Brasserie Beck

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Brasserie BeckBrasserie Beck
59 Ratings
Brasserie BeckBrasserie Beck

Type: Bar, Eatery

1101 K St NW
Washington, District of Columbia, 20005-4210
United States

(202) 408-1717 | map

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Added by TuckerCarlson on 11-26-2007

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Ratings: 59 |  Reviews: 41
Photo of Kunnskap
2.49/5  rDev -43.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 2

I'm not sure why this establishment has such stellar reviews. I can appreciate a small and carefully crafted tap list, but this place falls flat. If one of the handful of beers they have on draft looks enticing, you might have a hard time getting a bartender to notice you, even if the place is empty. That's ok, you can take in the ambiance of the place while you wait; the old mirrors and clocks are beautiful. However, watch your butt. Literally. The seats are made from a pretty, weaved blue and white plastic that (on several stools) were coming undone and poking patrons in the rear or snagging their clothes. I'll walk a couple blocks to Maddy's the next time I'm in the area and save my behind AND my wallet.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.4/5  rDev -23.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Ok, the bathroom in the bar area alone is worth a visit. Coolest pisser I've ever been in. Floor-length urinals, cool wallpaper (you have to see it really, description would do it no justice) and amazing disposable hand-towels that are probably better quality than the ones normal people wash and reuse at home.

We popped in just for a DT draft on a recent pub-crawl kind of visit to DC. The beer was good although served incredibly cold. Once warmed between the legs (sorry, but it's the fastest way I know) it was delicious.

Trendy as hell, and very popular on a Friday night. Hot chicks abound, mostly rude and unfriendly. Just an observation from afar though since I would never try to interact with them.

We did not eat there, but were accosted upon entry to see if we had a reservation. Yes we know you are trendy but if we actually approach the host/hostess are looking for a table then you can ask us if we have a reservation.

Bar was cool and I'm glad to have had the chance to check this place out.

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Photo of functionology
3.5/5  rDev -20.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I must say I was underwhelmed. The beer selection is good and focused mainly on Belgian beers, but there were several mitigating factors that prevented me from enjoying this place.

First was the pricing. I know for the location that Beck can expect a relatively well-heeled crowd, but its prices -- about $10 on avg for drafts, up to $14 for trappist bottles -- were the highest I'd seen. The serving sizes are sub-pint on the drafts, of course. From what I could tell, serving sizes on rail drinks were comically small.

I had the croque monsiour -- essentially a ham and cheese sammich -- and found it quite tasty but nothing too special. The menu is classically French, by the looks of it. (I know they're a Belgian restaurant, but I can't spot the differences between the cuisines.) Lots of duck and seafood for entrees, most landing near $30.

The service was really sub-par for the price. I practically had to flag down help from my seat at the bar, and the place wasn't even packed.

From the underwhelming service to the overpriced drinks to the d-baggy business crowd to the personal-record bill for a sandwich + 2 drafts ($47, including tip), I can definitively say I won't be back.

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Photo of srletend
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%

Photo of Daniellobo
3.83/5  rDev -13.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Quite an iconic place, with a great selection of Belgium themed brews, above average food and pricing, and a bit of an unjustified sense of superiority...

After much time thinking that we needed to check out Brasserie Beck we made it for informal lunch on a weekday. The experience in that context is quite incomplete but we enjoyed the opportunity, and it satisfied our curiosity.

The most remarkable of the place is a nicely taken care of beer and wine selection, and a rather pricy one too, often clearly well above of what one would find really reasonable even for a pretentious place to go out to. Regarding beer, the taps fall the taps fall between reliable and exciting with, and the bottled menu offers plenty to chose from, offering fairly adequate descriptions of each brew, with some provocative and enticing offerings. Beer is served in adequate glassware, typically that of the brewery, and commonly the temperature is appropriate. (We tasted a Gouden Carolus Grand Cru that was way too cold but it seemed to be an exception.)

The food, while nice, unfortunately did not reach the expectations that its reputation and pretentious mark would have one believe, at least not around these lunch servings. Visually it worked great, i.e. sandwiches or mussels with a great table presence, but they were really a bit short of tasty or stimulating. Lamb feeling a bit raw and harsh, or mussels also a bit aggressive on the palate with a bit of an undercook assertive seafood sense that ultimately I did not find very palatable. Plenty of better mussels had elsewhere in DC came to mind, not a great sign...

