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“Exellent Sound and Site” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Birchmere

The Birchmere
3701 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22305
1-703-549-7500
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Ranked #1 of 10 Nightlife in Alexandria
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Nightlife
Attraction details
Arlington, Virginia
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
58 attraction reviews
Reviews in 64 cities Reviews in 64 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
“Exellent Sound and Site”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2013

I have been seeing shows at the various Birchmere locations for over 30 years. The Birchmere started as a bluegrass only club located in Shirlington back in the 70s. Upon moving to its first Mt. Vernon Avenue location, the owners began to expand on the genres of music the Birchmere presented. When the Birchmere moved to its current location in the 90s, the transformation into one of the DC's area best music venues was complete.

Recently, I have been to shows by Bruce Robison & Kelly WIllis in main concert room and Todd Snider and Elizabeth Cook in bar/flex stage area. First, the Birchmere's good qualities. Both rooms are relatively small, so the sightlines are great and you feel close to the performers. The sound system in the main concert room is excellent, maybe the best in the area, and the flex stage sound is very good. The Birchmere has a reputation for treating performers quite well and the audiences are usually attentive, so most performers seem to love playing there. Also, the wait staff is usually quite good and quick, which is somehwat surprising given the size of the crowds and the rush when the main stage doors open at 6:00.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of things about the Birchmere that preclude me from giving it a 5 star review. First, is the first come, first serve general admission seating arrangement. It can be quite frustrating when you buy tickets, often at over $50 each, for a show months in advance only to know that you often have to the be at the club prior to its main doors opening at 5:00 pm in order to get a seat near the stage. When the club opens at 5:00, the staff begins giving out line numbers for entering the main stage room when its doors open at 6:00. Most shows at the Birchmere begin at 7:30 and the staff usually stops allowing the saving of seats around 7:00 when a show is sold out. Second, the food is exremely average to not very good, but this somewhat understandable seeing the kitchen often has to prepare 400-500 meals within an hour of the main stage doors opening at 6:00.

Some additional notes...If you like to have a few adult beverages during a show and need a way home, public transit service to/from the Birchmere consists of only a couple of bus routes. So, plan on having a designated driver or taking a cab. Finally, a word about ticket prices at the Birchmere. Many shows have ticket prices of over $50 after service charges and some shows are over $100. Often this seems quite pricey, but there are few other venues that give you the chance to see performers such as B.B. King, Merle Haggard and Lyle Lovett in such an intimate setting with such great sound.

Visited June 2013
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215 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Elkins, West Virginia
1 review
“I haven't been there in years.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2013

The last time I was there was back in the early 80s before I joined the military. The place was great back then I used to go to see Ricky Skaggs and the Whites back then.

Visited July 2012
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Radford, Virginia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Concert venue”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013

Excellent little out of the way venue for a concert, small and intimate. Not a bad seat in the house. You sit at tables, food and drink options, and service, is quite nice. Would definitely return. Saw Beth Hart and she rocked the place!

Visited May 2013
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West Jefferson
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Top Notch Talent”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

What a great place. Top notch "National Acts" found in a local setting. The venue hold several hundred but because there is no reserved seating it just comes down to how badly you want a front row seat and if you are willing to wait in line. You wait in line to buy your ticket and are given a number and then when they begin to let the people in you go and select your seat by the number you were assigned when you purchased you ticket.
The food is good but a little pricy and the selection is adequate.

Visited November 2012
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Charlottesville, Virginia
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“A music listeners paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

Having attended shows at this and the old location for more than 25 years I can attest to it being one of the finest listening rooms in the East. Decent food, good beer and always a great effort from the musicians made better by the quiet, respectful crowd.

Visited February 2013
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