Matchbox - Chinatown

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Matchbox - ChinatownMatchbox - Chinatown
Very Good
17 Ratings
Matchbox - ChinatownMatchbox - Chinatown

Type: Bar, Eatery

713 H St NW
Washington, District of Columbia, 20001-3733
United States

(202) 289-4441 | map

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Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-29-2008

View: Place Reviews
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Ratings: 17 |  Reviews: 9
Photo of Boone757
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

Photo of LADaveBN
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.75/5  rDev -6%

After a lovely concert at the Sixth & I Synagogue, the wife and I rushed to Matchbox to have dinner before the 11pm kitchen last call. Pizza and beer, a heavenly combination.

On the taps: Rogue, Allagash White, Troegs HopBack, Victory DirtWolf, Averie Ellie’s, Bell’s Two Hearted, Sly Fox, Chimay, Oskar Old Chubb… pretty standard but serviceable, and at around six bucks a pop, definitely reasonable (DC prices can be insane). They also have a couple of large-format beers, including Curieux ($30) and Stone Smoked ($10).

The place is cool. Cool décor, cool music, cool servers. And the bartender loves Fernet Branca, which she first had in Italy. My kind of bartender indeed.

As for the food, we had a $14 tuna-tartare appetizer that was too expensive and kind of bland and a $23 pizza that was promptly devoured. Good stuff, but pricey for sure.

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Photo of CB2maltygoodness
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of pmarlowe
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of macesq
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of ONUChaser
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of seanchai
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of polopaul20
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Smakawhat
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Situated in what is DCs Chinatown or more like DCs China "corner" (there really isn't a Chinatown anymore) is Matchbox pizza.

Inside is a fairly decent looking space with large loft ceilings of a typical DC rowhouse, and tables with glass displays filled with what else matchboxes and other displayed advertising pieces.

Service is young fairly friendly as well without too much misgivings, pizza is alright fairly good better than most places, not exactly the best pizza you'll ever have mind you. The 3-6-9 sliders are popular and the menu is a bit more varied than most pizza places.

Beer selection is small for craft but a good listing of solid and varied styles. You will easily find a good list consisting of a decent pilsner, witbier, American IPA, brown ale, and a few Belgian styles. It's enough to keep any picky beer person happy and find something they will enjoy.

Prices are reasonable and fine for what the DC area offers. One quick note, outside there are often big lineups for what looks like the restaurant, but often this is the lineup to catch the NYC to DC Chinatown buses. These folks are going to NY not the restaurant so don't be deterred all the time if there are a lot of people hanging outside, go in and ask how long the wait will be.

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Photo of jayhawk73
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Atmosphere- Great. Not too loud, you can still carry on a conversation. The place is so spread out that it helps w/ the noise. Always get a good vibe from this place.

Q/S/S/F- The pizza rocks. I've never gotten anything else there! It's really tasty. The service has always been great. The waitstaff has always been polite, helpful, and knowledgeable. The beer selection is fairly limited w/ drafts, but they usually have some pretty good stuff. Prices are fairly reasonable for Washington DC. Great place to go- other places have a better beer selection, but this is a cool place to mix it up with.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Located right around the corner from RFD, Matchbox Pizza is an impressive looking building with a very modern, urban feel applied to the typical stone and metal look of a wood-fired pizza joint. Through the front door and into a high-ceiling but skinny bar (long and narrow), I'm met by a small but cramped crowd of mohito and Stella drinking urbanites, but in little time I find a seat at the bar. Draft list includes Allagash White, a Rogue, Sierra Nevada and Bells seasonal, Chimay, Delirium Tremens and a few other US craft choices. Food wise it's everything from salad and sandwiches to the wood-fired pizza that everyone is so crazy about. I personally found the pizza mediocore at best. I'd recommend going with the burger sliders here! Service was great, the crowd was fun, but it definitely is not a beer geek only place. Most people were drinking Stella or Delirium, no doubt for the status, but I will recommend this place for people visiting Downtown/Chinatown as an alternative to RFD, where the food is downright awful. However, if you have the chance to visit Pizza Paradiso, skip Matchbox and go there instead, where the beer selection and quality of food is better. Another option would be Ella's Wood Fired Pizza, only a few blocks away. They have a few good beers on tap as well, and are always less crowded than Matchbox.

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Photo of pzrhsau
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

A: its a great place. Good lighting, cool fire urn out front, matchboxes in the tables. Fun atmosphere but it is always crowded.
Q: Great pizzas and they have a decent beer selection to offer from delirium to craft beers from bells and san francisco breweries.
S: Good, the wait staff is always able to help you figure out what to get and give you options. They are as quick as possible because they are always packed.
Selection: Its a shorter tap list, but they do put some big beers in and don't fall into the macro brewing mold. Very good beer overall.
Food: Sliders and custom pizzas. I can't complain. Very good and there are a lot of good local options.
Value: A bit pricey but its always worth it in the end.

