J.Paul’s has been a quintessential dining saloon in Washington, DC for over 25 years! We’ve shared our story with you…and want you to share yours with us. Proposed to at J. Paul’s? Celebrated a special birthday with us? A funny or embarrassing memory while dining with us? Do tell!
Rewards are being offered for Memories submitted and shared with us! Kindly use the form at the left to tell us your favorite J. Paul's memory and we'll post your story on the site! Upon submission of your memory, you will receive an email from us with a complimentary appetizer upon your next visit.
We look forward to sharing memories of the past…and creating memories with you in the future!
I was living in Georgetown on 9/11. As night fell on a nearly evacuated Washington, DC, there was only one place to go, J.Paul\’s. The restaurant and bar were packed that night with people from the neighborhood waiting to hear President Bush address the nation. As he came on the television, J.Paul\’s went absolutely silent. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Amidst all the tragedy, loss, and fear of the unknown that day, J. Paul\’s provided a sense of comfort and refuge to the citizens of Georgetown. Thank you, J. Paul\’s, for always being there in good and bad times and always making us feel a little better when we walk out your door!
My wife and I met at J. Paul\’s in September 1984. I had just gotten off work at midnight from Channel 9 News, and went to J. Paul\’s… a block from my apartment.. to unwind. It was standing room only and I stood behind two women drinking wine at the bar. One of the women said to the other, \”All of the men in here are so boring.\” I signaled the bartender for my tab, saying, \”Quick, Mike, cash me out before I\’m accused of being boring.\” One of the women turned and laughed. Helen Farrell had red hair and gorgeous green eyes. We married almost two years to the day later. We are still together in 2013… though far from Washington in northern Illinois… with three grown children. Thanks for the memory, J. Paul\’s! -Arthur Steadman
Today is my 4 year wedding anniversary and I owe it all to J. Paul\’s. It was 11 years ago that I was at J.Paul\’s for happy hour with some friends, enjoying the live music and the company of the bartenders Avi and Rich. I also, that night, met my future husband. We subsequently shared our first quick kiss across the raw bar. I thank J.Paul\’s for the great memories and the future that it provided. My husband and I have been married for 4 years today and have beautiful 18 month old twin boys. I was checking out the website today because my husband and I were planning on drinks at the bar to reminisce and celebrate our years of happiness together. How ironic that there is a public place to share our memories. See you tonight!
Butch and Barrie Dener
My husband took me to Washington D.C. for my 50th Birthday in May of this year, and rather than making reservations for dinner, he suggested we just stroll through Georgetown and choose a restaurant for its ambiance. As we passed J Paul's, the laughter and happy crowd noises and amazing food scents wafting out onto the sidewalk stopped us in our tracks. We took a chance on J Paul's, and we struck gold! Across the table, over perfect appetizers and entrees, we kept saying to each other, "You have to try this!" "No, YOU have to try THIS!" We are coming back this weekend, and bringing my Sister, for her birthday. Can't wait to show off our "find" and treat her to your Crab Cake Sliders and that amazing spicy Shrimp on ice. Thank you J Paul's!
Three years ago, I was invited to play on a beach volleyball team with a group of co-workers and our games are played on the sand courts at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. My friend, Theresa, and I made our way downtown early before a game and decided to find a place to have a drink before the game and catch up chatting. Somehow we ended up at J. Paul’s outdoor bar with two frozen margaritas, no salt. Immediately we knew we would have to come back the following week to have another margarita because they were the best we had ever had. We ended up winning our game that night. The following week we met up again for a margarita before our game and again we won, so naturally we attributed the wins to J. Paul’s and meeting there before each game became our good luck ritual. It did not take long before Billy, our bartender, started to remember us from week to week and he would have our margaritas already in the blender before we even sat down, he’s good!
After the summer volleyball season, Theresa and I joked about going back one Wednesday night to visit Billy, but we never made it out. A year passed and another season of volleyball started as did our margaritas at J. Paul’s. We wondered if Billy would still be working there and we were pleasantly surprised to see him before our first game. Every week we looked forward to our visits and the time we got to vent about work, catch up on gossip or just talk about our weekend plans.
This past summer was our third year playing volleyball. Our J. Paul’s tradition became especially important to me because I changed jobs and lost touch with Theresa somewhat. We continued to meet up for a drink before our games as usual and then we started going back for another after our games bringing with us more teammates. On days Theresa would be running late, or vice versa, we still had Billy to chat with and another bartender, Jen who started working the same evenings.
