Log in or Sign up
Extreme Beer Fest
returns to Boston on March 21 & 22, 2014.
Tickets are on sale now
BeerAdvocate mobile beta: Testers Wanted
. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
Android or Google Chrome user? Get a
14 day free trial to BeerAdvocate magazine on Google Play Newsstand
today! (AU, CA, UK, US only).
Extreme Beer Fest
Google Play Newsstand
Birch & Barley / ChurchKey
Taps: 55 / Bottles: 500
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1337 14th St NW
District of Columbia
phone: (202) 567-2576
(Place added by: drabmuh on 10-27-2009)
Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev
| Reviews: 92 | Show All Ratings:
District of Columbia
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
UPDATED after a second visit.
Visited Church Key on a Saturday evening 2/2 and the restaurant Birch & Barely on 3/26/13 and many times afterwards.
Overall, this place is on my list when I need a special beer. But the bar upstairs tends to be too crowded and service suffers. Sitting at the bar in the Birch & Barley is much prefered. They REALLY need to resolve the dishwashing detergent odor issue noted below.
2/2 - Arrived about 6pm looking to have a few beers before we headed down the street for dinner. This was the first time I had visited. ChurchKey had been on my "to visit" list for quite some time and I finally made. Unfortunately I was underwhelmed.
A - When we walked in the first thing we noticed was the stale beer smell. Reminded me of my fraternity bar where I paid $0.25/beer. I can get over the smell, but for paying the prices the least they can do is keep it clean and somewhat fresh smelling. It was crowed (not complaining, popular places get crowded) with a good vibe. Seating is a challenge. And the lighting is quite low, making it difficult to read the beer menu.
Q - No complaints
S - Waiter was friendly and helpful, but the service was very slow. Busy and crowded means slow, but it was almost an hour between my first and second beers.
S - Beer selection is great, both on tap and by the bottle.
3/26 - A Wednesday during the Craft Brewers Conference. Super crowded. A new line up of beers special for the night. Cool stuff.
A - The restaurant is less crowded and has a better atmosphere.
Q - I have to ding them this time. 3 of my 5 tastes had that dishwashing detergent odor. Could not taste, but the odor was clearly evident. Thought it was maybe the beer the first time. Sitting at the bar in the restaurant watching the bartender put glasses through the dishwasher. When she pulled the glasses out she would do a quick rinse on the glass washer before pouring a beer. I mentioned it to the bartender and she agreed. Without my asking she credited two of the beers. She was more attentive to rinsing the glasses before a pour.
S - Service in the restaurant is much better than in the upstairs bar.
S - Unbelieveable. Top notch.
F - Somewhat narrow menu but the food was good. I had the pieroges and the chicken rosemary flatbread. Both were yummy and arrive quickly.
11-08-2013 13:49:03 |
More by Sludgeman
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 5 | $$$
One of the best beer selections I've ever seen. We really liked this place, great crowd. The bartenders though knowledgeable can be hard to track down if your standing and not seated at the bar. If your looking for an unparalleled beer selection than this is the place. Overall this place is a Home Run.
10-24-2013 13:04:10 |
More by Bifpocaroba
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75 | $$
I ate/drank there this week during DC Restaurant Week. The menu was 3 courses with optional beer pairings (no brainer - duh). The food was world-class. The beer pairings were nearly perfect. The beer selection was vast - hundreds of beers I've never had and some I've never heard of. The bar staff was extremely knowledgeable although the atmosphere was so noisy I couldn't always hear what they were saying. It's a little bit pricey but not really considering the quality. Definitely best of class in DC.
Beers (all draft): Bells Experimental 2013-3 (I think - it was an off-menu recommendation), Oxbow Farmhouse Pale Ale, La Cholie Fraulein (doppelbock from Canada) and Panking Pole (a dry English cider). All excellent and all well-paired with the food.
08-23-2013 23:59:26 |
More by GregKeith
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
Just about the best overall dining experience I've ever had. I've been there 3-4 times. The first time we were in the dining area. Everything was very professional but not uptight. The other times we were in the bar area upstairs.
The food was absolutely excellent all times there. They source locally and specifically look for farms using sustainable and organic practices. The food even in the bar area was prepared and presented very well, first class.
He beer selection was phenomenal. They had numerous local and regional. They offer several serving size options for beers, and you can always get a taster before you actually purchase. The bar tenders are quite knowledgeable and easy going. Prices are fair for the area, but for local craft artisianal foods and brews you should pay more.
It is worth going out of your way for this place. You will not regret it, and you won't want to leave.
07-27-2013 19:22:35 |
More by wapcap
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25 | $$$
I was in DC this past weekend and made a point to check out this place with some friends. Really, really glad I did. After trying some beers I never see where I live (San Diego), Maine Beer Co. and DC Brau, I checked out the bottle list and was blown away. I've been to a good amount of beer bars, but I don't know if I've ever seen a bottle list this extensive before. It's incredible. Worth a visit to view that alone.
As far as everything else here goes, I was impressed. The server was really cool, really knew his beer and gave some great recommendations. The food here was solid as well, which was a huge plus. Just be careful if you get the cherry float, it has seeds. My buddy almost lost a few teeth in the process of finding that one out. The pricing for beer here is steep and would make this place a bit prohibitive for me to visit often if I lived nearby. That said, I don't live nearby and I'm really glad I was able to check this place out.
07-24-2013 22:05:42 |
More by notchucknorris
District of Columbia
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75 | $$$
It's practically across the street from where I live. It's my usual go to place for a late night snack and beers. They know me and my taste so it makes it a little homey. Some of them really know their beer which I love. Late night Thur-Sat I avoid because it's really packed. When it comes to seating, you have to fend for yourself...which means scoop out the place and take over the table when ppl leave before someone else does.
06-05-2013 18:51:28 |
More by jacwomyn
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | $$$
Fantastic bar with an incredible vibe that's more than matched by the beers on tap. It's a small place that gets crowded in a hurry, we showed up around six on a Thursday and stood for a long time before lucking into bar seats. I'm from Charlotte and the only Firestone Walker brews I've had were ones that arrived at my house in the mail, from a kind BA trader. First brew I had at Churchkey was FW's Double Jack. The beer menu is varied and wonderful but the prices are steep. If you're in DC, this place is a must.
05-24-2013 14:20:24 |
More by Mantooth
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25 | $$
I was only upstairs at ChurchKey and never went downstairs to Birch & Barley. One long bar nearly the length of the building upstairs with some tables around the perimeter. A little dark. When we got there, we were able to score four seats at the bar. By the time we left, however, it was standing room only, three dudes deep to get a drink. Bleh. And this was a Tuesday night. I can only imagine how it gets on the weekend.
Speedy, friendly, informative service. Even with it being very busy, there was no shortage on service.
Second to none in terms of selection. Truly impressive tap line up with ~55 taps occupied by American, local, and foreign craft brewers. All different beer styles and regions represented.
Food was good. Got the grilled cheese with tomato soup. I'd get it again.
Value was much better than what I was expecting to pay in DC. Sample size pours worked out well as I got try about six different beers with dinner and payed less than $25. I'd definitely go back to this place, as long as its early enough again to beat the crowd.
05-15-2013 18:30:07 |
More by garuda
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.25 | service: 2.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
For CBC week I wanted to give this one place a go. Knowing it would be busy, I factored that into the ratings.
Upstairs...line to get in (downstairs restaurant could have stayed opened later...they would have filled the place...). Hot and stuffy. Packed with beer geeks, some smelled.
Long, skinny bar, bookended with seating areas. Beers all over the bar back wall. I think 5 double door coolers packed with bottles. Maybe 30 tap handles. Great selection.
Service was slow, but friendly. I didn't envy the waitstaff. Busy busy busy. This is a good place for beer, probably awesome when not this busy
03-31-2013 16:45:15 |
More by Mebuzzard
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75 | $$
This is in my top 5 taprooms around DC and MD. Servers know the beers and their differences. They seem happy to keep coming back to make more suggestions on short samplers. I've only been upstairs in ChurchKey, where the atmosphere is energetic, but it's still easy to have a good conversation. Flatbreads are a decent value and go nicely with the beers, which is simply helpful because once I sit down here I have no interest in leaving for dinner elsewhere.
02-06-2013 11:30:53 |
More by Shatter
« first ‹ prev
Birch & Barley / ChurchKey in Washington, DC
Your name or email address:
Do you already have an account?
No, create an account now.
Yes, my password is:
Forgot your password?
Stay logged in
Top 250 Beers
Change of Address