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Hard Times Cafe

Certificate of Excellence
Old Town
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1404 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314-2715
+1 703-837-0050
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11:00 am - 9:45 pm
Open now
See all hours
Sun - Thu 11:00 am - 9:45 pm
Fri - Sat 11:00 am - 10:45 pm
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Takeout, Waitstaff

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 464 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 161
  • 203
    Very good
  • 72
  • 20
  • 8
Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
    4 of 5 stars
A local favorite

Fun, casual place with tasty chili. I'm especially fond of their pepper poppers (jalapeño peppers filled with cheese, breaded and fried). Nice place to catch up with friends.

4 of 5 starsReviewed 4 weeks ago
Alexandria, Virginia
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464 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More
Birmingham, Alabama
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

I had great food there. I got the chili on top of corn bread which was delicious. I also got a chance to taste their baby back ribs.

Thank Ryan M
Cortlandt Manor, New York
Level Contributor
100 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

Maybe I know nothing about chili but I know this is food I don't want to eat. Came with my wife, son, daughter in law and two grandsons and all of us to a man did not like anything. The service was good except they brought us this strange and substandard food that they called chili.

Thank wbrucec
Kansas City, Kansas
Level Contributor
26 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

What can you say about Hard Times that hasn't been said? I had the daily special, left comfortably full, turned down a second piece of cornbread but did accept the ice tea to go. Having lived in the area previous, I went a few miles out of my way, (driving past on the inner beltway) to have lunch. Quick service,... More 

Thank AJP1962
Gilbert, Arizona
Level Contributor
45 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

We were here about 6 years ago and it was good. Well we were back in town and when we ate there this time the chili reminded me of dog food. Yuck. We won't be back.

Thank Twixythrasher
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
28 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Fun, casual place with tasty chili. I'm especially fond of their pepper poppers (jalapeño peppers filled with cheese, breaded and fried). Nice place to catch up with friends.

1 Thank LittleCallieCat
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Tasty chili that runs across the board for all palates. Texas chili is my wife's favorite and mine is the Cincinnati chili (cinnamon added) along with two others (one soy bases) that span the taste buds of today. Splitting an order of the nachos for an appetizer is just one of the many ways you can enjoy the expanded appetizer... More 

Thank AgeOldDinosaur
Columbia, Alabama
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2016 via mobile

Very good food at a reasonable price! I must confess our service was better than the food tasted...I had fish and chips and the quantity was enough for two people. The waiter knew his stuff and what to recommend according to our tastes!

Thank GardenPath05
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2016

The food was decent. I ordered the chili mac-3 ways and my spaghetti came out cold. The chili had a good taste to it, the shredded cheese sprinkled over the chili however never melted because the food was not hot enough. The waiter was very fast in getting my order, but when I asked for extra napkins, he never came... More 

Thank Mary W
Winterville, North Carolina
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2016

Hard Times does burgers, wings and the typical bar food type of menu, but it's probably their chili that is their calling card. They specialize in 4 different types of chili which you can try with their sampler. Then it's pretty much on from there. They'll put it on anything it seems - burgers, dogs, spaghetti, chicken, cornbread, etc. Your... More 

Thank Flair4theGold
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2016

My server was awesome, and the Terlingua chili was so good! Was watching football, having a beer and eating some great chili in a really cool place. Definitely worth a stop!

Thank Shannon S

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 1404 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314-2715
  • Location: United States  >  Virginia (VA)  >  Alexandria>  > Old Town
  • Neighborhood: Old Town
  • Phone Number: +1 703-837-0050

Price and Cuisine

  • Cuisine: American

Restaurant Characteristics

  • Good for: Local cuisine, Dining on a budget, Families with children
Open Hours
11:00 am - 9:45 pm
11:00 am - 9:45 pm
11:00 am - 9:45 pm
11:00 am - 9:45 pm
11:00 am - 9:45 pm
11:00 am - 10:45 pm
11:00 am - 10:45 pm

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Hard Times Cafe and other visitors
1 question
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Alexandria, Virginia

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Questions? Get answers from Hard Times Cafe staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?