My favorite neighborhood bar, Churchkey, seems to be the favorite bar for the rest of the damn city, too. So, I wouldn’t mind having a backup pub—somewhere cozy, charming, and close by—with a great beer selection and good bar food. When I heard St. Arnolds opened on the hidden Jefferson Street in Dupont, I thought, this is my place.
Since I’m a Bitch, I ended up heading to St. Arnolds for brunch before I made it for happy hour. A cozy tavern nestled in an English basement off Connecticut Avenue, St. Arnolds has a welcoming, relaxed ambiance perfect for a neighborhood pub. There are long wooden tables and benches, and the beer selection is written in chalk on the walls. “It seems homey and hits the mark on the Irish/English pub tavern thing it’s going for,” said Bitch Danielle.
When we walked in at noon on a Saturday, the place was desolate except for a row of five middle-aged men sitting on stools at the bar. “It’s a little off-putting to go into a place that is pretty much empty. Because, of course you think, ‘Why is no one else here?’ But, it’s a fairly new place, and the vibe seems more post-work-happy-hour than brunch to me,” she continues.
While we weren’t drinking that Saturday morning, the gentlemen at the bar made regular visits to the Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary station, which I’d love to go back and take advantage of on another occasion. Also, I’d be awesome if St. Arnolds stepped up its brunch by adding some Beermosas to the menu (just a little suggestion).
The brunch menu is succinct but sufficient. There are five options: Full English Breakfast, Full American Breakfast, Belgian Breakfast, Eggs in the Middle, or “The Drug Opera,” a ham-and-cheese sandwich topped with eggs. Additionally, you have your pick of the restaurants waffle options: powdered sugar and whipped cream, fruit and whipped cream, farmers cheese and fresh fruit, or Nutella, chocolate sauce or honey.
In this instance, Danielle opted to create her own Belgian waffle with both Nutella and fruit (what a daredevil).
“My food was delicious,” she said. “It’s hard to screw up waffles with Nutella on top. I am a big Nutella fan, so the dish was a win in my book. The waffle was good—fluffy and not too doughy. It didn’t come with any sides, though, not even fruit.
Meanwhile, Ashley had the Eggs in the Middle—poached eggs inside bread served with a side of home fries. She described the dish as unique and delicious—but did mention her over easy eggs were not, in fact, over easy. Minus points, but not a deal breaker as she didn’t send the dish back.
I opted for the traditional Belgian breakfast—a waffle, two eggs (scrambled), frites (which are actually home fries, I wish they had been french fries), and sausage (which I passed off to my carnivorous compadres). The eggs and potatoes were good, the girls said the sausage was delicious. However, my waffle was slightly burnt and slightly cold. I would have expected more effort from the kitchen to provide a hot, correctly cooked waffle as we were the only table in the joint.
Our service was great. Our waitress actually co-owns the restaurant with her husband, and was super friendly, attentive without being overbearing. She seemed genuinely concerned that we were happy with our food and our experience.
The Bitches say: B. Food used good quality ingredients, but lacked any excitement or flair, and could have been better prepared. Other than my slightly crispy waffle, there were no lows, just no highs, either. It’s definitely better as a bar, and I hear they have great happy hour specials.
1827 Jefferson Place