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Rustico Restaurant & Bar
Taps: 32 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
827 Slaters Lane
phone: (703) 224-5051
(Place added by: novabeerguy on 03-05-2006)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 67 | Show All Ratings:
District of Columbia
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
I have been to Rustico in Alexandria twice now. First was for a birthday and the second was for Port City Brewery’s One year anniversary stout release. The place has a great vibe, it feels upscale but relaxed. The beer selection is amazing; there was a great selection and variety of beers. The staff is very knowledgeable. It is hard to find a waiter/waitress who truly understands their beers and beer/food pairings. The food was amazing but the prices were a little high. Because of this, I don’t know how often I can afford to go back. Otherwise, a great place.
02-13-2012 16:49:42 |
More by DapperGrowler
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Being relatively new to the D.C. area I use BeerAdvocate to look for different craft beer places to visit. This one popped up so on a Sunday my wife and I decided to visit. It wasn't too hard to find with Google Maps and nav system but with a little construction in the area we had to take a short detour to get to the place...but I know you don't want a traffic report; you're looking for a report on beer. I was very pleasantly surprised, and impressed, at both the tap list and the bottled beers on hand. I ended up having several Avery IPA drafts and my wife had a Rogue Hazelnut; both were excellent.
I had a chance to talk to the Beer Tender, Aaron, who was a very personable guy, and more importantly, knew beer. I get tired of going into places that have a good beer line-up but who employ servers that don't know "s%$# from shinola" about craft beer. If all the other Rustico Beer Tenders are as knowledgeable about beer as Aaron than this place is off to a good start (I understand they have been in business about 6 months now). I mentioned to Aaron that it would really help the beer drinking public if they put their extensive printed beer list onto their website. Those of us that are looking to separate the wheat from the chaff when looking for good beer bars can benefit from a detailed beer list on websites. I have to believe that the beer establishments can benefit too by having a more thorough listing of their offerings. It might be a minor point but I thought it was worth mentioning.
A short note about the appetizers. We had the "Crab, Artichoke & Red Pepper Dip" and the "Garlic Knots." The dip was excellent but the bread that was served with it was a little hard. The Knots were tasty and I REALLY enjoyed the smoked Romano tomato sauce (I think that is what it was called) that came with it.
Long story short, I will highly recommend this to all of my Coast Guard and beer-drinking buddies. BTW, we need a good beer bar in the Springfield area...PLEASE!
09-03-2006 21:35:34 |
More by steinbierz
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Stopped in for a quick beer and fries for lunch after reading good reviews of this place.
Wow, what a beer selection!!! 2 cask ales, about 24 drafts of quality brews, and an uncountable number of bottled beers. I sat at the bar and ordered a Franziskaner draft and started looking over all the bottled beers: Dupont, Trappist Rochefort, and on and on.
The service, to echo prior reviews, was great. Beers are served in proper glassware for their types. The barkeeper was attentive, but allowed me to enjoy my beer in peace. I received a nice cloth napkin and silverware before the fries came.
I will be a repeat customer, since I enjoy quality service and I need to try those cask ales.
03-03-2011 20:55:34 |
More by SingleFin1969
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
Atmosphere is/can be a little loud, and fast. Very alive. Great patio seating outside if you don't mind the possibility that you could be sharing a large picnic table with strangers. Granted over the great beer and food, they probably won't be strangers for long.
Quality of the selections on draft and in the bottle are hard to beat. From special Brooklyn Releases to a Smuttynose cask that was as unique as it was bad. (RIS aged on some crazy Chai Tea leaves - think Jager meets cough syrup meets Tea.) Bell's Two-Hearted was the next cask.
Service was good, no complaints, very helpful, but nothing extraordinary.
Selection is fantastic. Everything from hefes and wits to IIPAs, Lambics, and RIS. Great bottle selection including some aged and very rare beers that began to get a bit pricey. All drafts can be ordered a sample, 6oz, or 14 oz size.
The pizza we had was fantastic. Probably the best pizza I've had in quite some time. The muscles we had as appetizers were delicious as well. The food others ordered looked and smelled great.
Very reasonable for the DC/Arlington area that seems expensive in comparison to other places.