So, thinking of J. Paul’s, Billy and Jen always makes me smile because without even trying, they have all played a role in bringing a group of busy friends together for some quality time to laugh or forget about our stresses, even if for a short time. A million thanks to Billy and Jen for being awesome and thank you J. Paul for hiring fantastic staff!
To anyone else, if during the summer of 2009 you happen to be at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on a Wednesday night, just look for Theresa and me sitting outside at J. Paul’s drinking a couple of frozen margaritas, no salt… no doubt we will be there in our volleyball shirts, but if you miss us, stick around anyway and let Billy or Jen make you a margarita, yum!
Tired of over the top bachelorete parties, my girls surprised me with a memorable evening out at J. Paul's. After sipping wine, enjoying local fare, and eating Tahoe-esque cake (all while wearing my bridal veil), J. Paul's allowed us to kick back, relax, and reflect on our friendships of year's past and look forward to our future as friends, family, and "gasp" wife. Eight years and two states later, I remember J. Paul's for its casual atmosphere, attentive staff, and amazing harbor view. I hope to go back to celebrate my ten year anniversary with the same group of friends along with many new ones met along the way.
I can’t say I’m a regular at J. Paul’s, since I live in Florida, but our visits to the Georgetown location have now come to feel like one of our family traditions, ever since our oldest daughter left our small beach town for GWU four long years ago.
I’m not sure what brought us to J. Paul’s when we first came to drop her off for freshman year. We were out for a nice Sunday breakfast and didn’t know anyplace at all to go in DC. Foregoing the GWU Hospital cafeteria for a more lively, welcoming atmosphere, it was probably the windows open to the sidewalk and passing pedestrians, and the boisterous, happy crowd inside, that drew us in then. Or it might have been the posted menu, and the opportunity to order just one single oyster of the many types offered that look so tempting in the fresh ice by the window. And that’s from a family that can gather all the oysters we want from our backyard Florida waters (in season only, of course). We have been back to J. Paul’s ever since, at least once on every one of our DC visits that followed.
That even includes President’s Day weekend. I imagine that’s something most DC area residents wouldn’t even think of, but we’ve spent that mid-winter holiday weekend flying the opposite (and what you might think the wrong) way, on the planes that allow District area folks to get a few days of mid-winter sun down here in Florida. And often at some great rates, since they’re looking for any passengers they can get when they fly back to pick up the next load of sun-deprived people. In the meantime, we’d get a nice, short feel of winter, and to visit J. Paul’s at a different time, with the windows closed, and a cozy, warm winter feeling we can never get here in Florida.
I’ve since learned J. Paul’s is celebrating its 25th birthday, a surprise to me since it feels like it’s been there at least for the hundred years or more that the bar’s been around. I learned this on my last visit there, just a few weekends ago, while helping my now full time employed and graduate school student daughter move into her new apartment. It was another pleasant Sunday morning, and it brought back vivid memories of how she has grown and evolved since our first visit there four years before, dealing with the trepidations of her leaving her small home town for the first time to attend an unfamiliar school 1000 miles away. J. Paul’s has been a constant in those memories for us, in the process becoming as traditional and dependable as our regular hometown places.
While DC is not my home, it has become my daughter’s now, and it’s nice to know that any visit we have with her there, we can come to J. Paul’s and recall how our family history has changed since our first time four years ago. Thanks for being part of it, and being so welcoming.
I had just graduated from college in August of 1984 and had moved “back” to D.C. from Missouri (worked on The Hill for a while when in college). I had just started a job at the then, NIKE GEORGETOWN. I needed lunch, walked directly across the street from the store, sat at the bar, ordered a burger and 3 days later, was working the door – late night - and shucking dozens and dozens of oysters and clams behind the raw bar (best seat in the house as the bay window allowed me to watch the masses not only on “M” street, but inside the restaurant as well). Thanks to Mark Bonafant, who was bartending at the time of my first lunch – he helped me get the job. Wherever you are buddy, I still owe you one.
Being from Missouri and working retail (the NIKE shop), I couldn’t make it back home for Thanksgiving in 1984. However, I had one of the best Thanksgiving dinners ever at J. Paul’s. Incredible that they served such a huge crowd that day! Many thanks to all who made my work experience (1984-1985) so much fun. And to all the great people I met there, either working or not – thank you for enriching my life.
