Review: Jack Rose

June 19, 2011

Jack Roseis a new bar in Adams Morgan that opened Memorial Day weekend.  So far, only its rooftop bar is open to the public and it is unclear when the ground floor bar and dining room will open.  As I peered through the ground floor windows, I was excited to see a long bar that runs the length of the right side of the room and more excited to see the long shelves running along the wall behind the bar that are currently being stocked with what must be hundreds of bottles of scotches, bourbons and other spirits.  Jack Rose’s website claims the bar will offer “over 1400 bottles of hand-selected scotches, bourbons & spirits, uniquely hand-crafted cocktails, wines from around the world, and over 20 beers on draft.”  Sign me up, baby!The website also mentions a “Prohibition” bar that I’m guessing is reminiscent of a “speakeasy.”  Interesting.I’ve now been to Jack Rose’s rooftop deck about three times since it opened.

Yeah, I guess that’s a lot since it’s been open less than a month.  My impression so far is that this place has a lot of potential.  It’s not fully open and I’m sure they’re still working out some kinks.  That said, I am eager to see how it evolves in the coming weeks and months.

I will say that I really like the laid back vibe of the rooftop bar.  It’s almost like you’re hanging out on a friend’s deck.  Most of the bartenders there seem to know their way around a bar.  However, there was one bartender who definitely needs more training as she had to look up the ingredients for a Sazerac.  That’s really not where any bar wants to be much less Jack Rose, which prides itself on its “uniquely handcrafted cocktails” and its large, hand-picked selection of one of Sazerac’s key ingredients — whiskey.

As for the drinks, the specialty cocktail menu was not too exciting.  I’m hoping that will change once the ground floor opens.  Also, the rooftop bar only serves a limited selection of scotches, whiskeys, and bourbons, but I guessI can make due for now.  One cool thing is that the establishment serves a Jack Rose label 18 year-old single barrel Willett bourbon.  Nice!The food menu is limited to a few sandwiches and small plates.  I hope this is temporary too.  Each time I’ve gone, I’ve ordered food only after long deliberation (over a very short menu) because none of the options really stood out.  I’ve tried the BBQ pit beef sandwich, which was okay.  It certainly had more flavor than the pickled shrimp cocktail I tried.  Frankly, the price points border on being slightly too high for what you’re getting.  The sandwiches range from $12 to $15, which may scrape by as being reasonable.  Yet, last week the menu featured a new item – a crab cake sandwich priced at $19.  The guy sitting next to me at the bar ordered it. When they brought it out to him, it looked to be more filler than actual crab so my friend asked him whether it was worth $19.  The diner didn’t think so.  One of Jack Rose’s owners also owns Bourbon, which used to be one of my favorite bars.  I have always thought Bourbon’s food was pretty good for bar food.  I’m really hoping for food that is of equal or higher caliber at Jack Rose.

As you can tell from my review, this gal is full of hope that Jack Rose will become her new go-to bar in Adams Morgan.  In the meantime, I’m pretty sure I’ll be keeping up my average visit of once per week and I’m hoping that once the ground floor opens I’ll be pleasantly surprised!  Stay tuned, folks!

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