Birch & Barley / ChurchKey
Taps: 55 / Bottles: 500
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 123 | Reviews: 97 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by BeerSox:
4.4/5 rDev -2.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
I finally made it to the place after two attempts. Attempt one resulted in arriving on a Tuesday night (shortly after the grand opening) to find a packed bar, and that the restaurant (Birch & Barley) not taking "walk-ins". Attempt two I showed up at 3PM ET when the bar was supposed to open at 1PM (according to their website). Others made the same mistake, although they updated their webpage the same day, probably after many people informed them of the error. Anyway, I was turned away, so I wandered around DC for an hour and went in about 4PM (3rd attempt). The bar already had several people, not sure when they started accepting people. Maybe 3:30?
The place is located close to both Dupont Circle (Red Line) and McPherson Square (Orange/Blue Line). Depending on where you're coming from, either one is just as good, and about the same walking distance. It's close to a neighborhood which seems quite, but not sure what the area is like.
The atmosphere reminds me of a tea room, with it's mustard yellow cloth and the shape of the furniture, along with the lanterns. All that's missing is the hookahs. The bar area is a little more typical, with about 30 (very comfortable) seats, along with plenty of LCD HDTVs playing sports or maybe daytime TV.
The selection of this place is amazing. Close to 50 taps, five of them are cask (best I've ever been to). Many of them very rare (and also pricey, but reasonable for what it is). There are tons of bottles (didn't count), accompanied by a little binder listing all of them.
The service is spotty in my opinion, even when it isn't crowded. There have been several apathetic server moments, and sometimes it takes a while to get attention of a server, even when they look right at me (again, even when it isn't crowded).
The food selection is somewhat slim, and a bit overpriced in my opinion. The burger is not worth $14. It's good, but not that big is not that great. The downstairs menu is probably a lot better.
Best selection in DC, one of the best cask selections in the US, and probably one of the top bars in the country overall. Recommended.
11-14-2009 03:50:29 | More by BeerSox
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 123 ratings.