Bar Belle: Fado Irish Pub

Fado Irish Pub
808 7th St. NW

When in Rome do as the Romans do, and when in Ireland – drink. So when I found myself in an Irish bar in the middle of Chinatown, I decided to do just that!

Itching to venture away from the GW campus bar scene, my sister’s boyfriend’s birthday celebration was the perfect excuse to try something new. The destination: Fado Irish Pub, just one block away from the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro stop. I was already an hour late but that’s pretty damn good for me, so I pressed on, thinking the party would be well underway. After passing the ID check, the entire venue seemed to unfold in a little Irish maze. What I thought would be a stuffy, snotty place turned into a fun folk bar. Floor to ceiling wood that intertwined itself throughout the tavern created a strange cave-like atmosphere. In this cave, however, there wasn’t any spelunkin’, only drunkin’.

I grabbed a Guinness with a friend and settled into a large booth as we looked for the party that was supposed to have arrived an hour previously. Were we being stood up?

To our left was an unshaven man playing guitar while a score of televisions on our right aired some international rugby games. The crowd was as warm as the weather on a late summer night in the District as we eased into conversation with others at the bar. I felt a jig coming on.

What started out as a calm night with a couple of beers quickly turned crazy. A different kind of shot was heard around the world.Jameson. I obliged my roots, which happen to be Irish, and washed down the shot with a Guinness, just as a perfect car bomb should be consumed.

The party finally arrived around midnight and the 27-year-old birthday boy was already tanked off of sangria from dinner. What an international night of drinking. After being hit on by several of my sister’s drunken friends, I started thinking maybe 27 was the new 21, only 27 birthday shots would be far more lethal. The crowd of 50 or so that were gathered in celebration were all light-hearted and hilarious. No nine-to-five could spoil their attempts at happiness. Maybe my graduation in the spring won’t be the death of my social life after all.

A positive about Fados is its spaciousness. Our party easily fit in with the normal crowd and it never felt too congested. The set-up encourages people to sit at strategically placed long tables in order to mingle and make friends. With two large bars spanning the entire area, drink orders are timely and bathroom lines are minimal. Even when the birthday boy disappeared to the bathroom for 35 minutes, a line didn’t form. Maybe the 27-year-olds can’t quite hang with the 21-year-olds, but it was a valiant effort.

At the conclusion of the night I helped my elders into a cab and bid my own farewell to Fado. I stumbled away with my Irish eyes shining, or were those my beer goggles? Oh well.Until next week, cheers!

Bar Belle Rating: three of four bells.

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