I worked at the Brick for five months and still visit every time i am back in DC. First off, you have the understand the history of the Brick to appreciate it fully. The Brick is now over fifty years old and is still a family owned establishment. The beer list is quite massive with listings broken down into two parts: domestics (by state) and imports (by country). The servers at the Brick may not always have the best of attitudes. This is mainly due to the fact that they all run their own beer and food (most of the time esp. when the dolly is broken upstairs), split checks on tables anywhere from 5 to 30 people and buss their own tables. The sections are very large which also leaves the servers scrambling regardless. This is no excuse for poor service but it does seem to be a running joke for diehard fans of the Brick. Here are a few insider tips from a former staffer to make your visit to Brick one to remember.
Beer shipment arrives on Wednesday. As such, beer stock is the worst on Mondays and Tuesdays. The best day and time to visit is early on Thursday. Have two or three choices ready to make life easy for your server. Better yet, tell your server what kind of beer you like or are looking to try and give a price point and 99% of the time you will love what they bring you. I.E. "I would like to try a barley wine under $6.00 etc."
If you are upstairs, order something on tap for your first round. It only takes two to three minutes to get those and then you have plenty of time to peruse the menu to find that special brew you always wanted to sample.
Food is good if you know what and how to order. The kitchen is very small and outdated. Orders come into the kitchen on a first come first serve basis. That means if a large party of 30 puts in food orders for burgers, pizza, etc. before your party of 3 for french fries and cheese sticks, yours will not be made until the party of 30 is brought to the table. Order as soon as possible. Food will take a while. This is hard to explain to hungry patrons but it is just the way the kitchen functions. The best items on the menu no fail are the nachos with everything, crab cake sandwich with added provolone (not on the menu but they will make it for you), monte cristo, buffalo burger medium rare with provolone. Don't forget to ask for your spicy mayo. It is amazing with everything esp crab cake and burgers.
Upstairs is best for large groups, downstairs is ideal for parties of 2-4. Taps upstairs may be expensive but are often times one of a kind samples that you cannot get anywhere in DC or in the US for that matter. Unfortunately, they do not have standup service. It is bar policy so please don't get upset when your server or the bartenders ask you to go back to your table to order. That is why tables are at a premium and sometimes there is a long wait at the door. Call ahead for larger parties at all times. Bring your ID! No matter how old you are, they will check it and send you away if you don't have it. Tourists are the ones hit hardest by this DC law but that is what it is DC LAW, not the door managers trying to be ulgy to you. Lastly, this is a fun place with kinks and quirks all its own. Stay patient, and have fun. If you do your server will go above and beyond to make sure you have a great time.
While at the Brick take a stroll around (after you get your first round of course) and check out Dave's amazing collection of beer bottles, cans and kegs from all over the world and from as long back as you can imagine. The Brick is a wonderful place with a unique atmosphere and classic old school DC charm. Go for the experience, stay for the beer. I hope this helps you enjoy your next visit a little more. Cheers!