1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery

Not Rated.
Rock Bottom Restaurant and BreweryRock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery
BA SCORE
84
good

25 Ratings
Ratings: 25
Reviews: 22
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 13.69%
Active Beers: 418
Beer Ratings: 2,800
Beer Avg: 3.7
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

4283 Wilson Blvd. (Ballston Common Mall)
Arlington, Virginia, 22203
United States
phone: (703) 516-7688

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
(Linked Listing) None, yet.

(Place added by: NeroFiddled)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 25 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Guden
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Guden, Aug 04, 2014
Photo of razorsdescent
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

razorsdescent, Feb 15, 2014
Photo of Sludgeman
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Sludgeman, Nov 29, 2013
Photo of claspada
3.3/5  rDev -7.8%

Have been to this place twice while visiting friends in the Ballston area.

A nice semi-sports bar feel. More of an upscale sports bar with many sections and an outside seating area which we opted for because it was a gorgeous 65-70 degree evening.
Wait staff was a bit slow and really didn't know what was on draft which is always a red flag for me for any brewpub.
Selection is really standard, your standard brown, IPA, Stout, Red, etc. I opted for the cask Agave IPA and the Cask Brown. IPA was way too sweet with little to no hop character, was very dissapointed. Brown was much better but by no means a must try.
Food selection is concise and overpriced American pub fair.
Overall if you are in the area head somewhere else for much better beer and much better food.

claspada, Sep 17, 2012
Photo of Chaney
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%

Atmosphere: Despite the fact that this place is located in kind of a ghetto mall, the inside of the place is actually somewhat inviting and spacious. You can't miss the bar once you enter. It's literally right in front of your face. Also, there are tons of tables with even more room in the back are if you want more of a "restaurant" feel.

Quality and Service: This is basically a sports bar with an added microbrew. To that end, I feel this place is successful. Even though we've never actually gotten a bartender or server that knew much about craft beer, our service has always been pretty good.

Selection: About 8-10 brews on tap and pretty much all styles are covered, including some special small batch, high octane entries. I find it curious that they also carry bombers of their brews now. I dig that because it allows me to sample more of the line-up at a later time, since there is only so much I can take in a single sitting.

Food: You can't go wrong with the burgers or appetizers here. Like I mentioned before, this is a sports bar, so remember that and you'll be fine.

Value: The prices are right on par with this area... especially for Arlington (sigh....)

SIDE NOTE: Only time will tell if the new Rustico across the street will eat into their profits.

Chaney, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of siege06nd
3.65/5  rDev +2%

Atmosphere: It's in the middle of a busy mall, so that doesn't help. Feels a lot like any other neighborhood restaurant/bar, mostly like an Applebee's. Nothing offensive, nothing memorable. Avoid Wednesday nights as that is their $2 pint night and the noise and general drunkenness makes this place nearly unbearable (unless of course you are one of the masses).

Quality: Beer is actually pretty solid, not life changing, but more than you would expect from a corporate chain brewpub like this. Food is also tasty, and they put just enough of a twist on standard pub fare (ballpark pretzels, kobe beef sliders, jalapeno spinach dip) that it keeps things interesting. Good variety of beer on the menu, though most of them are only average examples of their given style.

Service: I've always had good service in the bar area. Bartenders are quick and responsive. Servers are friendly and attentive, except on the aforementioned Wednesday nights, where they are so overwhelmed there's no way to expect anything but mediocre service from them.

Selection: Just the basics here. They started doing cask beers which is interesting. They also have a solid selection of seasonals and year rounds, but nothing that establishes new ground or pushes the boundaries of what a beer can be. Additionally, they beers they do have, while average to good, are nothing to write home about.

Food: Good. Standard pub fare but with some nice twists. Portions are big for the price. Plenty of good options here to put down on top of a couple of pints.

Value: Very good. Their pint specials are about the best in the area, even if the beer is standard. Food prices are also reasonable. If you go on a Wednesday night, you won't believe how small the final tab is due to the food and drink specials. You'll have to brave obnoxious and belligerent yuppies, though.