06-09-2009 22:55:56 |
More by Loki
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
I really enjoyed my experience at Rustico! They had a great selection of beers on tap, bottled, and a reserved selection. Atmosphere had a very relaxed and hangout kinda of feel to it. Quality and service were very good. The bartenders were very helpful with selections of beer while we sat in the bar section. At first we sat in the restaurant section while the waitress was very helpful in serving us and about the food, she was not very informative on the beers there. With over 30 taps that change every week the selection is great including the 330+ bottled beer selection. They also have a great sample combo setup for the draft beers, groups will be stouts, to IPA and etc.
02-17-2009 20:36:39 |
More by BZero007
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
As a frequent visitor to the DC area, I thought I had hit all the major bars in the area. Thanks to the BA Beerfly, I dragged some friends to Rustico in Alexandria and all I can say is. . . AMAZING! The brewpub is in an area of "new-build" and is a bit far from the happening regions of the area. There is little else in the area, but the bar itself is warm and open with hip decor and a happening scene. The service was amazing, our waitress was attentive and engaging with a great depot of beer knowledge. The food was "off-the-charts" good, and most of our party mixed-and-matched the "trio" samplers with corresponding beer pairings. The selection was mind-blowing with over 30 taps and an immense bottle menu. I think our group sampled almost everything the restaurant had to offer and spent the whole rest of the night in the loungy bar area. The bartenders there were also extremely friendly and knowledgeable. My new favorite in the DC area, I will definitely visit again on my next trip. Don't miss this gem if you are in the capitol area (thanks Beerfly reviewers for pointing me in the right direction!)
07-30-2007 03:36:10 |
More by Stoneman78
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Only ended up at this bar because we wanted to go out on a Sunday night, and upon hearing that the Dogfish Head Alehouse closes at 10 pm on a Sunday, we headed into Old Town Alexandria to give Rustico a try.
We sat in the bar, and first off, our waiter (Naheem) was courteous and extremely knowledgeable. It became clear that there was a great server education program, as he had intimate knowledge of both their draft beers and a number of their bottled beers.
They had the Otter Creek IPA on pull-pint as a Real Ale, my first uncarbonated American real ale - it was awesome. The freshness of the hops really shone through, a quality you just can't get from a carbonated, bottled beer. I also ordered the Green Flash West Coast IPA, a really outstanding grapefruit and pine-centric IPA. Extravagantly hopped, indeed.
Menu was extensive, but frankly, a little on the pricey side. That said, the servers were knowledgeable and friendly, their beer menu could keep anyone happy, and they clearly know their beer. A clear reason to stop over in NoVa.
07-27-2009 05:22:03 |
More by MisterBisco
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
So, what's the best place to enjoy a few beers in the Washington, DC area?
The Brickskeller has a great selection of beers. RFD Washington has several dozen taps and sits atop three subway lines for easy access. Then there's Birreria Paradiso, with delicious pizzas and extremely well-chosen beers. Brasserie Beck shoots the lights out on Belgian beer and food. The Reef has the Adams-Morgan party atmosphere and a rooftop bar. Several spots in northern Northern Virginia have their points, too, including the Lost Dog Café, Dogfish Head Alehouse, the Old Dominion Brewpub, Tuscarora Mill and Vintage 50.
But overall, I think the prize would have to go Rustico in Alexandria, Va.
Rustico gets not only a few things right, but nearly everything.
Start with the tap beers. Thirty of them, all well-chosen, and not one of them a mass market brew. Had an Algäuer Cambonator lately? Me neither, but Rustico currently offers it on tap. Also the likes of BBC Jefferson Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout, Meantime India Pale Ale, and St. Michaelsberg.
Even Dogfish 120 IPA, which lasted only 5 days at the Dogfish Alehouse! That and over 20 more, plus a couple of casks.
Bottles? 330. That's second only to the Brick, and about 90% of them are in stock at any given moment, which is way ahead of the Brick's score. You can buy beer to carry out, too.
The beer menu sets everything up in categories, of which it offers more than 50. Categories you don't run across every day, too, like eisbocks, kellerbiers and dunkel weizens, for example.
For those who like to sample, Rustico has "flights" of several tap beers available. The "Luke, I Am Your Father" flight features "beers on the dark side."
Rustico's signature "hopsicles" are frozen beer treats that you eat like popsicles. (Yes, you read that right.)