Best wishes and congrats to all who made the first 25 years a huge success. Here’s to the next 25! Still the best crab cakes I’ve ever had.
Wow . . . I can hardly believe that 25 years ago I walked into J. Paul's. Being new to the area, my father joined me on my first day of finding a job. Since my apartment was located in upper Georgetown and on the bus route, we thought this area would be ideal for employment. As we took the bus to the intersection of M St. and Wisconsin Ave, the hustle and bustle at J.Paul's caught our eye. As we walked in, the manager (Barry) noticed us. With a smile, he explained to us that the restaurant wasn't open until 11:00. As we glanced at our watches, we realized it was only 9:30, a bit earlier for the "saloon" lifestyle. So we explained that I was looking for employment. Being a bit young to waitress, Barry thought I could start out as a hostess. But I had to come back at 2:00 (normal saloon hours) to apply. Well, needless to say, I got the job! And what a wonderful opportunity lay ahead for the next three years. Without the good hearts of that amazing staff, I wouldn't be where I'm today. With the support of my "J.Paul’s family", I finished college and learned that "kindness equals J.Paul’s.” Thank you for the wonderful opportunity and memories!!
In April of this year my husband and I spent a few days at the Baltimore Harbor area. As we walked the harbor area we noted a restaurant: J. Paul’s. We were taken by the name - our name is Paul - our son is J. Paul (John Paul). We were also impressed with J. Paul’s appearance and menu.
We went in and were introduced to our waiter - Jason. We noted Jason was wearing a shirt with J. Paul’s on it and asked if the shirts were for sale. He said he didn’t think so. My husband went on to explain our son, J. Paul, had been in a motor vehicle accident April 1999 - and was left with extensive brain damage and was wheelchair bound. He wanted a shirt for him. Jason explained the shirts are not sold to the public - but because of the circumstances he allowed my husband to purchase one for our son.
Thank you again. We enjoyed our meal (crab cakes), the service and the view of the harbor that day. We returned for another great meal before we left for home. MaryAnn and Charles K. Paul II
We visited Washington, DC about 6 years ago and decided to find somewhere to eat dinner since it seemed everything in downtown Washington, closed down at dinner time. We drove around for a while through Georgetown and decided to try this restaurant that looked busy and inviting. We went in and to our surprise found a great welcoming restaurant. Michael ordered the ribs and to this day, has never stopped talking about how great they were; perfectly cooked and seasoned. We recently returned, November 2007, to Washington for another visit and decided to drive through Georgetown to find J.Paul's; of course, we forgot to bring the address with us. We drove endlessly becoming very frustrated and hungry and finally decided to just park at this great spot we found right on the main street. Looking up at the glass window we parked in front of made us both laugh - it was in fact J.Paul's. I went inside to check with the waiter to be sure we were safe to park where we were and I was told that we had better move quick as they ticket cars on this main street during rush hour. We parked around the corner in the garage under the mall only to come into the mall and become frustrated again. We couldn't find a door to get outside; finally remembering the store that is close by, we found our way to the restaurant and the food and drink was just as wonderful as our first meal there. We will definitely return on our next trip to Washington, now that we know exactly where to find you.
On May 11, 1984, I was a single mother with an active toddler and a demanding job. Though I had just turned 27, I had become a little jaded with the local bar scene, and had begun to consider a night spent at home watching television a reasonable alternative to whatever else might be going on. I had even begun dating a guy from Virginia on occasion, and though the relationship seemed to be moving so slowly an outside observer would deem it going nowhere, I was content with my life, if not exactly happy.
My sister had called and begged, pleaded and cajoled me into going out to Georgetown with her. She needed a “girl’s night out” to help her recover from a recent break up. “What do you hope to accomplish?” I tried to reason with her. “Nobody who hangs out in bars is worth meeting. Come on over to watch Falcon Crest instead.” Because she would not take no as an answer, I gathered my unkempt hair into a bun, pulled on a pair of tight jeans, dressed it up with a silk blouse, and left my son asleep with my mom, watching Falcon Crest by herself.
My sister and I made J Paul’s our first stop. In 1984, many Georgetown bars had pseudo dress codes. Jeans, held over from the seventies by popular demand, were still relatively ubiquitous, but the Reagan administration’s tenure had made the look and scent of money more popular, so shoes, shirts and hairstyles had to be just right. It was not uncommon for men to wear business suits out on a Friday night, and when we arrived at J. Paul’s, it was already crowded with the same men in suits I’d spent the week with in downtown D.C.: pale, preening, and more interested in impressing each other, I thought, than any woman destined to be a peripheral part of a power broker’s life.