Overall: If you have a lot of friends who are lukewarm craft fans that always set up happy hours, this is where you want to steer them. Enough variety and quality to keep the craft fan interested while the accessibility and atmosphere will appeal to the masses. A great place to introduce someone to craft beer, or to hold a "for the masses" happy hour to avoid drinking Miller Lite all night. It is what it is.

siege06nd, Jul 24, 2011
Photo of goldbot
3.65/5  rDev +2%

Situated in the mall with some other restaurants, Rock Bottom has a typical chain restaurant feel for the most part. The beer is good but not consistently great. Some of the special brews and cask selections I've had there have been great, other styles have been average at best. Service has been hit or miss depending on how busy it is or any events going on. They have a fairly wide selection of styles with plenty of rotating specials and casks. The food is again typical of a chain restaurant; no need to go here for the food on its own but it's certainly enjoyable.

goldbot, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.83/5  rDev +7%

Situated inside the Ballston shopping mall, but don't let that fool you as it is adjunct to the outside of the mall where there is a small beer garden that leads to the outside part.

Once you walk into the restaurant it is dimmly light but you get the large and spacious feel. There is a bar to the left side - very large area with tvs propped up and funky pictures throughout. The dining area is spawled throughout and there is another hidden bar in the very back near the outdoor patio.

They have about 6-7 brews on tap and a long bar in front of this large sheet of glass where you can see the beer VATS at work. Service is usually good and sometimes frustrating during busy times (e.g., during $1.50 pint night on Wednesdays). The bartenders here are cool and laidback. The food is good here - I am quite partial to the buffalo wings here! They have specials throughout the week and do host bands from time to time. Good times here. Old Chicago and DC Chophouse are all under the same management as Rock Bottom.

CuriousMonk, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of WayneRooneyFan
3.65/5  rDev +2%

I was down in the Washington, DC, area and was happy to discover that Rock Bottom was in close proximity to my hotel. Due to limited availability of time, I was only able to have a few pints of the Blue Line Pale Ale.

It was an enjoyable beer, but lighter in body than I initially expected.

For some reason, my pints were served in a plastic pint glass...a glass that had seen better days...thankfully it did not diminish the experience to an excessive extent.

Though the bar area did not seem overly crowded, we could not get a seat or table...though there was plenty of room to add more of both. We ended up sitting in the restaurant.

The crowd was young and the vibe positive, but I could see where the lack of seating in the bar area could be an issue for some.

Definitely worth a visit...but please, no more plastic pint glasses...it takes away from the quality of the product.

WayneRooneyFan, Oct 17, 2009
Photo of Redwood21
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%

From what i hear get the burgers, i got the steak...bad call all around. they were blatantly overcooked and took forever. but then again this is a beer site not a food site. the beer is actually pretty good, and they even have some of their beer on cask which is pretty awesome. if you are in the mood for cocktails they are pretty accommodating as well. i think their beer menu, like Gordon Biersche skews towards the mainstream a bit, but they do have about 2-3 offerings that are much more out of the ordinary ( like the cask ale) so it is a great place to go for variety. location is also awesome being near the metro and all. a worthy place to stop in, but nothing to go out of the way for

Redwood21, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of guild337
3.83/5  rDev +7%

I live 2 blocks from Rock Bottom (yay me!) so I am here more than I am not. The Wednesday night special is a great draw, especially if you like cheap beer ($1.50 a pint, up from $1...inflation stinks), and lots of young singles fresh of the metro. But the reason I am here most often is to sample what the brewmaster's lastest cask ale is like. I have a sweet spot for cask ales, and there is usually at least one new one every week when the weather is cool. Unfortunately, the $1.50 prices do not apply to the cask selections. A pretty good local brewpub.

guild337, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of ghostmech007
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%

I've been here a few times. The best day I think to go in on Wednesday. $1 pints with tax comes to 1.10 for each beer. That is a deal you can't get anywhere else. Just go with some friends this place can get crazy.

I was lucky enough to get a table at the bar area. Went with my girlfriend, her friend, and the friends boyfriend. Okay... so it was a sorta double date, sue me. But it was great because we all ordered a different beer. I got the Blue Line Pale Ale. Which was excellent.

The quality of beer really varies from style to style. I like the pale ale but the wheat ale I thought was a bit 'flaky'. Some were bad, some were good. It all depends. I wasn't able to get a cask ale but will get one soon.

