The Black Squirrel

very good

20 Reviews
The Black SquirrelThe Black Squirrel

Type: Bar, Eatery

2427 18th St NW
Washington, District of Columbia, 20009-2030
United States

(202) 232-1011 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by blackie on 04-29-2008

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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 34
Photo of JamLand
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.25 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5

The wife and I stopped in here recently for a quick drink and an appetizer.

The vibe is typical bar with several TVs around. We went on a Sunday, so NFL was on every TV. I guess the bar has multiple levels, but it appeared the one just up the first flight of stairs was the only one open on a Sunday afternoon.

Selection was solid for the area. There was a recent Bells tap takeover, along with a good mix of locals and national craft beer brands.

Unfortunately, when we went they appeared to be having a contest as to whether they could serve worse food or provide worse service. We had the crab dip and it was dreadful. It seemed like cheap, canned crabmeat with glops of processed American cheese in it. Honestly, I can forgive this. At any place you go to, something on the menu probably isn't that good, especially at a bar.

The service was some of the worst I've had in a while. There was table service, only it took someone so long to come to our table, I had to go to the bar to order drinks and I was then told it was table service. No apology for no one coming over, just go back to my table and someone would be over. Additionally, they had something recently on tap, I wanted to try and not only did the server have no idea what I was talking about, but seemed annoyed I dared to ask him a question. After finishing our drinks and not finishing the appetizer, we asked for the check and it was dropped off without even a thank you for stopping in.

Overall, decent tap selection, probably your best bet for beer in the neighborhood, but be prepared for bad food and even worse service. It seems they don't really want your business, but they'll take it, if they have to.

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Photo of kellyej
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

The Black Squirrel is a great bar in DC's Adams Morgan neighborhood that specializes in providing a wide range of craft beers. They always have something interesting on tap. Recently, I've had Great Divides's Red Comet and several selections from Jolly Pumpkin. During DC's 2014 Beer Week, the Black Squirrel hosted an awesome beer tasting for women brewers/beer lovers.

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Photo of wapcap
4.41/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

A very cool place to visit in DC. They have a very good draft list and bottle list. And they'll let you try samples.

The food was phenomenal and well prepared. For the place, the food was excellent. They source alot of items locally and seasonally and the burgers are what stand out.

The beers are great. They have several local and regional selections you would not otherwise be able to get your hands on.

Definitely a place to visit when out for a stroll in DC.

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Photo of nihiloexnihil
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I've been to The Black Squirrel many times. They've always got interesting beers to try (depending on which level of the building you're in), and the burgers are outstanding. It's never really crowded, though it can get a little busy late on weekend nights.

The trick with The Black Squirrel, though, is checking their website before you decide to go. Because every so often, it seems, there's a perfect storm of fantastic, whale-ish beers that appear simultaneously on tap. For example, the last time I went there, I had GL Blackout stout, Parabola, Bourbon County, Cigar City barleywine, Tactical Nuclear Penguin (bottled), and Utopias (also bottled, obviously). And then some absinthe, of which they have many kinds. I left very drunk, but very happy.

If you go without having an idea what's there, you may be a bit disappointed (though honestly, the burgers are really outstanding). But if you look ahead on their website and notice something interesting on tap, you may be pleasantly surprised when you get there.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Went to the main-level bar yesterday for a beer after a tour of the Belgian embassy for the EU Open House. Needed a beer after they pushed us through the embassy and we were stuck with Stella rather than the hoped-for Orval.

Walls are red on one side and brick on the other with black wooden tables. Interesting posters on the wall. A few TVs on the wall an plenty more by the bar. Seemed to be a pretty chill place.

Service was good. The bartender knew a decent amount and wasn’t too pushy, and was quick with drinks and always noticed when we were running dry. The selection decent but nothing outstanding. Probably around 20 drafts and the same number of bottles. Not an extensive bottle list like other places in the area, and many of the drafts were pretty standard selections.

Didn’t have any food. Value was a bit pricey, even for the area. Priced above Churchkey and Paradiso, which is crazy. A nice experience, though I don’t think I’d come back very often unless I’m in need of a beer in Adams Morgan.