We made our way to the bar, where two seats were miraculously unoccupied. I faced the wall, and while my sister surveyed the room, I pulled one of my son’s forgotten super balls from the pocket of my jeans and smiled down at the thought of him. He was the biggest blessing in my life, but he was also the reason men stepped cautiously around me. I wondered if he was sleeping and again felt the pull to go home. But the bartender was friendly, the beer was ice cold and tasty, and the room was beautiful, so I turned around on the bar stool and scanned the crowd. Out of place among the business suits was a deeply tanned young man staring back at me. He wore a sport coat with jeans, and his longish dark hair skimmed the open collar of his shirt. I must have smiled because he was soon at my side, never to leave it again. As we talked I found out he’d just finished graduate school in California and had come to Washington via Hawaii. The two of us talked for hours until my sister suggested a change in venue, and as the three of us made our way to the door, I handed a my son’s unwanted super ball to a confused but grateful stranger.
Ten years later to the day, we held our new-born daughter in the hospital and toasted the day we met at J. Paul’s. Twenty years later, we ordered a champagne brunch to celebrate a marriage made possible by my sister’s notion that one can meet a soul mate anywhere, even, or perhaps especially, at a bar like J Paul’s.
I first visited J Paul's when I was on a business trip to DC more than 10 years ago and was immediately struck by the great atmosphere which was then topped by the quality and presentation of the food. Since that first visit I have made an effort to eat in J. Paul's on every subsequent trip (not that much effort is needed!) and have taken my wife to J. Paul's when we came to DC to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary - she too was impressed with the place. Having eaten in many places in DC, it is always a pleasure to come back to J. Paul's because you know exactly what to expect, great food, great service and a good pint of Amber Ale (and that coming from a Limey says alot!) Keep up the good work and see you soon!
My fiance and I just came back from a trip to Baltimore last week. I had been wanting to go there for so long. It was a spur of the moment trip for us... a much needed break. The weather was beautiful... and the atmosphere was wonderful. We decided to eat at J. Paul's before leaving for our trip. The restaurant was in a pamphlet we had received from our AAA agency. The food was definitely worth the trip. We each decided to have the seafood platter. Yummy!! Everything was perfect. We sat out on the patio and were able to take in all the sights and enjoy the cool evening. Thank you for making our first visit memorable and hope to be back soon.
My then-girlfriend was a waitress at J. Paul's when we met in 1993. She told me that she got a free meal for one guest each night, and while I enjoyed sitting at the bar, enjoying a great meal, it wasn't until years later that I found out that she picked up the tab herself. I returned the favor for her 30th birthday, a few years after we got married. I threw a surprise party for her in the room upstairs. That was in 2000. J. Paul's has been a big part of our lives for the past 15 years.
My most favorite J. Paul's memory was actually my first time eating there about 4 years ago. I lived downtown and walked to the Inner Harbor with my girlfriend at the time. We both were in the mood for a crabcake. We were seated outside just in time to watch the sunset in the August sky reflect off of the Harbor and create a beautiful and almost surreal experience. On top of the atmosphere, the crabcakes were a knockout! Since then, I have been back several times.
My very first foray ever into Georgetown was spent at J. Paul's. I was a freshman in college. During winter break, one of my newfound friends that I had met during the fall and I decided to keep in touch while we were out. We picked a date that happened to be one of the coldest days of the season, but we had fun anyway, exploring the wonder of Georgetown on foot. After crossing Key Bridge, we saw J. Paul's and stepped in to eat there, just because I wanted to enjoy the view of people-watching. We shared awesome conversation over burgers, fries, and Cokes. I still have the box of matches I kept as a memento of being there.
Barbara Hale Gregory
I have two memories - first, J Paul's was my favorite restaurant to eat at when I was the 'cop assigned to the beat' when they first opened until I transferred to K-9 in 1987. I loved their warm strawberry pie a la mode! My second memory ties in with the first. In May 1987, Officer Robert Remington was killed in the line of duty. My then husband, his partner, my partner and two brand new rookies and I were all treated to lunch and a few 'good stiff ones' at the end of that horrible day by the great folks at J Paul's. Thank you.