The food was very good. I got the grilled Mahi-Mahi which went very well with my pale ale. I think everything was prepared very well and made to perfection. Very very good fish.

The service can sometimes be hit or miss. If the place is absolutely slammed because the the cheap beer prices then you will wait forever to get anything done which is understandable. Tonight it was good because we didn't even get to the restaurant until later after the crowd somewhat dissapatted.

Value is great for the beer! Good beer, cheap prices, makes a happy customer that wants to come back. The value for food is a little expensive. Some of the appatizers are over 10 dollars and most the desserts are over 10 dollars as well. But the price for drinks nearly makes up for that. Nearly.

ghostmech007, Jul 03, 2008
Photo of scoobybrew
3.83/5  rDev +7%

The wife and I stopped at this RB on a recent trip to DC. Our hotel was a couple of blocks away, so it was convenient. This was, of course, by design as I've always appreciated the consistency of the Rock Bottom chain. Say what you will, but they always produce a decent quality beer and food no matter where in the country you're at. This place was no exception and actually, I think it was a bit better than most I've been to with respect to the beer. We stopped here on Sunday afternoon for lunch and had a good experience. We also stopped here on a Tuesday night for a dessert and nightcap. Both times the service was on top of things and the food was tasty. There are plenty of hotels nearby, a Metro stop and it's in a decent (if not commercially zoned) neighborhood - so if you're planning a trip to DC (for touristy purposes) keep this location in mind as an option.

scoobybrew, Jun 23, 2008
Photo of dsigmon
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Not a bad place to go enjoy a beer and the food is very good. The drafts are limited but you can always find something that goes down well, for me their "dark" usually does the trick. If they could get something a little more original on tap I would go there for the beer more often however, it seems they don't let their brewmaster do a whole lot.

The prices are very good for the drafts and food and the atmosphere is nice when its not overly crowded. If you do hit this place up during the dollar draft happy hour then you might as well talk to yourself because it gets a little overwhelming.

The service, when not slammed, is very good and the waitresses can atleast give you descriptions of what they have on tap and any food suggestions. You can also get a flight if you so choose.

Neat place overall, everything is decent.

dsigmon, Feb 11, 2008
Photo of Kegatron
3.58/5  rDev 0%

Tucked away in a corner of the lower level of the Ballston Commons Mall. The mall itself stands in a fairly congested area with limited outside parking but we parked for free in the attached parking garage, so no problems there. There are both an outside and inside entrance through which we entered. The set-up seemed a little strange to me. The mid-sized main bar (and surrounding bar seating) in directly ahead with the dining area to the right and around the back. There is also a secondary bar in the back that's a nice touch and looks like it's there to accomodate the back patio seating when it's nice out. Atmosphere seems a little cluttered in the bar area but maybe that actually helps a little (at least it's better than nothing). Our bartender was a really affable guy and did a great job of keeping up with our needs, even with a good sized crowd there to watch college football.

Selection was decent. They had on their 4 staple beers (The Mother Martha's Kolsh, Radio Tower Red, Blue Line Pale Ale, and the Ballston Brown) and a couple seasonals (the El Jefe Hefe and Spoutrun Porter). They honored our Mug Club cards no problem and we sampled the Mother Martha's and Spoutrun on Nitro. Both were very solid. I also went for a mug of the Ballston Brown dry-hopped on the beer engine, which was also good. Nothing that was gangbusters but definitely servicable beers for people to have with their food. Speaking of food, we didn't have any on this visit so that probably helps keep the value rating down as I know that it can be expensive from visits to other locations.

All in all, not bad for a Rock Bottom location.

Kegatron, Nov 16, 2007
Photo of Lambstrong
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%

I like to stop in this location once in a while. They have very reasonably priced beer and food. Considering that it is a chain restaurant the quality of the beer is pretty consistant. They also rotate in seasonalbe beers. They currently offer a hefeweizen which I wouldn't normally associate with early Spring, but it went well with my chicken sandwitch nonetheless. The food is good, reasonable and the portions are large. I like to start off with some Titan Toothpicks and perhaps settle down with some Pub Tips. Also, if you join the "mug club" you get bigger glasses and accumulate points in which you earn crap such as pint glasses, etc. Not a bad deal overall.

