A piece of Chicago has found its way to Gaithersburg’s growing Downtown Crown development, with the recent opening of Old Town Pour House. And from the looks of things, the establishment, which boasts 120 taps and an upscale American classic food concept, has made itself right at home with the local community.
On a rainy Tuesday evening, the 8,000 square foot space was alive and bustling, with tables filled and a convivial bar area begging for one to join. The spot, which opened earlier this month, is restaurant group Bottleneck Management’s first Old Town Pour House location outside of the greater Chicago area.
Similar to its first two locations in Illinois, the restaurant has a warming ambiance, with lots of textures incorporated within the décor: high ceilings with dark wooden beams, walls of brick and shiny brass above the bar highlighted the bevy of large, flat screen televisions.
So out of all places what brought the beer enthusiasts to Gaithersburg?
“The real estate company we worked with had identified this location and we came out to take a look and loved the space and the demographics of the area, so we signed the papers,” Bottleneck Operations Manager Mike Jettner said.
It wasn’t until after the plans were set for the new Old Town Pour House location that Jettner soon learned about Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control’s fabled reputation for lack of speed. “We haven’t honestly had an issue and we take things as they come. It’s been going well,” Jettner said, adding that they learned the timeframes so they knew what to expect.
As the name would suggest, Old Town Pour House is all about the beer, with surely the largest selection of drafts in the DC-metro area. There are 76 static drafts, while 14 drafts are rotating between either limited beers or collaborations. The massive beer boards up on the wall list in detail the draft offerings, giving patrons a vast array to choose from.
And not to worry on keeping track of the beers you try at Old Town Pour House, because you can go on the establishment’s website and keep a tally, complete with “beer notes.”
“A lot of places don’t have the ability to have such a selection of limited beers on tap and we can do that and it’s great to bring to people,” said Daniel Gutierrez, Old Town Pour House Gaithersburg’s General Manager. You’ll recognize several of the drafts; however Gutierrez said he prides himself on selecting a variety of the best beers, representing the west and east coast, while making sure to also keep local brews rotating.
My choices for the evening to try: Big Wave Golden Ale (one of my favs), Saison de Lis, Banana Bread Beer (a beer from the UK, that offered a hint of sweetness that was not overbearing), and local DC Brau Citizen.
While the beer is the focal point, one should not miss out on the fruits of Chef Paul Katz’s kitchen. His menu showcases an upscale American classic spread, with some Chicago-influence spread thinly through.
For appetizers, a personal favorite I cannot recommend enough is the Duck Confit Nachos – pulled duck with jack cheese, red onion, smoked tomatoes, pickled jalapenos and avocado, atop crispy wonton chips. They were devoured! Another favorite were the Pretzel Bites, which come with a sinful Lagunitas IPA gouda cheese sauce for dipping. And be sure to also get the Chicago Dogs – perfectly sized Vienna beef dogs for snacking, wrapped in potato.
Another dish my table loved was the BBQ Chicken Salad – house-smoked pulled BBQ chicken, mixed greens, black beans, roasted corn, jicama, buttermilk onion strings and a ranch dressing. One of my absolute favorite salads I’ve had in a while for sure!
As for entrees, I ordered the Pork Chop, which was a perfectly cooked, bone-in center cut chop with a chipotle maple glaze, served with Yukon Gold potato puree and cinnamon apples. It was heaven quite frankly. My friend with me ordered the Short Rib, which was a braised boneless short rib that fell apart at the touch of a fork (perfect!), served with heavenly shrimp grits and a bacon tomato jam.
Another diner at my table enjoyed the Risotto – pea risotto, seasonal wild mushrooms, shaved parmigiana-reggiano and baby arugula in a brown butter sauce. She was kind enough to share with the rest of the table (as we all were doing) and wow, delicious! And this is coming from an Italian girl, so you know I’m finicky about my risotto!
The meal was capped off with a warm and sinfully delicious Baked Cookie Dough, served with creamy vanilla ice cream. After a bite, one of the diners at our table exclaimed, “This is better than my mom’s chocolate chip cookies,” lamenting that this was a difficult feat to accomplish!
Overall, Old Town Pour House delivers a warm and inviting atmosphere to gather with your friends, enjoy a wide array of carefully selected beers and partake in some really delicious American classics. The staff are incredibly friendly and the place gives off a vibe of wanting to really be a true member of the community, which judging from the crowd, they are well on their way to becoming.
Old Town Pour House : 212 Ellington Blvd., Gaithersburg, MD; 301-963-6281; www.oldtownpourhouse.com
Open Mon-Sun, 11am-2am
Special thank you to Wagstaff Worldwide’s Danielle Giuliano for the invite, Bottleneck Management’s Operations Manager Mike Jettner for answering a zillion questions, Daniel Gutierreze for the amazing tour of the labyrinth back cooler system and Chef Paul Katz for an truly outstanding dining experience!