Brasserie Beck

BA SCORE
97
world-class

40 Reviews
Brasserie BeckBrasserie Beck
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

(202) 408-1717 | map
beckdc.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by TuckerCarlson on 11-26-2007

PLACE STATS
Score:
97
Reviews:
40
Ratings:
57
Avg:
4.46
pDev:
8.74%
 
 
Taps:
18
Bottles/Cans:
90
Cask:
N
Beer-to-Go:
N
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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 57
Photo of slander
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
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 sholland119
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

A high end Belgian restaurant that marries high end Belgian cuisine (who knew?) with a killer beer list.

The restaurant consists of a well appointed dining room, 15-20 seat bar and a lot of seasonal outdoor seating. The bar was nice but with a high d***bag factor so we opted to sit in the dining room in a cozy booth. Very nice!

Beer list was extensive and exclusively Belgian (even the pilsener!). Draft beers included Kwak, Blanche de Bruxelles and Samichlaus(first time I have ever seen in draft). On the bottle list, lots of gueze(s?), saisons, trappist ales of various sorts, over 100 in all. Pricey at about $10 for an 11.2 oz and up to $35 for a couple of 750ml saisons but many beers I had not seen before.

The dinner menu was extensive, with Belgian standards like waterzooi, frites with a mayonnaise trio, many mussels preparations. We had cod and veal chop specials that were more classic in preparation but extremely well executed. Great sauces, great sides. About as good a meal as we have had anywhere.

Service was very pleasant and professional.

Certainly not an every day, or even every month place, but for a special occasion this is about as good as it gets.

HV

 1,186 characters

Photo of blackie
4.15/5  rDev -7%
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 Sludgeman
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Visited on a Thursday afternoon, after the lunch rush before dinner, the week before Christmas. Only spent time at the bar. A very polished clientle.

Food - I did not sample the food on this visit, but from past visits BB has a very tasty menu, albeit one that can fill you up quickly. What I might consider high quality, but typical brasserie food.

Beer - An excellent selection almost exclusively focused on Belgian beers, both on tap and by the bottle. I did find a Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout, which I ordered since I had never had one before.

The bartender, a young lady in her twentys was very knowledgable. She indicated that she was studying to be a cicerone. It was a pleasure talking beer and an opportunity to learn which I did not pass up. If only all my bartenders were this friendly and knowledgable.

Thursday afternoon also happen to be that time when one of the distributors made his visit to show his new wears. Staff kindly invited me to sit in as the distributor showed off about eight new beers. I was asked my opinion and I gave it. What a wonderful treat!

Very pleased with the BB. It is a regular stop for me when I need a good beer.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Visited on a recent business trip to DC:

Atmosphere - Walked in around 7pm and the place was very full. Called in earlier in the day and they stated that the only reservations that were available were after 10pm, so it appears to be popular. The bar area was very crowded and I had to wait for a place at the bar, which took 10-15 minutes. The place had classic rock playing in the background which added a very nice touch. The space is modern and just felt like a good place to hang out. The only real downside, if you want to call it that, is that there were quite a few people at the bar that were not knowledgeable about Belgian beers or the style. But honestly, it added some humor for me ask they would ask for a hoppy beer or something similar to a BMC and the bartender would just give them whatever he felt like. Very entertaining.

Both the beer quality and the food quality were good. I had the mussels and they were really well prepared. The beers were also served in the proper glassware, temperature and carbonation level.

The service was good. The place was packed and I was at the bar, so I actually thought that it was better than some places that I have been that are not as crowded. The bartender was very knowledgeable and made some very good recommendations.

I thought that the prices were reasonable, $6-$12 for beers and the food seemed reasonable as well, but having lived on the east coast for a number of years and now living in the south, I can see how some think that it might be expensive.

Overall, if you are in DC and you like Belgian style beers, this is a must. I plan on visiting the next time in DC.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Brasserie Beck is all that you've heard: a very incredible, high end Belgium beer bar. To drink Belgian beers, I've never seen such an array of pure Belgian ales in the states. The mangar, Thor, who I met as a bartender at Birreria Paradiso nearly two years ago, is the best beer bartender I've ever had for a drinking session and is doing a great job at BB. The bartender was friendly and knoweldgable, and adjusted well not only to chat with me about cool beers but found beers for those who walked in dumbfounded by the choices and had know idea that they were at a beer destination. I ended up with four drafts of well served, unique beers. A fine afternoon at the rail.

Drawbacks: very high end for me as an establishment. I went in the afternoon and sat at the bar specifically to avoid the restaurant because I prefer not. Walking by the lunch crowd, the meals looked fantastic--works of art. I ended up ordering frites (Belgian/Dutch fries served with mayo and other condiments for those not aquainted) with three types of mayo blends. I'm not sure how, but the mayo blends were fantastic--weird statement, but true. Frites were excellent. I ordered that basically because I really like authentic frites and I'm a vegetarian and it was pretty much the only option. The bartender worked to give me several options by recomendations and adjustments to help, though there is little. If you're into mussels, etc., it's a fine place. If you are a foodie, this is your place, I think.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Visited for dinner, 31 July, 2009.

My wife and I love the beers and cuisine of Belgium; as great fortune would have it, the hotel we chose (Henley Park) is just around the corner from Brasserie Beck. A final-night-in-town there was a given.

Located in the ground floor of a chic glass and marble monolith at the corner of 11th and K, Beck was one of very few downtown spots that had outdoor seating. The generous sidewalks on K allow for a couple dozen tables (smoking allowed, so beware if you're averse), sheltered by umbrellas. A small mobile bar (7 taps) was stationed against a far wall. At 7pm, with skies a bit overcast, we stayed indoors and were placed in a nook next to the curtained windows. The spot was terrific, quiet enough despite a proximity to the glass-walled kitchen - spoiled only slightly by a couple of loud-mouthed, cell phone-gabbing patrons at an adjacent table...GRRR! Ceilings are lofty, colors are muted, floors are marble and tile, wood trim is dark...it all works with a classy ambiance that's not overly stuffy.

Food, beer, and wine lists were passed out as we were seated; we passed back the wine list immediately (despite an impressive glass-encased 'cellar' on display, we were there for food and beer only). Choosing from among the 11 indoor taps, we settled for a Gouden Carolus Tripel and a Barbãr Bok (one I'd never tried before). Both were very good, served in the right glassware at the right temperature. A wonderfully summer-y salad of ripe heirloom tomatoes, mixed greens and shaved cheeses arrived soon after. Next, a second course of beer (bottled Petrus Dubbel, Gulden Draak on draught) appeared with a pot of steaming traditional (white wine and garlic) moules a frites - a couple dozen plump mussels with perfect fries and 3 sauces (classic mayo, paprika, yellow curry). Another server noted our bread supply was low, so a piping hot loaf was delivered in a flash. A final course and yet more beer (Kasteel Donker and draught St. Bernardus 12!) descended from the heavens: a succulent beef carbonnade on parsnip puree for me, fall-off-the-bone lamb shank with white beans for my wife. A dessert menu was presented, but Wow, just wow. Wonderful meal, terrific beers...still feeling full more than 48 hours later!

Max was our server: quite friendly, attentive without pestering, knowledgeable about the beers (though admitting to not knowing every one in the 18 tap/90+ bottle list - fair enough). That beer list seems to be pretty well set, though there's some tap rotation; bottles are nicely arranged by style, with only a dozen or so non-Belgians (they are a nice assortment of German, French, Canadian and US brews, with a couple Dogfish Head featured specials - Black & Blue and World Wide Stout).

Prices are on the high side across the board: draughts generally $8 or more, bottles at least $10 (with some aged examples, lambics and strong ales ranging from the $30s on up past $60/bottle). Appetizers and early courses are typically $10 or more and entrees are well above $20...so expect a sizable bill at the end of the night. Meh, it's Downtown DC and those three hours spent dining rank among the finest we've had in years. Come with a full wallet and an empty stomach and you'll go home very happy!

PS A trip to the bathroom (leading past an odd confluence of humanity, from well-heeled jacket-and-tie locals to flip-flop and T-shirt sporting tourists) is worthwhile. In the men's room, checkout the black & white wallpaper, a criss-crossing of sexily-stockinged legs, bras and panties!

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Photo of 86sportster883
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Trendy and upscale are not two adjectives usually associated with the places I typically find myself drinking beer in. But, DC is different from most major US cities in that even if you're considered a local, you're probably originally from somewhere else. Thus, fitting in at the local hip spot in town is less of a challenge.

I had some reservations about going to Brasserie Beck, up until I got there. When I did, I found ample space at the bar along with both friendly staff and patrons. I had several excellent Belgian beers along with the best steamed mussles and Belgian frites I've ever had. I started with the half price draft beer specials that included Huyghe's Artevelde ($4.25) and Campus Pilsner ($3), followed by a DeKoninck ($4.25). When asked which draft would go well with my mussels (in white wine and garlic) I was served a Kasteel Blond ($9), while my night cap was an excellent Flemish red ale called Bacchus ($8.50).

Along with a dozen and a half excellent Belgian drafts, the Brasserie Beck offers an extensive selection of bottled Belgians. Some I had not seen here in the States before, especially their Artisanal Belgian offerings. If you're into Belgian beers and good Belgian style dishes, this is the place to go to when in DC. You're going to wind up dropping some coin in this place, but I found it ot be a worthwhile indulgence.

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Photo of glid02
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Stopped by here one night on a recent visit to the area.

Atmosphere is really nice - I felt like I should've been wearing a jacket and tie. The bar is much larger than I initially thought, it wraps around to another side I didn't see until I left and looked through the windows. Tons of seating as well.

Quality is good, both beers I had - de Huyghe's Campus and Bacchus - came in the proper glassware with a good amount of head.

Service is good. I walked in and was told the kitchen had just closed but to feel free to sit at the bar, which would be open "until everyone left". The bartender got drinks out quickly.

Selection was very good. They really do have some rare Belgian beers on the menu, but I found it interesting that there are multiple on-tap reviews for Bacchus in the US, while they claimed to be the only bar in the US to serve that on-tap. That doesn't take away from the great quality available, I just found it odd.

The prices were expensive, even for DC. One beer was $13 on-tap, with numerous others over $10.

Overall this place is definitely worth checking out, though there are a few other places that I'll be visiting first the next time I'm in the area. Maybe this will change after I grow out of my post-college phase.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.93/5  rDev -11.9%
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 jgasparine
4.83/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Atmosphere- Modern European. Very cool, clean, higher class with touches of old world influence. A statue of Manekin Pis above the door. A central kitchen visible from the dining floor. It was nice in there to say the least. They could use a little more standing room near the bar, but really, that's the only negative thing I could say about the atmosphere.

Quality- Absolutely everything about this place screams quality. The beverage and food selections, the multiple waiters working each table, the Cicerone on-hand to help with beer selections. Everything was immaculately clean- nothing short of amazing.

Service- Again, nothing short of amazing service. At the bar (which was packed with people), the bartender greeted us with beer menus in-hand and somehow managed to get us drinks in a timely manner whilst juggling dozens of other patrons. At the dinner table, the multiple waiters were extremely attentive and helpful. And the Cicerone just made the night for us. I wish I caught his name... he was extremely knowledgeable, and once he knew that we were there for the beer, he hooked us up with some fantastic off-menu selections, including Russian River Damnation!

Selection- An incredible selection of beer both on draught and in bottle. And as I mentioned, some special off-menu stuff exists as well. Definitely once of the best beer selections in DC.

Food- Nothing short of incredible. Even the bread served at the table was some of the most delicious, doughy, flavorful bread I have ever had. Their cheese platter was exquisite, their Beer Carbonade was to-die-for, and their salmon was out of this world. Presentation, texture, flavor, aroma, everything about the food was incredible.

Overall- It's a bit pricey, but worth every penny. I can't wait to go back!

