Friday, October 19, 2012

RFD Washington: Regional Food and Drink

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Image courtesy RFD Washinton DC's website 

RFD, short for Regional Food and Drink, is a pub in the Gallery Place neighborhood (810 7th Street, NW) of Washington, D.C., heavy on beer, but woefully light on service. 

I have now visited twice and both times departed terribly disappointed, mostly by the ineptitude of RFD’s staff.

First, let us discuss the positive: 

RFD has an incredible selection of beers (link to PDF).  Their list (another PDF) of bottles and drafts probably rivals those of other beer bars within the District. 

RFD’s beer selection may even be more immense and diverse than Churchkey’s. 

During a happy hour visit, I was pleased to discover Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale as a discount offering. 

The food menu, consisting primarily of typical bar-grub, is decent.  The one solid item I ordered, a chicken and strawberry salad, was worth the nine or so dollars at which it was sold.

Great beer and passable food – what, then, could be the problem? Well…

During my initial visit to RFD, on a quiet Saturday afternoon, I sat at the near empty bar and casually struck conversation with one of my few fellow patrons.

So far, so good...

...However, throughout the visit, I observed the woman tending bar struggle to correctly identify beers from the many bottles RFD offered. 

Moreover, she often looked at me quizzically after verbally placing orders. 

A couple of times I had to indicate which of the twenty or so drafts I desired by physically pointing to my selection on the menu.

However, the most poignant and disappointing experience was being served Firestone Walker’s potent barleywine when I ordered their delicious “Wookey Jack,” one of my most preferred beers.  

However, I chalked my initial poor experience with RFD to an inexperienced server. 

Given the vast selection of beer, I really wanted RFD to meet the expectations that I had for it.

Convinced that my first experience was more unfortunate than genuinely telling, I chose RFD as the place at which to drink and dine while a visiting co-worker was in town.

RFD was the obvious choice given the taste for good beer that my co-worker and I shared. Also, I figured my companion, mostly a tourist, would appreciate RFD’s convenient location in proximity to the metro station.

Sadly, the poor service I experienced during my first visit to RFD persisted during this second visit as well.

We were seated on the covered back patio during a beautiful, crisp fall night.  If only the dining experience could have matched the spectacular weather.

Our server often forgot about us. He was regularly absent at length.  Once, I was prompted to speak with the hostess and request that she locate said server. 

Before departing, my table requested our checks “split” amongst the parties, to which our server assured us he would.  Upon his return, he indicated that he did not split the checks, nor offered explanation.  He also had no apology to share, and rapidly scurried off.

RFD is not worth a visit.  Which is a mouthful of a statement, given it offers in excess what TheCraftBeerGuru considers most dear. 

To my surprise, RFD teaches that great beer can not overcome terribly poor service.

Skip this place.  Take the time to travel deeper into the District, wander to Logan Circle, and visit the much more inviting Churchkey, instead. 

RFD "earns" one star out of five, with that lone star being offered for the notable selection of beer.  And that, alone. 


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