The Bar Belle

Originally Published 10/01/98

Bar: Rock Bottom Brewery
Where: 7900 Norfolk Ave., Bethesda
Crowd: Most bargoers are in their late twenties or early thirties
Getting in: Bring an ID
Prices: Not a cheap night
Food: Good – it’s also a restaurant
Dancing: Some
Pick-ups: A few, but it’s not a singles bar
Pluses: Great beer and tasty food
Minuses: A little pricy and far from campus


Rock Bottom is a microbrewery that makes unique beer on the premises. The prices are a little steep, but it is a microbrewery in Bethesda, so expect to spend some money. The biggest problem with Rock Bottom is that it’s in Maryland. Bethesda is a 40-minute Metro ride or an expensive cab trip (it cost The Bar Belle $15). But assuming you can get out there, Rock Bottom can provide a great night.

The Bar Belle had dinner – a tasty gourmet-style pizza – and sampled some interesting beers. Rock Bottom makes five kinds of beer. The Bar Belle’s favorite was Brown Bear Brown, a hefty dark brew that isn’t too bitter. For a limited time, Rock Bottom is offering a special beer, Rocktoberfest for $3 a pint. Most of the pints cost between $3 and $4. But on Sundays, Rock Bottom offers a drink special – the first pint is $4.95 and each refill is $2 plus you can keep the special Rock Bottom glass.

In addition to the good food and beer, Rock Bottom had a great live band on the Saturday The Bar Belle was there, but few people danced. Rock Bottom also has pool tables on the second floor, but waiting for a table could take a while. Rock Bottom has a festive atmosphere, but if you’re looking for a quiet night with friends, you can find a table either inside or outside. The service is good and the bartenders friendly. But The Bar Belle, her group and everyone else in the bar were rudely kicked out at 1:30 a.m., even though Rock Bottom closes at 2 on weekends. The brewery closes at midnight on weekdays. For the long trek to Rock Bottom, you’ll get a fun night of good beer and a considerably lighter wallet.

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