I’ve been to National on 17th avenue and 5th street a few times since it opened now. Primarily because my friends wanted to go and because of its proximity to where I live.
I usually don’t like checking out new restuarants/pubs/hot-spots without a reservation on account of my distaste for lines. However, being with friends who wanted to go (one time for a birthday, which I certainly could and would not ditch out on), I sucked it up and lined up to get in.
As soon as I walked in I felt as if I was being presented with the love child of Wurst and Beer Revolution (please note, Beer Revolution is way out of Wurst’s league, I have no idea why it settled).
The beers are displayed above the bar in the popular arrival/departure theme, similar to Beer Revolution. The tables inside mimick the long German-style picnic benches found at Wurst.
The beer selection is good but every single beer is $8.50, so about $10 with tip, which is steep, especially for local breweries. The food is mediocre and too much for what you get. Especially considering Ship is right next door with comparable food and drinks at way better prices.
The ambience is better than Wurst since you’re not stuck in a basement and there’s a great patio. However, the food, crowd, prices, and service are all better at Beer Revolution.
Right now National is thriving on account of the fact that they’re a new pub and they have an excellent patio at a great location. When fall/winter hit and that patio is gone I can’t imagine too many people wanting to be paying their prices to be stuck in their crowded space when there are so many other options along 17th.
Overall, the location and patio are the best features of National. It’s crowded and unappealling inside. The service is very slow, and the prices are too high. Not to mention it’s not worth waiting to get inside. I’d rather hit Ship, Yardhouse, or District.