Birch & Barley / ChurchKey
Taps: 55 / Bottles: 500
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 130 | Reviews: 100 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by Arithmeticus:
4.6/5 rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
I have visited ChurchKey twice, once when there was plenty of space available and once when the place was jam packed for a special cask event.
I have never seen a place put so much care and thought into its beer selections. The menu changes constantly, responding not merely to what people know and are familiar with, but what aficionados would like to learn about. The list is meticulously curated.
There is a restaurant below, always quiet, and a restaurant above, very popular and so oftentimes quite crowded. In the bar above, you will notice an amazing array of bottles, both behind the bar and on display on the walls. One side of the bar has windows that overlook 14th St., and the 2/3rds of the bar on the other side is quite dark. Look at the center of the bar and you'll see an organ of draft pumps, connected by four large pipes that snake across the ceiling, each into a separate room with a unique temperature suited to that particular beer.
The menu, with its legend of seventeen or so glasses at the bottom, is an indication of the care they put into their selection. Provided you're not sampling (4 oz. quaffs for nearly everything), your beer will be served in the appropriate glass. The menu also explains the temperature of the beer, its ABV, and so forth.
The waiters and help are very knowledgable, and interested in helping customers drink their beers intelligently. Even on the incredibly busy night I attended, the stressed bartender made sure I knew exactly what beer was what. But a word to the wise: if you want to make the most of your ChurchKey experience, go when you know you can enjoy your stay. If you need time to think, try the restaurant.
08-26-2010 13:43:36 | More by Arithmeticus
More User Reviews:
4.94/5 rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$$
I visited Churchkey for the first time last week, and was absolutely impressed by the selection and staff. They had a phenomenal lineup of tap beers, of which I tried the following: Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, Foothills Sexual Chocolate, Struise Cuvee Delphine, Mikkeller George!, Evil Twin Justin Blaeber, and Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron. Thank God for the 4oz. pours! Hard to find a tap lineup like that anywhere (disclaimer - they had a barrel-aged stout event a few days before, so I doubt they normally have those on tap).
The staff was great, and the bartender even gave me the George! and Justin Blaeber for free.
Awesome place, not to be missed if you are in DC.
04-02-2014 22:23:56 | More by Mnmaverick
District of Columbia
4.48/5 rDev -1.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | $$$
I've been to ChurchKey several times as I am a nearby resident of DC. I have never, however, been downstairs to the partnering restaurant type ambiance, Birch & Barley. First time I went to ChurchKey, Great Lakes Christmas Ale was on tap. It is a little pricey, and if you are trying to not spend money, this is not the bar. However, if you are looking for something delicious and maybe, have something rare in mind, this is your first bet for bars in DC. Today's the first of April and I had a KBS 2014 chased by a Hopslam D IPA (no fools). It was a spring day and everything was right with the beers I had; no doubt it would be more pleasant if the bar managed to let a little more light in somehow.
04-02-2014 00:15:49 | More by D-18V
Birch & Barley / ChurchKey in Washington, DC
100 out of 100 based on 130 ratings.