From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Let’s Show the Fleet Street Pubs Some Love!

By Lani Gering

Every month I am in search of subject matter for this space and some months it’s easier than others. I wanted to do more than just talk about the events and what goes on down on the waterfront and about the time I was about to head back in that direction I saw a Facebook post from one of our many favorite bartenders in the Harbor – Leah Sbitan. She indicated she was back behind the bar roving between Public House and Irish Whisper and picking up shifts at Brother Jimmy’s. A lot has happened since the last time I saw her – she got married, she had two cute kids and she’s embarked on a real estate career. Seeing that she had come back to her “roots” made me think about the last time I wrote anything about our friends on Fleet Street!

When I lived in the Harbor I made my rounds to check on my “people” at least once a week and I always ended up at Public House as my last stop. They were the first business to advertise with the OTC when the Harbor was brand new so I have a soft spot in my heart for Jon Ball and his people – many of whom are still close friends. Much has changed since in the last 12 or so years. Public House, Cadillac Ranch, and Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar have held their ground, Harrington’s Irish Pub closed and the space was split into Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and Irish Whisper (all owned by the same parent company as Public House). Granite City Food & Brewery has come and gone and it is rumored that a Denver-based chain, Tom’s Watch Bar, will be opening in that huge space this winter. The Brass Tap came on the scene a few years ago and is hanging in there.


While the waterfront is the main draw in the Harbor with the Wheel, Carousel, the Big Screen on the Plaza, the Awakening, etc., Fleet Street has something it doesn’t – night life. The drinking and eating establishments on the waterside close at 10 pm while the Fleet Street joints stay open until Midnight or later. Fleet Street is also home to Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar. If you haven’t experienced an evening with these guys and dolls, you are really missing out. I maintain that if you are in a funk or just a bad mood in general and you take in a show at McKey’s and STILL feel the same way…you need professional help. You can’t help but leave this fun place with a smile on your face. The musical talent and the showmanship of those who play is amazing.

Fleet Street also has some very cool lights traversing across the street in the 100 block. The lights change colors and the colors change with the seasons. Red, White & Blue for the 4th of July, Red & Green for Christmas, etc. They make for a festive atmosphere for sure.

Happy Hour(s) is alive and well on Fleet Street. Cadillac Ranch 3 pm – 7 pm, Brother Jimmy’s 3 pm – 6 pm, Public House 3 pm – 7 pm, Brass Tap 4 pm – 7 pm, Irish Whisper 4 pm – 6 pm.

Next time you are in the Harbor, take a walk up from the waterfront to Fleet Street and show those people some love too!

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