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The Saloon

The SaloonThe Saloon

Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

20 Ratings
Ratings: 20
Reviews: 18
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 10.4%
$$ - reasonable


[ Bar, Eatery ]

1207 U St NW
Washington, District of Columbia, 20009-4442
United States
phone: (202) 462-2640

view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 20 | Reviews: 18 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of FrizWhiz
FrizWhiz

Texas

4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$

The no standing rule means that everyone gets a good seat. We walked in with a group of five people and they actually moved things around for us so that we could all sit at a table together. Our waiter was courteous and knowledgeable. The service could not have been better.

If you like German or Belgian beers, you'll be very pleased with the selection here. My group was a mix of everyone from beer snobs to people who claimed to not like beer, and everyone found something they enjoyed, poured into appropriate glassware. Just don't ask for a mixed drink.

A quarter is added to every bill to help fund their school construction projects in impoverished countries. The pictures of their projects line the walls and are pretty remarkable.

07-23-2013 00:00:50 | More by FrizWhiz
Photo of ybba
ybba

District of Columbia

3.3/5  rDev -18.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | $$

Usually I'm not too particular about service, but both of the times I've been to the Saloon I've been treated with poor service. The staff is very extremely concerned with seating space, and so they pack customers into their establishment like sardines. Even if you're sitting down for a while, they'll move you to another place to accomodate new guests. My party ended up feeling awkward and uncomfortable. We were happy to leave.

On the good side - The Saloon offers a unique atmosphere with a wide selection of beers; not much on tap though.

03-02-2012 19:54:09 | More by ybba
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$

Popped into this place with the wife after eating dinner on U street. I will visit every bar and shop in the district and review it on Beerfly, my beerfly ticking goals.

This looked like a dive and I wasn't expecting much, its nice to be surprised sometimes. First thing you may notice, you have to be seated, please no cell phones at the bar, 5% will be added to your bill if you are rude, no TV. It is a custom at this bar to strike up a conversation with the person next to you. Its a brick bar with wooden beams and there are names on the bricks (some of them). There are tables and seats at the bar, the "bouncer" sat us at the bar.

The beer selection is OK. Nothing too odd or rare, several German ales and lagers on draft, if you like Spaten, this is your place. There are about 20 bottles of Belgian beers available as well.

We didn't order food but the bartender, that turned out to be the owner, was very attentive and helpful. The value was good but most of the beers are served in 0.5L wheat beer glasses, be prepared.

I would definitely go back. The owner of the bar donates a ton of money to charity, approximately 200,000$ over the past 7 years. I can respect someone that does that much.

09-27-2010 01:51:40 | More by drabmuh
Photo of IMZep
IMZep

Maryland

4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$

The first thing most people notice when walking in are the rules: No TV, No Standing. They want you to drink your beer and enjoy it. If that's not your thing, go elsewhere.

The people who work there are great. Friendly, knowledgeable, and most concerned with your enjoying yourself and your beer. Not necessarily in that order. Better still, they sponsor a number of charitable projects and help build schools in Central America and Asia, which they describe with various ads and murals on the walls. So, drinking there, you feel good about yourself even if you don't drink too much.

Selection is mostly German and Belgian beers, with a heavy focus on the Belgians in the back of the menu. There are a few domestics available, as well. All are served in fine glassware, appropriate to the style (did I mention that these people care about what they do?). Reasonable prices overall, from the $4ish Leinenkugel to $9 for a small glass of Urbock 23.

Food is surprisingly good, if basic. The one caveat is that there are more notable places to eat on that block (Ben's...).

Overall a great place and one of my first recommendations for a good beer bar in DC.

07-31-2010 16:48:06 | More by IMZep
Photo of Travlr
Travlr

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$

Great atmosphere - no standing, no TVs, no martinis. Don't ask. Bricks are covered with the names of people who have donated to their charitable projects - they build schools in Central America and Asia, and close for a month in August to do it (DC is empty then anyway). The bartender is from Tehran, the server is from Addis Ababa and the cook is from the Caribbean. Smallish selection of decent Belgian and German beers that does not rotate. Friendly staff. Great local crowd. Decent and interesting food. Nice place.

10-31-2009 23:57:52 | More by Travlr
Photo of Clydesdale
Clydesdale

District of Columbia

3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$$

The atmosphere is unique and pretty enjoyable. Laid back, no TVs, no standing. All the rules can be slightly off-putting, but you can't really argue with the results.

Beer selection is definitely very nice. Plenty of interesting German and Belgian options on tap and in bottles. Glassware is appropriate and definitely a nice touch.

Service is quick and curt. Emphasis seems to be on efficiency and staying out of people's conversations.

The selection is high-quality, as mentioned. Beers tend toward a European character, and do a nice job of presenting different styles.

Food was pretty average. The bar food my table ordered was fine but uninspired. Portions were on the smallish side.

In terms of value, definitely not cheap, but you can do worse in DC. Some tasty and uncommon beers available, and for the most part, the prices reflect that pretty fairly.

