Ireland's Four Provinces Restaurant & Pub

Irish Pub, Bar
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Editorial Review

If you love the Ireland's Four Provinces on Connecticut Avenue in the District, but you're looking for a quieter spot to take the in-laws; head out to Falls Church for the quieter, sterilized version of the bar. Falls Church's Four P's, which opened in early 1997, hosts a quiet and mostly over-40 crowd for both dinner and libations. While you occasionally run into an Irish pub-loving Gen-Xer there, it seems most of the Falls Church 20- and 30-year olds are going into Arlington to Ireland's Four Courts for their Guinness-and-corn-beef fix. Granted, the Falls Church establishment is new and without reputation, and the service is friendly and live Irish music just as good (if not of a better sound quality) as the D.C. version of the bar. While its bar shares the same lovely finishing touches -- the stained-glass inlets and Irish poetry engravings -- the rest of the restaurant and pub is surprisingly bland. Plain tile lines the bar area while taupe carpet finishes the restaurant part. It's surprisingly lacking in wall-hangings, knickknacks and Tiffany lamps compared with its sister bar; and it's about half as smoky (be prepared to ask for an ashtray even after you ask to be seated in the smoking section). Even when the place is packed (Friday and Saturday nights get busy), it seems very, very quiet. Guinness, Bass and other beers on tap cost $4, while entrees (the warm crab-and-salmon dip with bread is zingy and delicious at $5.95), the onion-covered Guinness burger on top of hash browns ($7.95) is tasty and juicy and the fish and chips ($6.95) are greasy but satisfying pub fare. At worst, the Four Provinces in Falls Church can feel like an uninspiring suburban bar with forced Irish ambiance; at best, it's a good stop on the date-bar circuit. Go ahead and request "Danny Boy" for that special someone.

-- Shayla Thiel