160 Comment

  • I was so excited to try this place out thinking that it was going to be a new hang out. The style and decor are awesome. But the beer prices are way too high! The bbq was below average too. Pulled pork should be pulled not chopped up with a massive cleaver. They should remove the thick layer of fat from the shoulder after cooking instead of chopping it up with the cleaver. We split the platter and the slaw was pretty good, baked beans were below average. The outside patio is pretty nice, very beer garden-ish. But they’ll have to lower their beer prices if they want people to hang out for awhile. A pabst tall boy should never cost $6.

    • This.

      I think American Ice Co. is feeling out the neighborhood and trying to see what it can get away with charging. Its a beautiful spot, but I’m not going back until they stop treating customers like rubes. The pork sandwich was 25 percent gristle, and my PBR was 6 bucks. Not to pull the NYC/DC comparison, but my tab would have been much less in Brooklyn for better food and the same amount of beer.

      However, the staff are great. Our waitress was wonderful, if overworked. They need to hire more waitstaff.

      Overall: PASS, for now.

    • HA, $6 tall boy PBR!!

    • I have to disagree with the initial poster on the bbq. Bbq pork can be chopped – it is a different style. Saying it has to pulled is as ridiculous as saying that ribs need to have bbq sauce on them.

      I for one think this is the best bbq sandwich I’ve had in DC hands down. The turkey was fantastic and you got a ton of meat. The pork was tender and delicious and very smokey. There was no gristle – there was some of the tough chewy exterior of the pork that got smoked – as there should be in a good bbq pork sandwich.

      Prices of beer are definitely too high for this to be a spot I go and spend an entire evening. Too bad because if they lowered the price of each beer about $1 or $2, I definitely would.

      • I haven’t tried Am Ice Co’s bbq yet but right now CityVista Safeway has my favorite bbq in DC until Hill Country opens.

  • Meh. It was okay, but stingy. The food was sub-par for BBQ and even getting some extra sauce was a whole production. I hope they get it in gear.

    • stingy is the key word; i had the sandwich; could barely taste the pork becuase the bread overwhelmed the meat; VERY little meat on that sandwich; at this point, i’d be happier getting pulled pork in a plastic tub from a grocery store and making my own at home; serving bbq should be about filling people up; all in all i’d say the place is all image and not about the food; won’t go back any time soon unless for a good reason

      • I think being all image and little substance is the problem with most restaurants (and things in general) in DC. All sizzle, no steak, and the sizzle ain’t even that good. Exception for DC-3, that place is the real deal.

  • A friend of mine went to try it for dinner and they were all out of BBQ. At 7pm.

    • Nobody eats there anymore. They’re always out of BBQ.

      • Same thing happened to me–no food. I was just told “to get there early” if I wanted food. Odd. Has a hipster atmosphere that didn’t match the prices. I thought all the beers were $1-2 too expensive. There was a Bell’s beer in a can for 5 bucks but I didn’t try it to see if that’s the value proposition on the menu. Overall, very underwhelming. I’m holding out hope for the beer garden this spring/summer.

        • It would be one thing if the place was knowing for GREAT food but they only produced X amount. But this just sounds like they don’t know how to manage the kitchen.

        • Silly guys and gals — this is how real BBQ places operate. Because it takes several hours to make good Q, it’s typical for places to run out. Early in the morning they cook only what they know they can sell, and they don’t make more throughout the day. When it’s all gone, that’s all folks. Now if the complaint is that they should make more BBQ on certain busier days, this makes sense. But don’t complain b/c they run out; as they said, just get there early!

          • I lived in barbeque country (rural Eastern NC) for 15 years, and those barbeque houses never ran out of food. All it takes is planning, and if there’s a tad left over at the end of the day, you throw it in tomorrow’s Brunswick stew.

      • Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.
        ~Yogi Berra

        • The food is horrible. And such small portions.

          • What? The portions I got were quite large. My wife couldn’t even finish her sandwich and had to take it home.

            On top of that, you get a sandwich and a side for like $8. Not too bad, even if it isn’t gargantuan.

          • I’d say the issue is inconsistent portion size and inconsistent quality. I don’t think the prices are bad, but even at our table, two people got the same thing and one was noticeably larger than the other. On a separate night, the BBQ wasn’t nearly as good as the first time I was there. I think if they can work the kinks out and produce more consistently, though, they’ll be very successful.

