Bar Pilar

4.5
308 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
Inspired by Ernest Hemingway and named for his beloved boat, Pilar is a neighborhood restaurant that has been a mainstay of 14th street for over a decade. Executive Chef Jesse Miller helms the kitchen turning out an eclectic menu inspired by local farms and New American cuisine with a focus on seasonal organic produce. The simple yet inventive dishes change frequently, but that’s part of the adventure! Complementing the cooking is a beverage program including cocktails which also rotate seasonally, ranging in taste and complexity from classics like the perfect Old Fashioned to signature concoctions using house made tonics and elixirs. Spanning two floors, Pilar has a variety of spaces to suit your mood. Our first floor bar offers up a casual, comfortable space to down a few drinks in dimly-lit, vintage-inspired surroundings. Head upstairs and you'll find an intimate dining room along with a cozy corner cocktail bar perfect for date night or catching up with old friends.

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.4

A classic that can be used for dates or heavy drinking. Maybe even at the same time. The food’s great too.

Ratings 8.0-8.5:The best way to think about restaurants in the low to mid 8′s is that these are the places you would absolutely go back to, anytime. These restaurants are ones that you want to bring a friend to, just so they can also experience the duck carnitas, or burger, or whatever dish the place is known for.
What 308 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.3
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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OT
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic brunch and great service!

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SH
1 review
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service food and presentation. That said was very pricey.

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GN
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 5

i asked about the breakfast bowl and the server said “reading is fundamental” but after reading the menu again there was no mention of a breakfast bowl

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S
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

I was so excited to try this place and what a disappointment. You can find better brunch food and drinks almost anywhere else. I got mimosas and it was basically just juice. They serve it in a mason jar which sounds cute but is what I think leads to it being so weak. I ordered the French toast supremo and do not recommend it. French toast should never be a sandwich- they should consider changing to waffles. The French toast was soaked in syrup which caused it to have a custard taste. The bacon was not really cooked and the eggs didn’t have any cheese that I could find. I basically didn’t eat it. The service was just bad. It is not the servers fault - he was doing his best- but there was only one server in a packed place. We waited an hour before he checked on us. It took FOREVER for any extra drinks. I will not be going back and do not recommend it. In a city where brunch is such a huge thing, you’d think they’d be better.

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HK
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Food was fantastic, and the servers were extremely friendly. Some mistakes with entrees coming early and incorrect drink orders, but people were so nice that it was not an issue.

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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We stopped in here before a show. Just some beer and a “simple bar food”, well I was in for a treat. The host/server was super pleasant and helpful. She informed us that the chef is creative and likes to mix it up. We are vegetarian and found the menu impressive! Everything was great! We shared strawberry arugula salad, veggie fritters with tamarind, spaghetti squash pad Thai, and gnocchi with peas, goat cheese and chanterelles. The menu changes, so don’t get too attached but oh my goodness, it was the best meal in ages!

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n
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Low key setting, delicious fresh food, interesting flavors, and solid service.

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TB
Chicago
24 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Hard to believe that a place touting its brunch doesn't serve decaf coffee!! Remember to ask for the salad dressing and maple syrup to be on the side unless you like tons put on your food.

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MR
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Friends visiting from out of town.

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d
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food, unusual menu. We say upstairs for early dinner before a concert. Casual, inviting atmosphere. Will definitely come again.

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AM
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

It was pretty good, but it was marketed as an American restaurant. It's really Asian fusion, with such menu options as Wagyu steak, Bok Choy Stir fry, and Udon Dashi. The food was quite salty, but tolerable. It was also much more casual than I was expected, which is mostly on me. All in all, not what I was expecting, but not bad.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

OUR WAITRESS WAS THE BEST EVER

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MC
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

the food here is surprisingly good. Their stracchiatelli is hand pulled cheese made in house and is like a cheesy butter = SO DELICIOUS.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just Fabulous.

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AF
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Bar Pilar is a great brunch spot. I love the Hemingway-inspired decor but, more importantly, the brunch cocktails are some of the best I’ve had!

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n
Philadelphia
12 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

Interesting menu. Great drinks and good food, but the portion sizes and prices were ridiculous. Spaghetti squash pad Thai was $17 (no protein) and the serving was so small it was insulting. I ordered the duck, and the portion of the meat itself was adequate but the sides it came with were not. Again, food was good, but I won't return and wouldn't recommend it as there is no shortage of places with amazing food and better portion sizes in DC metro. Also the service was kinda meh. Food came out quickly once we ordered it, but our server was slow getting to us, and wasn't very inviting.