Lambstrong, Apr 04, 2007
Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Simply put, the value is great all day Wednesday. $1.00 beers. Nice to get a pseudo-pint of brew pub quality ale for $1.10 (10% sales tax). Get there early and don't go to the bathroom without getting someone to save your seat. This place is definitely a mob scene early.

Stood at the bar with my co-worker because we got there around 5:30pm. Started with the Koelsch and worked right up to the porter, to include pale ale, red ale, and brown ale in between. I also snuck in a pint of cask conditioned pale that was full price ($4.75). All the beers were average, but the brown and the porter were semi-memorable.

The cask ale was my first and I really can't say I knew what to expect. If it is supposed to be mostly flat with a minimal big-bubbled head then this was right on. Good hop flavour and really to me it tasted like one of my home-brewed pales that I forgot to carbonate or something.

Eventually sat down to dinner, but nothing on the menu jumped out at us so we left for Mexican food instead.

I've eaten here many years ago once or twice and it was always good. The atmosphere is nice, and if they do it again I would recommend the Octoberfest special!

ZimZamZoom, Aug 31, 2006
Photo of jaluria
3.15/5  rDev -12%

First time going to a RB other than the one in Bethesda, MD. Same interior decorations and general atmosphere. Relatively spacious with plenty of seating (inside and outside). The food, service, etc. was as expected; it is a chain afterall so not much variation on those fronts.
Now, to the beer. I noticed that there were 7 beers on-tap, one more than I'm used to at the RB-Bethesda. Each beer seemed well crafted in that the brewer was really striving to capture the flavors that typically make up a particular style. Of the beers I had, I really enjoyed the porter with its pronounced roast/smoke flavors. I also enjoyed the Radio Tower Red/Amber which was malty sweet with a hint of caramel and dried fruits. Overall, I thought these beers were well made and showed depth and complexity; the brewer really put thought into what he/she was making. I would very much come back to try some of the other seasonals.

jaluria, Aug 14, 2006
Photo of dedrinker
2.88/5  rDev -19.6%

Despite other's criticism that it is in a mall, I was actually glad they were there when I recently emerged from the movie theater at the same mall, and needed a couple of beers and debriefing with my partner to get over the terrible movie we just watched.

True, the bar has an inauthentic look and feel to it, the same old boring corporate/chain brewpub beers (the porter probably being the best of the bunch) but you can't beat their growler prices (I've yet to be charged for the bottle!) and their wednesday dollar beer night (unless you hate shoulder to shoulder crowds of young professionals and post-frat boys that swarm to this event as if they didn't have the money to live in this expensive part of the county).

All in all it's not great, but certainly not bad if you find the right context/ time of day/ day of week to wander in and have a beer or two. Every so often a new seasonal/ specialty makes it's way to the lineup that is actually pretty darn good. I haven't had that happen in the last six months though, so...don't get yourself all worked up for going there.

dedrinker, Jul 07, 2006
Photo of gbarron
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%

Located in the Ballston Common mall, convienent to public transport and lots of condos, apartments, and restaurants in the bustling Wilson Blvd corridor or Arlington.

Decor is sort of mountain lodge-ish, lots of birch wood and ferns and such. Two large bar areas, front and back, and an outdoor seating area for when the weather is good. The wait staff is usually pretty attentive and familiar with the beers they have on tap. There is a chalk board in the main front bar area which lists what beers they have on tap at the time, including information such as tap date, OG/FG (in degrees plato), alcohol, etc. There is an additional chalk board directly behind the front bar which tells you what is on cask and when it was tapped.

They have five standard beers on tap: a "light" beer in the Kolsh style, an American pale ale that is pretty good, a "red" ale (whatever that is), a Southern English style brown ale, and a Porter that is pretty darn good. They also generally have a wheat beer, but what kind of wheat it is rotates. They had a normal German weizen when I was there. They also happened to have a Belgian style brown on my most recent visit called 'Big Ben,' but I did not get to try it, and they're also tapping their latest release of Fire Chief Ale (an ESB) in a week. They also regularly have two beers on cask/hand pump at the main bar.

