My Star and Shamrock on H St, NE

I got another So What's The Deal (WTD) invitation today to enjoy two free drinks at Star and Shamrock on H Street near the Atlas Performing Arts Center.  Since I was seriously missing Ireland from last week, I was truly interested in downing some green beer or dark stout.  And maybe I might get lucky...

Story behind the Name

The name caught my attention.  It is an Irish pub with a Jewish deli.  It tells a story of the owners. She is Jewish, he is Irish -- thus Star and Shamrock -- what a bar story or cafe fable.


But to get there, a very splashy but wet-n-wild fun, 2-mile ride along Mass Avenue in the pouring rain, all the way from Dupont Circle on my versatile Dahon foldable bike.  By the time I arrived, I was soaked to the bones.  Yeah, my skiivies and socks felt Sponge Bob Square Pants after a bath, but I really didn't care.  Why, cuz I was happy. There's something therapeutic about running in the rain.  It's fun, cool and brings us back to the days when we begged our parents to let us play outside.  Yeah, so something about being a kid again is good for the mental soul. Don't ask to explain. Just nod in agreement.

The Resurgence

H Street has come a long way.  It was the area heavily damaged by the MLK riots of 68.  Until a few years ago, there were still vestiges of heavy plywood boarding up street-side windows, storefronts that were looted and burned and never came back.

Today, H Street, particularly the 3-block arts and entertainment area called the Atlas District has come back strong and vibrant. Star and Shamrock is located next to the Rock and Roll Hotel, The Red and Black and the Pug, all nightclubs owned by DC nightlife guru Joe Englert.  In many ways, the resurgence started when Englert started making his investment there ten years ago.

View Larger Map

The Ambiance

I was greeted by a huge, solid-oak wrap-around bar with friendly bartenders who are willing to give you more than a generous pour.  I tried a delicious rye beer, ordered a hot, corned beef sandwich on pumpernickel bread with loads of veggies and sauerkraut.  Then washed it down with a warm pint of Guinness.  It was lovely, actually, I felt like I was in Dublin again.  Next time, I want to try the pan-fried matzoh balls and latkes.  It was heavenly.

After I got my fill and I was now partially dried up, I was ready to mingle.  That's when I ran into the pack.  I stayed in the back, listening, not joining in until the very precise moment -- that's when I asked her if she was from the area.  Californian, Med student, very smart.  But no, just in town visiting friends. DC is a town of transients and tourists -- it will always be my hometown.


The pub has traditional Irish music playing by the front window.  They also celebrate St. Patricks Day every month on the 17th.  What a neat way to have fun and be reminiscent of a traditional, international religious holiday at the same time.

The Food
Oh yeah, I almost forgot -- I got wrapped up in the moment.  The one thing DC lacks is a good New York-style delicatessen.  There are plenty of Irish pubs in Chinatown (Fado) and Capitol Hill (Irish Times).  But only one on the revitalized H Street corridor and only one Jewish deli and Irish pub in the whole city, or perhaps even the whole world, for all I know.

Next time you come, try the fried matzo balls.  The Shepard's pie has ground lamb and the reuben is just out of this world.

Kudos to Star and Shamrock -- I will definitely be back for those matzos.


  1. Wow, that is an interesting combo!

  2. Yes Prinny, it is a magnificent combination.