The Dubliner Restaurant and Pub, a popular Capitol Hill tavern that claims to sell more Guinness stout than any other establishment in the world, has filed for protection from creditors under bankruptcy law, primarily to protect itself from a large debt owed to the Internal Revenue Service.

Daniel J. Coleman, owner of the pub, said his financial problems stem from an embezzlement of money owed to the IRS and the D.C. Department of Finance and Revenue about 2 1/2 years ago. The D.C. tax and penalties bill, which was about $600,000, has been paid. Coleman filed for Chapter 11 protection in order to renegotiate the payment terms of his IRS debt.

"I'll tell you one thing," Coleman said, "the Dubliner is not closing."

Court documents show that the IRS claims Dubliner and two related firms owe $402,006.75 in back taxes, interest and penalties. Last week, an IRS collection agent told Coleman the amount was due immediately. Coleman had been making payments of $6,000 a month to the agency.

Coleman said he applied for a loan from National Bank of Washington to pay the debt, but NBW declined to make the loan. Coleman then filed the Chapter 11 petition to negotiate better terms of payment with the IRS, he said.

In addition to the Dubliner, the other two firms that filed Chapter 11 petitions were Coleman's Inc., which owns the Powers Court Restaurant in the nearby Phoenix Hotel, and Lynios Inc., a firm that manages both the Dubliner and Powers Court.

Court documents show that Dubliner Inc., the firm that owns the pub, has assets of $315,714 and liabilities of $468,743. Coleman's Inc. has assets of $246,674 and liabilities of $600,617, and Lynios Inc. has assets of $40,989 and liabilities of $160,350.

A former bookkeeper, C. Donna Colton, was convicted in 1987 of embezzling nearly $250,000 from tax accounts of the three firms. The bookkeeper was given a five-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay restitution of $100 a month.

With interest and penalties, Coleman said his loss from the scheme was over $1 million. "That's a lot of Guinness stout around here," he said.