The food here is pretty darn good for a brewpub. I'd say it's in the American/continental cuisine variety with a hint of Southern. Portions are very large, be ready to take home leftovers.

gbarron, Mar 18, 2006
Photo of bruachan
3.73/5  rDev +4.2%

i've been here twice (years apart) and the selection hasn't changed. the beers i've had were decent, but once i've sampled them all there's little reason to go back if the lineup doesn't change. the blackened chicken with mango salsa was tasty and my girlfriend had something she liked too

our waitress was extremely friendly and hooked it up with a couple free samplers (don't think this is policy, so don't expect it). nice to have dinner with a couple good beers, but they're nothing i don't have in my basement

bruachan, Aug 21, 2005
Photo of Rootdog316
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%

Rock Bottom is without a doubt one of my favorite bars to go to in the Northern Virginia area. It offers a great selection of different beers that they brew on the premise. My personal favorite is the Radio Towers Red. It is actually in a very unique location, right outside of Ballston Mall. A lot of your business professionals in the area tend to stop by Rock Bottom after a long day of work. The patio outside off of Glebe Rd. is great, and when your sitting a stop light in the late evening on Glebe Rd, you can hear people chattering from a few blocks down. It is probably the hottest spot in Arlington as far as bars are concerned.

Rootdog316, May 24, 2005
Photo of ManekiNeko
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%

This is a rereview. I changed my mind. I do that.

This particular location is in a mall in northern Virginia: Ballston Commons. Yes, it's in a mall. Get over it. Real estate within the beltway's a tad expensive and this location makes good business sense. The decor verges on Olive Garden-esque schmaltz, but stays thankfully within the realm of good taste. Certainly nothing worse than I've seen at other brewpubs and beer bars. The bar area has plenty of tall tables for one to sidle up and quaff a pint while you wait for your table. You can also get a good glimpse of the stainless steel brewing equipment, too. There are TV's in the bar area as well, usually tuned to ESPN or a news channel. The sound is, thankfully, on mute. Post 9 pm there is usually some form of live music, quite often a guy with a guitar doing tastefully cheesy covers. The restaurant section features booths and tables, ye olde standard restaurant setup.. The breweriana that is present touts their beers and the chain itself. Ain't nothing wrong with that, I guess.

Beerwise, you have at least 6 to choose from: a Kolsch, a red ale, a pale ale, a porter, whatever the seasonal is, and whatever they have on cask. Occasionally two seasonals will be on. The Kolsch and the porter are pretty righteous and the Pale ale ain't too shabby either. The seasonals/one offs are usually pretty interesting as well.

The service here is pretty darn good, I'd say everyone knows how their bread gets buttered, so to speak. The brewer has been generally affable the times I've run into him.

The food is slightly above average 'murkin fare. You can view the menu online, I believe. Prices are reasonable, portions are probably a bit too huge.

ManekiNeko, May 10, 2005
Photo of donnebaby
3.4/5  rDev -5%

I had a positive experience at this brewpub, which I visited for the first time. Despite the assembly-line brewpub appearance and overall subpar beer, the service and staff were good, as were the sandwiches, and they gave us a free sampler of all their beers--because it was our first time there (!). Sitting out back on their patio was good as well.

But...if you're going for their beers, it would be a mistake. I thought the pale ale was alright, the Radio Towers Red was good, and the rest were uninteresting and watered-down for ease of consumption.

donnebaby, Aug 16, 2004
Photo of ChrisBowers
2.99/5  rDev -16.5%

What a completely weak brewpub. First off, its in a mall. That should be your first warning. Second off, it looks like it just rolled off an assembly line. They have the usual smattering of sub par brew pub crap. The pale ale I had tasted like old socks. The bartender had no idea what any of the beers were, but she was fast and friendly. Didn't try the food but it looked pretty decent. The bar is just kinda crammed over onto one side of the room with some brewing equipment to its back. They had a cask setup, but nothing in it and no idea when they were going to put something in it. Its just a waste of time. Oh, and they don't price out their beers so that its even money, so you'll pay $4.07. Smooth Move Ex Lax. Don't go here.

ChrisBowers, Jan 20, 2004
Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Arlington, VA
84 out of 100 based on 25 ratings.