          • saf

            Well, I got it.

  • 1. Incredibly rude bouncers. Worst I’ve ever experienced. Like, a**holes. One dude physically yanked a beer out of my hands as I was putting my coat on to leave at last call.

    2. Way too expensive for the quality/quantity. My sandwich was almost all gristle, and the waitress apologized IN ADVANCE of bringing it to me.

    3. Loud as hell.

    This place is a rip off. I was extremely dissatisfied and won’t be going back until they lower their price point and start to at least pretend that they have respect for their customers.

  • Well, I do recall them saying a while back that they are a bar that serves BBQ not a BBQ restaurant that serves alcohol.

    • And you’re never going to please everyone with BBQ. It is easily (even more than pizza) the most fussed about food in the country.

    • It seems they are neither of those options. BBQ bar sans BBQ?

      If they want people to pay premium prices for beer, the atmosphere and eats have to be *ahem* premium. Hopefully, this feedback steers them right.

  • I thought the smoked turkey sandwich was great,especially the side of pickles. I would like to see them get some kind of vegetarian entree. I would like to hang out and eat with my veggie friends instead of watching them eat only pickles.

    I also thought it was kind of funny the number of small groups that would walk in, look around and turn right back out. I guess some people didn’t see a fun hang out space like I did.

    Will be back for some more beer & meat. – About those beer prices, actually pretty right on for the current DC beer prices.

    • It surprises me that a neighborhood bar wouldn’t have anything vegetarian, especially in this neighborhood. They don’t need to have a lot of veggie food, or even more then 1 option, but something other then a pickle would make sense. Pretty much every bar has something veg friendly on the menu now days.

      • I must commend them for being a BBQ restaurant that refuses to cater to the veggie fad. I dont want your judgmental looks and huffs and puffs and whispering as I house half a pig at the table next to you.

        I havent gone yet, but these reports make me completely uninterested.

        • +1

          So sick and tired of hearing vegetarian whining.

        • Really? You hear a lot of vegetarian whining at BBQ restaurants? I find that incredibly hard to believe.

        • I’m a vegetarian, and a BBQ joint with vegetarian options would strike me as inauthentic and probably doomed to failure. So it’s nice to see this place isn’t catering to people like me in terms of food. If they had inexpensive beer and maybe live bluegrass sometimes I’d still be a regular.

      • Rocklands in GP is a BBQ restaurant with no veg. ha. ANd Americo is a BAR not a restaurant.

    • As long as rubes such as yourself are fine with paying $6 for a PBR, then I guess you’re right.

  • Went once. At 7 pm they had no food; not just no BBQ, but no food of any kind, except pickles.

    It’s a really nice space, and the beer list was pretty decent (although they had also run out of Czechovar, they did have some Staropramen as a back-up). The waitstaff was friendly and very apologetic about the food situation. But having no food at the dinner hour is not the way to run a business. If they want to make a go in that location, they need to pull it together pretty quickly, and keep stocked for a limited menu of decent food, and decent prices on beer. Otherwise, it will go the way of the Cereal Restaurant in Cleveland Park.

  • is there anything to do at this place besides eat? like games or something? it’s a cool looking spot I would like to hang out in, but I imagine I’d get real bored real quick. but if the that $6 PBR came with a shot and there was pinball, might be a different story…

    • It’s just a hang out space. No games or tv’s. I don’t care for bars that have tv’s.

      Also, that $6 PBR is for a tallboy/ 24oz. of PBR not the regular 8 oz. cans. It’s still a crap beer no matter the cost per sip.

    • They should charge $12 for a can of PBR. Just to spite the little Brooklyn wannabes that drink it.

      • Did you know people drink PBR unironically? Gasp!

        • Why?

        • how exactly do people enjoy things ironically anyway? either you like it or you don’t. right?
          i’ve never understood the emphasis on this perceived irony.