Overall, a nice place if you'd rather grab a good European beer and chat with friends than stand in a crowd next to blaring speakers drinking $8 Bud Lights.

08-04-2009 01:42:42 | More by Clydesdale
Photo of thekanna
thekanna

Maryland

3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$

Went here on a Friday night and the place was packed. As you descend into it, there's definitely the dank basement pub feel, not that I'm complaining: they got the right atmosphere down pat.

The beer selection is quite good: mostly high-quality Belgians and Germans. They hype up the Urbock 23, which is a decent brew in its own right, but nothing to wet your pants about, and definitely not worth the high price they charge you. However, I got an extremely fresh Petrus Bruin Dubbel here, practically as fresh as what I had in Belgium. Service was rushed and brusque, so I can't say that it was too great. However, they do manage to keep the bar very European in atmosphere, and I have to say that for sampling the beers they serve, I can't imagine anywhere else more suitable.

02-01-2009 16:12:54 | More by thekanna
Photo of sawbones420
sawbones420

Massachusetts

4.56/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | $$$

This was the last stop of my long-weekend tour of DC beer bars, and was BY FAR my favorite. The Saloon manages to be both completely unpretentious while still giving a damn about what they are doing. Most DC establishments seem to be lacking one or both of these very important qualities. Both are absolutely essential to run what I consider to be a successful beer bar.

The first thing you may notice is all of the rules: No standing, no yelling, no cell phones at the bar (among others). Many of these rules are delivered via witty notes in the headers and footers of the menu, as well as by way of signs behind the bar. Definitely a charming touch that lets you know what sort of atmosphere they are looking to present.

The tap list is almost exclusively German, while the bottles are almost entirely Belgian. There is a solid selection on both accounts. Prices run too high for me for the Belgians, and a bit on the high side for the Germans. This is DC, however, and over the course of my tour I've learned that overpricing is standard procedure. I assume real estate prices are absurd...

A few "Saloon exclusive" beers adorn the tap-list. The Amber Lager, for example, is made by blending a marzen and another style of beer (sorry forgot which). Every beer is served in its proper glassware.

The service was excellent. We sat at the bar, and the bartender never missed a beat. Just watching him serve others indicated that he took his job very seriously. Always scanning the bar, keeping on top of who was drinking what and when they might need another; always ready with a thoughtful suggestion. Good bartenders are not always easy to come by so this was a big treat.

I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who wants a relaxing evening filled with delicious beer. I have a feeling if you get too sloppy you'll get cut off quick, but as long as you can hold your beer, you should be fine.

01-05-2009 19:06:09 | More by sawbones420
Photo of blackie
blackie

Virginia

4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$

visited while in the 'hood to pick up some tickets at the Black Cat, and I'll certainly visit again

atmosphere: a few steps down from the sidewalk, smell is musky wood and brick and the construction the same, the only windows are the two facing the sidewalk, a few tables and booths on one side with a ten seat bar on the other and a nice display of glassware, old european signs and various rules hang from the walls behind the bar, pleasantly low lighting gives the place a sort of calming vibe, very rustic and unique, completely lacking in pretense

as for the rules, and I others have mentioned, there are a few...most stressed is the no standing rule, which I like it as it keeps the place uncrowded and relatively quiet, so don't expect to be guaranteed a spot if it's a busy night, and be open to walking to one of the other beerflied spots down the street...others include No TV, no loud talking, and "if you don't like the rules you are free to leave"

quality: seemed fine, good use of glassware

service: the bartender was quick to refill my water and didn't give me any shit for breaking the first rule as I stood at the bar trying to figure out if I wanted to stay or go, though he did gesture towards the stool I was beside, seemed like a nice guy overall and I get the feeling he's the only bartender

selection: thirteen taps mostly German/Austrian, about twenty-five bottles mostly Belgian, Liney's Sunset Wheat and Stella are the closest to macro I found, a few Eggenberg beers on tap including the Urbock which the bar feels the need to boast excessively about

food: on a return visit after my initial review, I had a reuben served with fries, the fries were quite good and very crispy, and the reuben was pretty tasty but way too fatty and greasy

value: my little, and by little I mean about 5 ounce, glass of Urbock was $7...a rip-off for sure, other beers were more reasonably priced but still generally expensive...second visit I had a 0.5 Litre glass of Eggenberg Dunkel that ran about $8

09-28-2008 20:30:43 | More by blackie
Photo of alysmith4
alysmith4

District of Columbia

3.2/5  rDev -20.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | $$$

This place attracted me with the sign advertised outside that mentioned the beer that has such a high alcohol content that patrons are only allowed to order one per visit. So, my friends and I went in and thought we'd give it a try, but of course - they were out of stock.

The place is definitely sparse and there are a lot of "rules" on the menu.. no standing or ordering at the bar, etc. And they were out of a lot of things that we wanted to try and the replacements didn't seem on par with what we were looking for. I don't get the impression that the servers understand beer all that well.

02-16-2008 03:22:45 | More by alysmith4
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The Saloon in Washington, DC
90 out of 100 based on 20 ratings.