Birch & Barley / ChurchKey
Taps: 55 / Bottles: 500
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 160 | Reviews: 105 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Jimmys:
4.68/5 rDev +4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$$
i wish i could write 2 separate reviews, one for B&B and one for Churchkey, but since they are lumped together i suppose i will just do an "overall" review. however, some categories have to review each individually.
C: get here early. and avoid friday/saturday nights. or else you will not like the atmosphere. definitely a lounge-like atmosphere with large booth, great comfortable bar stools, some high tables, and some couches/small tables in the back. very impressive display of tap handles showcasing all 50 craft taps + 6 beer engines of quality brews. i definitely can see how people can gripe about the crowds, so please if you are planning on coming, get here early so you can post up a quality spot at the bar. if you are right there the bartenders will take very good care of you. (4.5)
B&B: dimly lit hip eatery. tables are well spread out and since they are more of a reservation/sit-down joint definitely did not feel crowded. no tv's down here so bring the cell if you plan on checking scores (i discovered my bracket was in ruins when i checked my phone in the bathroom). same tap lines from upstairs run downstairs as well just without the fancy handles. (4.0)
C/B&B: both of these places are exceptional in their presentation of both beer and food. i love a place that uses proper glassware in presenting beer (although sometimes i would like a larger serving than a 10oz. stange) and cares about your 'experience' while consuming. food is the same way with their flatbread pizzas coming out on wooden cutting boards and their dishes (we ate from the tasting menu) all had unique plating. (5.0)
C: like i harped on in the atmosphere section, get a spot at the bar and you will not be disappointed. the bartenders are all extremely knowledgeable about what they have on tap/bottles and can find a beer for you if you are lost in the selection. if you sit a table the service can be more of a crap-shoot, especially if they are crowded. (4.0)
B&B: exceptional service. our waitress was very helpful and made sure our water glasses/beer glasses were full. my favorite thing about the service was that we choose to do the beer pairing with the tasting menu, so each time we got a new beer taste a different 'beer server' would come over and give tasting notes as well as how it will meld with the tasting dish. another point worth noting was at one point the kitchen was behind (the kitchen does the food for churchkey as well as B&B) and the kitchen sent out a flatbread pizza as well as a few pints all comp'ed. when management comes out to keep the table informed of delays, and works with the table to keep them satisfied, this is a sign of exceptional service. (5.0)
C/B&B: since both places share the bottle/tap list i can also lump these together. ill keep this one short, go online and see what they have on tap/in bottles. the tap selection is ALWAYS rotating/fresh/rare. this is The beer bar to go to if you are in the area.
C: definitely the simpler of the 2 menus. flatbread pizzas, sandwiches, simple tasty apps. i highly recommend the fig and prosciutto flatbread. (3.5)
B&B: some of the same items as churchkey, but a bit 'fancier'. similar to the beer list, entrees are rotating, but usually will feature a duck, lamb, nice piece of red meat, etc. the tasting menu is where it is at. 5 courses all small/moderately portioned so you can have a bit of everything. still managed to get a little full though. (4.0)
C/B&B: bring your wallet. it is very easy to spend some dough in this joint. the beers/dishes are definitely expensive, but this is DC. as for the beers, you get what you pay for. a lot of these are definitely beers that are worth/difficult to seek out so overall you might be paying for your search or paying this establishment.
this is definitely my lengthiest review written for this website, but this place is worth it. it is THE beer bar to go to if you are in DC or in the area. if you are a connoisseur of the finer things in life check it out, you will not be disappointed.
03-27-2011 14:22:44 | More by Jimmys
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.