The Irish Times has been a favorite watering hole for university students and Capitol Hill residents alike, but pretty much anyone could appreciate its Old World feel.
It sits on F Street like a statement from another age. A one-story bar with an awning that stretches out to the street and a splintery-looking exterior, Irish Times looks out of place in the midst of the tall federal office buildings even compared with the more traditional-looking Irish bar and restaurant, the Dubliner, next door.
Since it's positioned between Massachusetts Avenue and North Capitol Street, you run into the regular "drinks after work" crowd from the Hill and from surrounding buildings during the week, along with the happenstance pedestrians and tourists who don't mind shelling out upward of $4 to get a pint of Guinness at a true Irish bar.
Drinks and appetizers are the usual fare here. If you want real Old Sod cuisine, consider visiting the Dubliner first and then sipping a Bailey's Irish Cream nightcap at the Times.
If you are looking to enjoy that nightcap on a Friday or Saturday, be ready to down it in the midst of a spirited college crowd. A throng of mostly 21- to 26-year-olds pack the narrow walkways between the tables and the bar. On weekends, it seems half the crowd sings along with the live Irish performer (usually a college guitar duo or a solo folk act, for which there is hardly ever a cover charge), while the other half seems to go about its business, yakking with friends and occasional strangers.
Downstairs is another universe, as patrons groove on the dance floor to high-energy pop. Nothing Irish here, except for the Cranberries and an occasional U2 tune. There's also a pool table in a long-idle back room, bringing the tavern up to par with many other D.C. saloons.