The Queen Vic, the British pub that opened its doors for a sneak peek at the end of March, is finally in full swing.
Though it takes its name from the pub on the long-running English soap opera “Eastenders,” the two-level bar doesn’t look like a British themed bar yet, apart from the red British phone box that houses an ATM. If you can help decorate the bar, you can get some free drinks. Owner Ryan Gordon is offering to trade pints and shots to customers who bring bits of English memorabilia to hang on the walls, whether that’s an old beer sign or a soccer scarf.
Speaking of soccer, the Queen Vic will start showing English soccer matches on Saturdays and Sundays, just in time for Saturday’s FA Cup matchup between Manchester United and Manchester City and Sunday’s key clash between Liverpool and Arsenal. (Gordon’s wife Roneeka is from Liverpool, so they’re talking about making this a regular destination for fans of the Reds.)
The British theme really comes through in the food and drink. British and Irish beers fill the dozen taps, and there’s the expected Guinness and Newcastle Brown but also the more interesting Old Speckled Hen, Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA and Fullers ESB. Expect to pay $6 or $7 for a pint, or a $1 less between 4 and 6 p.m. during the daily happy hour. There’s a good selection of cider, and you can ever order a cider and black -- draft Strongbow topped with a shot of blackcurrant syrup.
There are even more ciders and beers in bottles, including Hobgoblin and my new love, the crisp, malty Williams Brothers Scottish Session Ale, which checks in at a mere 3.7 percent alcohol. A solid cocktail menu includes Pimms cups and a really nice little gin collection.
The kitchen is turning out succulent roasted marrow bones braised in red wine, well-seasoned steak and ale pies with onion gravy and other traditional dishes. (The bangers and mash, which stars sausages ground in house, were dry, but so flavorful I’d give them another shot.)
The kitchen starts serving a traditional Sunday roast -- roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, gravy and potatoes -- at 11 a.m., though doors will open at 10 a.m. if there’s demand for a match that kicks off at that time. (Gordon says to call the bar in advance (202-396-2001) to let him know you’re coming and he’ll make sure the bar is open.) The price of the roast will vary depending on what cut of meat is served that week, but it should cost between $17 and $21.
The second-story rear deck looks like it will be a nice place to sip beers on a sunny summer day. It’s all perfectly set off by a soundtrack of the Smiths, the Clash, the Specials and other Anglophile favorites.