And the Lion Shall Sit Down with the Lamb

President Obama shakes hands with Speaker Boehner - photo by Jim Young/Rueters
Whether or not we can achieve the long-term civility and cooperation envisioned by President Obama in his State of the Union address remains to be seen. But at least for one night during this long cold winter, there appeared to be a bit of genuine warmth emanating from  the House chamber. The simple gesture of having the members of both parties sitting next to each other might actually begin to change the tone in Washington. (If nothing else, the tone of Speaker John Boehner’s tan finally seemed balanced.)

On this particular night the United States Congress  appeared to be the government  of all the people, instead of the usual partisan fans of two opposing teams in their assigned bleachers at a high school football game.

Since the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords there has been much talk about the need to change the tone of our political dialogue. While I will not speculate as to what degree the events in Tucson were influenced by the current level of acrimony between Democrats and Republicans, my years of experience in the tavern business have taught me that our discourse and tone certainly do matter. 

I have been witness to too many instances where a highly charged atmosphere combined with some  ill-chosen words  provided the license and excuse for the less rational patrons to display their violent tendencies. 

On the other hand though, I have experienced many more occasions where a kind word, a calming hand on the shoulder, or just the invite to sit down next to someone else diffused a potentially dangerous situation. So let us not discount the power of what we say or where we sit.

Tir na nog Irish Pub - Trenton, NJ

So in the spirit of proper tavern etiquette,  I would ask our politicians  to please remember the following points:

  • There is a place for everyone at the bar.
  • On St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish.
  • The rest of the year we are all Americans.

Posted by: Chris Poh


Keep Your Friends Close…

“Keep your friends close, but visit the Republican Caucus every few months.”    Don Barack “Corleone” Obama

As the staff at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel were attempting to best configure the seating arrangements for the sit-down between the Republican Caucus and the Capo Di Tutti Capi of Pennsylvania Avenue, my crew and I were enjoying pints at Mahaffey’s Pub in the gentrified Canton section of “Charm City.” This historic meeting between the President and the “loyal opposition” seems to have been the first stop on Mr. Obama’s  “Got Dem Beleaguered Beltway Lack of Bipartisanship Blues” tour of 2010.

While the early response to the Baltimore bilateral beef session seems to hold some promise of yielding a rare bit of legislative cooperation, I still would have opted against the formal downtown setting in favor of a more welcoming neighborhood locale – and Mahaffey’s would have been the perfect choice.

This gem of a tavern sets the standard for big tent camaraderie and hospitality. It offers a remarkable selection of beer, and with three 10-ounce drafts for only $4 every day during “Happy Hour” – Mahaffey’s has achieved affordable healthcare and effective stimulus in true bipartisan fashion.

“Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But uh, until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my daughter’s wedding day.”       Some future presidential deal for that one elusive Republican vote. 

Posted by: Chris Poh



What Beer Goes Best With Crow?

Pesident Obama at Bethlehem Brew WorksThe staff of American Public House Review are well aware of President Obama’s penchant for a good brew. We chronicled that particular predilection during his campaign visit to the Bethlehem Brew Works in 2008. We are pleased to discover that his fondness for the juice of the barley has been incorporated into public policy. The latest beneficiaries of his beer tap diplomacy are Sergeant James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department and Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.. Both gentlemen have been invited to the White House for a beer.

The question is which selection of suds will best  smooth over the  ruffled feathers, and what beer goes best with crow?

Here are three offerings from the editors of American Public House Review:

  • We suggest beginning the session by serving Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale from Yards Brewing of Philadelphia. What better way to begin any meeting at the White House, than to honor the man whose very words helped to establish the rights and freedoms of this great nation. And with an ABV: of 8.0%  one can quickly undo any prevailing tensions.
  • Next we recommend some Loose Cannon Ale from Baltimore’s  Clipper City Brewing. This is the perfect mea culpa malt beverage, when one needs to atone for expressing themselves without the benefit of having all the facts.
  • And finally we would close this historic gathering with a pint of  Benevolence, a unique variation  of a Belgian lambic from the Cambridge Brewing Company. Not only would this properly honor the contributions to the  community by both Sergeant Crowley and  Professor Gates; but with an ABV: of  12.6%, that which some might be reluctant to forgive – will most certainly be forgotten!

Red Tag

Posted by: Chris Poh

%d bloggers like this: