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Birch & Barley / ChurchKey
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Taps: 55 / Bottles: 500
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1337 14th St NW
District of Columbia
phone: (202) 567-2576
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Finally just getting around to writing a review for Churchkey, although I have visited there a few times. The environment in there is what I would like to consider a beer heaven. Always have a great draft list, the most amazing bottle list I have ever seen(although quite pricey, but that is expected). Every time I have gone I go at lunchtime on Saturdays and hang out for a few hours. I love the option of the 4 oz samplers that are very reasonably priced, and I always try out a ton of different ones. The food is very good, but are not the biggest portions. I have gotten the pork enchiladas because they taste amazing, but just are not that big. Could not rave anymore about this place and although I am sadly moving out of this area, this will be a requirement to stop at whenever I come back. Only gripe with the place is the distance from metro, but taxis as with all of DC are easy to get and a dime a dozen. MUST VISIT.
07-10-2012 01:33:09 |
More by Kmccabe33
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Churchkey is a beer geek's heaven. While the rotating tap selection is impressive at 50 selections, the book of bottles is mind-boggling. With some 500 choices, it's very difficult to choose which brew to try. Fortunately, all beers are listed by style, which makes it a little easier to figure out what to order. The food is tasty and there are plenty of options. Service is decent but I'm not sure how helpful they would be in helping novice beer drinkers select something from their selection, especially when it is busy. During peak hours, it is a bustling, noisy environment but that shouldn't deter beer lovers looking for options that aren't available elsewhere. Definitely a place to stop back into next time I'm in DC.
05-31-2012 16:48:50 |
More by Stinger80OH
District of Columbia
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I'm so glad this place is only 5 buildings away from me! If you're on a budget you still can sample 4oz beers for $2 each. The food menu changes constantly and it's pretty good most of the time. The downfall of this place is that it's trending and fills up quickly. You need to go either real early or late to get a seat. On a weekend, there is a line to get in! Crazy. The bartenders know the beers and they're great at knowing which beer is what even if you order 20 samples! A must visit when you're in DC! I did notice that only guys are behind the bar. Why all guys?
05-04-2012 16:56:52 |
More by TheHopHeadGirl
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
I finally hit this place and it didn't disappoint. I love how each beer is served at specific temperatures and specific vessels, depending on beer style.
The staff was friendly and really knowledgeable about the beers. If I had a question they couldn't answer, they went and researched the answer. I met Greg, the beer director, and he is a really nice guy and super passionate about craft beer.
Since the beers are constantly rotating, I would recommend checking their website for updates.
I will be back, often!
04-13-2012 20:50:17 |
More by rhartogsq
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
After living here for 6 months I finally made it into the city to check this place out. It's pretty much known for being the best place in DC to grab a beer.
The tap list is outstanding and they truly take advantage of the DC lax beer laws. They had a Surley night a few nights earlier and they still had some left over which is awesome. The beer prices are fair considering how expensive everything can be in the city and they also offer 4oz tasters from 2-4.5 bucks.
We ordered a bread plate, chinese type salad, and some mac and cheese bites. The food was all pretty good but nothing to write home about.
I will go back if there is a special event worth checking out otherwise I might stick to the places a bit closer to me.
03-16-2012 14:51:37 |
More by Eriktheipaman
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
ChurchKey Pub – Made the trek with a group of friends last evening. It was an official DFH tap take –over and they were debuting the new Tweason’Ale. The place was a decent walk from Metro red line Dupont Circle stop. ChurchKey is upstairs from Birch and Barley (which is closed on Monday’s as we found out). The main reason for going was to try the Tweason’Ale and get a bite to eat. The place was a little crowded when we arrived but it was happy hour time frame. The crowd was mostly younger 20’s – 30’s. It was pretty easy to get a beer from the bar, service was really quick for the amount of people in there. We finally secured a table and ordered food and more drinks. The service was pretty good. Quick on the drink and food order but then follow up drink service was a little slower. The amount of beers on tap and the bottle list were mind-blowing. I will definitely go back because we barely scratched the surface. The food we ordered was a mix of appetizers and 2 entrees. Everything was tasty and their flatbreads are gluten free! I wonder if it is normally that crowded on a non-event weekday evening?
01-25-2012 01:18:14 |
More by cps98
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
My wife and I were in DC for a day so I wanted to check out a great beer bar to hit up late in the afternoon. I checked multiple reviews and this place sounded right up my alley.
We went up the stairs where the guy was there to check our IDs. Kind of weird at 4:30pm in the afternoon, but no biggie. We sat ourselves and the beer wall is incredible. A ton of draft selections and many bottles in the coolers. After perusing the menu for a long time we found great choices to drink.
