Matchbox - Chinatown
Taps: 12 / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 13 | Reviews: 8 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BeerSox:
4.25/5 rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Located just around the corner from RFD, this place seems like an easy place to miss. It's located in a slim piece of real estate (but apparently expanded into the area next door), there is an easy-to recognize sign that says, "Matchbox." But that's if you're on the same side of the street. It's a block away from the Chinatown/Verizon Center stop on the Green/Yellow stop, and a few blocks away from the Metro Center Stop on the Red/Orange/Blue line. It's located just north of Downtown and just west of Chinatown.
Inside is very classy, probably the opposite of a hole in the wall place. A brick wall coats the entire eastern wall of the building, leading to a couple staircases for the three story building. The bar is on the first level, just next to the entrance. The rest of the building is tables. There is also an outdoor patio. The bar is long, has about 20 stools. The bathrooms seem nice as well (an odd thing to include in a review, but I feel it's noteworthy) with both a standard toilet ad a urinal in the men's (didn't visit the women's) and also a Dyson high-pressure "Air Blade" hand dryer. The men's room door is marked with nothing but an M, with the women's having just a W. If you're plastered, you're probably going to make a mistake. The music at the time was nothing but Deep House, which I don't mind (I actually like some of the style), although one bartender asked about the constant "80's music," to which the other replied, Yeah it sucks, doesn't it?"
Along the center of the bar is a line of tap handles, just over 10 of them. They are all craft, plus a Yuengling, with a rotating seasonal tap. They have a wide variety of beers, including hoppy, Hefe Weizens, porters, and Belgians. Everything is in proper glassware. The price is reasonable, especially for DC. The price of the food is on the higher end though, but it's all quality stuff.
Speaking of food, I ordered a small pizza, which is a more-than-modest 10". It's a fire oven, which a bartender stated as 800 degrees, so the crust gets a little burnt, but that's okay. The reset of the menu included salads, sandwiches, and steaks, along with appetizers.
There were plenty of bartenders and hostesses present when I arrived (about 4PM on a Saturday), maybe preparing for the evening rush. The place wasn't packed yet, but the bar was almost full, then thinned out a lot, then started to fill up again as it got closer to weekend dinner hour.
Overall, I'm certainly impressed with the place. It has plenty of the good beers, not the most, but still a good collection. I would say this is more of your typical upscale bar than a beer restaurant since the employees didn't seem to care about what was available, even calling them "crazy" beers, but who cares? People can come in for their good food, array of mixed drinks and wine, and we can come in for our beer. If RFD is packed, maybe try this place (the food is much better). Recommended.
05-31-2009 00:17:58 | More by BeerSox
More User Reviews:
3.88/5 rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
Situated in what is DCs Chinatown or more like DCs China "corner" (there really isn't a Chinatown anymore) is Matchbox pizza.
Inside is a fairly decent looking space with large loft ceilings of a typical DC rowhouse, and tables with glass displays filled with what else matchboxes and other displayed advertising pieces.
Service is young fairly friendly as well without too much misgivings, pizza is alright fairly good better than most places, not exactly the best pizza you'll ever have mind you. The 3-6-9 sliders are popular and the menu is a bit more varied than most pizza places.
Beer selection is small for craft but a good listing of solid and varied styles. You will easily find a good list consisting of a decent pilsner, witbier, American IPA, brown ale, and a few Belgian styles. It's enough to keep any picky beer person happy and find something they will enjoy.
Prices are reasonable and fine for what the DC area offers. One quick note, outside there are often big lineups for what looks like the restaurant, but often this is the lineup to catch the NYC to DC Chinatown buses. These folks are going to NY not the restaurant so don't be deterred all the time if there are a lot of people hanging outside, go in and ask how long the wait will be.
08-08-2011 19:00:26 | More by smakawhat
4.1/5 rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Atmosphere- Great. Not too loud, you can still carry on a conversation. The place is so spread out that it helps w/ the noise. Always get a good vibe from this place.
Q/S/S/F- The pizza rocks. I've never gotten anything else there! It's really tasty. The service has always been great. The waitstaff has always been polite, helpful, and knowledgeable. The beer selection is fairly limited w/ drafts, but they usually have some pretty good stuff. Prices are fairly reasonable for Washington DC. Great place to go- other places have a better beer selection, but this is a cool place to mix it up with.
05-12-2011 04:03:22 | More by jayhawk73
3.68/5 rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Located right around the corner from RFD, Matchbox Pizza is an impressive looking building with a very modern, urban feel applied to the typical stone and metal look of a wood-fired pizza joint. Through the front door and into a high-ceiling but skinny bar (long and narrow), I'm met by a small but cramped crowd of mohito and Stella drinking urbanites, but in little time I find a seat at the bar. Draft list includes Allagash White, a Rogue, Sierra Nevada and Bells seasonal, Chimay, Delirium Tremens and a few other US craft choices. Food wise it's everything from salad and sandwiches to the wood-fired pizza that everyone is so crazy about. I personally found the pizza mediocore at best. I'd recommend going with the burger sliders here! Service was great, the crowd was fun, but it definitely is not a beer geek only place. Most people were drinking Stella or Delirium, no doubt for the status, but I will recommend this place for people visiting Downtown/Chinatown as an alternative to RFD, where the food is downright awful. However, if you have the chance to visit Pizza Paradiso, skip Matchbox and go there instead, where the beer selection and quality of food is better. Another option would be Ella's Wood Fired Pizza, only a few blocks away. They have a few good beers on tap as well, and are always less crowded than Matchbox.
02-18-2011 21:35:34 | More by CuriousMonk
District of Columbia
4.05/5 rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$
A: its a great place. Good lighting, cool fire urn out front, matchboxes in the tables. Fun atmosphere but it is always crowded.
Q: Great pizzas and they have a decent beer selection to offer from delirium to craft beers from bells and san francisco breweries.
S: Good, the wait staff is always able to help you figure out what to get and give you options. They are as quick as possible because they are always packed.
Selection: Its a shorter tap list, but they do put some big beers in and don't fall into the macro brewing mold. Very good beer overall.
Food: Sliders and custom pizzas. I can't complain. Very good and there are a lot of good local options.
Value: A bit pricey but its always worth it in the end.
09-06-2010 20:09:19 | More by pzrhsau
Matchbox - Chinatown in Washington, DC
90 out of 100 based on 13 ratings.