American Ice Company is a relaxed spot near U Street with tasty, Texas-style barbecue. Located in a wide-open, rustic old garage with concrete floors and old-school automotive decor, they also have a great patio with picnic tables. I like to stop by before (or after) concerts at the 9:30 Club or U Street Music Hall (check out our articles for them here and here), but it’s a good, fun spot all the time.
Maybe it’s the big tables or Texas vibe, but it seems like people are extra friendly – it’s the kind of place where you can have a conversation with the folks next to you. A few times, strangers have bought a friend and I drinks for no reason. The bartenders are generally pretty cool too.
The food menu isn’t very big, but it’s all good – I’m a particular fan of the brisket BBQ plate, which comes with tasty slaw and beans. The brisket is good even without sauce, but the sauces they have are worthwhile too. The “swachos” are also awesome – pork barbecue nachos! They have vegetarian stuff for those non-meat eaters, and the All-Nighter sandwich is solid, but unfortunately isn’t actually available all night.
Beers come in big Mason jars, which adds to the rustic ambiance, and they have a good selection both on draft and in cans (no bottles.)
The Ice Co. can get crowded, but it’s also open later than some other nearby spots, and on weekdays it makes for a nice place for a nightcap.