          • GREENBERG
            Ivan and I call each other “man,” but
            it’s meant as a joke because it’s the
            kind of thing we wouldn’t call each
            other. It’s our imitation of other
            I know what that’s like. This friend
            of mine, Marnie, and me, we went to
            this cheesy bar in Hollywood one night
            and we just thought, let’s pretend
            we’re kind of slutty girls looking to
            get picked up. Even though we
            weren’t. And we ended up talking to
            these two frat guys, but like 30, who
            were all into their bodies and
            cologned, very well groomed. And we
            ended up going back to one of their
            places — and I think one of the them
            was almost retarded or he was really
            drunk because he didn’t make any
            sense. And they got out a video
            camera and Marnie and I did this kind
            of strip tease…it was crazy because
            we were still playing these girls, but
            here we were showing our breasts

    • You mean like drink and hang out with friends? It’s a bar, not a theme park. In fact, hooray for a bar without TVs! Truly a novelty in DC.

  • Went there a week after it opened. It was great. After eating hotdogs at the Passenger for year the BBQ was a total welcoming point for me. I smelled fries (I think )but didn’t try them. And to have Benjy Ferree serve me jelly jar of beer is always a plus!

  • the beer prices are what got me most — $8 for an IPA like Racer 5 is more than you’d pay at Churchkey or Paradiso or even around the corner at Dodge City. and whoever pointed out that the bbq is chopped up into chunks instead of pulled is totally right, i can’t believe they treat their meat that way

  • Wow, tough crowd. I went on a Wednesday night around 6:30 pm, during the holidays mind you, and the place was PACKED. Took us a little bit to find a table and get served, but once our drinks and food arrived I was impressed. The food was very good and authentic in my opinion. Good number of drink selections as well. Prices were reasonable for this area. This is not the place to go if you want a $2 can of PBR; that’s what Arlington is for. Atmosphere and decor were amazing…very laidback with a modern/industrial feel. I will definitely be back!!

    • Or the Red Derby…or plenty of other places not in Virgina…

      • The Red Derby is a different kind of bar than American Ice Company, and in an inferior location. The Hilton brothers were not looking to open a dive bar surrounded by high-priced condos.

      • Or Duffy’s which is a 30 second walk away where you can get tall boys of PBR foe $2. Granted, I’m sure the atmosphere is apples to oranges, but I’d rather hang at a chill neighborhood bar and pay $2 for a tallboy than $6 for the same beer 1/2 block away where I get “hip” decor. Just sayin.

        • And that’s the best reason to love having this place in the neighborhood. It keeps the hipster douchebag-types (who feel it is an honor to get $6 PBRs and mediocre BBQ from the Hilton clan) out of Duffy’s.

        • Exactly…to each his own. When I want to watch a game, drink cheap beer, and eat mediocre food I’ll go to Duffy’s. When I want a nicer atmosphere, eat above average food, and drink more robust beers I’ll go to American Ice. Let’s not try to make the place something it isn’t. It’s NOT a dive bar.

  • In general, chopped BBQ is an insult to the pig. Pulled pork is the only way to have a bbq sandwich. I’ll eat chopped in a pinch, but I dont expect a “hip” restaurant to be making this mistake.

    • they should have called you first.

      • Not sure if I get your vitriol, but its pretty clear their sub-par food has led to a reputation problem. Too bad you have to be a strident defender of snark, instead of just acknowledging that sometimes people make mistakes.

        • I wouldn’t say that. The people on this blog seem to be bashing it, possibly because it was so hyped up on this blog. The people I know who live in the neighborhood around it – and many of my co-workers who live in all parts of the city who have tried it, love it. A couple have complained about the high price of beer, but not a single complaint about food. Everyone I know who has gone as expressed a desire to go back.

    • I’ll take East Carolina chopped over pulled any day. But that’s BBQ for you, everyone does it and wants it differently.

      • +4500 Sadly, there is no place within 100 miles that makes Eastern NC barbeque. And before anyone starts rattling off a restaurants around here that claim to have NC barbeque, let me just tell you: I’ve eaten at all of them, and none of them come close. (Including “Carolina BBQ” in Reston.)

  • BBQ – The pork was very tasty. I grew up on pulled pork BBQ in the Midwest, but my fiancee grew up with chopped pork in NC. We both dug it. BBQ beans & slaw seemed housemade, both were tasty. Portion was small for the price, I could have eaten a second platter.

    Beers – Decent selection, somewhat pricey. I got a Racer 5, served in a mason jar that seemed to be 12 oz at most, for $8.

