on Hampden Lane to watch the early birds plunge into the ice filled pool starting at 6:30 AM to raise money for charity.  It will be their most sober moment of the entire day!  Come and cheer them on as they freeze their shamrocks off! 

RíRá Irish Pub

8 AM – 10 AM head over to Union Jacks’s for an absolutely FREE breakfast, no strings attached – hot and cold foods, all good stuff (yes, we know it’s an English pub but why not?  It’s FREE!)…or….from 9 Am – Noon check out Tommy Joe’s who is also offering a free breakfast as a buffet.  If you’re really hungry, you have time to get to both of them!

11 AM – 2 PM – NAP and prepare for the wild evening ahead!  Gather your green garb and maybe even your leprechaun outfits for the crazy night ahead!

3 PM – 5 PM: Stop by The Barking Dog at 4723 Elm Street for a full day of celebrations including live music from Jimmy Nalls Band, giveaways, and all kinds of food and Guinness specials!  There is no cover for their St. Patty’s Day Party that lasts until 12:30 AM.  They will have $5 Irish coffee and $6 green bombs (I have no idea what that is but good luck with that!).

Irish Inn at Glen Echo

5:30 PM  (Call taxi if needed) Head out to Irish Inn at Glen Echo for a special performance by one of our favorite groups, The 19th Street Band.  Bring your smiles and enjoy the fun while partying at the pub with some great music.  They always have great drink specials but  my favorite is Kilkenny on draft.  The Irish Inn is offering a special 2-course lunch or dinner ($25/$35 per person respectively).  Reservations are recommended…or just hit the bar for some darn good music from 3 PM – close.

DINNER:  We recommend the Irish Inn at Glen Echo, Flanagan’s Harp & Fiddle or RíRá – all Bethesda Irish pubs who should be doing it right on St. Pat’s Big Day.  Call ahead for your reservations!

9:00 PM – Stop by RíRá for some Celtic Rock by the live band, Kilmaine Saints.  Their pub has a great atmosphere  and lots of room for a rockin’ good time.  Good beer on tap and I’m sure lots of terrific St. Patrick’s Day food and drink specials.  Try a black & tan – a combo beer with Guinness draught and some kind of stout – like Bass or Harp lager.  It’s mmmm, mmmm good.

11 PM – Last, if you want to continue on with the pub crawl and really go crazy, dress in your sexiest leprechaun outfit and stagger over to Union Jack’s for a chance to win a trip to the Caribbean while dancing to their live DJ!  You must wear green or you may get pinched (on second thought, if you’re wearing a sexy leprechaun outfit, you may get pinched anyway).  21 and older of course.  They will be offering $3 Killians and Guinness pints.

LAST: Call Bethesda Taxi, your lucky leprechaun, for a ride home: 240-767-4488.  Be safe everyone and may the luck o’ the Irish be with you this night and always!       

~Amy, the red-headed, somewhat Irish REALTOR & blogger

Day 75: The Irish Inn at Glen Echo

Irish Inn at Glen Echo

One of Amy’s and my favorite haunts in the area is the Irish Inn at Glen Echo.  One night after work we stopped by to enjoy one of our favorite beers, Kilkenny.  Kilkenny is an Irish cream ale from the makers of Guinness beer, from Kilkenny, Ireland.  What we really like about the beer are the small tiny bubbles, what they call a “nitrogenated” beer, and of course it goes down smooth and tastes great.  Kilkenny was only recently introduced to the U.S. market back in the fall of 2009.  Candidly, up till now I would have told you that I really don’t like beer that much but this beer has totally changed my opinion of the beverage.  In college I drank my fair share of cheap American beer and I never understood the appeal.  I became adept at the game quarters primarily to avoid drinking it.  I guess I just never had the good stuff! Amy on the other hand is a bit of a beer connoisseur (and yes I did have to look up how to even spell that) and introduced Kilkenny to me having been to Ireland and sampled the ale direct from the source.

Kilkenny Beer

The location where the Inn is located has a bit of a morbid and checkered past, having been the site of tragic fire that killed the family that lived in the residence that once occupied the land, and the location of a rough neck local bar and grill known as Trav’s.  Ghosts of the fire and a lethal brawl at the previous “joint” are believed to haunt the establishment.  For a brief time the building housed the restaurant known as the Inn at Glen Echo until it was purchased by the current owners and renovated and transformed into the Irish Inn in 2003.

Amy and I like the small intimate atmosphere of the place, whether you are eating in the white tabled clothed restaurant or enjoying the tap at the traditional Irish pub.  The bar area has richly colored walls that compliment the extensive long wood bar and amazing hand-painting throughout.  Don’t be surprised if the lovable Christy Hughes, the owner, slides up next to you and introduces himself.  It’s that kind of place.  On the same night I tried Kilkenny I was treated to another experience, live music compliments of the 19th Street Band.  In stroll two young fellas and a beautiful young one (young girl).  You end up saying these sorts of things when you’re in the Inn after a while.  The trio begins to play a wonderful selection of contemporary hits and old classics in the folksy Rockabilly music tradition.  Caolaidhe, Meghan & Mike make up The 19th Street Band with Caolaidhe on guitar, Meghan on violin, and Mike on upright bass.  The first time Meghan took to the mike and began to sing nearly every head in the bar turned to the stage as we all had a collective, American Idol trained, “a-ha” moment when as we realized that this girl has an extraordinary voice.

Lastly, we really enjoy the food.  My personal favorite in the Pub is the “Bangers and Mash”, an Irish staple of sausages served with mashed potatoes, peas and whiskey sauce!  This St. Patrick’s Day Dinner will be served from 4-10 with a $35 per person special featuring your choice of Salads, Potato and Leek soup (yummy) or fried oysters with main course options of Shepherd’s Pie, Bangers and Mash, Fish and Chips, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Lamb Chops, Boiled Ham or Guinness Beef Stew.  The 19th Street Band will be making a special appearance on St. Patrick’s Day as well.  Any idea where I might be on Thursday?  You guessed it.  So don’t be a dry shite (boring person), a dosser (a lazy person), or a Wanker (a person no one likes) and join my “young one” (Amy) and me for a Jar ‘ol Kilkenny at the Irish Inn on Saint Patty’s day. ~Brian Maury