Bar Beat: Dirty Jack’s

The appearance from the outside isn’t the most awe-inspiring thing: Dirty Jack’s, located adjacent to Green Man brewery, is housed in a utilitarian concrete box off of South Lexington—not exactly the neighborhood you expect to find a bar in.

It would be a shame to pass it by, however, as there’s a very cozy, old-style beer joint here, with interesting people and a lot of personality. The stacks of steel kegs and the brewing vats in the back really only add to the décor.

It’s Paul Newman night during a recent visit, in honor of the late actor’s passing. The final fight of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is playing on the big screen behind the bar. One man sips his beer and wonders aloud: “Huh. You think they’re gonna make it?”

The topics of conversation run all over the map. On one side of the bar, Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin is the rant du jour (“Even the conservatives don’t respect her anymore!”). On the other, it’s the wives of Burt Bacharach (“Was Angie Dickinson one?” a man asks aloud).

The Celtic-style brews here are smooth, even the heavier ones, and this is one of the only places in town that has cask ale. The Cask IPA has a more primal taste than beers made with more modern techniques. It’s a unique touch that goes well with the old-school Celtic-pub feel that Dirty Jack’s seems to be going for—as do the worn flags of the great football (soccer to us) nations that hang from the rafters.

A word needs to be said about the mustard too. Bartender Kelly Davis, who’s beaming and moving between conversations at the bar, makes Lusty Monk mustard—little ramekins of which accompany the bottomless bowls of free pretzels gracing the bar and tables.

It’s impressive, bracing stuff, though not for those with an aversion to spice and heat. This is mustard that you’ll feel in your sinuses. That sort of mustard is a personal favorite, but can be hard to find around here. I imagine it helps beer sales considerably, as washing it down with a gulp is an energizing experience. The combination ranks with Wedge Brewery’s whole peanuts as one of the best free bar snacks around, and Dirty Jack’s sells the mustard too, should you want to take some home.
Dirty Jack’s is located at 23 Buxton Ave. Call 252-5502 for more information. No smoking inside.

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