    Ambiance – The space looks really cool, and the front patio is pretty sweet. At 8pm on a Tuesday holy crap was it loud in there. Difficult to hold a conversation across the table. There was a hostess stand near the front door that made it seem as if someone would seat us, but no hostess ever materialzed. We eventually just snagged a table when another group left. It took quite awhile for a server to come by – we started to wonder whether we had to go to the bar to order. At 40, I was easily the oldest person in the place, and probably about 12 years above the median (merely an observation, not a complaint).

    Overall, a neat addition to the neighborhood, but probably not one I’ll put into heavy rotation.

  • Again add to what everybody else stated. The pulled pork was good, but not really pulled. The bartenders were nice

    My main issue is $8 for a Racer5 is not reasonable. It would be easier to swallow if there were cheaper options but as they said even the PBR is pricey.

    Just down the street Nellies charges $7 for a Peroni but they offer buckets of bud lights which average out to under $3/beer.

    If they matched their pricing to that of Iron Horse I would be at American Ice all the time. Iron horse has great beers ranging from $5 on up but for happy hour it’s an across the board cut of $2.

    • Dude, of course it was “not really pulled”. It was chopped. Despite what other people on this board are saying, chopped is a perfectly fine way to make bbq. I actually perfer it. I loved the bbq here and can’t believe that so many people have never seen chopped pork before.

      • Is it proper to call it pulled pork if it’s chopped (I admittedly know nothing about BBQ terminology)?

        • A purist would not call rough cut chunks of BBQ “pulled” – needs to be pulled by hand. A purist would also not call that chopped either – chopped (to me) means a whole hog meat that’s chopped into smaller bits and mixed with spices (and vinegar in Carolina). When mixed together it gives it a kind of creamy texture without being drowned in sauce.

  • They need more highchairs.

  • “and always twirling.. twirling” – Kodos

  • Does anyone know how you get into making chalk art? Are there just freelance artists who specialize in it? My cartoonist boyfriend and I were admiring the chalk map on the wall in Pizzeria Paradiso last weekend, and he’s wondering how he could get into doing that kind of thing.

    • 1. Find a restaurant with a chalkboard that needs art.
      2. Do some chalk art on the sidewalk in fron of it.
      3. If they’re interested they’ll talk to him.

  • While I’m generally frustrated by this venue, it’s for apparently OPPOSITE reasons! I’d love to go, and never can because it is PACKED. Everything night of the week. All night long. [I personally hate bars like this and Churchkey that have table service but refuse to have a Maitre d’. I’m not standing around hovering for an hour, _hoping_ to sit down.]

    But my point is this: None of these people seem to care that the PBRs are $6. I’d rather they charge $8, in hopes of driving away enough people so that there is always an open table for me.

  • I thought it was good. I’m from eastern NC, and I thought the barbecue was properly smokey and not drowning in sweet sticky red sauce, so that was a plus. I generally prefer pulled to chopped, but mainly I would’ve just liked a little more. The pickles were great, slaw and beans on par. I loved the look of the place, service was a little slow to start but then was okay. I also don’t enjoy hovering for a table, and that will be my main impediment to going often. The beers were a bit pricey, but that seems more the norm than the exception for the neighborhood. Just order a Makers on the rocks for the same price and get a lot more bang for your buck.

  • Who the hell drinks PBR?!?!

    • All the hipsters apparently. It’s like their version of champagne.

      • Kids in NYC started drinking PBR about 8 years ago. Now that the trend is no longer hip there, it is appropriate that it has taken off here in DC.

        • not quite accurate.

          • In that DC is 3-5 years behind NYC on any trend?

          • Except the trend you used as an example.

            From Wikipedia:

            The beer [PBR] experienced a sales revival in the early 2000s after a two decade-long slump, largely due to its increasing popularity among the 20-something demographic in cities such as Chicago, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; and Richmond, Virginia. As a result, it has become popularly associated with the contemporary hipster subculture.

            NYC was at best an also-ran in this contest of trend setting. But at least you have that attitude of superiority to fall back on. Good for you.

          • Didn’t know that Wikipedia is now a reliable source. I could go change that passage right now to say whatever the hell I want.

