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Posted at 3:14 PM ET, 02/23/2005

Here a British Pub, There a British Pub


We're being invaded by our neighbors from the Great White North -- not one but two Canadian pub chains are bringing their own takes on the "traditional English pub" to the Washington area.

The Elephant & Castle will be the first, opening the week of April 11 at 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, replacing a shuttered T.G.I. Friday's. The Vancouver company's press release claims "Elephant & Castle's appeal results from a blending of design elements reminiscent of Jolly Old England" with traditional foods to create an "authentic" atmosphere.

Not to be outdone, the Ontario-based Firkin Group, which runs 38 pubs in Canada, plans to open four "traditional" establishments in Northern Virginia, including one at Dulles International Airport. The Firkin & Hound is slated to open at South Riding's Market Square in September, with the others to follow. It's part of a huge expansion for the company, with 70 U.S. locations "in development"; the first opened near Albany, N.Y., last month.

But Canadians aren't the only ones with pub fever. Closer to home, Polly Esther's owner Gary Ouellette plans to open Union Jack's, a British-themed restaurant and bar, in Bethesda at the beginning of April. The unimaginatively titled nightspot is taking the subterranean St. Elmo Street space once home to the Shark Club and Pacific Grill. I'm told the focus will be more on the restaurant than on live entertainment or dancing.

-- Fritz

By  | February 23, 2005; 3:14 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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We need a good British pub with Blackthorn on tap. One of the few things that DC is missing.

Posted by: Jenna | February 24, 2005 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think it's great this bar is coming to Bethesda. There isn't a bar to go and play pool so this will be good. I'm curious to see what Union Jack's does with the old Shark Club space. We need another good hangout!

Posted by: Kenny | February 25, 2005 1:05 PM | Report abuse

No bar for pool in Bethesda? Try the sneaky upstairs bar at Rock Bottom....4 tables.

Posted by: Bill | February 27, 2005 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Firkin group.... now there's a misappropriation of a name if I ever saw one. No cask ales?

I'll pass.

Posted by: Mike | March 3, 2005 4:08 PM | Report abuse

firkin and fox will be coming in dulles airport

Posted by: raj | July 15, 2005 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Well, some may think the name is unimaginative but the restaurant certainly isn't. Though it wasn't what I imagine a british pub would look like, it was definitely unique in a positive way, the pool room was a great place to catch a game.

Posted by: scott | November 23, 2005 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Just FYI to anyone thinking about frequenting the Firkin in South Riding.... don't bother. I have been anxiously awaiting it's arrival and was not impressed. $18 for a pitcher of Miller light?!?! c'mon now! Inexperienced wait staff and a bunch of teeny-boppers working the door. Bad experience and not very "pubbish" at all.

Posted by: Cam | May 30, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Pitcher prices have come down. with 14 beers on tap you can even drink one with some flavor! The tough job of being a hostess is enjoyed by some of the nicest sweetest local high school girls who do an exellent job. Bob Evans has the age bracket you are looking for. my inexperienced staff worked very hard to gain the knowedge needed to open the Pub with such high volume in our first two weeks. Next time you come in we can share a pint and you can tell me what else we are doing wrong.

Posted by: firkinmgr | August 1, 2006 7:08 PM | Report abuse

The Firkin and Hound in South Riding has become our beloved local pub. It offers a great atmosphere, efficient and friendly staff, delicious food, and a variety of beers and ales. We frequent the Firkin at least twice a week and they never fail to offer a pleasant experience. They have recently added dollar beer night on Wednesdays, discounts on food during happy hour, and live music on select nights. With regard to the comment left above by Cam, I would encourage you to give the Firkin another chance because you are missing out on a lot of fun!

Posted by: T and J | August 11, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

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