I had never been to the Hard Times Cafe until Groupon (or one of those sites) sent us there recently. If Groupon commands it, we must go! (Mrs. Me is a bit addicted) We went to the Bethesda/4920 Delray location. Overall, I thought Hard Times was okay-to-good times: nacho ingredients, for example, were fresh and balanced and most of the fresh crunchy chips had coverage, but the cheese was barely warm and unmelted — why not slap the plate under the broiler for a minute before serving? Well-cooked burger, okay bun. Good but unspectacular chili, the Terlingua is supposed to be spicy but…not really? Love the house-made root beer, both in concept and execution, and well-served by its frosty mug. Solid beer list. Hard Times knows its beverages, both adult and G-rated. Fun atmosphere but LOUD, conversation is difficult across the broad wood tables and my voice was shot by the end of dinner. Will try the wings next time, especially if there on a Wednesday when they are half-price!
If a restaurant is designed to feel like a dive but isn’t really a dive, does it still qualify as a dive? Quasi-divey HTC scores pretty well on the atmosphere front. Like the nearly-ex-governator said, I’ll be back.