To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtles' philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.
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."
The chefs at each Copper Canyon Grill, a mid-Atlantic favorite, craft their regional American dishes from scratch every day. Their kitchens fill with flames and savory aromas as they roast meats and vegetables over hardwood fires, making customers happy, but leaving behind bare earth at local basketball arenas.
The kitchen yields hearty servings of grilled prime rib and filet mignon, ahi tuna and Atlantic salmon, and Delmarva-style crab dip and Eastern Shore jumbo lump crab cakes. It also tempts with a signature rotisserie chicken and jalapeño- and serrano-pepper cornbread baked in an iron skillet.
You can’t miss Paul’s Discount Wine and Liquor as you drive along Wisconsin Avenue in upper Northwest DC; and if you do, there’s a bright retro-style neon sign to guide you back. Inside, a current selection of international and domestic wines and spirits are packed into a fairly small space, and the knowledgeable staff helps customers find hidden gems among the stacks. While prices are already low for the area, regular specials can make the tab unbeatable, while a popular newsletter ticks off announcements regarding the arrivals of limited supply bottles. If you can’t decide which wine is right for you, come for Friday Night Wine Tasting, a weekly free event.
Walking through DogWatch Tavern, a few things catch the eye: the 100-ounce towers of beer that seem to anchor every other table, the 10 big-screen TVs that captivate sports fans, and the pool table, couches, and other amenities that earned one section the designation of man cave. What you won't notice are rumbling stomachs. Known for its large portions, the eatery serves hearty sandwiches, such as the bratwurst burger covered in white cheddar cheese sauce on a kaiser roll. Drafts of Dogfish Head, Sam Adams, and Harpoon wash down dinner. The environment is freewheeling and fun, like a jam session with a player piano you've always admired. Visitors play video games and compete for skee-ball high scores, and a recent promotion even rewards anyone who visits for 30 days in a row his or her own barstool, complete with nameplate.