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Photo of alysmith4
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I haven't been to this place in a while, but everytime that I go - I really enjoy it. The bar is small and cosy, but right behind it is the waiting area for those trying to get a table. It can get a little hectic on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. And actually, one of the best times to go is Sunday morning for brunch. The have an excellent a Bloody Mary menu, and some great brunch "pizzas" made mostly with egg. (Think: pizza as an omlet.) The beer list is steady, but they do rotate in a rew good seasonal brews accordingly. Oh and the pizza is some of the best in the city!

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Located in the relatively newly gentrified and somewhat fake DC Chinatown it has emerged as one of the references for a trendy bar to show-off for certain types. Luckily the place is quite good, food is solid has some great highlights, and while some of the liquor servings are a bit off and pretentious, they offer a well taken care of draft selection.

At the time of this visit one tap was down and the fresh offering was of 11 selections, with regulars:
Yuengling Lager
Gaffel Kolsch
Great Divide St. Bridget's Porter
Allagash White
Bells Two Hearted Ale
Eggenberg Pils
Stella Artois
Delirium Tremens

Rogue is a rotating tap handle, which had Captain Sig´s Nortwestern Ale (Delicious for my liking)

The seasonal was DFH Festina Peche, which unfortunately and understandably they were having trouble selling (I like it and think it is well crafted for what it is, but for now it is bound to be misunderstood as it comes out of the blue) They told me that once they are done with this choice it will be replaced with a pumpkin ale from New Holland brewevery.

Also by the bottle they offer:
Bud Lite
Miller Lite
Amstel Lite

Food wise it is a getting a reputation for its pizzas in an oven that they brag a bit too much about. But the pizzas are good... And in particular the mini-burguers laced with thinly fried onions are very tasty and memorable.

On the bad side coffee is pretty awful, lacks any espresso machine and some of the liquors are chilled when they should be offered at room temperature (ice them if you like). However staff is friendly and well trained. They typically know the beers they offer pretty well, and often you can find some true knowledgeable beer aficionado among them (more often behind the bar.)

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Photo of BeerSox
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Located just around the corner from RFD, this place seems like an easy place to miss. It's located in a slim piece of real estate (but apparently expanded into the area next door), there is an easy-to recognize sign that says, "Matchbox." But that's if you're on the same side of the street. It's a block away from the Chinatown/Verizon Center stop on the Green/Yellow stop, and a few blocks away from the Metro Center Stop on the Red/Orange/Blue line. It's located just north of Downtown and just west of Chinatown.

Inside is very classy, probably the opposite of a hole in the wall place. A brick wall coats the entire eastern wall of the building, leading to a couple staircases for the three story building. The bar is on the first level, just next to the entrance. The rest of the building is tables. There is also an outdoor patio. The bar is long, has about 20 stools. The bathrooms seem nice as well (an odd thing to include in a review, but I feel it's noteworthy) with both a standard toilet ad a urinal in the men's (didn't visit the women's) and also a Dyson high-pressure "Air Blade" hand dryer. The men's room door is marked with nothing but an M, with the women's having just a W. If you're plastered, you're probably going to make a mistake. The music at the time was nothing but Deep House, which I don't mind (I actually like some of the style), although one bartender asked about the constant "80's music," to which the other replied, Yeah it sucks, doesn't it?"

Along the center of the bar is a line of tap handles, just over 10 of them. They are all craft, plus a Yuengling, with a rotating seasonal tap. They have a wide variety of beers, including hoppy, Hefe Weizens, porters, and Belgians. Everything is in proper glassware. The price is reasonable, especially for DC. The price of the food is on the higher end though, but it's all quality stuff.

Speaking of food, I ordered a small pizza, which is a more-than-modest 10". It's a fire oven, which a bartender stated as 800 degrees, so the crust gets a little burnt, but that's okay. The reset of the menu included salads, sandwiches, and steaks, along with appetizers.

There were plenty of bartenders and hostesses present when I arrived (about 4PM on a Saturday), maybe preparing for the evening rush. The place wasn't packed yet, but the bar was almost full, then thinned out a lot, then started to fill up again as it got closer to weekend dinner hour.

Overall, I'm certainly impressed with the place. It has plenty of the good beers, not the most, but still a good collection. I would say this is more of your typical upscale bar than a beer restaurant since the employees didn't seem to care about what was available, even calling them "crazy" beers, but who cares? People can come in for their good food, array of mixed drinks and wine, and we can come in for our beer. If RFD is packed, maybe try this place (the food is much better). Recommended.

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Photo of spaciorek
4.75/5  rDev +19%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Ate dinner here on vacation in DC. They had several different beers on tap that I cannot usually find around my home (in Ohio), including Brooklyn-Weisse and of all things PBR Tallboy. The restaurant itself is in a young energetic neighborhood, Capitol Hill. It used to be an old storage building for vending machines, and the owners have transformed it into an interesting three level space. The service was GREAT, seriously great. Attentive but not annoying, never had to ask for anything, they were very perceptive. We got wood fired pizza which was fantastic, thin crust and perfect amount of toppings to sauce to crust. The desserts are tasty too. The menu is creative but not pretentious so you have to ask what anything is. It's just good, simple food for a good price (in DC). Mini burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, and lots of interesting drinks. We may even go back there again this week while we are on vacation.

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Matchbox - Chinatown in Washington, DC
Place rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 17 ratings