The staff was correct with good service, and not particularly friendly or engaging. And I really do not mind it, but it was quite unremarkable. Nothing about specials, details of brews, what they had to offer. Nil, zip, nada... Luckily the menus were well arranged with sufficient descriptions.

The design of the space tries to offer a modern brasserie look, with plenty of attention to detail, mixing a lot of contemporary sense with classic touches. For the most part it works fairly well, but next to the predominant patron profile and perfunctory service it also feels a bit cold. Details like the wall paper in the men´s toilets with crisscrossed lower female bodies in lingerie, whereas the ladies´have abstract embroidery instead, are not only in poor taste, but quite outdated if not right away sexist and offensive.

Ultimately the atmosphere around the decor is not bad, but there a corporate and business clientele mixed with downtown tourists and the odd visitor that predominates the landscape and for a good reason. This is really not a place to get a notion of local sensibilities not even as a part of the general mix, and for a few reasons...

All in all Brasserie Beck is a worthy place but not one to be found among top recommendations for beer or food lovers in the district. Pricing, fauna, the food and the decor that really wan to reach you but don´t quite make it, and most importantly the range of solid options in the city on all sides of the spectrum around quality craft beer make the spot a third choice at best. Maybe useful to keep in memory when one needs to suggest a place for that boss - if one has to - , business acquaintance or uppity relative that may match the spot...

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.93/5  rDev -11.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

As soon as you walk in, you're taken aback by the breathtaking high ceilings and elegant yet understated modern decor. The bar and restrooms are just off to the right, and the main dining area is straight ahead.

The beer list is extensive AND expensive. $11 for a draft? All kinds of suits with beer wallets but champagne expense accounts in here. If you're into plastic people, this is the place for you. I do appreciate the fact they serve up De Struise beers there and other hard-to-find Belgians. Granted, this place has the best Belgian selections in town.

Limited food and portions. Quality is medium. I don't come here for the food, I come here because of the beers.

I can't say I was impressed with the staff here - while brewmasters/waiters are knowledgable about their beers, but they take awhile to serve you up food/beers.

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Photo of dmamiano
4/5  rDev -9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

When one speaks of trendy, this place would hit the mark. A well decorated, upscale bar that was crowded the night we were there and probably always is.
No food was ordered, so I cant go there.
Ordered a Delirium Tremens and it was served in a nice goblet with elephants on it...right on the mark. Price was $9.00 or so, but hey, its DT and worth it. Could have been warmer, but it was great none the less.
I really liked this place, good service, great atmosphere and great selection/beer.
Even the bathrooms were cool as hell

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Photo of VABA
4/5  rDev -9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of seanchai
4/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of Philby11111
4/5  rDev -9.5%

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

This is an excellent place in DC that focuses mostly on Belgian brews in terms of their beer selection. The food is focused on Belgian Brasserie fare, and really everything on the menu is fantastic. The menu rotates, but their mussels and dinner entrees are really top notch. This is a little more upscale dining experience that happens to have a killing beer list to pair with it, which seems rare (for now. My feeling is people will catch onto the craft beer thing more and more in nice restaurants like BB).

The beer director Thor is a really knowledgeable and friendly guy who gives excellent beer recommendations and stocks up the bottle list/10-12 taps with awesome stuff that is always changing- some notable breweries and beers he rotates in and out include De Struise (Pannepot, Black Albert on tap), The Bruery (He is friends with Patrick and gets great stuff like Oude Tart, BA Coton, etc.), North Coast, St. Bernardus, Rochefort, and the list goes on. It's always fun to come in and see whats new on tap or on the bottle menu as Thor does a great job getting new and interesting stuff as well as classics. The only thing I'd love to see is a little more US Breweries on there but really that isn't the focus of this place and they do an awesome job with everything beer wise. My hat is off to Thor every time I go in there. He even fuels my silly habit of collecting the labels of the beers I have by expertly giving me labels for my book!

In terms of prices for the beer, expect them to be high, especially the drafts. My recommendation for a great night here would be to have a beer or two at the happy hour 5-7pm everyday because the drafts will be half off (and actually manageable to pay for. E.g. last night I got Pannepot for $10 at the happy hour, normally $20 for a 12oz pour). I'd recommend getting one to bring to the table and then trying some of Thors recommendations with whatever you get to eat for dinner. This is GREAT date spot, my fiance loves this place!