It was New Year's Eve 1983..or was it 1984? It's all a little fuzzy. Nevermind. I was home in my Arlington efficiency apartment with a horrible case of laryngitis. I didn't feel bad, but couldn't peep a word. My girlfriend came over and convinced me that we had to go out: It was New Year's Eve! And Georgetown was right across Key Bridge! Nobody would notice that I couldn't talk...I could just drink and dance and have fun. Hmm. Really? Okay, I'll do it! I got dressed (in my Madonna-esque best: big hair, severe makeup, high heels, sequined boots...) and went out on the town. To J. Paul's! Where else would two happening girls go on New Year's Eve in Georgetown??
We had the time of our lives!! I ended up getting my voice back after only one beer!! It was one of the best New Year's Eves ever!! The crowd was pumped. It was more like a frat party than a bar. AND, at midnight, I found myself high above the crowd being passed around from person to person like a college coach after winning the Rose Bowl--screaming and laughing and dizzy with happiness that I made it to the hottest party in DC. I'll never forget that silly, fun, crazy night at J.Paul's.
Hello! Congratulations on 25 years of J-Pauls! I have many memories of the restaurant and have enjoyed many pints and slidders at the bar enjoying bartenders as Sleepy, Colin, and Tim and the company of good friends. All wonderful and have made me feel welcome. The best memory is my husband and I shared our first date at J-Pauls. It was a beautiful spring day and he asked me to meet him for lunch. I had the monte carlo. It was a day that I didn't want to end and our date went well into the evening. J-Pauls will forever be a part of our story. One has not lived well, if one has not dined well!
Last Sept. my daughter Gina 29, my son Charlie 15 and me, MOM, flew to DC to attend the opening of the BioScience Research Center at Univ. of Maryland. Since we only had one day to be tourists we each picked 1 thing that was a "must do". I chose touring the Holocaust Museum, Charlie chose a couple hours at Air and Space(his 3rd visit) and Gina chose shopping in Georgetown with dinner at J Paul's.
Charlie and I put in our time waiting for a table, bought t-shirts, talked about our hurting feet and watched the lively, well-dressed DC evening crowd flirt and mingle. Charlie, especially, was just humoring his sister until his steak arrived. Then he was immediately convinced. I remember it to be a New York strip loaded with onions on top. It was life changing! It appears that every steak the kid orders for the rest of his life will be attempting to measure up to "the one I had at J Paul's."
Thought you should know that you are right up there with the top sights to see in DC and that your steak was rated 5 star by a 15 year old from Minnesota! Congratulations on your anniversary - your service was great and we will be back when we get to town!
In the summer of 1998, my wife was a post doctoral fellow at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore finishing up requirements for her PhD in Psychology. I was in New York teaching Leadership at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The "long-distance relationship" of almost 300 miles was not easy - but one that we worked out. We alternated weekends visiting each other in our respective home towns every other weekend. We were dating seriously and had talked about getting married at some point in the future.
After I finally got the nerve to ask her dad for his daughter's hand in marriage, I devised my plan on how I would "pop the question". I arranged our weekend visits so that I came to Baltimore on the weekend of her birthday in September of 1998. I showed up that weekend with a small gift bag - bemoaning the "fact" that I was late in ordering her "real" present and so had settled for a "little something" until her real gift was ready.
We came to J. Paul's for dinner and had a great table looking out to the harbor. After ordering our drinks and looking over the menu, I offered to let her open her gift - "since it's just a little something until your real gift is ready." (I was obviously anxious to move the process along and she was a trying to downplay the fact that I had waited too long to order her real gift!) She, somewhat reluctantly, agreed to open her present before dinner. She took the bag, reached in, and pulled out a little Precious Moments figurine. At first, it appeared she was a bit uncertain as to what to make of such a "unique" 26th birthday gift. Then she saw the engagement ring, taped to the little statue’s hand.
Just as she realized what was happening, the waiter returned to the table with our drinks and asked if we were ready to order. The only response was "We just got engaged!" An apparent expert at such events, the waiter politely congratulated us and walked away to give us time to enjoy the moment. A minute (or two?) later, the maitre de arrived with complimentary champagne. Needless to say, we had a wonderful experience!
J Paul's was an important piece of a meaningful time in our relationship. We now live in Baltimore and fondly remember the night of our engagement every time we go to the Inner Harbor. This summer will be the 10th anniversary of our engagement at your restaurant. We hope to enjoy the occasion the same way we did 10 years ago.
Thanks – both for the way your staff treated us on that day 10 years ago, and for allowing us to tell our story.