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Photo of drabmuh
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
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 Daniellobo
3.83/5  rDev -14.1%
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 TheEclecticGent
4.94/5  rDev +10.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Possibly one of the best places I have ever drank beer! Never thought I would say that about a place but it's true. A co-worker and I checked this place out during a recent work trip and loved it! We didn't have reservations and did not end up eating here but enjoyed several beers at the bar later. That's my #1 tip make reservations, the place can get packed. That's also my only complaint, the place can get packed. However, who am I to be elitist or wish ill against the owners success. People flock here because it's great. The few dishes I saw people eating at the bar looked and smelled great. The place has a train station / transportation feel to it with frosted glass, tile, dark wood and lots of world time-zone clocks. It's basically a higher end Belgian restaurant and bar. The beer list is to die for if you are a fan of Belgian beer and they serve each in its own signature glass. Very nice! They have a lot of Belgian beer I have never been exposed to and I can't wait to return. Other than great service and selection the thing that sealed the deal was talking to resident beer expert Bill Catron. Awesome dude! I really enjoyed talking with him about beer and all the joy associated with it. If you see him there, strike up a conversation. Oh yea! Check out the wallpaper in the Men's restroom, nice! Do yourself a favor and stop by the Brasserie Beck if your visiting DC, you won't be sorry!

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Photo of ferrari29
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

What is missing with Brasserie Beck? Nothing. This is my highest rated beer bar and restaurant. I fell in love with Beck the moment I walked in, the atmosphere is up-scale and carries with it a classy (a mix between 'throw back' and contemporary European style) sophistication.
I was impressed with the quality and service of the wait staff. The beer bottle presentation and glass pours were top notch and were presented exquisitely. The attention to detail was great. With an on-site beer sommelier (Thor is the man), you can't go wrong with their trusted advice and perfect food pairing. Their menu is based around a prime choice of mussels, served in various styles from wine and garlic to goat cheese and smoked bacon. Sandwiches are great and the fries were amazing; served with a great selection of dipping sauces. Presentation, texture, flavor, aroma, everything about the food was incredible and delicious.
The draft beer selection is top-notch, my wife had a Antigoon Double Blond Ale and loved it. They also have Klokke Roeland, Straffe Hendrik, Bacchus, Bavik Pils and Kasteel Rouge on draft. Their bottle selection offers many different Belgian based brews ranging from Pilsner, Kolsch, Belgian Style Blond Ales, Belgian Style Amber Ales, Beglian Style Bubbel Ales, Belgian Style Tripel Ales, Belgian Style Strong Golden Ales, Belgian Style Strong Dark Ales, Farm House Style Ales, Red Ales, Sour and Sweet Lambic, IPA, Fruit Beer, Wheat Based Ales, Doppelbock, Stout/Porters, and finish your meal off with a small but perfect selection of Barleywines. I was very impressed and would recommend to others.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.4/5  rDev -23.8%
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 dmamiano
4/5  rDev -10.3%
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 alysmith4
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Wow, what a great find, not too far from my apartment. This place isn't what I would have expected on decor, but it grows on you as the night goes. The quality of food and beer is exceptional, the service is great, and the selection is.. well, they have everything it seems! I asked the waiter for a few suggestions on beer, and he hit the mark each time. The food was some of the best I've had.. especially the duck confit. I'd go back just for that and a one of their puckery sour ales. Oh and the frites and mussels are excellent too!

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Photo of StoutHearted
4.64/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

So this is where the good beer is hiding in D.C.! OK, that is a little unfair to the handful of beer places that really do try, but this stands out as a fancy man/gal's fancy beer bar. Despite the upscale atmosphere, there were plenty of people dressed casually - including me - and no one was giving the stinkeye about it. The bar area is very brightly lit and the high ceilings make it look more spacious than it is. There are a couple of TVs tuned to the sports channels.

The selection is phenomenal - a large selection of Belgians and an interesting tap list with brews such as Kasteel Rouge, Bacchus, and Barbar. Great selection of geuzes were found in the extensive bottle list. However, these beers are not cheap. I would save a trip to this place for payday.

I didn't order any food, but saw what other people had. It appeared to be upscale brasserie food with small portions. However, as I didn't order, take that with a grain of salt.

Staff was very friendly, and freely offered smaples to anyone who asked, even to those in the restaurant. They seemed to know the beer and were very good at keeping up with everyone despite the crowd.

A definite recommendation, don't let the fancy atmosphere intimidate you. You know your beer, walk in with confidence. The place is very welcoming.

