We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Needs better assigned seating system” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Birchmere

The Birchmere
3701 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22305
Improve this listing
Ranked #1 of 10 Nightlife in Alexandria
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Nightlife
Attraction details
San Diego, California
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“Needs better assigned seating system”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2011

Overall the Birchmere is a good venue and has lots of really good entertainers. In fact, you could just go without knowing the acts and be assured that whoever they are .... they are good. Last night, we saw Todd Snider with Marshall Chapman and the show was incredible.

The only reason we don't go more often is because of the seating. They do not have assigned seating, so if you want to pick your seat, you have to arrive at 5pm for a "line number" for when the doors open at 6pm for a show that doesn't start until 7:30. In other words, you have to arrive 2 1/2 hours before the show starts! This is not a good way to treat ones customers.

They may be attempting to get people in the doors early so they can spend money at the bar or this system may have been designed to keep people from spending a lot of time standing in line. A simpler solution would be to institute assigned seating either by table assignments or by individual seat assignments.

As others have mentioned, some seats face the stage, some are catycorner to stage, and some have their back to the stage. These issues are generally solved by simply turning one's chair to face stage. The issue is having to arrive 2 1/2 hours early to get a "good seat".

Great entertainment, poor seating solution.

BTW... food service was very fast and food was good. I had Fish taco and hubby had grilled salmon.... both excellent.

Visited May 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

215 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Long Island, NY
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Tiny and cozy, Dinner and a show”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2011

Picked up our tickets at 5pm at will call and got a seating number. From 5 to 6 we a beer at the bar. Numbers were called at 6pm and we chose our table. Waitresses took dinner orders right away and we were done with dinner before the show started. You should probably order a pitcher of wine or beer like we did. The ladies get busy and you don't see them much. It worked out perfectly. The stage is RIGHT there and the sound is great. Super intimate setting and I was shocked by the quality of bands that have played there.

Visited May 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warrenton, Virginia
1 review
“A nice evening out!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2011

The Birchmere in Alexandria is a live music venue where dinner and drinks are also served. Great time with simple arrival and departure. Arrive prior to 5:00 p.m. for priority table choosing once inside. You'll sit in the bar area until 6:00 when dinner is served from a menu, and show begins at 7:00. Avg. meal price is $15.00 and beer is $6 and cocktails are $8. I was invisible to our server. Each time she arrived she asked all the others in my group if they would like anything and forgot me every single time. That was annoying. The menu is misleading as far as description of the dishes. For example EMERALD ISLE is described as caramelized onions, potatoes, and olives over a cheese covered tart. IT"S PIZZA! So read between the lines. French Dip Sandwich has an elaborate description. There is a smoker there so all the smoked pork, chicken, etc. is excellent. Ask your server which proteins are smoked. We had several drinks and for two with tip total was $94.00 plus price of tickets. We had a really good time! Show was fantastic! Patrons dressed way too casual in tee shirts and jeans which was disappointing to me.

Visited February 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern Virginia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“What happened to the Birchmere?”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2010

What happened to the Birchmere?!? We have been going for years and have always loved the venue, food, and service. However, our most recent visit was extremely disappointing and caused us to question whether we would return.

The first thing we noted was that they stopped placing pitchers of water on the tables. This wouldn’t be a problem if we could simply request a pitcher, but that is no longer an option. Rather, the Birchmere now only sells water for $1.00 per bottle. I don’t think I have ever been to a restaurant that didn’t have a free tap water option.

Next we noted that the great service we have come to expect had drastically declined. Our waitress came by once to take our order and we did not see her again until she delivered the bill. We also noted they raised the food prices.

I’m not sure what is going on, but if this is what we can expect from the Birchmere, we will think twice before returning. While I would still recommend the venue for the musical talent, I would do so with a number of caveats and cautions.

Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Virginia
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Birchmere's water ripoff”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2010

We have gone to the Birchmere for years, and have always enjoyed the intimate atmosphere and high-quality talent. Our practice has always been to come early, have a drink or two and then dinner, and enjoy the show. Tonight, however, we found little cards on each table advising that the Birchmere would no longer provide pitchers of water to patrons, apparently because it's not cost-effective for them to do so. When our waitress came we asked about getting a single glass of water, but we were informed that we would have to purchase a bottle of water.

What the heck? A restaurant refusing to provide a glass of water to a paying patron? This is just cheap and, speaking only for ourselves, will make us much less likely to visit the Birchmere in the future.

Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed The Birchmere also viewed


Been to The Birchmere? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage The Birchmere, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.