After a few, we decided to order food, and this is where the place went downhill very fast. I'm not sure why, but our server was quite rude to us with any questions we had on the food. He refused to change the lettuce type even though they make all salads fresh. We settled on other food choices, which were barely above average and very expesnive for the portion size we got.
Overall I loved the beer selection, the atmosphere is phenominal, the beer selection is solid but the service sucked. I doubt I will go back and instead check out other local places.
01-09-2012 16:28:48 |
More by steebo777
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$$
Headed straight upstairs for a Barley Wine Tasting, this place can be a bit confusing for a newcomer as it seems like it's a sit down restaurant, but upstairs is a seat-yourself bar. As with any place that's decent in the city, it's best to come early to get a seat, especially if there's a special event/tasting going on.
Let's start with the mediocre- the food is nothing special, though you'd never really know that staring at their rather pricey menu.
The real reason to come is the beer. A great selection of beer on draft and many more in bottles available though be prepared to pay. The servers are very knowledgeable about the beer they serve and I very much enjoyed discussing the different beers with our server. All in all a very nice bar to go to for a drink.
01-04-2012 16:29:15 |
More by mxmcmillan
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
I was lucky enough to come to this place on my first day in DC on 11/10/2011. Upon arriving my girlfriend and I were seated in these weird small yet comfortable chairs, it was very busy so I was afraid we would get rushed service. The server came over and took our drink orders. I tried three of their samplers including a Gonzo Barrel aged imperial porter and a life and Limb. My girlfriend had a Geuze. The food was ok but nothing extraordinary. I could see myself coming here at least once weekly if I could. I hope I can come back here someday. I really felt at home here even though the crowd looked a bit stuck-up. The service was as good as it could be in a very busy place like this.
11-29-2011 05:34:59 |
More by ChanChan
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
My wife and I were in DC for the weekend and thought we would give Church Key a shot as it gets such good reviews, etc.
I guess we arrived (Tuesday night) about 30 minutes after they opened. Got our ID checked by the bouncer (?) at the top of the stairs and then moved forward confused. I have never been in a "nice" beer bar/restaurant that does not have a hostess or a sign or whatever. We figure out that we should seat ourselves and head over to a table.
As soon as we sat down, a guy came over and gave us some water. About 10-15 minutes later, I had almost finished my water, and we had not even seen a menu. I saw a guy (manager?) bring some beer to the table next to us, so I started staring at him, and finally he came over to the table. He seemed mildly surprised that no one had come by. He gave us some menus.
The beer menu is great. A lot of different beer. Serving size, glass, and temperature on the menu. Well done there. They were having a special Belgian beer thing that night, so the options were quite extensive. It was shocking though that with the exception of 1 DC Brau beer there were NO DC, VA, or MD beers on the menu, and the DC Brau beer was a collaboration beer brewed by Epic. I like to try new regional beers when I travel, but maybe we just caught them on a weird night.
So, after looking over the beer list the guy who gave us the menus came back and asked if we had any questions. We didn't and hadn't decided yet. Eventually our waiter came over. I am not a big stickler for formalities, but he never really said anything. He just looked at me, and I just ordered. When he brought us the beers, I had to quickly order us some food before he ran off.
Food came quickly and was pretty good. Tasty but the prices were kind of high for what it was. I get it. It is the city. Everything is more expensive. Whatever, I can put up with that.
We finished our food and beers and again found ourselves staring at each other with empty plates and glasses (no water to sip this time). We had planned to order some more food and a few more beers. We waited some more. And some more.
At this point we figured out that they don't seat people, and it is a first-come, first-served deal. I have never seen this in a nice establishment. It is kind of nuts. It was at this point I could see everyone starring at me while I took the last sips of my beer, inching closer and closer, and licking their chops at the opportunity to pounce on the table when we left.
But, we were still planning to order more beer. I have never been in a beer bar and been able to go more than 1 minute with an empty glass without being asked if I needed another beer. But we had been sitting there for at least 5-10 minutes. By then I was annoyed and ready to leave. A friend texted and said that they were somewhere else that seemed to actually be serving beer, so we decided to go join them. Finally got the attention of the waiter and signaled for the check.
Waiter put the check down, and I was not quick enough to get my card down before he ran off. We sat there again for 10-15 minutes, but it seemed longer as the people who wanted our table kept getting closer and closer. They even offered to go take the check to the waiter for us. Eventually we paid and left quickly. I think a fight might have broken out for the table (I kid, but you never know).
Overall: Great beer list, expensive, but the option to get small pours gives you the opportunity to try a lot of fun beers. BUT, you can't try many beers if no one seems to want to serve you beer. I would go back again if I could get a table straight away. There is no way in hell I would stand there hovering for a table for hours...life is too short for that nonsense.
11-17-2011 18:05:26 |
More by Hotlanta
Birch & Barley / ChurchKey in Washington, DC