Hard Times Cafe

Your Rating: None
5 Ratings

Type: Bar, Eatery

6362 Springfield Plz
Springfield, Virginia, 22150-3431
United States

(703) 913-5600 | map

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Added by Beervis on 07-19-2005

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Ratings: 5 |  Reviews: 3
Photo of Seneca
2.46/5  rDev -23.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2 | service: 2.75 | selection: 3 | food: 1.75

Photo of Iamjeff6
3.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Chaney
4.1/5  rDev +27.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5

As early as a year ago, this place defined craft beer as Sam Adams and the occasional Sierra Nevada goody. An amazing transformation has happened here since that time!

Atmosphere: If you're looking for more of a "beer hang" sort of atmosphere, head straight to the back. If you are just looking to eat, stay up towards the non-smoky, restaurant area up front. FRONT: Lots of arbitrary decor that flows well with the restaurant's "rough and tumble," mercenary chili image. BACK: The bar/billiard area has a very wide open, inviting feel, as well as an upstair section for private parties. Really nice!

Quality and service: I've always had good service here. The servers aren't exactly beer geeks, but they know what they and other people like and aren't shy about making recommendations.

Selection: What was once an anemic beer menu is now chock full of such goodies as: Heavy Seas, Rogue (I had Shakespeare Stout the last time I went), Port City, Stone, Sierra Nevada (I also had Celebration Ale last time I went), and many others...at least 15-20 taps of fresh beer, including a couple of Belgian entries.

Food: The food here is the absolute bomb and has the best damn chili mac I've ever tasted! Additionally, they have fantastic onion rings, salads (the salmon salad is also really nice), burgers, etc. My advice overall is to at least have a cup of the chili. The Cincinnati is my favorite.

Value: Some of the evening specials here are unreal, and are always changing. Even though the listed menu prices are also reasonable (especially considering the massive portions), selected menu items are severely discounted everyday. For example, I always try to plan my visits around Chili Mac day. Additionally, it seems like happy hour is always going on which leads me to always ask when I come here, "When is it not Happy Hour?"

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Photo of skynxnex
3.18/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Okay selection of beers. New River, Foggy Bottom, Sierra Nevada, and Sam Adams are the craft beers that I recall. Along with that, they have the standard BMC and the standard set of imports (Bass, Guinness, and so on). The old town Alexandria location has Dogfish Head, it wins there. Old town also wins in terms of atmosphere, but it's okay here. I've had pretty bad luck with service here. The same bad waiter three times, in the future, I'll have to ask for another one. The other servers all seem fine.

The food is Hard Times standard. Nice, if you like their simple, but yummy chili, but if you expect it to have tons of stuff in it, you'll be let down. Prices are still fine for this area.

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Photo of Beervis
2.88/5  rDev -10.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3

I've heard a lot about Hard Times Cafe in the past, so I decided to check this place out. I chose this location due to the fact that they advertise good beer selection as well. On this website (http://pages.fairfaxcountyva.com/dining/hardtimes.htm) they advertise 40 taps, well, as I found out, this isn't totally true. When I first sat down at the table, I was excited to see a quite long beer list, not too long, but longer than most. The one side of the little menu had the usual macros on tap (Bud, Bud Light, Miller, Coors etc) and then below it, the bottled selection of macros. Right under the macros in the tap section, they had Sam Adams Seasonal, Aviator Amber (Old Dominion) and some others. None of these were anything out of the ordinary, except for the Aviator. Anyways, after counting about 15 taps, I turned the menu over, and there was a section called Microbrews. Wow, how misleading is this, they had listed at the very top, Hard Times Select, brewed by Old Dominion. That was the ONLY one under Microbrews that really was a microbrew. The rest in that section were Guinness, Henieken, Bass, etc etc. All of them were "imports" of sorts, but no other microbrews to be found. When our waitress arrived, I asked her if this is all they had on tap, cause I only counted 20. She said, yeah, I guess so, why, are you looking for something in particular? I told her I wasn't, but in fact, I was trying to find the lost 20 taps as they advertised 40. To my surprise (or maybe not!) she said that they don't have 40, they often rotate the 20, and that makes 40?? Huh?? Anyways, needless to say, they do not have 40 taps, and other than a couple micro selections, their menu is the same as alot of other restaurants in the area. Very disappointing to say the least. I had an Aviator Amber and a Hard Times Select.

Now, onto the food. Hard Times is known for their chili, so I got a summer special, a massive hot dog covered in three kinds of chili, jalapenos and onins. It was pretty decent, but their chili really isn't anything to write home about. My wife had their famour chili mac, which is basically chili over spaghetti.

All in all, the meal wasn't bad, but also nothing special. I may try another location, as I've heard that they have DFH, Victory etc, beers on tap elsewhere.

If you're going for beer, which is likely because we're BA's, I would skip this location.

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Hard Times Cafe in Springfield, VA
Place rating: 3.22 out of 5 with 5 ratings
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