105 W. Broad St.
Falls Church, VA 22046
CUISINE Irish/Welsh, International, Bar/Pub Grub
PRICE $$ ($13-$20)
HOURS Open for lunch, dinner and late-night dining daily; Sunday brunch.
NVM AWARDS None
NEARBY METRO None
By Warren Rojas
You know you’ve become a community landmark when even the slightest change leads to open rebellion. Or so 4Ps’ owner Colm Dillon quickly discovered after assuming control of the treasured Falls Church pub in March 2004.
The naive Irish native (hailing from County Cork) attempted to do away with the restaurant’s signature steak fries and was summarily chastened by the well-established clientele.
“The 4Ps is all about regulars,” Dillon said of his diehard customers, adding, “It’s not my pub, it’s their pub.”
Familiarity does, in fact, appear to be a cornerstone of this neighborhood retreat, which first opened its doors just over a decade ago. The V-shaped restaurant boasts a lively bar on one side (outfitted with stained glass crests commemorating the restaurant’s namesake provinces) and a semi-private dining room on the other (cozy expanse is decorated with tartan window treatments and historical memorabilia).
Having spent the past 20 years working in various local pubs—most recently as the general manager at D.C.’s fabled Dubliner—Dillon actively recruits workers from abroad to help out at his thriving bar.
“The locals love it,” he said of the quicksilver-like bond forged between many regulars and their Emerald Isle-bred servers. “Next thing you know, somebody’s going to Ireland because they want to visit May, who worked at the 4Ps for 18 months, three years ago.”
Even after just a few visits, that sense of nostalgia is easy to understand.
Staff are quite gregarious, happily filling customers heads with stories of their homeland while keeping guests’ glasses from ever draining completely. Most evenings every bar stool fills up just as soon as the neighboring businesses call it quits. Thereafter, the laughter of close friends and chatty couples flows as easily as the free-running taps.
Bartenders keep patrons happy with brimming pints of Guinness, Smithwick’s, two house beers (4Ps’ amber ale and Irish lager) and assorted domestics on draft. The bar also stocks about three dozen assorted whiskeys (Irish, Scotch, single malt and blended), including: original Bushmills, Jameson, Knappogue Castle, Kilbeggan, Michael Collins, Midleton very rare, Redbreast, Balvenie doublewood, Dalwhinnie, MacAllan cask strength and traditional Oban.
The fairly deep menu includes a number of traditional Irish specialty dishes as well as a host of American-style fare (steaks, burgers).
A ration of the Irish fries summons herb-sprinkled spuds accompanied by a zesty pot of soupy-thick curry (spicy accompaniment brought smiles to my Irish posse’s faces). The Gaelic bites talk a good game—promising corned beef, cabbage and mashed potatoes rolled into one—but deliver meek potato rounds with little corned beef or cabbage.
The signature Irish fry, on the other hand, does not disappoint, revealing ample portions of black and white pudding (better than the Four Courts), stubby pork sausages (good), made-to-order eggs, sliced potatoes, baked beans, roasted tomatoes and sauteed mushrooms. The fish and chips is somewhat smaller, but almost as satisfying, offering up twin filets of battered Atlantic pollock (crunchy crust, sweet white meat) flanked by the ubiquitous steak fries and an extra-chunky tartar sauce.