Semi-Irish pub Malt & Mash now open

At Malt & Mash, it’s all about the trifecta of whiskey, beer and fried snacks.

Malt & Mash, now open at 715 K Street, joins El Rey as the second of three concepts to occupy the historic Oschner Building with Golden 1 Center patrons in mind. All are owned by restaurateur Trevor Shults (Barwest), who is still hush-hush about the third space.

Shults bills Malt & Mash as an Irish pub, but you won’t get the same attention to detail as de Vere’s Irish Pub, where the Irish owners actually got the furniture built and shipped over from Ireland and use family recipes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, if all you’re looking for is a casual place to throw back a Guinness and watch a game. Malt & Mash looks more modern with light urban touches, yet still casual and cozy. There are a few big televisions and, oddly, some cheesy St. Patricks Day gear—a green feather boa, a green fedora, a hat that looks like a beer mug—ready for photo-ops in front of a brick wall.

There’s also a no-frills but spacious 1,000-square-foot patio, currently with a prime view of construction.

Whiskey fans should feel at home here, although the selection is still better at some other places, like Block Butcher Bar. The beer selection is somewhat surprisingly basic, but the cocktails show craft.

Chef Bryce Palmer’s menu is short and only Irish in the sense that Guinness seems to be a main ingredient. There are fries loaded with red wine-braised short ribs, Guinness beer cheese and pickled peppers ($12); whiskey-Guinness-battered and fried cheddar cheese curds with chipotle ketchup ($9); and cod fried in a Guinness batter with tartar sauce ($11). It’s mostly the sort of food you want to eat while you’re drunk—poutine with duck confit ($12)? Oh, yes—plus a burger and some sandwiches.

I tried the unconventional rueben ($13), which held some flavor-packed, house-smoked pastrami and crunchy kimchi but suffered from some structural integrity issues. Nothing to be too concerned about—the kitchen has only been open one full day, and things can certainly change before the arena opens in a few weeks.

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