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First Look: P. Brennan’s Irish Pub on Columbia Pike

by ARLnow.com April 12, 2010 at 12:46 pm 5,823 5 Comments

Update on 4/16/10 — P. Brennan’s is still awaiting its ABC license. The opening is being pushed back until next week.

Simply put, P. Brennan’s is massive. The soon-to-open Irish pub occupies a total of 8,000 square feet on the ground level of the Halstead apartments at 2910 Columbia Pike, next to Lost Dog Cafe and across from Arlington Cinema ‘n’ Drafthouse.

With a legal capacity of 360 people, P. Brennan’s is quite possibly the largest bar on the Pike. That’s remarkably ambitious, especially for an area that’s still in the “revitalization” phase.

“There is a huge population here who’s not served by a pub,” says marketing manager Emma Whelan. “You talk to people around here and they’re just waiting for us to arrive.”

“We have high hopes for the area and where it’s going,” said general manager Mark Pantall.

P. Brennan’s, like Twisted Vines before it, hopes to fill a unoccupied local niche. Pike residents currently have to head to Pentagon City or Clarendon for an authentic pint of Guinness and a bite of Shepherd’s Pie.

The owners are Irishmen Brian Dolphin and Greg Whelan, who also own McGinty’s Public House in Potomac Yard and in Silver Spring, Md. They named their latest pub after their friend, bartender “Little Pat” Brennan, who lost his battle against a genetic disease in August 2008.

“Through our service and staff we are aiming to instill some of his professionalism and fun-loving personality into its atmosphere and philosophy,” Greg Whelan said.

P. Brennan’s will have 16 beers on draft. The menu features the usual Irish favorites, as well as a few unique surprises, like a fish and chips salad and a skate schnitzel.

Management is hoping to open later this week, possibly as early as Wednesday, pending one last bit of regulatory approval.

P. Brennan’s phone number is 703-553-1090. More photos, after the jump.


  • Jim

    I walked past this place last night when I came out of the Lost Dog Cafe. It looks promising! BTW, Lost Dog serves Guiness on tap, so P. Brenenan’s won’t be first…

  • J

    Jim… but will they be the first to offer “Guinness AND a bite of Shepherd’s Pie?”

  • ACE

    Hmm.. skate schnitzel — should I bring my skate key?

  • Tom

    P. Brennan’s Irish Pub: Sorry guys, absolutely nothing Irish and nothing “pub” in this massive cavernous space. 50% of the food was “poor” – 4 meals – 2 burgers ok, Shepard’s pie a pile of potatoes without the Shepard’s meat. Fish n Chips – a single piece of “tilapia”?, wafer thin with rancid fries – the little apple slaw was great – hope I don’t wake up hungry before sunrise. Acoustics is lousy – if you don’t want to engage in meaningful conversation with your significant other, then go here an you have a legitimate excuse. Music tonight (5/14/2010) though was great – albeit lacking anything Irish. The “Pike” demands more….get up to par or get out… you have a short period of time to take corrective action, and I think you should…but the market will determine your future.

  • John

    Finally made it there. The food was simply awful. I want them to succeed, and hope the figure it out. Seriously how do you screw up a burger, my burger loving kid took a couple bites and said yucky? I had the lamb stew which was served at a volcanic temperature and was so salty it was inedible. It seemed like the micowaved some vegetables, did something to the lamb and threw some horrible gravy on top, I can also confirm that the fish and chips is as described above. Even the chicken tenders were terrible.


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