Monday, April 22, 2013

DC Whiskey: Jack Rose


I've been to whiskey bars, but Jack Rose is beyond a whiskey bar; it's a temple.  Located on the edge of the hip Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington DC, the walls of this spacious "dining saloon" are stacked high with bottles.

The pickings are broad and deep.  Malt whisky advisor Roberto Cofino has done an amazing job of stocking the single malt selection with over 1,000 malts.  It's one of the few drinking establishments in the US that offers Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings (of which it has many), and there are countless rare independent bottlings from every region of Scotland.

The American whiskey selection is equally impressive, as could be expected given that the Saloon has two sister establishments that specialize in bourbon.  Among the 500 or so American whiskeys on the shelf, of particular interest to the true geeks are the proprietary bottlings of Willett's from KBD, including the vaunted 1983/1984 rye whiskeys from the old Bernheim distillery.  They had some of the renowned Doug Phillips bottlings, the Red Hook Rye from LeNell's and their own bottling, known as the Iron Fist (they also have a corresponding Velvet Glove but were out of it the night I visited).

How many bars can you walk into an order a 1960s era Old Fitzgerald from the Stitzel-Weller distillery?  You can at Jack's.

Prices were surprisingly reasonable for what they sell, and best of all, they offer one ounce pours for half the price of regular two ounce pours (those old Willett ryes went for $30 for a one ounce pour).  In addition, if you order your whiskey neat, they offer a choice of glasses:  tumbler, Glencairn or snifter.  This is a bar made for whiskey geeks.

If you are anywhere within 3,000 miles of Jack Rose, you have no excuse not to go there.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon
2007 18th Street NW
Washington, DC  20009
(202) 588-7388


11 comments:

Terry L. said...

i went a few months ago. blew me away. the willett and bruichladdich selections alone were enough to make any whisk(e)y lover drool. did you meet Harvey Fry? Dude is amazing.

sku said...

Terry, unfortunately, I didn't get to meet Harvey, but I heard some amazing stories about his collection.

BMc said...

A lot of the older bottles of scotch are from Harvey's collection. I went there last year for my birthday and he took interest in an old Clynelish I had ordered. It was too sherried and he knew it, so he took me under his wing and arranged a very nice flight for me.

They used to have a few mixed-up prices. I got several pours of an Old Fitz 101 10 year, a one-off bottled in 1985, for $8 each before they figured it out. Now each one is like $65. I think every now and again I still spot a bargain.

Kaveh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wryguy said...

I went to Jack Rose a while back and ended up sitting and drinking with Harvey Frye and Roberto for a few hours. Harvey literally had every page of Michael Jackson's single malt book marked up with his own tasting notes, and Roberto to this day is possibly the most passionate whiskey drinker I have met. Both were generous with their time and whiskey. I could not recommend this place more highly. Also be sure to check with the bartender, even if you don't see it on the menu it might be in the back. (Like the pour of 2005 PVW15 that Roberto produced toward the end of my visit). Run by incredibly generous and interesting people, Jack Rose is truly unparalleled in its selection. Nice write-up Sku.

Jason Beatty said...

They cut me off last night before I had the chance to try Doug Phillips! And that was my vacation day. I had the Speakeasy Willett and it was easily the best rye bourbon I have ever had.

BMc said...

Oh wow, any of you guys live nearby? I'm within walking distance but don't go often enough. I always feel guilty because my wife cannot stand scotch...

Anonymous said...

Will be in DC this summer for a wedding. This will definitely be a place I plan to visit.

G-LO said...

Happy to hear that Jack Rose lives up to the hype. I haven't been to DC in a couple years (went with the kids last Spring, but that doesn't count since I had no bar exploring time for myself), but this place has been on my "must visit" list from the moment I first heard about it. Now I just need to find a business excuse to get to DC...

Jeremiah said...

I was down ther last night with a friend from out of town. First of all, I want to reiterate the comment above- if it's not on the menu, ask anyway; or, just askif there is anything extra special....there usually is. Secondly, I was talking to the owner, and asked if he had seen this post. He had, and was very pleased and thankful; he said it was his favorite write up of the place he's had. So SKU, good work!

Jason Beatty said...

BMc: I'll be there June 4th and 5th, and can meet up for a drink. ask SKU for my contact info.