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 automotive decor, they also have a patio with picnic tables and heaters for if you want to brave the cold nights. I like to stop by before (or after) concerts at the 9:30 Club or U Street Music Hall (check the U Street Music Hall article), but it’s a good, fun spot all the time.
Maybe it’s the big tables or Southwestern 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 barbecue-focused menu isn’t big, but it’s all tasty – I’m a particular fan of the brisket BBQ plate with 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 too, sandwiches and smaller snacks.
Beers come in Mason jars, which adds to the rustic ambiance, and they have a good selection both on draft and in cans (no bottles.)
It 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.