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Photo of Hotlanta
3.36/5  rDev -14.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Visiting DC and happened to be in Adams Morgan, and a quick search on my phone showed this as being the best bet for a good beer.

I guess there are different levels with different beer selections. We just hit the bar on the street level. It was not very busy and were greated quickly with menus. The service was prompt and attentive.

The beer list is extensive and lists prices for "4 oz." and "pints." I ordered a pint of Hop Rod Rye. Got the beer quickly and immediately noticed that "pint" I order was not really a pint. They serve their "pints" in glasses that look and feel like regular 16 oz. pints but they are the thick bottomed versions. I assume they were 14 oz. pints. I don't care if you want to serve 14 oz., but do not tell me you are serving me a pint. A pint is 16 oz. I ordered a 4 oz. of another beer. I can only assume it was actually 4 oz., but who knows.

The prices listed were moderate prices for a true pint, but were kind of high for 14 oz. I know the rent in Adams Morgan is not cheap, and I would have still paid for beer (maybe even 2) without having to be lied to.

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Photo of Denali
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

I went here this past Sunday afternoon (8/7/11).

Being still relatively new to the DC beer scene having moved here last November, and being mostly disappointed with some of the other highly graded DC beer establishments, I decided to give this place a try. I am very glad that I did.

Located in Adams Morgan, it’s about a 10-15 minute walk from the nearest Metro station. It doesn't look like much from the outside, being situated amongst a row of restaurants squeezed together all with similarly styled awnings and entrances. However, once inside, it is a very nice looking place, with tables in the front and the bar in the back of the room. The downstairs entrance was not open the day I went, so I had entered and sat at the bar on the second level.

There was a friendly couple sitting at the bar and two very nice and attentive bartenders. They had about 20 taps, with a very good variety of styles, including imports and, most notably, offerings from all over the U.S., such as Lagunitas, Bells, and Speakeasy. Their featured beer was Hofbrau Helles, served in an authentic Hofbrau 22 oz stein (how awesome). Their bottled list is also very impressive, with all styles and countries represented.

The atmosphere is very chill and laid back, and is easily my favorite thing about this place. It’s a very comfortable place to hang out, unlike some of the other corporate-like and pretentious beer establishments elsewhere in the city.

The bartender was very knowledgeable about beer, and when it came time for me to have an IPA, he recommended a bottle of Short's Huma-Lupa-Licious IPA, which he said was special ordered for the owner. It was awesome.

For food, I had a burger, which was outstanding. The bartender explained that the chef is from France and so the burger was made with duck fat that gave it a spicy kick. The food ordered by other people looked awesome as well, especially the roasted chicken which I will have to get next time. Definitely not standard pub food by any means. This place functions as an excellent restaurant as well as an excellent beer bar. Highly recommended.

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Photo of MRJAZZ
3.28/5  rDev -17%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Went to this place after seeing good reviews @ BA. However, I got turned off by what I perceived was gouging, A 10 oz. glass of Avery Maharaja cost me $13.00. The beer was 10 plus 1 for tax and I had to tip the barman 2 because he was very cordial and engaging. Got a 12 oz glass of the Maharaja @ Meridien Pint for $ 8.00. Can't figure out the disparity. We were a party of three, and we were going to eat but after the
jacked price we decided to move out in to the neighborhood and suport another establishment.

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Photo of dixieboy74
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

This place has an above average selection of beers. It is three stories and each story has a separate bar. The higher you go, the less selection you have, which is why I would recommend the ground level bar. We got lucky and got a couple spots at the bar. If you're claustrophobic, avoid this place on weekend nights because its small and crowded. The atmosphere was average, but who cares when you just want to drink good beers. I would recommend this place to any beer afficianado who's in the D.C. area as it has the best selection of any place I've thus far been. The only recommendations I'd give the owners would be to list the beers on the wall so the patrons can see, with ease, the beers available. Also, put some more beer posters and/or nicknacks on the wall to add some character.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Situated in Adams Morgan and mostly catered for late 20s to 40s clientles. A nice welcome to an area that caters to mostly drunk college kids. Small place, long and narrow. Dozen barstools, 8 or so tables. Nice selection of primarily Belgian beers for a small place, very well-chosen with some hard to find surprises. Staff was very knowledgeable about the beer and the food (and the hard liquor - including absinthe and a rare regional gin!). Had fries here and they were good. Other appetizers were just ok at best. A good addition to the area, and to the DC beer scene in general.

