Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar: Kyle McFarland

Kyle McFarland

Irish Whisper

177 Fleet Street

National Harbor







Kyle pulls a perfect “Half and Half” – Harp on the bottom and Guinness on the top

How did you get started in the bartending business?

I started in the restaurant business almost 13 years ago as a simple door guy. Once I graduated from college in 2009, there weren’t many jobs available due to the housing market issue with the exception of restaurants. There always seems to be work in the hospitality business. Over the next 10 years I worked my way up from a server to a bartender and the rest is history.

What is your biggest bartender’s pet peeve?

My major pet peeve is when a bar is extremely busy and it’s your turn to order drinks and #1 you don’t know what you want or #2 you can’t remember what you are buying for all your friends. “Uhh”… the worst answer to give a bartender when it’s busy.

What is the cleverest thing a customer has done to entice you to give them a free drink?

In years past, I was pretty good at drinking Irish car bombs and it got to the point where people would try to race me. I would always get “I can beat you, you’re not that fast” comments from customers. So…I would make them a deal….”If you can beat me, I will buy them, but if I win it’s on your tab”. I think that I’m about 90% when it comes to winning.

What is/are the best/worst pickup line(s) you have overheard at the bar?

“Are you my appendix? I don’t know what you do or how you work but I feel like I should take you out.” To my shock she kept talking to the guy for the rest of the night.

Tell us about an interesting encounter you have had with a customer(s) during your career.

It was, I believe, in the fall of 2016 and the baseball winter meetings were in the Harbor. We had a bunch of MLB executives and other baseball industry people coming in and out of the bar. I started talking with a random guest at the bar and I noticed that he had a San Francisco Giants World Series ring on. So without being over the top, I asked him what year it was from; he stated it was from the 2014 season. As we continued to talk, I was thinking about that year and why it stuck in my head. A few minutes went by and it donned on me…that was the year the Nationals were the #1 seed and we had our hearts broken. I also made the point that they crushed one of our pitchers careers and he laughed and stated, “I wouldn’t say crushed, but he probably isn’t the same since.”

If you could sit down and have a drink with anyone past or present who would it be?

I would say probably Zac Brown. I have been a huge fan of his music for the last few years. I have seen him in concert multiple times in different cities around the U.S. and I had the pleasure of working with his tour chef so there is also a chance this might happen in the future.

Kyle is normally behind the bar on Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Saturday’s.

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