Overall a great place to eat and drink, especially if you're ready to shell out some dough. Be nice and take Thor's beer suggestions and check out the bottle list, there are some gems he puts in there! Awesome place I will be frequenting over the years!

EDIT 2012: The beer has taken a huge slide, along with the food over the past year. The bottle list is not nearly as impressive as when Thor was there and the drafts are just OK, and WAY overpriced. The happy hour only features a handful of their beers now which is totally uncalled for. Go to Churchkey, Paradiso, or Meridian Pint before you consider this place.

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Photo of blackie
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4

was looking for Bierria Paradiso in Georgetown, somehow ended up here

atmosphere: perfectly clean modern interior, lots of metal and mirrors, crowded and loud on a Friday night but not too cramped and even spacious with high ceilings, we chose to sit on the outdoor patio given the awesome weather and in spite of a short shower a few minutes earlier, a great place to sit amongst the tall buildings and watch the night traffic, certainly not a t-shirt place but I felt fine in jeans and polo

quality: my Kasteel Tripel was served in its own branded glassware, and the Brigand in an appropriate generic glass, both were drafts and seemed well cared for

service: the maitre d' was very friendly and accommodating in finding a patio seat despite a lack of reservation, the actual table service was quite disappointing for such a nice restaurant, we were not spoken to once between being served and finishing our meal, with only a silent walk-by during the entire period, completing payment was a slow process, all exchanges were short and hurried

selection: an excellent selection of Belgian beers, not my thing but you have to respect a list like this, tempting choices to please anybody, something like 15 drafts, with the bulk of the list being bottled, some beers were imported exclusively for this restaurant

food: the prosciutto salami on french bread was tasty, but the croquette monsieur was very good (though both were a bit too greasy), the frites were overly salted, served with a mayonnaise trio that included a standard, ketchup-mayo, and curried mustard-mayo, the curry didn't really fit but the other two were fine

value: beers average $10, sandwiches were $13 each

my experience this time was only okay, but the place certainly deserves (most of) the high scores and raves it gets...that said I will not be in a rush to return anytime soon

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Photo of pzrhsau
4.2/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

A: It is a very classy restaurant. Very clean, great lighting. Good mix of people milling about by the bar
Q: You can get some really classy Belgian Brews here. Delrium and such coupled with a nice mussel pot. Very much what you would want from a belgian style restaurant.
S: The people know what they are doing and can tell you a lot of what you need to know. Service has always been prompt and congenial
Selection: Hey, it seems to be a bit more commercial because they want beers people recognize. I won't fault that because its hard to move stuff that most people don't know. I have found it to have a good mix of beers to mix with the food
Food: Its fantastic belgian style cuisine.
Value: Eh, its expensive. I cannot deny that. Most tap beers will run you 7-9 on average. But they do have a good happy hour. An you certainly are paying for quality.

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Photo of Monteiro
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of DaveBlack
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The beer list is exceptional: mostly Belgian and almost all of high quality. I was slightly disappointed to see Leffe on the list, but I guess it's fairly well known, albeit disappointing.

Happy hour is crowded with upscale DC-ites blowing off steam after work. It's classy, though a mite stuffy.

The wait staff are quick to offer you recommendations with your food and seem to genuinely enjoy the beers that they serve.

Of course, every beer comes in the brewer's glass.

I actually went for the food, which was quite good, though it straddles the line between comfort food and upscale. On one hand it's good because it goes VERY well with beer, yet I didn't think it was worth the high price that I paid.

Definitely worth visiting, though I'm not sure if I'll be making a return visit. There's just not enough to hold my interest.

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Photo of Boone757
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of freimuth
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of slander
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

So we're in DC, see, and I'm so glad to be out of the dirty smoker's smoky car; I swear he was lighting every cigarette with the end of the one before it. Functional navigator, I, led us easily unto the hotel, where Phil changed, man, he changed. Now, ready for the out and about, Brasserie Beck is my clear idear of where dinner should be had (I don't arrive with the not know). I liked Odelay and thought Mutations and Sea Change were awesome, so I'm hoping Beck put that kind of care into dinner...

