Birch & Barley / ChurchKey
Taps: 55 / Bottles: 500
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 160 | Reviews: 105 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BeerSox:
4.4/5 rDev -2.2%
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:
4.16/5 rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4 | $$$
This might not be the greatest beer bar I have been to or drinking time/experience I've ever had but as I review this place it might just be after all. The draft and bottle list is impressive and the four oz sample you can get for any draft is great. I would say that the four ounce samples are pricey but then again this is DC so that might be norm for area. The setup is great too (I went in afternoon so no idea if crowding is problem at night) - plenty of bar seats and booths, TVs turned to ESPN channels (pleased me), low lighting and music so you don't have to shout and the vie is more relaxed. Perhaps only complaint is it seemed to take a while for our food which didn't bother me. As for beer selection I still stand by my first sentence that it's not the greatest beer bar b/c they do get stuff from everywhere and stuff I can't find anywhere else with exception of Philly. A must go for anybody hitting DC.
07-25-2014 16:56:53 | More by clayrock81
4.56/5 rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4 | $$
Yes, this should be your first stop in DC (I'm local). The beers are the point here but reviewed separately. Regarding the place itself, the bar at CK makes it easy to spend long hours sampling their enormous selection of drafts and bottle reserves; substantial/expansive bar, well spaced and padded bar stools w/ armrests, attentive/knowledgeable bar staff, B&B chef make great bar food and pairings. I appreciate the seclusion and the throwback lounge vibe (although some may not); i.e. bar is up a long stairwell with a rather dark interior, no outside views from bar-some window seating is available.
About half of CK has excellent TV viewing (from bar, booths/tables) and staff is good about tuning in your game but don't expect sound, you're here to drink, so are the people behind and around you.
Draft and bottle menus well organized (profile, style, product and servicing details), easy to review and select. Although I have not made it through the 555 lineup, the published selection of drafts and bottles appears to be accurate and up to date only because I have been coming here for about 4 years I have not encountered any instance where something was out or unavailable (and I have tried).
The 55 daily drafts can be sampled (4 oz.) but if you want to dent the 500 bottle lineup bring a friend (or make one).
A phenomenal place..
07-22-2014 19:45:40 | More by WicksCherrycoke
Birch & Barley / ChurchKey in Washington, DC
99 out of 100 based on 160 ratings.