            Regardless, we all know NYC > DC anyway.

          • The Wikipedia article links to journalism from the early 2000’s that back up my point. So unless you can hop in a time machine and write some new (albeit erroneous) articles, you don’t have a leg to stand on. Thanks for playing, dummy.

            Tip: snobbery isn’t cute, even if you feel it’s 100% justified.

            Stop spreading the stereotype of New Yorkers being stuck up pricks. It makes you all look stupid as hell. Open your damn eyes, look beyond your bias, and have a thought beside “It’s SO much better in NYC”.

          • Tres – You have way too much time on your hands. It is clear this guy is simply trying to get your (or someone else’s) goat. Responding just make you look like a stuck-up douche, just as much as it makes him/her look like a troll.

            Let it go.

        • PBR has been popular in dive bars in DC for longer than 8 years.

          What you’re probably noticing is the burgeoning hipster population. 8+ years ago, “kids” who couldn’t afford DC rented in the suburbs. Now they’re gentrifying Columbia Heights, Petworth, Bloomingdale.

          What are the NYC kids drinking nowadays? Is there really a new cheap bland beer that no one here knows about? I doubt it.

          • “Beer is the nectar of the nit-wit.” – Comic Book Guy

          • saf

            “8+ years ago, “kids” who couldn’t afford DC rented in the suburbs. Now they’re gentrifying Columbia Heights, Petworth, Bloomingdale.”

            I disagree. 20+ years ago, many of us who couldn’t afford to buy (fresh out of school, just finishing school) rented in Mt Pleasant, Columbia Heights…

          • “I disagree. 20+ years ago, many of us who couldn’t afford to buy (fresh out of school, just finishing school) rented in Mt Pleasant, Columbia Heights…”

            Maybe, but you can’t deny that many more of them were in Northern Virginia. Of course nowdays VA is more expensive for renting than almost anywhere in DC.

          • Four Loko

          • Gentleman’s Agreement. It used to be (as far as I always knew) K-Mart’s own brand of cheap beer, back when they still sold beer. If it still exists, I’m sure it’s hip.

            Choc Beer is also popular among hipsters in the know, if only because it’s 3% cap is set be Okie law.

          • PBR was ‘cool’ for hipsters about 10 years ago (NY or DC). Now it’s ‘cool’ for sheep who think they’re being hipsters.

        • In these parts, PBR had a hard time competing with Natty Boh for years.

      • I’ll take a champagne of beers (Miller High Life) over a PBR any day of the week.

        • Yessir. Or a Natty Boh.

          High Life in a super cold can is a thing of beauty, though. That’s why I get it in tall boys down the street at Duffy’s, or over at Solly’s on U St.

        • Agreed if you’re on a budget High Life is the way to go.
          PBR gives the worst hangover.

  • I went on Jan 1 and it was fantastic. It was 55 degrees out, so we could all sit outside with the heaters.

    Go get a PBR somewhere else.

  • I think American Ice Co. is great. I had a fun time there last week. Love the feel of the place. The prices are in line with most U Street venues.

    It’s just a bar, you BBQ whiners. And PBR sucked when I was 21, but it was cheap. It still sucks, but now it’s hip.

  • it’s funny how much distaste ya’ll have for one another.

  • Sub-par barbecue, hipsters who ironically drink PBR, and lousy service? Sign me up!

  • If you can’t afford it then don’t go. More room for the rest of us!!

    • I don’t think it’s an issue of being able to afford it or not. It takes me an entire night to polish off a beer, so paying an extra $2-3 for it is not going to put a dent in my wallet. But it strikes me as pretnetious when a place thinks they should charge more for drinks than everyone else does.

  • I am still going to check the place out to try the food. One person said it best, BBQ will always be debated, along with pizza and other “regional” dishes, on how it should be prepared. What pleases some will not please all.

    No way in hell they are getting $6 for a PBR pounder from me, though.

  • Sorry about the bad barbecue, fellas. We’re working hard to improve it. Won’t you please give us another chance?

    • Maybe. Can you elaborate on what’s being done to improve it?

    • add a $4 beer or decent specials and i’ll be there everyday, twice in the summer.

