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“Birchmere's water ripoff”
Review of The Birchmere

The Birchmere
Ranked #1 of 11 Nightlife in Alexandria
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
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.

11  Thank fabulousdave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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294 - 298 of 299 reviews

Reviewed May 14, 2010

This is the best music venue to which I have ever been. It’s not really possible to get a bad seat at the Birchmere. And the fact that you can eat and drink while you’re watching the show makes it that much more enjoyable. I’ve never really liked the “wild” concert experience, with dancing or drugs or the like…the Birchmere is the best way to see a concert, in my opinion.

Thank Motherontheroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2007

The Birchmere is the best small place for music in the DC area. It isn't a large venue and sitting at tables gives it more of a supper club feel Previous posters comments are all on spot ...don't plan on yakking during the show or you will be asked to pipe down. The menu is OK - some standard snacks and sandwiches. We usually get there early, have a drink in the bar area and then get into the music area so we can get a good seat. Parking is easy and the lot is good-sized. Sometimes it can be a hassle getting out, since everyone leaves at the same time. But often they have cops out helping with traffic, so it's not too bad. I've heard lots of great music here over the years, the operative word being "heard." To me, that's the main benefit of the Birchmere - they take musicians seriously and so do their audiences.

3  Thank TwoTravelersToG... A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2004

OK, you're going to a concert because you already know you'll like the music, so assume that part will be great (and this place does get some really good acts). The Birchmere is set up like an old beer haus. Capacity is said to be about 500, all at long tables seating 6-8 people. At some of the tables the seats face away from the stage and at some they're sort of sideways to the stage, so pick your seat carefully. If you want to come with a few people, come early (doors open at 6 for a 7:30 show) or you may not get to sit together.

They make a big deal on their website about being a "listening room" and saying that talking is not allowed, but don't expect too much. Someone near you likely will be talking through the whole show; the waitress will come by asking if you want anything; you'll probably be sitting with people you don't know; you may have to turn your chair around to watch the show; you'll be a little cramped; people will be coming and going around you. It's not an opera hall and you aren't in your own living room. But, the only smoking is at the bar in another room through a set of sturdy doors and most people are there to hear the music, not pick someone up or have conversations. So compared to other more bar-like venues this is pretty quiet and focussed on enjoying the band, not on cramming in as many bachelorette parties as possible.

Most folks seem to come early and eat here--the food appears to be nothing special and the prices are about normal ($8.50 for a hamburger). We weren't sure about the food and ate at home, thinking we'd have a couple of beers at the show. This irritated our waitress, who told us we were bringing down her per-table average check. The staff generally seemed polite, but they have a lot of territory to cover, so they're not fast. Allow at least an hour for your dinner or you'll be eating in the dark during the performance. Their website includes a menu, so you'll know what you're in for.

Parking seemed ample and the cost is added as a service charge on the ticket, so you don't have to come up with another five bucks as you're coming in.

There were a few lighting issues--they kept shining spotlights into the audience and turning up the house lights--but that may have been the work of the band's crew. Overall it's a pretty good place. Do your socializing before or after the show and enjoy the music.

14  Thank Thad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Woodbridge, VA
Reviewed January 20, 2004

If you like music in its purest form, without the screaming, then the Birch is for you. A balanced JVC sound system pumps out perfectly wether it is rock, folk, blues, country or bluegrass. No talking while the performers are performing. Period. You come here to hear the music, not someones conversation or cell phone (banned from the listening room) In exchange for being quiet, you will be rewarded by hearing every word and every accoustic note. Reasonably priced good food, their own brewery, quick service are part of the fun. It has been around for 30 years and for good reason. Don't miss it.

13  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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