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Birch & Barley / ChurchKey
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Taps: 55 / Bottles: 500
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1337 14th St NW
District of Columbia
phone: (202) 567-2576
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Reviews by Huhzubendah:
District of Columbia
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Let me start by saying that this is the preeminent beer bar in Washington, D.C. There are approximately 40 taps of high quality beer. Some great draft beers I have enjoyed here include Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout, Cantillon Fou' Foune and St. Lamvinus, Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, etc. The quality and rarity of the draft selection is simply unmatched.
The service at the bar, like many establishments, really depends on your server. Some are better, friendlier, and more knowledgeable than others.
When selecting a beer, you may choose from a full serving (8-16 oz. depending on the beer) or a 4 oz. sample size serving. This is extremely cool, especially when trying out a new beer, or when you're in the mood to sample a few different brews without committing to an entire glass.
The bar food is better than average.
The top notch drafts will cost you around $13 or so, but then again, where else will you find these highly coveted brews on tap?
10-01-2010 17:10:06 |
More by Huhzubendah
More User Reviews:
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
District of Columbia
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | 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.
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.
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. They REALLY need to resolve the dishwashing detergent odor issue noted above.
02-08-2013 22:05:08 |
More by Sludgeman
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
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$$
Loved the selection. Arrived mid-afternoon. Even though not crowed still took awhile to get served. Didn't try the food. Had (2) Two Hearted Ales and (2) Double Jack IPAs which came to about $35 bucks. Would def visit again.
01-09-2013 14:32:01 |
More by Big_V
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
With 55 taps and 5 beer engines of quality beer, what's not to like? I was there on a Thursday afternoon that soon stretched into the night. I was a day late as had had 03-12 Stone verticals the night before. They still had 09 - 12 along with 16 Shmaltz beers on tap. Friendly bartender that was quick to offer up large samples of anything I was considering. Like the 4 oz pour option which lets you try 2-3 times the beer you would normally get to try. Food is like the beer, good, but pricy. Had the fettuccine with spinach, it was more like an appetizer than a meal. Place got really crowded as it went into the night and this was Thursday.
This is a world class beer bar that will not disappoint the most serious beer geek. Definitely worth seeking out if in the NOVA/DC area.
12-16-2012 14:32:14 |
More by FLBeerGuy
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Yes it is a bit pricey. Yes it does get very busy on Friday nights. But is it fucking unbelievable? You better fucking believe it. Churchkey can be surpassed by no other in the area. The food, well I was not there to eat. Just with the intention of drinking some great imperial stouts and anything else that stuck out. Started out with a Great Lakes Blackout stout, 10 oz. pour for $6. A beer I felt would unlikely be readily available in my home area. Especially on tap. I ordered the Butternut Squash Arroncini for $4.50. Then order the 3 Stars Brewing Winter Madness, 10 oz. pour for $8. After the Blackout at 9% and the Winter Madness at 10.6% I knew I had to get going. They also had the stout made with Civet Coffee, which to this day I am kicking myself for not trying. When you go here, just know you are going to spend some money on beer. However the quality is unmatched. I would have gone all the way to pricey with them as their food is a bit expensive, however they also have some affordable brews on tap and bottle. The bartenders are nice and the chairs at the bar are great. It just gets a bit crowed on weekend nights but I've been here during an afternoon, and it was great.
12-10-2012 03:34:00 |
More by waiting4lunch
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Birch & Barley / ChurchKey in Washington, DC