We were told there'd be (like) a half hour's wait for a table, although the outdoor patio was not at all jammed (you could have put us out there, fuckers). So we bode our time at the bar just off the entrance; marble topped, "J" shaped with a foot rail and seating for a dozen + but loses some space on the end to a raw bar display case and standing room only on the tail. 2 round towers of 4 each along the bar and a straight job in the center, angled, looking like the head of a giant bottle opener. Booze on the barback counter below shelved glassware over tortoise shell mirroring, some wines displayed above and brewery logo imprinted angled mirrors atop in a row. TV's behind the bar in the corners and a big colorful bright mural on the end. A communal table sits just off the bar and a pair of hightops in the corner.

Big cavernous open space, high ceilings, block tile floorings, drawn curtains on the lower ½ of the walls of windows, framed white inner walls over wood lowers & trim, drop spinning top lamps in rows above, exposed ductwork throughout, and large clocks mounted here and there. Just past the bar and coffee station is a pretentious "everybody look at me" center open area to the large wrap around kitchen behind glass. Meh. Seating in small nooks with 3 or so tables each up front, and then carved out into larger sections; 6 here, and 6 more around the divider in the far corner. The main dining area further in holding more than a dozen tables in 3 rows; to the rear there a wall of wine bottles on their sides behind glass, these views of the wine room. And a sizable, banquet room, no, rooms, just past there.

18 taps in all; 11 inside (Gouden Carolus Tripel, Palm, Bavik Pils, Houblon Chouffe, Kasteel Rouge, Delirium Tremens, Bacchus, Leffe Brune, Wittekerke, Klokke Roeland, DogFishHead Raison D'etre), and a weaker list of 7 out on patio (Stella, Hoegaarden, Leffe Blonde, Campus Pils, Brigand, Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor, St Louis Framboise). A comfortable Belgian selection save the oddball Raison D'etre. Phil drank the Klokke Roland, said it's the Gouden Carolus without the caramel, I don't know what he's talking about. All I know is its 11% and its got a sweet burn is all I know. I drank the Bacchus, their Flemish Sour Red, a Thurston Howell III tribute beer made exclusively for them by Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck (yes, the Kasteel people), or so the story goes and that story is actually fiction as Bacchus has been spotted out and about the country (Did you think we wouldn't notice?)

And still waiting for our table, I had some time to peruse the bottle list. Nearly 100 selections, the list broken out by style, roughly 4/5 of them Belgians, and the remainder mostly Belgian style (Brooklyn Local 1 & 2, Allagash Black, Koningshoeven La Trappe Dubbel to round out the Trappists sans the Westie, a pair from Unibroue, 6 French offerings, and 3 strange German guests in this Belgian house). And is it just me or are some of these bottles over the top pricey? $41 for the '05 Cantillon Iris, $40 for the De Ranke Kriek, $35 for the Allagash Black, $14 for a Rochefort 10, and I do recall the draft prices to be a bit absurd, as well.

I'm all messed up menuwise; I don't know what to do. Starters, I was on the fence between the lamb sausage and pea soup with veal cheek meatballs; the lamb sausage wins, served with lentils & frisee. Phil ordered the duck sausage special app, so we split the two (the lamb was the better of the two), and Belgian Frites with a mayonnaise trio for the table; I don't remember which of the three I liked the best but I recall the curry mayo being not it. For the Entrée, it was going to be the Beef Carbonnade Stew with Kasteel beer, until I spotted the Duck Congolese Almondine, and that was that. The duck duck goosed up with a sauce of goodness and served with raisin & black currant couscous, and crazy, and I don't know what, but it was just excellent. From now on, I Almondine everything. So, so, so very glad I bagged the Carbonnade. Phil went with the soft shell crab for his Entree, very good but not as all that as the duck, 'cause, well, really now, duck.

Service was very good, friendly, helpful, lively, and knew beer. Great food and some very good drink, just not a Belgian real deal feel. The place is forced, corporate, and lacks personality. It screams of tries too hard and shouldn't have to. I know you know what I mean.

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Photo of zonker17
4.31/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.25 | food: 4.75

Went on a slow Sunday night. Only 12 Belgian drafts is a bit limiting and about half of them Belgian standards. Still no issue finding something to drink. High ceilings and beautiful interior. Extremely warm service. Excellent food. Had the steak tartar which was top notch and the Croque Madame that was herbed wonderfully.

