5.06.2010

National Tavern Month

May is Tavern Month all across the United States and, despite a sour economy, consumers still migrate to these on-premise watering holes that come in a variety of ambiance and character.

Led by American Beverage Licensees, consumers nationwide hoist a glass to the over three hundred thousand on-premise beverage alcohol retailers for the 57th year. From a recent press release:

“In many ways, bars and taverns are one of the last American outposts for spirited individuality, entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Harry Wiles, executive director of American Beverage Licensees. “In our increasingly standardized culture, the bar and tavern business continues to be home to some true American originals.”

A sense of tradition of offering friends, neighbors and travelers from far-and-wide a refuge from the clutter of modern-day life has its roots in the earliest colonial times of the country. Taverns continue to serve as meeting places for business, forums for discussion of the issues of the day, and settings for celebrations of life, just as they did hundreds of year ago.

The first tavern I wish to pay homage to is Againn, in the city center of Washington, DC. I visited this modern gastropub on a recent trip to our nation’s capital and was universally impressed with the contemporary bistro featuring traditional British pub cuisine (a friend had the Shepherd’s Pie – to die for! – and I devoured my fennel salad with a side order of baked cheesy cauliflower), hand-crafted cocktails, and personal Scotch lockers that seem to reach limitless heights. Large groups ate at tables with oversized chairs or mingled by the expansive bar that can easily take on different identities; sports bar, traditional pub, and cocktail lounge all aptly fit.

Againn, pronounced 'aguinn' {a-g-uin}, loosely translates from gaelic as: "at us", or "with us". And it truly lives up to the name. I was seated at the bar with the great gentlemen of Scofflaw and was greeted warmly by our bartenders, Rachel Sergi and Andrew (I had the pleasure of spending the next day with Rachel, and other craft bartenders, at the Bar Smarts Advanced live program). Being indecisive as I am at times, Andrew chose my cocktail for the evening, The Lady Macbeth, a frothy delight of Hendricks, St. Germain, lemon, rose water, and egg white. I thoroughly enjoyed this cocktail – the aroma from the perfumed rose water was just, well, intoxicating. (Horrible pun, I know…)



The gaelic phrase printed on the coasters fittingly sums up my experience at Againn: “Níl rún é mura fios ag triúr,” or “It is no secret if three know it.” Againn is a tavern secret I will happily share and return to on my next stop in DC.

Sláinte!

Againn
1099 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
202.639.9830

2 comments:

Drink Me Magazine said...

Perfumed Rose Water for Lady MacBeth? You know what else is a good rose flavored cocktail... 1/4 shot rose syrup, 1/2 shot st. germains, fill with soda water, float a candied rose petal.

elizabeth said...

St. Germain is already in the cocktail, so using a non-sugar rose water is perfect. Lemon juice and egg white round out the drink. Try it. Too much sugar in many different usages becomes heavy handed. Cheers! Rachel