It’s time to visit one of America’s truly great bars
Rather than art on the walls, Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington DC features rows and rows of Bourbons, ryes, Scotches, Canadian whiskies and more. There are so many bottles in the regular ebb and flow of things there is a counter on their website with the current number of bottles available for sale – today at 2,687. This is one of the top destinations worldwide for whiskey lovers.
Not all of these are shelf brands, either. There are dusties, private barrel selections, rare bottles, and more. Owner Bill Thomas has also recently partnered with Bourbon historian Michael Veach to distill a one-of-a-kind whiskey that, when it matures, will only be available at Jack Rose Dining Saloon. It’s the place you go if you want to try the original green glass Old Boone Pappy, which was not a wheater, or any other mythical creature of the whiskey world.
This is a bar that gets right to the point – though there is excellent food served for dinner patrons, it’s not open for lunch even on weekends. The 5pm daily opening time signals that when you visit you had better be ready to try your bucket list whiskeys right then and there, while you have the rare opportunity to do so.
The cocktail list is short but solid and broken up by spirit – whiskey, gin, rum, tequila/mezcal and vodka. Each cocktail is handcrafted to order, featuring ingredients such as the house barrel-aged bitters.
For guests looking to enjoy a cigar with their whiskey, Jack Rose has partnered with W. Curtis Draper Tobacconist, a Washington, DC staple for 127 years, to offer a small selection of about a dozen different cigars in a humidor right by the front door. In nice weather there is a patio overlooking the street, where guests may enjoy their moment of relaxation under propane heaters when necessary. Available cigars include La Aroma De Cuba, La Palina, Liga Privada, Nat Sherman, and more.
The lack of state liquor laws in Washington, DC is partly responsible for the success of this establishment. Thomas has been able to legally purchase and sell vintage spirits for years, getting the jump on bars in other states which had to lobby their governments to pass vintage spirits laws. Thomas has been buying vintage spirits for years at auctions and from private collectors, amassing a huge collection for the bar’s vintage spirits menu. There are no limits to what vintage spirits can be sold here, though you can rest assured Thomas is obsessed with the quality of the spirits he sells in his establishment.
Jack Rose Dining Saloon isn’t just the kind of place you check out when you are in town – it’s the kind of place you buy a plane ticket and make a hotel reservation to see. If you are a true connoisseur of any type of whiskey, especially Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, you must make it a point to visit the Jack Rose Dining Saloon.
2007 18th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009