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Photo of Lolli1315
4/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped by this place while I was in D.C. over Halloween weekend, not surprisingly packed like every place else. Nonetheless, still had a good time and the bartenders were fast and willing to help. Have both a tap selection and a bottle selection that encompass a wide variety and a nice selection that most everyone could find something they like. The atmosphere was pretty good, hard to judge on Halloween, but definitely a bar that I feel more comfortable going to than the other places that were available. Only problem was that some of the beers were a little expensive, but it was easy to get over that.

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Photo of cmaude
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Great selection - they always have at least one tap that is not typically available in DC, or that is just deliciously weird. Their beer cocktails (I know, sacrilege, but my sister insisted) are also quite good.

Their menu is very strange, however. It looks about ten pages long, but on closer examination, lists several beers in about four different categories.

The atmosphere is quirky and fun (they have a fake palm tree), though a bit loud. I've always had to yell to carry on a conversation.

Also, it is expensive, even in an expensive city. An unusual, tasty beer seems to be around 9/tap, 10/bottle. Yikes.

Still, they are keeping the faith in a part of town filled with trashy college bars. And they are right next to the amazingness of Amsterdam Falafel - proof that you can have a good night in Adams Morgan and still remember it the next day.

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Photo of shivtim
4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This is now the best option in Adams Morgan.
It's tucked into a narrow space, as most of the places in the area are. Nice typical wooden theme, but with the addition of photos of black squirrels on the wall. Also Farah Fawcett.

Pretty solid beer list. On tap is a heavily Belgian selection. Nothing exceptional, but a pretty nice variety. Add in a few random American craft brews (Bells, Dogfish, Great Lakes), and a number of bottle options, and you're sure to find something you want to try. Appropriate glassware seems to be the rule.
We had good service, but didn't try the food.

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Photo of alysmith4
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I can't believe I've lived in the city this long, and just recently discovered The Black Squirrel! And it's ironic that I'm reviewing a great beer spot on what is possibly the review that tips my beer karma from Initiate to Disciple! At any rate, I was very impressed by this place, the beer list is pages and pages long, and they had only ran out of one of the many beer that I was interested in trying. They also had a decent selection on tap. The atmosphere is nice and warm, and the upstairs bar adds a nice touch. And the food was very good - had a burger on their half-priced burger night.. delish!

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

Went here just to check it out. First thing is first, no place to park, no real metro access, strike one in my book. My wife and I went in and fortunately found a table. The place was pretty low key. Cool stuff on the walls, interesting place. Our waitress found us rather quickly.

This place has some food and some beer. The food all seemed pretty average, we ordered and appetizer and decided that there were better food options outside so we just ordered some beer and ended up going to an Ethiopian restaurant across the street for dinner. The beer menu is huge but totally redundant. They decided to group the beer by region, and by flavor, and by style. So the same beer may appear on the menu 5 times on different pages. There were several beers on draft and several in the bottle. There were a few interesting beers there but out of all the beers on the menu, but a few were really out there and there was almost no beer from the region. No flying dog, no DC beers, no dogfish head. Really odd.

I enjoyed it but if I go back I'll just order off the chalkboard, something that I think I can't get anywhere else.

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Photo of ampzilla
4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Made an evening here during Obamauguration weekend.
The place is long and narrow, with many bar height tables and an L shaped bar in the back corner. Pretty decent atmosphere. Nice looking with maroon paint and brick dominating. Eclectic movie posters around as well. Not overly pretentious. Good place to catch up with friends and not have to be wearing skinny jeans.
Beers were the reason to sit here. In my visit, as an example of what's up, I had Leffe Bruin and Delirium Noel on tap and bottles of Two Hearted and Dragon Stout.
Adams Morgan is a must if visiting DC. IMO the Black Squirrel has got to be one of the best places to get good beer on the block. Also, don't pass up a Jumbo Slice at the end of your evening.