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Photo of DWolf
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Hey, this is DC. Therefore, the price is "reasonable". More importantly, the selection of Belgian beers is top-shelf and the food is good ... and, equally as important, the wait staff is knowledgable. Not much is worse than asking the server about a particular beer and he/she responds, "it's fizzy or I like fruity beers." You won't get that here. If you're a Belgian fan (or a beer fan), stop by, if you are in the area, and you won't be disappointed. Note: BB has an extensive and quality wine list as well.

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Photo of soupyman10
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
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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Photo of SwillBilly
4.72/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Had the pleasure of meeting Guinnessdoc and his wife for dinner on 2/8/08 at Beck. Located about 2 blocks north of Cap City Brewery, Beck is situated in the 1st floor of an office building. Upon entering this busy restaurant/bar, you are greeted promptly by the very friendly Matre D. We had reservations for 8:00 and were seated immediately. The decor is like and old european train station, with lots of exposed duct work and clocks. Very sleek and stylish. Also, if you are lucky and can get a table overlooking the open kitchen. A forewarning, this place can get crowded in a hurry, so reservations are a must if you like eating at a normal hour. Anyway, once seated the waitress handed handed us a leather bound menu just for BEER !!, you typically get this type of menu with a wine list but this was a 1st for me. About 15 high quality Belgians on tap and at least another 75 or so bottles can be had. Started with a Bacchus on draft. Refreshingly tart flanders red. As for food, we ordered Frites with 3 sauces and a cheese platter. Frites were fantastic. Entrees at the table were a luscious Red Snapper, roast port with cabbage and mustartd sauce (tart and outstanding), steak and beef carbonade. All the dishes were memorable. We ordered a couple of bottles of different beers (sorry can't remember the brewers) and we able to meet Bill Catron, who is the beer Sommelier. He is one of the few people in the US that has been Knighted by the The Belgian Brewers Guild. He is so enthusiastic about his job and talking beer. It was a pleasure to meet and to talk to him. He also took away our glasses and came back with the appropriate matching goblet to the bottle we were drinking. Overall, this is a must try restaurant for the food and the beer. Another warning, this place isn't cheap but its well worth it. Highly Recommended.

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Photo of thekanna
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This place reminds me more of great beer bars in Brussels and the rest of Belgium than anywhere else I've ever seen in the States.

This place has a lively European beer bar atmosphere where many people are crowded around the bar just taking in the conversation and enjoying good beer. The place has a whole historic high-class pub feel to it, as if you'd almost expect to walk outside and see an art deco street in 1930's New York. The couple of LCDs around the restaurant showing sports games almost detracts from the atmosphere.

The beer selection was quite amazing; their menu informed me that they're the only ones to sell Gentse Tripel and Bacchus on tap in the entire United States. Bottled selection was quite varied-- almost all of them Belgian-- and certainly all of them very good selections. Even my friend who doesn't like beer was impressed at the descriptions of the beer varieties in the menu. He ended up ordering a St. Bernardus Abt. 12, which he enjoyed very much and said matched the description very well, almost comparing it to a fine wine.

Our server was a bit rushed and tended to forget things, and it seemed like he was overwhelmed with too many customers. However, he was friendly made great recommendations to our table and the table beside us, and really knew his beers. Also, the food was absolutely excellent: I've never gotten Belgian food this good outside of Belgium. The food was fairly overpriced, but where else can you find great Flaamse Stoverij, roasted rabbit loin, or crispy skate wing in DC?

P.S. Please be sure to check out the wallpaper on the men's bathroom if you're here. Let's just say, it's practically vaudevillian, and in a design pattern that you'd never expect (except maybe in a 1910's burlesque show).

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Photo of beeryes
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Great Belgian beer is a conversation stopper. One sip and the neon “WOW” sign flashes in your brain. Your generous side thinks, “Hey, everybody, try some of this!” But your selfish side says, “Excuse me, guys, while I just zone out and commune with this beer.”

This happens a lot at Brasserie Beck, which has by far Washington, DC’s best selection of Belgian beers. If you like these beers, or if you’ve just heard about them, don’t miss this place.