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U
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

A bit empty for dinner during the week, bit nice atmosphere

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AD
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Delicious, fresh food and a great price too! Their brunch is my favorite for friends in town!

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BL
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

We had a reservation for Saturday brunch. We were not approached by our server until several minutes after we had arrived. It took another 30+ minutes to get the drinks we ordered and another ~30 minutes for our food. The food was excellent but the service was subpar at best.

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JW
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

The food was excellent, I was a little weary because it seemed like more of a bar but the blueberry lemon ricotta pancakes were delicious and my friends enjoyed their meals as well. A nice brunch option.

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LN
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I just love this place! For anyone that loves good healthy interesting food, this is the place to go--either at the bar or at a table. Their salads, small plates, and main dishes are so very good. About the only place I know that is both healthy, delicious, interesting and not over-priced.

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OT
Richmond
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 2

Everything was nice except at the end of meal a random waiter or manager cane up and asked us to leave because we weren’t actively ordering more drinks and he said he had another group coming in. We were with a group and talking and I’ve literally never in my life been asked by a restaurant to leave. So I would have rested it higher but I just thought that was weird. We spent a lot of money there. Waitress was really good though

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R
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

This was a nice enough place for dinner and drinks but it smells downstairs like a bar when you walk in, which is offputting and the food really needs a rethink.

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LH
New England
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

Bar Pilar is a cozy neighborhood spot. The menu changes seasonally. Sometimes, the menu is stellar and other times it falls short. For this visit, a lot of things fell short. The food was good, but overpriced--for that much, I can go down the street to Le Diplomate and have a consistently amazing meal with better service. While our server was kind and jovial, neither she nor the hostess abided my many attempts to remind them we were celebrating my partner's birthday. While I get a restaurant is busy on Valentine's Day, I explicitly wrote it was her birthday on my reservation, alerted the hostess, and talked about it three separate times my server came to the table. Neither open table nor Bar Pilar facilitated anything to do with the occasion. I decided not to get dessert and took my partner to the Tabard Inn for a nightcap and creme brûlée where we were treated like regulars.

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SM
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Hidden gem. The food & drinks here always impress.

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OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Had the Saturday Brunch. Food was amazing. French toast delicious. Fast friendly & efficient service

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OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Kind of dark for a brunch spot, but the food was pretty standard. I think that the service was also a little slow

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m
Omaha
5 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wait staff was amazing - they gave great recommendations and the brunch menu was dreamy. Everything we ordered was excellent. Already excited to go back!

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A
Washington DC
35 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

OK overall, but far from great. Tables too close, service was good but not refined, food was hit or miss. In my opinion tried to be too clever with the ingredients and sometimes failed as a result.

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OT
New England
7 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very attentive service. Good menu, food was solid. Great for brunch.

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PG
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was incredible. Server was very acommodating and friendly. We went durin restaurant week so prices were very reasonable - cant speak to how they normally are.

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OT
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

A great neighborhood gem. Food was good and service friendly. Will be back.

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KD
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on January 16, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 3ambience 5

During restaurant week, the place was packed and not very well managed. The hostess and waiter were VERY pleasant but were so busy taking care of the full house that our 3 course meal took 3 hours. The food was poor and not tasteful. It could have been the volume of business but I would not recommend this restaurant to a friend....

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JD
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 2

The menu is

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CM
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

I’ve been to brunch here twice. The fact that it is essentially bottomless but that you have so many choices of drinks under that is a big sell. The food is great too! My only complaints are that it is a little expensive and both times the waitress basically disappeared after the first drink, which made getting your moneys worth out of bottomless drinks difficult.

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R
Richmond
11 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Went here for brunch. We received the food before out "unlimited" drinks, but we only ended up getting one drink since it took forever to get them. Food was good, just smaller portions. My friend had to get another dish after the tacos.

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OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was amazing and our server was the bartender upstairs he was fantastic!

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EP
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

We were supposed to have to order off a prix fixe menu because our reservation was upstairs, but I had specifically selected the restaurant because they had an option not to do prix fixe without realizing that was restricted to downstairs tables. The waiter immediately looked into moving us (a larger group) downstairs and eventually let us order a-la-carte, even though we weren't supposed to be allowed. It was very accommodating and saved a lot of stress given the different budgets of my guests.

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G
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Honestly everything tasted amazing. Our water was attentive and had a great personality. We had went for brunch, we’re definitely going back for dinner

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d
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I went with my Dad while he was in town and we had a great time! The Pilar’s Stracciatella cheese was quite possibly the most delicious cheese I've ever had!

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