“What the Fearless Critic books and apps have that UrbanSpoon and Yelp don’t is a complete lack of bullshit.”
“I’ve spent years driving around with Zagat...but I think I’ll replace it with this Fearless Critic guide.”
–Leslie Brenner,
Dallas Morning News
Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Daily 6:30am–11:00pm

Features Outdoor dining, Wi-Fi
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


1615 Rhode Island Ave. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 872-1126
Beacon Bar & Grill
An unremarkable restaurant, an unremarkable bar

On a stretch of Rhode Island Avenue just southeast of Dupont Circle lies Beacon Bar & Grill, an inelegant bar masquerading as a restaurant. With $5.25 house martinis (all day, every day, in flavors ranging from classic to peach), happy hour specials of mini cheeseburgers and buffalo wings, and a brunch renowned for its bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys, Beacon is carefully calibrated to draw a daily crowd. Judged as a restaurant, however, Beacon falls short.

Among other sports-bar touches, the acoustics are loud and clattery; the aggressive air conditioning introduces an arctic chill; and flat-screen TVs dot the walls (including one in the ladies’ room). An enormous lamb steak, pounded thin and topped with a heterogeneous sprinkling of feta, grape tomatoes, and olives—a Balkans dish, perhaps?—is accompanied by sweet-potato fries. Guacamole and salsa are common condiments on everything from a crab quesadilla (with little evidence of any actual crab) to the sweet-and-spicy ancho-glazed salmon (dry and overcooked—this one needs the guacamole). However, crowd-pleasing sides like cheesy polenta and french fries are always available.

The dessert menu features an array of serious assaults on the sweet tooth. A dense chocolate torta studded liberally with hazelnuts and topped with ice cream satisfies a chocolate craving, while a dulce de leche cheesecake is super-sweet and jarringly grainy in texture. Both desserts come liberally decorated with piles of whipped cream, berries, chocolate and raspberry sauces.

But if Beacon Bar & Grill really aspires to nothing more than glorified bar-hood, the drinks menu has some surprising shortcomings. In addition to the aforementioned house martinis, the drinks menu features a range of seven- and eight-dollar cocktails that prodigiously overuse the ‘-tini’ suffix. Only a few wines are available by the bottle, generally in only one exemplar of each varietal, many in the $35-and-up range. While we can’t recommend Beacon as a dining destination, if you’re the kind of person that goes in for $5.25 “house martinis,” the happy-hour bar food specials certainly won’t ruin the mood.

Be the first to leave a comment…