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    • I’m not crazy about it– pretty generic and bland. They could have at least mimicked the style of the original restaurant. Of course, people will flock to it anyway so I guess they figured it doesn’t matter.

  • Out of curiosity, what kinds of things are for sale at the “U Street Visitor Center & Gift Shop”?

    • I’d love to know that myself.

    • saf

      The Visitor Center is run by Cultural Tourism DC, in partnership with Ben’s and Mid-City Business Association. Lots of brochures and maps.

      The gift shop is Ben’s gift shop and has tshirts, mugs, that kind of stuff.

  • The bathroom vent is truly awe inspiring. It can suck a monkey through thirty feet of garden hose.

  • does Next Door sell the over-hyped food from Bens Chili Bowl. Call me crazy but I just don’t get why everyone love’s this place. The food is blah

    • Okay. You’re crazy. You haven’t really experienced DC until you’ve shattered the commode at Ben’s. It’s a rite of passage. A painful, disgusting, traumatic rite of passage. Seriously, it’s like you’re up the Ganges without an air freshener.

    • Ben’s is a place that the average joe, like myself, likes. I like the half smokes and chili cheese fries. It’s not supposed to be mindblowing or haute cuisine. It’s great greesy food and drunk eats in a fun atmosphere with friendly service. I don’t think it’s ever pretended to be anything else. Set your expectations accordingly.

  • I play at Ben’s Next Door pretty regularly (they do acoustic music in the back room every Tuesday), and I really like the place. Nizam Ali, the current Ali-In-Charge, is a super great dude, and they treat the musicians really well there.

    The food is much more expensive than the original Ben’s (although you can still get a Half-Smoke!), but I think it’s pretty awesome. The fried chicken with kale and mashed sweet potatoes is heavenly.

    It’s usually pretty packed in there, and definitely a “scene” at the bar area (which is pretty cramped), but I feel like it just has good mojo in there and the crowd is fairly diverse. Definitely not a place for everyone, but I dig it…

  • This seems weird to me, like Ben’s is gonna jump the shark.

  • I like Next Door. The food and drinks are nothing special but the people who work there and frequent there have personality. There aren’t that many great places on U street to watch sports but it’s a pretty good spot. Especially for NBA playoff games.

  • I like Ben’s Next Door. They have good food–definitely fancier from the original Ben’s. I had a tasty crab cake sandwich there. It is a great place to watch sports at the bar, and the previous commenter is right that Nizam, the proprietor, is an awesome guy.

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