Judging Restaurants/Bars – Buddha Bar

“Dear PoP,

Now that Buddha Bar has opening could you do a Judging Restaurants post on it? I went over the weekend and tried some apps but would like to know if the entrees are work the $30 price tag.”

I’m super curious to know what you guys think as well. Now I admit I’m not the best dressed blogger but before they opened when I tried to get some photos they treated me quite dismissively so I’m a bit prejudiced to start. But if you guys say it’s a must visit, I’ll give them another shot. They are located at 455 Mass Ave, NW and you can see their menu here (careful music plays).

Should I give them another shot? Are the main courses worth the price? What’s the overall atmosphere like?

27 Comment

  • I went for drinks and had the most amazing drink of vodka, sake, and cucumber. Had some sushi in the lounge that was decent if not remarkable. Overall I’d definitely go back for drinks.

  • Honestly, there are plenty of awesome places in the city that if a place treated me or anybody else dismissively ostensibly because of sartorial choices, I’d head elsewhere.

  • Stuffy service, limited selection of expensive mediocre drinks, tacky decor, no entertainment. Won’t be going back.

  • Don’t bother going back. The place is a shitty chain in a lousy location, after all. All hype, no substance.

  • I’m with Cactus Jack on this one: treat me like that and I’ll never be back plus will tell EVERYONE I know not to go there. Remind me to tell you about my Proof experience – on my anniversary no less.

  • I went recently with a small group for a work-related celebration. We had a great server and essentially turned over the ordering to him. Everything was fabulous. It was a fun place for a special dinner.

  • It’s a restaurant as much as Station 9 was a restaurant, meaning: it’s a club. Drive by at 1:00 AM on a weekend. Don’t bother going for the food

  • Drinks are much better at Christ Bar just around the corner. Avoid Mohammed Bar across the street. No booze AT ALL.

  • Am I the only person who thinks we’ve gone entirely too casual in this country? I love a good dive bar and can slum it with the best of them, but there are still locations and occasions for which we could all bother classing it up a bit. Are you one of the people wearing jeans to the opera at the Kennedy Center? My office does happy hours and lunches at Proof all the time and we have never been treated poorly. And let me be clear, we are defense industry analysts (read: not cool), but we are dressed for downtown.

    There are places I won’t go because I know what the dress standards are and I simply don’t feel like bothering – like all the bizarre clubs on K street – but I don’t blame the club/restaurant for wanting to set a certain tone and not let in every schlub in wrinkled jorts and flip flops off the street.

    Now, if the place is rude and dismissive to everyone just to try to make you feel like you are somewhere exclusive (I’m looking at you Bistrot du Coin), then they deserve to have no patrons.

    • Fair enough. Start one.

      And there’s a way to enforce a dress code and be a total a** about it and a way to enforce a code and be gracious.

    • Amen. It’s shocking how packed Bistrot du Coin can get, even though the food’s pretty average and the service is atrocious.

  • I really enjoyed Buddha Bar and the service. I would be interested in what you were wearing, they didn’t seem to be incredibly bothered by my dress shirt and jeans.

  • Buddha Bar has been around forever in LA and NYC. I feel like its day has come and gone. Just buy one of the 100 or so Buddha Bar (or son of BB) CDs http://tinyurl.com/24tabhb and make a sake cocktail at home. DC has its own character and its own cool places without having to make it LA or NYC.

  • somehow this place manages to be both pretentious and totally tacky at the same time.


  • I went with a few friends last week at 5 p.m. for a quick happy hour before a movie. We were some of the first people there, place was empty, so service was great – did not detect any attitude. The happy hour prices (’til 7) were great (by downtown standards) – $5 wine and a couple interesting cocktails for $6 or $7. We got a couple free appetizers (flatbread & dip and a salmon sashimi type dish), I guess since they’re just newly opened. And the appetizers (beef satay & spring rolls) we ordered were very good. I’ll be the first to say that I would never go to a “club,” I just don’t do that, so I’d never go at night. And I sorta hate the whole crowd scene overall, but I’d definitely go back at 5:00 for an hour or so. It’s spacious and big and dark, so it was cool on a hot day, however, the whole Buddha statue thing, very Disney World imho.

  • All I have to say is that 1999 called, and it wants an apple green martini-like STAT!

  • I too did the happy hour thing with coworkers, and it was just fine. Our server was very kind and patient with us, and the ONE thing I think was really cool was that they give you a little stool for your purse so you don’t have to put it on the ground. I loved that. Anyway, I could totally see it turn into the Roxbury at night, though. They are definitely going for the people who want DC to be like NYC. Which, incidentally, is not me. Still, I wasn’t turned off.

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