At the The Royal Mile Pub, servers and regulars alike greet guests with a hearty "Cead mile failte!" It's Gaelic for "a hundred thousand welcomes," and the sentiment permeates every brew, stew, and show. Juxtaposing the local with the far-flung, Royal Mile cultivates a communal mood while maintaining a Scottish identity. To wit, the menu spotlights haggis, Orkney Scotch eggs, and traditional British-style breakfasts.
Spotlighting Scotland is a trend that also permeates the eatery's decor. Colorful tartans hang from the rafters, some of which match the kilts of live performers. The pub even takes its name from the region: Between Scotland's Edinburgh Castle and Palace of Holyroodhouse, there's a 1-mile series of streets traditionally traveled by Scottish royalty. The Royal Mile Pub is named for this thoroughfare, and its staff has welcomed its guests as it would kings and queens since it opened in 1981.
Overhung with glittering chandeliers and surrounded by billowing red curtains, The Fillmore Silver Spring's main room easily holds elegant concerts and thrashing dance parties alike on its hardwood floor. Balconies equipped with tables and chairs allow VIP seclusion, elevated sightlines of onstage antics, and easy conversation with GA-ticket-holding giraffes.
Let’s face it: Red Derby is a dive bar, but only in the best sense of the term. It’s a fun place to hang out and have a burger and a beer (served only in cans) in an unpretentious space. The extensive brew list features many blue-collar-turned-cool-again brands like Natty Boh and Schlitz, along with foreign suds and craft beers from around the country. Enjoy ample rooftop seating or stay inside and play arcade or board games while you wait for your order to come up. The menu is filled with gooey comfort foods like quesadillas, burgers and po’ boy sandwiches, and a weekend brunch menu features the usual basics, plus make-your-own mimosas. For all its popularity, Red Derby remains cash only, though your hard-earned $20 goes a long way. Drinks are cheap, especially during happy hour, and only a handful of menu items cost more than ten bucks.
Though devoutly British in name, Union Jack's British Pub is actually a transatlantic blend of both English and American conventions. Inside the expansive space, stone walls and a fireplace bear a distinctly European feel, though HD plasma TVs and projection screens broadcast games of hockey and American football. The food menu retains a similar dichotomy, offering up options such as Maryland crab cakes, fish and chips, and Caribbean jerk chicken sandwiches. The two nations fully unite at the handsome wooden bar, where guests can sip on one of 16 drafts, ranging from Fuller's London Porter to state-sourced Samuel Adams. Should cultural clashes persist, patrons can retire to the billiards room after their meal to settle disputes over the proper pronunciation of "aluminum."
This sophisticated and inviting establishment is the hatchling of master restaurateur and rhyme master, Chef Geoff Tracy. He’s built a menu with great latitude, covering a wide variety of dishes served throughout the day. Sunday brunch features classic egg dishes such as steak and eggs (NY strip, sunny-side-up eggs, and golden Yukon hash, $18.95) and lunchier sandwiches like Lia’s burger with tomato, pancetta, sautéed onion, and provolone ($10.95). Take a lunch break to the Mediterranean with a big salad ($13.95–$16.95) such as the crispy calamari caesar (with tomato, prosciutto, scallions, and grana padano) or a feta, black olive, tomato, and pepperoncini pizza pie ($12.95). Check out the hours each menu is offered here.
At Quench, owner Michael Holstein and barman Matt Allred aim to live up to the hype stemming from the Favorite New Restaurant award they earned from the Restaurant Association of Maryland. They, along with their team of chefs, go beyond simply making food and mixing drinks—they prepare artful dinner specialties and unique, out-of-the-box cocktails. Though their meal creations arise out of seemingly simple ingredients—local produce, house-ground meats—the team crafts wildly creative send-ups of typical pub fare in addition to traditional comfort foods. Baby back ribs are braised for days in homemade cherry cola, and Natty Boh beer cheese, local crab, and nacho cheese chips add local flavor to mac 'n' cheese. Quench also plates healthy fare such as herb-roasted chickpeas and edamame hummus served with local cucumbers and apples, all complemented by inventive cocktails, and the seasonal dessert menu includes house-made donuts and gluten-free flourless chocolate cake. The drinks, with clever names such as Sex in the Burbs and Django Juice, draw on a palette of blood-orange juice, house-made foams, and uniquely infused spirits. Mixology classes prepare students to delight party guests, and Quench also hosts events such as Saturday and Sunday brunches scored by live music, and weekday lunches that feature 10 dishes priced at $10.