Then there is the food. Here again, the place is agreeably friendly to sampling. It offers "mosaics" of three or four small dishes paired with three or four beers.
Beer dinners are a regular feature, too.
Overall the food is marvelous, and a fair value for its price. Stuffed mushroom caps, with Swiss cheese, ham, basil and sherry are $10, as are deviled eggs with curried crabmeat. A pretty good lobster roll is $15, and barbequed duck wontons, $9. Pizzas from a wood-fired brick oven run $10-$15 (or $20, if you really want a lobster pizza). Full dinners run from $12 for a well-made burger to $26 for a Kobe beef steak.
I generally prefer to drink beer at neighborhood bars and friendly dives, but I have to admit that Rustico is the rare place that gives upscale beer bars a good name. The restaurant and the bar look nice and feel comfortable. The stools in the bar area have padded seats and armrests, a helluva nice touch if you plan on hanging out for a few hours.
Nobody seems to dress up for Rustico (another plus), but it's an attractive enough place that you could bring your date or your boss to it.
The service can be slow when the place is crowded, but generally is friendly and efficient. Most bartenders are quite knowledgeable about the beers.
If Rustico works, credit is at least partly due to its family tree. Beer Director Greg Engert learned his craft at the Brickskeller (as did bar guy Nahem Simon), and head chef Frank Morales trained at two very good DC restaurants, Zola's and the Oval Room. The place is owned and run by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which does a great job with several other Alexandria restaurants.
Rustico does have a few minor drawbacks. For one thing, it turns into a pretty raucous sports bar on Saturdays and Sundays in football season. If you're not into Virginia Tech or Maryland or whoever is playing, you're not going to enjoy your stay.
For another thing, it's a ways off the beaten path. The touristy area of Alexandria, "Old Town," is about a mile away, and the nearest Metro stop (Braddock Road) is about half that. An Alexandria "Dash" bus (#4) goes from the Metro stop to the restaurant, but that costs you time. A cab from the Metro stop will set you back $7 or so.
Parking is limited, both in back and on the streets nearby. There's also bridge construction nearby, so call ahead for the latest directions.
Despite these modest problems, Rustico really is a great place. (And rumor has it that they will be opening another location on 14th Street in DC.)
If you only have time for one beer bar in Washington or Northern Virginia, try to get to this one.
03-14-2008 16:04:14 |
More by beeryes
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 2 | $$
This place is a beautiful beer bar/restaurant; a wonderful ambiance. It manages to do everything at once, cozy, spacious, cool, you name it.
The beer list is absolutely great. I could spend an afternoon there just drinking beer.
The service was friendly and attentive, but not so much that I felt rushed, (like the Sweetwater restaurants), a big point if you like to savor your beer.
The food: I eat out four to six times a week somewhere in Northern Virginia. While this may not make me an epicure I have experienced a lot of food. The main items we ordered were marginal. That being said the bib lettuce salad was very good, but it should be, for what was essentially a ten dollar pile of lettuce. The hamburger, ordered medium, was dry and tough. The Italian sausage pizza was described by my wife as like a certain brand of cheap frozen pizza. She was right. Fireworks Pizza in Leesburg is far better. Apparently pizza is more of an art than I thought as Fireworks is having trouble with their Clarendon location pizza chefs.
They hit all the high notes except for the food, I may go back to drink.
01-30-2011 15:53:39 |
More by ethippo
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I finally made the stop here after having this place on my radar when driving south past Wash DC into Virginia. Only about two miles off I-95, it is easy to find but parking is a bit tough.
It is a nice brick building with outdoor seating. Upon entering the bar is on the right and can seat about 12 people. Plenty of high tops and couches in front of a fireplace make this more of a homey upscale bar. There are plenty of dining tables on the left.
There are about 30 beers on tap which include some nice selections I can't get in NJ like BBC Jefferson Reserve Stout, Flying Dog Raging Bitch, and Bell's Two Hearted Ale. Loads of bottles are able to be viewed in glass front refridgerators behind the bar. A beer menu makes it easy to select what you want.
Service was friendly and they knew the beers. Food was very good, especially the pizzas and crab bites appetizer.
This is a great place everyone should make an effort to get to. I will visit this place each time I head down I-95 in the future.
03-30-2010 22:29:53 |
More by Gavage
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Rustico Restaurant & Bar in Alexandria, VA
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