Mac McCormack has been serving up spirits, brews, and punk-rock atmosphere in his Shockoe Bottom bar, McCormack’s Irish Pub, since 1999. Starting today (hopefully), RVA residents can partake in Mac’s newest endeavor: family-friendly restaurant meets edgy, cool bar.
Mac McCormack has been serving up spirits, brews, and punk-rock atmosphere in his Shockoe Bottom bar, McCormack’s Irish Pub, since 1999.
Starting today (hopefully), RVA residents can partake in Mac’s newest endeavor: family-friendly restaurant meets edgy, cool bar.
Located at 204 N. Robinson Street, former home of Sushi Ninja, McCormack’s Whisky Grill & Smokehouse is hard to miss. With its copper-topped roof and hand-painted sign, this new piece of Fan District charm has a lot to offer.
“I wanted to build a place true to who I am and what people think of as ‘my place,’ but with a more diverse crowd,” Mac said. “It’s a restaurant where Elvis and The Cramps will be playing, for example, but also a place where you can bring your children.”
Mac said the new place was intentionally created with a different focus than the pub. The menu is geared toward southern comfort foods, which include barbecue, a variety of entrees and sandwiches, decadent desserts, and even funnel cake.
“Our focus is really on the food and the bar side is a secondary thing,” he said. “We have two ovens and two fryers, so we are also a ‘vegetarian-friendly meat restaurant’.”
Images of John Wayne, Mae West, and Elvis Presley – to name a few – add to the decor. Whiskey barrel tops are displayed throughout as well as signed music memorabilia. The walls are covered in rough hewn cedar and accents of slate and granite tile-work abound. Every edge seems to be kissed with steel detailing, including the floor-to-ceiling liquor shelf.
“It has 20 shelves total, each shelf is 60 inches long – all staggered,” Mac said. “I wanted to make it so people can see everything – the idea was to have at least 1,000 bottles but it can probably hold 1,400.”
And if sheer size alone doesn’t impress – the attached rolling library-style ladder should do the trick. Various whiskeys and hundreds of other liquor varieties will eventually call Mac’s epic rack home.
Truly a do-it-yourself project, the restaurant makeover consisted of using several recycled and re-purposed materials. Mac said he did much of the work himself with the help of friends like Garnett Ryland, Patrick Hooker, and Thor Levesque (who is also the chef).
Mac said he has many hopes for the future of McCormack’s Whisky Grill & Smokehouse including a variety of homemade jerkies, real breakfast foods, and coffee served every morning. Mac said he also plans to host “School Nights” on Tuesdays to educate patrons about premium liquors.