      • +1. I found the barbecue to be delicious, but by all means, shoot for perfection. The beer prices are what I struggle with. I mean, even if you only lowered the Miller Lite to $4 and left everything else the same I’d be happy!

  • Went there last Thursday and thought the turkey was fantastic. Pork was good too, but turkey won for me. Nice size plate (got the platter) and the service was good. I was there as they opened though, so it wasn’t very crowded. Beers were all prob a buck over priced thought.

  • Ah, I had such high hopes. But so meh. All the annoyances–uneven food (despite the limited menu!), not enough food to last long, NOISE–would be more tolerable if they hadn’t started with those ridicuolous prices. Sorry, you raise expectations, and don’t deliver. I wish I thought they’d feel their way out and we’d eventually get a better bar. But with the 9:30 club proximity, why would they have to?

  • Great atmosphere but I echo the feedback on the beer prices. $8 for a small IPA! I won’t go back soon. Also would be nice to have one veggie option.

  • It just opened. Give them a minute to work out the kinks. This is the snarkiest bunch of commentators that I’ve ever read. WTF? Why can’t you be happy that something new opened at this end of U St? I live around the corner and I’m thrilled there’s another place to visit that doesn’t suck. Yea..I had a few pet peeves but I’ve worked in restaurants. Clearly ya’ll haven’t or you’d understand it’s not perfect immediately. And if you don’t like, don’t go and quit bitching. Jeez.

  • Out of town yesterday and scan back to see 135 people complaining about the price of PBR. Jesus people, it’s PBR. If you want it cheap, take your fixies over to the group house and buy a case for $8. I thought the prices on the real beer were quite reasonable and they had those keg cans of Bell’s Brown behind the bar and glasses were $5 if I remember correctly. That’s an outstanding deal. I found the BBQ to be decent. Very good for a bar. It was cheap as well. Big sandwich for $8. I’ll take that any day. Staff was great. My only complaint was that it was really freaking loud. Otherwise an outstanding addition to the neighborhood. But, if the rest of you want to pay $15 for greasy fish and chips at Duffy’s, be my guest.

  • I was part of the crowd who went to check it out because it was new. Hopefully I win the lottery sometime soon so I can go back. If not, I won’t be back.

  • I’m one of those people who walked in and turned around and left, but not because I wasn’t into it. I was simply on my way home and wanted to see what it looked like in there.

    I was looking forward to checking it out one night, but given that I take care of a one-year old, the time I and my partner have to go out is limited, and I’m not sure it sounds like it is all that great.

    Regardless, when does it open during the day? Given that we have to get home early if we have a sitter or my siblings watching the kid, it’s better for us to go as early as possible. I’m not opposed to seeing kids at bars and restaurants, but I’ve never been comfortable doing so myself – too much to keep track of and coordinate.

    Anyway, hopefully by the time we check it out, they’ve worked out the kinks.

  • Hi all

    Just a few responses to the stuff above. First off, thanks for the feedback. Believe it or not, we do pay attention.

    Food – We sell chopped bbq. Our menu makes no mention to pulled pork. Like many of you have pointed out, bbq is a very subjective food. You can’t please everyone but we are doing the best we can.

    We do run out of pork sometimes. Though we have doubled capacity, it still will probably only last until 9:30 on busy nights. One evening we had none at all. Our chef tried it before service and wasn’t satisfied with it so we went without. Just didn’t want to serve a subpar product.

    We have added vegetarian options including vegan friendly chili. I hope you will try it and enjoy it.

    Beer prices. We have lowered a few of them after analyzing our costs. PBR is what it is. Some beers are a better value than others.

    Service – it’s early on folks. We are doing our best and will always try to do better.

    Host(less) stand. It’s a decorative piece though it can seem a bit confusing as it is unmanned. All seating is first come first served. Sorry for the confusion.

    Bouncer – Had I seen beers pulled out of a customer’s hand, that would have been his last night. He will be coached and this won’t happen again. If it is coming up on legal hours though, understand that we can lose our license if we don’t have all drinks off of the bar and out of customer hands. Apologies to anyone that was treated aggressively; it won’t happen again.

    It’s great to be in the neighborhood. I hope you all will come again and enjoy the place. We appreciate your patronage.


  • North Carolina can’t make barbecue like TEXAS can!
    Agree with me? http://upc.bz/0171

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