Birch & Barley / ChurchKey
Taps: 55 / Bottles: 500
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 125 | Reviews: 97 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by Arithmeticus:
4.6/5 rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
I have visited ChurchKey twice, once when there was plenty of space available and once when the place was jam packed for a special cask event.
I have never seen a place put so much care and thought into its beer selections. The menu changes constantly, responding not merely to what people know and are familiar with, but what aficionados would like to learn about. The list is meticulously curated.
There is a restaurant below, always quiet, and a restaurant above, very popular and so oftentimes quite crowded. In the bar above, you will notice an amazing array of bottles, both behind the bar and on display on the walls. One side of the bar has windows that overlook 14th St., and the 2/3rds of the bar on the other side is quite dark. Look at the center of the bar and you'll see an organ of draft pumps, connected by four large pipes that snake across the ceiling, each into a separate room with a unique temperature suited to that particular beer.
The menu, with its legend of seventeen or so glasses at the bottom, is an indication of the care they put into their selection. Provided you're not sampling (4 oz. quaffs for nearly everything), your beer will be served in the appropriate glass. The menu also explains the temperature of the beer, its ABV, and so forth.
The waiters and help are very knowledgable, and interested in helping customers drink their beers intelligently. Even on the incredibly busy night I attended, the stressed bartender made sure I knew exactly what beer was what. But a word to the wise: if you want to make the most of your ChurchKey experience, go when you know you can enjoy your stay. If you need time to think, try the restaurant.
08-26-2010 13:43:36 | More by Arithmeticus
More User Reviews:
4.39/5 rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25 | $$
Went to ChurchKey for the first time this past Saturday. Was very impressed with the 29 page bottle list of over 500 bottles/cans. I got a DC Brau On the Wings of Armageddon and a Lagunitas CouchTrippin Fusion 19 which the waitress didn't even know they had because it hast even come out yet!
Food was good. I had the jerk wings and they were not dripping in sauce, which was appreciated. I would make this a weekly stop but I live in NY so that would really put a dent in my wallet. Anyway, loved this place.
02-24-2014 18:34:49 | More by WheelsPSU
4.64/5 rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5 | $$
My girlfriend and I were in DC for the weekend and decided to hit Churchkey up for an appetizer, beer and a glass of wine for her. Albeit it was very crowded, we lucked out and got a seat. I'd recommend getting there early. The beer selection is off-the-charts!!! I was able to land OTWOA there. The food was fantastic! Definitely get the grilled cheese and bread board if you go. The waiter, who's name escapes me, was very attentive for as busy it was. He was personable and even recommended other beer places/shops to go to while in the city. The wine was even great! I would love to go back and eat at Birch & Barley. Well worth visiting!
02-23-2014 00:22:19 | More by Cubatobaco
4.88/5 rDev +8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Above the restaurant, up a steep stair, a shotgun barroom with windows at the front and bathrooms in the back. Long bar fills 2/3rds of the room with a great mix of booth, table, bar chairs. Mostly wood, seats aren't the most comfortable, the large crowd that gathered were middle upper class young and lively.
Quality Everything sampled was clean and excellent.
Service: Fantastic. Both servers we encountered were very knowledgeable and obviously loved beer. Friendly, took great care of us even after the place got very busy, we never sat without a beer or water. I really was impressed that the menu (which is impressive for several reasons) listed serving temperatures.
Selection. The night I visited they were just putting out at least 30 English kegs and casks adding to the 30 or more other taps present for an event. The bottle list is a phone directory. I recognized almost nothing. What I did, I recognized as high quality choices. This is graduate school for beer drinkers.
Food: What I had was good (the fried mac and cheese) but not great. The servings, like the beer sizes were small, which is fine as the price reflected that. Very good for bar food, but I wouldn't recommend going in hungry.
02-22-2014 15:42:50 | More by HardTarget
4.78/5 rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75 | $$$$
We visited Churchkey last summer with friends before heading downstairs for dinner at Birch & Barley. The beer selection was phenomenal. I can’t imagine a beer selection being any better than theirs. The beer service staff was very good and knowledgeable. I’d definitely head back any time I’m up in the DC area. I’d say it’s a bit overpriced, but I expected that so it wasn’t a surprise. The food at Birch & Barley was fantastic. The waitstaff was quick to offer a beer selection to pair with the food which was a huge plus. If you are looking for an upscale meal to go along with an excellent beer, you can’t go wrong with Churchkey / Birch & Barley.
02-14-2014 15:49:49 | More by adam42381
Birch & Barley / ChurchKey in Washington, DC
99 out of 100 based on 125 ratings.