Eleven Belgians are on tap. Bavik, which is always available, raises the pedestrian flavor profile of the typical light pilsner (including Stella Artois) to amazing new heights. Others taps offer glorious versions of red ales, golden ales, and brown ales. There are also generally a few rarities -- like the Petrus Dubbel and Kasteel Rouge that the bar is currently pouring. More familiar, but always welcome, Belgian beers like Corsendonk, Lucifer and St. Bernardus round things out. The famous Trappist ales are often available on tap, too.

The real treasures are on the bottled beer list, however. It’s a leather-bound list that runs sixteen pages, individually (and accurately) describing the more than 120 Belgian beers that the restaurant carries. The beers are kept at the right temperature and carefully poured into the glassware that each brewery recommends.

Folks, if you like Belgian beer, it truly doesn’t get much better than this. You’d have to head to Monk’s Café in Philadelphia, or to a few bars in Belgium itself, to find the rare bar that has a wider selection of these wonderful beers.

And even the few places with more Belgian beers don't necessarily have better ones. The main reason Beck's does is Bill Catron, their beer guy. Chat him up if you go in; he’s usually around. Unassuming and easygoing but passionate about beer, this guy knows Belgian beer like nobody you’ll ever meet. Bill would never tell you this, but according to a recent article in the Washington Post, he’s one of the very few Americans ever “knighted” by the Belgian brewers guild. Bill’s many pals in the Belgian brewing community make sure he gets a steady stream of the best stuff.

The food menu is also excellent. Of course, Belgian style fries and mussels are available to accompany your beer. But you may also be tempted to try other Belgian specialities like chicken waterzooi (a soup/stew), beef carbonnade, braised pork belly, and shrimp croquettes. Even the humble but delicious side dish “stompe,” rarely seen outside working class cafes in Belgium, is available.

All of this comes for a price, alas. Brasserie Beck is not cheap. Few beers are less than $8. Most are $10-$12. Larger size bottles are typically around $28, and ascend to over $60. The food menu is expensive, too. A couple of beers, mussels and fries, taxes and tip -- and you're north of 40 bucks.

It’s a shame that Beck’s doesn’t offer “beer flights” like Birreria Paradiso in Georgetown, so you can try a bunch of the tap beers without flattening your wallet.

Two more negatives: it’s mobbed at happy hour and most people are wearing somewhat upscale clothes. Go in before 5:30pm or after 7:30pm to count on getting seats at the bar. (For the restaurant, reserve ahead.) Dress up a little if you care what other people are wearing.

Beck’s is a splurge; there’s no getting around it. But, hey, it’s OK to live a little now and then!

Public transport access: great. Brasserie Beck’s is three short blocks up 11th St. NW from the Metro Center stop on Metro’s Blue, Orange and Red Lines. It’s only five short blocks to the Gallery Place station where you can catch the Green and Yellow lines.

Also, Washington's red "Circulator" busses run along K Street, right in front of Beck's.

Walking from the Metro Center subway stop, you’ll pass the Capitol City Brewpub at 11th and H Streets. A word of advice for those tempted to stop in: do so BEFORE you hit Beck’s, not after. Cap City is a pleasant enough place, but their pretty good beers will seem very disappointing after you've had a few at Beck’s.
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Photo of dreadnatty08
4.66/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Finally got a chance to visit the bar just for drinks and some frites. I ordered the Kasteel Rouge, not completely reading the description and was promptly served a cherry, slightly sour, slightly cough syrupy Belgian. It was good, but I should have chosen elsewhere. The fries were really nice, the "trio" or mayonaise always makes me happy as I'm a complete mayonaise whore. Service was prompt and very accomodating for a bar, our server approached us soon after seating, and not having to order from the bar is a huge plus.
Atmosphere was a lot of fun, my girlfriend who joined me said it's unlike Brussels only in that it's a lot bigger, but I really liked the nice touches like the "napkins" and the bathrooms were nice too. Overall, the beers were pricey ($7 and up), but not overly so for DC. If you're looking for a great selection of Belgian beers on draft or rarities in bottles, this is the place to be.

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Brasserie Beck in Washington, DC
4.46 out of 5 based on 57 ratings.
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