14th Street in Northwest Washington, DC has a storied history. In the 1980s, during the now infamous reign of Mayor Marion Barry, it was known for two trades: prostitution and cocaine. Unless one was interested in either service or product, respectively, it was to be avoided at all cost. Following the jailing of Barry for use of banned substances, and prior to his subsequent reelection to Mayor and then his election to the DC City Council, the new DC government completed a successful campaign to gentrify the 14th Street Corridor. The transformation of a section of the city riddled with the crime to a clean, friendly, fun area of town filled with bars, restaurants, stores, and lofts is one of the greatest examples of urban renewal in the United States.
Fortunately for Washingtonians and residents of surrounding areas, that renewal led to a fantastic restaurant called The Pig. Why would a restaurant that specializes in Barbecue be called anything else? Located right on 14th street, in a well lit area with easy access to parking, this fine establishment serves an exceptional menu of delicious food and beverage items. Upon entering, I first noticed that it had the appearance of any beer and pig joint that I might find in more rural areas of the country, with lots of wooden tables, table cloths, and casually dressed staff and patrons. As I walked past the restaurant area and entered the bar section, which is much more typical of a DC pub establishment, I immediately noticed that on tap, The Pig maintains multiple local beers: Lost Rhino, Devils Backbone, Flying Dog, and my absolute favorite beer in the world, Port City Optimal Wit. I quickly ordered a glass of the Optimal Wit, settled down at the bar and feasted my eyes on an amazing food selection from the menu.
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!) …
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.
Barbeque – do you get it?
You may have heard a little bit about the Outer Banks of North Carolina in some of the previous posts here on B&P. Some of us fine upstanding Gentlemen of Beer & Pig chose to vacation together yearly on this glorious island. Beautiful beaches, wonderful people, and some of the best BBQ that can be found in Mr. Lincoln’s Union. As we have established in the past through over-elaborate metaphor, and what some would call “an un-healthy addiction,” we take our craft very seriously. The island was canvased, we ate it all. That leads us to High Cotton.
Full disclosure, we’ve eaten here before. We love the Outer Banks, its where we draw our roots as a collective. We’ve been up and down the islands uncovering stones. During our 2011 summer vacation, we stumbled onto High Cotton, but actually opted into ordering out. With a larger group, and restaurants having a tendency to be crowded on key nights, we felt it best to take-out and eat on the deck of the vacation house. When Washington sailed across the Delaware River, he leaned down to the guy stuck rowing and said “because of this act of patriotism, one day 8 chubby guys will be able to eat pork outdoors on a warm summer night.” They crossed that river. Freedom.
But this pre-dates Beer & Pig. This time; we eat not just for us. We eat… for you. This time… we eat for keeps. Determined, and focussed, we braved the teaming crowds and huddled masses and simply went to dinner earlier. We put on our fanciest sleeveless t-shirts, and headed to High Cotton.
There are a couple of qualifiers that need to be made clear before you read any further into this review. The first being that this site is built off a love of barbecue that was spawned in The Outer Banks of North Carolina. It’s where we all started eating and discussing delicious meats and sides. Everyone here at Beer and Pig has a soft spot for just about everything OBX. We also have high expectations when it comes to visiting the barrier island and grubbing on swine and beef. Take that for what it’s worth.
The second precursor to this review is that we don’t announce ourselves. We don’t mention the site, or that a review is in progress or anything of the sort. The experience must be genuine. Having said that, you must believe we WANT to like every place we visit. We try to give every benefit of the doubt as we are fans of barbecue and its culture. We are not jaded basement-dwelling internet gollums. If that’s what you are looking for, swing a dead cat. You’ll hit a dozen sites telling you everything and anything sucks about the topic they are devoted to. That ain’t us. However, we aren’t going to lie to protect a business out of sheer nobility. That doesn’t help anyone.
Now that you know all of that, we can continue. Sooeys BBQ is a very successful barbecue chain along the Outer Banks of North Carolina with three locations serving chow along the island. Their description from their official website is as follows:
Sooey’s is the home of authentic Eastern NC Barbeque, locally owned and operated. We have been carefully perfecting our Special Family Recipe for over 50 Years!
We chose to visit the Nags Head location, across the street from Jockey’s Ridge. Upon approach, the Sooeys seems like a cool place to get some BBQ. They had outdoor seating and cornhole sets available in front of the restaurant. There was also a crows nest with additional seating over the front entrance. The problem is that in the hot summer months, those seats aren’t really an option as it was way to warm to enjoy a plate of hot, smoking meats in 90 degree weather. That limits the options to the cramped indoor dining room where space was not ample. This comes into play after the jump. (more…)
“Bring Some Real Pig Home Tonight“
NOTICE: Beer & Big does not know any borders (aside from those of the US of A). We travel. Proper nomads. You can’t have all the BBQ by keeping your feet planted in one spot. So let it be written!
With that being established lets get at it: Long Beach, Long Island is a small beachfront community that sports a very classy and laid back vintage charm. This is Old Town USA through and through. Dead smack in the middle lies Swingbellys.
You’re not going to miss this place strolling through town. A giant open front of house that spills right on to the street is quite the eye catcher. I personally love open air fronts and outdoor seating, ESPECIALLY for a BBQ joint. Q is meant to be consumed outside. I’m about to start on that whole USA jaunt again.
The inside is a solid mix between current day pub and BBQ shack. Very open and spacious seating, flat screen TV’s ev-ry-where, a great full wrap around bar. This is the kind of place that at first glance we would want to spend a lot of time in. It is surrounded by locals bars, eateries, and other stores that really bring the neighborhood to life with a very classic small town (and vacation town) charm.
The staff was incredibly gracious and greets you immediately. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to the lovely young ladies who were working in front. I promise I wasn’t gawking or staring. I just have a special place in my heart for women that work in BBQ and promised to bring a nice girl home to Mom. Call me? (more…)