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Birch & Barley / ChurchKey

Not Rated.
Birch & Barley / ChurchKeyBirch & Barley / ChurchKey

112 Reviews
Reviews: 112
Visits: 238
Avg: 4.44
pDev: n/a
Taps: 55
Bottles: 500
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1337 14th St NW
Washington, District of Columbia, 20005-3610
United States
phone: (202) 567-2576

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @churchkeydc

Place added by: drabmuh on 10-27-2009

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 112 | Visits: 238
Reviews by Dreadnaught33:
Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

A cornerstone bar for any craft beer lover in DC! What a treat to have this place available to me any day of the week.

First, the atmosphere is very hip- It has the cool urban feel to it, but it's not full of pretentious people with Heinekens. Very long cool bar, some loose tables, booths, and retro looking seating by the windows. Very cool day and night.

The quality of the beer is great- they serve in the correct glassware at the right temperature, which is really awesome. All the hoppy beers taste right and everything is fresh.

Service is good, mostly efficient I'd say. They get lots of people to come here: not just craft beer geeks like me, but lots of younger working DC people and more, so they have lots of people to look after. Also, I'd probably have to go there a lot more than I can afford to right now to be able to be friendly with the bartenders, which is too bad, because there is definitely the potential hook up factor if you were friends with the people working here.

Selection is always great, they hold lots of special events for rare beers like CBS, a recent Stone tap takeover, Sexual Chocolate, etc. and all other times they have a stacked menu for the 55 taps (5 casks) and 500 bottles, even a rare bottle list. Doesn't get a whole lot better.

Food is good, solid barfood and some thats a little more interesting than the regular stuff for sure. The price is what keeps me from rating this higher, as it is very expensive.

Overall a really awesome bar that I will be giving lots of money to for years.

 1,541 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of costanzo_mike
4.61/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of Cpmitchno1
4.58/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.01/5  rDev -9.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

Photo of benzalman
4.39/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Photo of jrfehon33
3.76/5  rDev -15.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.25 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

I visited Church Key while on a business trip because it has a reputation for a wide selection of beer from around the world. I wasn't disappointed. Their draft and bottle lists rival that of any bar in the states or Europe. The vibe and food are good. If you don't care about cost this place will quickly become your favorite. However, their pricing is flat out greedy. I hate to knock a place that obviously prides itself on quality and selection. I appreciate both. However, a great bar cares about its clientele through a number of other avenues, most importantly providing fair pricing. Church Key simply doesn't do that and so my trip last month will be my one and only.

 676 characters

Photo of DovGibor
3.95/5  rDev -11%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75

I've been to ChurchKey three times and it's always an interesting, albeit imperfect experience. Their selection is amazing. It leans more towards sours than most places, and the general public. I'm not crazy about their classification system, but if you know craft beers, you'll eventually find what you're looking for. They have an amazing wall of vintage beers above booths, and cases with illustrious names on them stacked above the bar.

Service is great for locals, not so great for everyone else. The lighting tends to be dim, but so are many bars. The menu is limited, though good. I've had enjoyable appetizers on two visits. On my most recent trip I needed dinner and ordered a burger. The bun was burnt and I would have sent it back for a new bun, but I'm not a local and after 5 minutes of trying to wave down my server I gave in to hunger and just ate it.

It is warmer than is comfortable, and I think this is a problem. They go to great lengths to serve their beers at proper temperature and in proper glassware. Separate draft lines and coolers for three temps. Remember all those illustrious vintage beers? They're all stored at this uncomfortable temperature. Why go to such lengths to serve a 10 year old beer at 55º, when it spent 9.5 of those years at 80º? Maybe I'm missing something, but it made me wonder.

I'd still recommend visiting if you're a craft beer fan in DC. Just don't have too high expectations for the experience.

 1,470 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.54/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of FyreStorm
4.34/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5

Visiting from Ontario, did my homework and made sure to make this place a priority. The decor is subdued as is the lighting...it's not a 'show' bar, but at the same time the couches and furniture do provide some comfortable perch to imbibe your brew.

The bottle selection is next to none. Staggering menu with tons of choices in every variety.

My wife and I took advantage of the healthy draft list and sample 4oz available to work our way thru about 20 selections on two separate visits.

Service was attentive but not hovering.

Overall I can't imagine visiting DC and not popping in here.

 595 characters

Photo of VeganUndead
4.69/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of DerekCarruth
4.79/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4

As far as beer places go, this is going to be hard to beat. Man, the selection is spectacular. 45-50 beers on draft and about 300-400 bottle options, maybe more. If you can't find an outstanding beer in your style you are never going to. As far as beer bars go this is top of the class. Well done.

 302 characters

Photo of mkholmes25
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Photo of needMIbeerinMD
4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of Flying-ABV
4.9/5  rDev +10.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Fantastic!! 700 beers in the book and about 3-dozen on tap. Serving temps of 42/48/54F. No nitro taps but great atmosphere beer and food. Bar upstairs and restaurant down. I'd keep coming back for sure!!

 207 characters

Photo of mjstern70
5/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This place is beyond words. You must go there if you're in the area at all.

76 characters

Photo of cshafer7
4.29/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

Photo of chinchill
2.91/5  rDev -34.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3

Visited the upstairs Churchkey pub only as the downstairs area was closed.
Loud and crowded bar, which I can put up with to some extent.
Not acceptable is the fact that the beer I ordered seemed to be infected. The brewery may be to blame, in part, but the pub is certainly ultimately responsible. To add insult to injury, they billed me for 50% more than the price listed on their menu. Somewhat minimal service staff never checked to see if the beer as satisfactory.
Even without this, the beer list, high pricing, and mediocre facility are far from world class; the high rating is beyond comprehension.

 611 characters

Photo of ChrisinRI
4.75/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of N17shelfside
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75

Photo of stevoj
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

A nice cozy upstairs bar, dim industrial feel, My one beef was the lighting, impossibly low lights and small type on the menu made it almost impossible to read. Decent food, I did not get a chance to see the bottle list buy heard it was pretty good.

 249 characters

Photo of Highbury09
4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of whitenads
4.85/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

Photo of vonnegut21
4.41/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of Siggy125
4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of Devman171
4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

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Birch & Barley / ChurchKey in Washington, DC
98 out of 100 based on 112 ratings.