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Photo of DavidHume
4.36/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Photo of Mitro
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

For me, the primary attraction at BB is the beer. And, seeing that this is a website for beer, I will focus my attention on Beck's beer experience--the food is good, but "a bit pricey." Not only do they have an impressive selection of (primarily) Belgian beers (incl. Rochefort, Cantillion, Gueuze), their beer sommelier, Thor, is wonderful. If he doesn't approach you as you are examining the beer menu, make sure to ask for him. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable about every single beer on the menu, he does his job perfectly. He appears when one needs him, stops by to make sure everything is in order, and vanishes. The last time I went, he brought my father and I a couple of samples of their newest stock (Ommegang Zuur, and an imperial stout, the name of which I have forgotten) at the end of our meal. A+, Thor. Of course, all of the beer is served in proper glassware, and usually, the glassware comes from the brewery whose beer you are about to enjoy.

Go to Beck if you have a bit of dough to blow (enjoy that rhyme), but make sure you talk to Thor.

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Photo of JustEarl
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Wow! So happy that we made a point to trek to the Beck! Had brunch, a bit pricey but it was worth it. Beer prices are higher than the average beer drinker would be willing to pay, but for those in the know reasonable price/quality ratio. For the first time ever I had the chance to try one of my favorites on draft...Kasteel Rouge ($10.00 proper glassware).

Scrambled Eggs with Scottish Salmon was exceptional ($14.00, a bit pricey).

They were short-staffed when we went due to graduation celebrations in the nieghborhood and the SAVOR event happening down the road (note to bartender...NEVER let them see you sweat!)

I would by far recomend this a stop next time you are in the area, and I will return again. Again, it ain't cheap but it is worth it.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5

My wife and I went here for her birthday. We ate dinner and had drinks.

Its a very nice restaurant, big open floor plan with a bar up front. Several beers on tap, all Belgian, and many many more in bottles. You have to have a reservation to eat here, be warned. We were sat in the back near the awesome wine cellar. Very nice to look at.

Everything looked beautiful and the menu was well crafted. Many of the dishes included beers from Belgium as sauces (beer used in the making of the sauces). I ordered the duck and my wife ordered the grouper. She won. The grouper was amazing and the duck was good too, but I would recommend the fish there.

The waiter was knowledgeable and nice. He didn't rush us through our meal because we were in no rush. We ordered several beers, two meals, two appetizers and two desserts (one we took home with us) and the bill was approximately 100$. Pretty decent for a really nice restaurant. The beers were the most overpriced thing on the menu but I guess its a niche restaurant and a niche beer selection. I would go again (if I could afford to).

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Photo of poestreetbeer
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The place has a great Belgian list and that cannot be overlooked. A great variety that spans the spectrum of what Belgian beer can be. It is worth the trip just on that alone. Service was decent and the food was quite good.

Nevertheless, the prices are a little bit extreme. Things I've had elsewhere for two thirds of the price made me less likely to try things I hadn't yet consumed. This mindset seemed to be tailor-made for the tastes of the clientele who were both a little too stuffy for my liking as well as uninterested in the good stuff in the vast Belgian beer menu. For them, the beer selection was a novelty; it was something to impress their date and nothing else. They would go on talking about how the place had such a great menu and then ask the bartender (true story) "to give me whatever tastes most like Guinness." You can't hold the establishment fully accountable for who frequently haunts it, but when you make your beers (albeit good beers) so expensive, you better expect the cliched Washington crowd.

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Photo of soupyman10
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Atmosphere was solid. Very high ceilings, with bar area set off from most of the tables. A nice joint. Quality was good. Everything was clean and well set up. Service was good, although some of the bartenders give off that "I know more than you" vibe, which always pisses me off. It also took me forever to get someone to notice me once I found my way to the bar, and there wasn't a damn soul in there other than myself, so I'd say I was a little unimpressed on that front. They do know their shit though: tons of info on styles, history, everything. The selection of beers is incredible, although, of course, they are all Belgian. Just make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. But there's a nice variety of both taps and bottles, from your malty to your sour, and from dark to light and everywhere in between. Didn't try the food (but it smelled good) because...I couldn't afford it. The brews are mostly $8 to $15 for the on-tap, and from about $6 to $60 for the bottles, depending on what you're in the mood for. It's expensive, is what I'm saying (and those people who don't say so have to be pulling loot).

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Brasserie Beck in Washington, DC
Place rating: 4.42 out of 5 with 59 ratings