Like a blue-collar cousin at a blue-blood family reunion, the Rock It Grill in Old Town Alexandria stands noticeably apart.
There are no pretensions floating in the cigarette smoke of this basic bar, located on a street known for its fine dining and chi-chi drinking establishments. As the friendly waitress said between slinging bottles of Bud, those other places are "too snooty."
Lowbrow and proud of it, the Rock It Grill attracts a mixed crowd of townies, college students and bikers in long beards and leather vests. The decor centers around the latest inflatable promotions from Budweiser and Coors. There are plenty of booths and tables that can accommodate everything from large parties to the lone easy rider. All are welcomed. There also is a nonsmoking section in the front of the establishment (separated by basically nothing) but if that's your concern, you probably wouldn't want to come here anyway.
Two pool tables sit in the back of the bar. Weekly tournaments (held Saturdays and Sundays starting at 3 p.m.) bring out some pretty intense-looking dudes who pull their expensive cues out of elaborate leather cases. Players drop $10 into the kitty and the winner walks away with the loot. Other diversions center around a karaoke machine, a number of well-placed televisions broadcasting games and a DJ who spins tunes for dancers on the open floor.
Food at the Rock It Grill is hearty, diverse and served in large portions. The menu features burgers, sandwiches, Mexican dishes and entrees of chicken, seafood and beef. The homemade chili packs quite a punch, and comes topped with shredded cheese and a side of tortilla chips. Prices fall mostly in the $5 to $9 range. Tuesdays feature half-priced burger specials from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Thursdays serve up 20 cent wings from 5 to 10 p.m. Daily happy hours (3 to 7 p.m.) offer $2.25 regular drafts, $2.75 rail drinks and 50 cents off all other drinks.
The Rock It Grill sticks a defiant finger-in-the-eye to the creeping tide of upscale establishments lining the elegant streets of Alexandria. May it live long and rock on.