El Rey “Mexican Beer Garden” Opens at 5pm Today – Have a look “Inside” and at the Menu

919 U Street, NW

“El Rey, the highly anticipated Mexican beer garden located at 919 U Street NW will officially open Friday, January 10 at 5pm. The 3,100 square foot space built almost entirely out of shipping containers is the first construction in Washington to use the colorful steel boxes in a substantive way. El Rey also features a spacious back patio that is covered (and uncovered) by a retractable roof and a U Street-facing takeout window. El Rey’s menu highlights tacos and tequila as well as a selection of Mexican and South American brews.”

Check out the menu here:

El Rey menu (PDF)


I stopped by for a preview last night and I think the doubters will be pleasantly surprised. Not only are the tacos delicious but the space is very cool. And warm! I couldn’t believe how well the heaters worked. This is an incredibly good addition to compliment Dodge City and Velvet Lounge.


Lots more photos after the jump.












31 Comment

  • Yahoooooo for U Street & Shaw !!!!

  • Woah! This is awesome! Can’t wait to go.

  • This place just rings out “brofest”.

  • Wow, I’m pleasantly surprised with how the inside turned out.

  • Metal walls, concrete floors, and a glass ceiling. On U street. Don’t forget to bring your earplugs.

    • I was wondering what kind of insulation you could have with those materials. Bet heating and cooling will cost a ton.

      • It looks like it’s open at the end of the roof. As a perpetually cold person whose love of tacos isn’t going to overcome shivering, see you in the spring.

  • I’m excited to check this place out! Looks like I know where I’ll be refueling after classes at Off Road…

  • This looks great. Hopefully the haters will now STFU (unlikely).

  • Ooh, they have tamales. That gets me in the door.

  • One clarification – Margarita pitchers ar $28, not $40.

    • justinbc

      But you’re sticking behind the $3 for a Jarritos soda? It may seem an insignificant item, but that’s easily the highest I’ve seen anywhere in the city.

    • That’s good, because the pitchers are tiny. Think the size of a carafe.

      Nice spot, but they may want to rethink the stone high-top tables underneath hot heater thing.

  • Anyone remember that as the alley where the crackheads hung out?

  • substantive!

  • Checked it out last night – space is definitely very cool and has a fun vibe, but it’s a spot for drinks, not food. We ordered chips and guac, and four types of tacos and were very underwhelmed.

    • Yeah, I would probably write them off if they don’t nail it on THE FIRST NIGHT IN BUSINESS. How much ass did you kick on your first day on the job?

    • I disagree – I had the ceveche, pescado taco, chicharron taco, mariscos taco, and the elote. The tacos were all corn tortilla.

      The pescado (fish) was the best of the bunch. I would order it again in a heartbeat – the chipotle sauce was a delicious addition. The chicharron was next on the list – I’ve never had pork rinds in a taco before. It was good. The marsicos was a little underwhelming but I had it along side the fish so maybe I was just expecting more.

      The elote was good – but at $6 I probably won’t order it again. The cevehe was a little too limey but overall tasty as well.

    • why do people judge a restaurant right after it opens? christ, wait a minute before coming to certainty about a place.

      • justinbc

        Probably because they still get charged full price. If you don’t want to be “judged” on opening night because you expect to fail then give people a discount.

  • This is a hug from baby Jesus!!!! Although death to my liver since it’s my next door neighbor. Cannot wait to check it out this weekend. Good work!!!

  • Checked it out last night too, I would say well done on drink and food. I’m not sure who made the taco’s the poster above ate, but all of ours were absolutely delicious. Everyone in our group of 4 ordered 3, and then each ordered 2 more.

    Drinks are reasonably priced and it didn’t feel packed – the waitstaff seemed to be hustling around too. Solid place.

  • bully for all you that were the first people to go, but whatever, your assessment of the food is irrelevant.

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