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Birch & Barley / ChurchKey

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
98
world-class

114 Reviews
PLACE STATS
Place Score:
98
Reviews:
114
Ratings:
254
Avg:
4.44
pDev:
8.11%
 
 
Taps:
55
Bottles/Cans:
500
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
N
Birch & Barley / ChurchKeyBirch & Barley / ChurchKey
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

1337 14th St NW
Washington, District of Columbia, 20005-3610
United States

(202) 567-2576 | map
www.churchkeydc.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by drabmuh on 10-27-2009

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View: Place Ratings | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 114 | Ratings: 254
Reviews by HardTarget:
Photo of HardTarget
4.88/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

 1,214 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of stephenjmoore
4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of TheBlueJerzzzz
4.41/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of cadaugherty
4.44/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of neil2me
4.83/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of spacebear09
4.29/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Photo of MNBeerGeek
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of ZEB89
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of jcoleMA66
4.78/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of hollywoodbeergirl
3.78/5  rDev -14.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Love the place but I think I would love it more if I were a local. I felt like an outsider. I am pretty mellow and patient and polite but I can imagine others getting frustrated with the service here. Great beer selection obviously and if I lived here I would probably give these guys a nice portion of my paycheck. Places like this make me miss my Vermont vacations where the beer is still world class yet the service a touch more friendly and personal. Still a great place.

 475 characters

Photo of GreatStoutman
4.28/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 1 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of rjd722
4.76/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

What's not to love about this classic beer bar? Restaurant on the first floor and bar on the second; I always to go the bar upstairs because you can still get solid food. Awesome tap list with a variety of temperatures depending on the style. Many, many bottles...many.

I try to come here for as many of their special events as possible. The last time I was there we had great service and the waiter was very knowledgeable, happy to make recommendations. You won't find a better overall beer spot in the DC area.

 513 characters

Photo of Tomkob11
4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of Mpontiakos
4.44/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of brandoman63
4.32/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Brian29
4.35/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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

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Birch & Barley / ChurchKey in Washington, DC
98 out of 100 based on 114 ratings.