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Photo of mikedarookie
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

My last visit to the Black Squirrel was while in DC for work in September 2008. I found it to be delightful, even within the environs of Adams Morgan. Here's why:

1) The food - The Squirrel offers some of the best pub fare I've had in quite some time. When you go to a beer bar you aren't surprised to consume food that looks as though it was frozen, warmed in a microwave, and then served as a substandard accompaniment to the fine beer you're drinking. Not so at the Squirrel. During two separate visits I partook of their buttermilk fried chicken and house-made German brats. Both were excellent. As I said, it's rare to find cuisine worthy of a mid- to upper-range restaurant in a good beer bar. Both were also reasonably priced, especially for Adams Morgan.

2) The beer - What the Squirrel lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Even though its selection pales in comparison to other well-known DC beer destinations, the beers it does have are all of high quality & represent a good range of styles and brands. The Squirrel is proof that you don't need a beer menu the size of a suburban phonebook to provide a good selection of quality brews.

3) The service - The best aspect of the Squirrel is the quality of people who make it an enjoyable, welcoming place to enjoy good beer & food. During both visits, I encountered warm hospitality from all staff, from the bouncer working the door to the bartender & co-owner, Paul, who happily engaged me & my friends in conversations regarding what beer styles best fit each person's individual tastes. We appreciated his willingness to share his knowledge & passion for beer. He is a publican of the highest order; a gifted conversationalist who can provide a libation to fit his patrons' preferences while expanding their knowledge of & appreciation for beer. He is a true beer advocate.

Do you need more reasons to check out the Black Squirrel? I didn't think so. If you find yourself in DC, make your way to Adams Morgan, pull up a stool at the Squirrel, & enjoy some of the best food, beer, & service you'll find in the city.

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Photo of webjedi
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5

I stopped in on a Wednesday before a concert at the 9:30 Club. It was basically dead, but I was told this was an odd Wednesday for them, as they had just opened 3 months prior, and normally it's "hoppin" a bit more. I tried their Amber Bock (brewed by Fordham /Costal under contract) and the Hofbrau Dunkel served in the official 22 oz stein. A lot of beer, but it pared well with their exceptional Hanford Flat-iron steak (mashed potatoes and grilled green beans with a wine sauce reduction). Scott, the server was attentive, and the place, overall, is good, while still trying to find it's legs in the community (Adams Morgan is fickle with the trends).

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Photo of 67couple
4.7/5  rDev +19%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

The place was a standout in D.C. Found it by accident in Adams Morgan. The sign for half price burgers caught my eye and lo and behold under it it boasted 40 beers. The food was great and the beer selection was outstanding. I enjoyed an Arrogant Bastard, while my friend tackled a litre of Hoffbrau. The litre stein caused some glances. Scott and Amy will do their best to make sure you get what you want. All in all a great place to eat and find an unusual beer.They are always working on increasing the selection, so let them know what would help. Don't forget to tell them you saw this on Beer Advocate.

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Photo of blackie
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

atmosphere: Was in the Adams-Morgan district and had been told to visit this relatively new place if I had a chance. The whole place is about 15 feet wide, with a bar in the back, a few tables towards the front, and a couple stump cross-sections making a pretty chill spot in the front window bay. Big use of rough wood on the interior.

quality: everything was great, some Belgians were served in their respective glasses

service: quick and helpful

selection: Quality selection. I had a couple Troegs Pales, and American and import micros were well represented, including a decent range of Belgians. Primarily bottles, a few underwhelming but decent taps, with only one or two macros represented. Hopefully they'll get the website up with a beer list.

food: Menu tends towards the comfort food side. As it was a Tuesday, all appetizers and entrees were discounted 50%. I had the mac and cheese, which was excellent.

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The Black Squirrel in Washington, DC
3.95 out of 5 based on 34 ratings.
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