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Aug 15 2012
Samuel Beckett’s Gastro Irish Pub

You heard him first on the Beer & Pig Hogcast, but Ted Borris is quickly climbing to the top of the charts. From humble beginnings with appearances on multiple networked podcasts, Ted now eagerly takes a stab at treading water in the heavy seas of B&P! Teddy (he is unaware he is going to be Teddy now, but I can do things like this as Editor) took a trip to Samuel Becketts, an Irish Pub located in Arlington, Virginia. He had a few thoughts on the matter he wishes to share. Have at it Teddy (I really think this is going to stick!) …

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Over the past 30 years, the County of Arlington, Virginia, has changed drastically.  Since 1980, the County has increased its population by more than 60,000 residents.  Moreover, the population density of the County exceeds 7,000 residents per square mile, making it the most dense county in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and, as of 2007, the median income per County family soared to an astonishing $127,179.

As a result of this growth in both population and wherewithal among Arlington County Residents, it has become ever-increasingly more difficult to find a reasonably priced traditional Irish pub which serves both good food and solid a beer selection in an easy to navigate location.  Nestled in the lower Arlington Hub of Shirlington,  Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub has managed to smash this mold and deliver on its promise of Irish charm, a friendly wait staff, tasty traditional Irish food selections, and a surprisingly stocked beverage menu.

One common challenge in Arlington, if not nearly the entire DC Metropolitan area, is parking.  This is not the case in the Shirlington area during the evening.  Sitting directly off Route 395, in this 2-block area of Campbell Avenue, free parking garages surround the collection of stores, restaurants, bars, gyms, and other various retail establishments.  People freely walk their dogs and lounge outside the eateries,  during nice weekday evenings, late Friday nights, or Saturday afternoons.  With its traditional red Irish Pub décor, its outdoor seating, and welcoming clean, airy atmosphere, Samuel Beckett’s fits in perfectly in the Shirlington environment.

When you enter, the Pub immediately surprises you with its substantial and varied expanse.  Between you and the bar sit a multitude of dark brown maple tables which serve as meeting centers for many in Shirlington community who choose to casually stroll into the pub.  Behind the tables is the bar area, and  if you take short walk, you can see that that the bar circles nearly the entire pub, actually forming two separate but interlaced bars. Directly above the bar area is the second floor eating area, which is rarely heavily populated except when the Thursday Night Happy Hour crowd shuffles in. If you amble up to the bar, you will notice that the taps of traditional Irish Bar selections…Guinness,  Harp Lager, Kilkenny, Magners…combine with Samuel Beckett’s Ale (a tasty, strong, yet not-too-hoppy Pale Ale potion) to create a considerable brew selection on tap.  Of course, behind the bar a limitless collection of canned and bottled brews, Irish Liquors, and more traditional malts tempt the taste buds, if not the liver.  My challenge upon drinking Beckett’s Ale was that I could not stop at one…or even three.  Fortunately, it is also easy to hail a cab in Shirlington, and the openly friendly staff will be glad to assist you with this task.

 The food menu is standard Irish Pub fare.  You will find such flavorful items as Tipperary Tart, the Dublin Bay Prawn Cocktail, and Climaco’s Roast Chicken.  However, my favorite is the most traditional Irish selection, the Fish and Chips.  Like any good Irish Pub, beer battered North Atlantic cod, dipped in tarter sauce and served with hand cut potatoes is a must; and if you are into this sort of thing, Samuel Beckett’s won’t let you down.

Particularly given its location, the pricing of Beckett’s is reasonable, neither overly wallet-busting nor catering to the overly frugal.  If you order a decent meal and a couple of traditional Irish beers, you can expect to spend roughly $30.  This price obviously skyrockets dramatically if you start ordering shots, as I have unfortunately experienced on more than one occasion.

Overall, you cannot go wrong by stopping by Samuel Beckett’s for a drink or a nice traditional Irish meal.  The cost is reasonable, it’s a fun, relaxed atmosphere, and you may even get to hear some live Irish music if you check the band schedule beforehand. However, patrons are forewarned to bring cab fare or designated driver, as it’s a challenge to stop at a just a few at Beckett’s.

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