Birch & Barley / ChurchKey
Taps: 55 / Bottles: 500
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 156 | Reviews: 104 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Sludgeman:
District of Columbia
4.13/5 rDev -8.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25 | $$$
Visited Church Key multiple times - weekdays and weekends, early and late, during events and not.
Overall, this place is on my list when I need a special beer. Its a beer drinkers bar . . . the bar upstairs tends to be too crowded and service suffers. Sitting at the bar in the Birch & Barley is much prefered. Go early and leave early, the experience will be much better and you'll most likely get the beer you are looking for. Not kid friendly except early. Can be too dark for some of us whose eyes are little older. They REALLY need to resolve the dishwashing detergent odor issue noted below.
3/26/2013 - A Wednesday during the Craft Brewers Conference. Super crowded. A new line up of beers special for the night. Cool stuff.
A - The restaurant is less crowded and has a better atmosphere.
Q - I have to ding them this time. 3 of my 5 tastes had that dishwashing detergent odor. Could not taste, but the odor was clearly evident. Thought it was maybe the beer the first time. Sitting at the bar in the restaurant watching the bartender put glasses through the dishwasher. When she pulled the glasses out she would do a quick rinse on the glass washer before pouring a beer. I mentioned it to the bartender and she agreed. Without my asking she credited two of the beers. She was more attentive to rinsing the glasses before a pour.
S - Service in the restaurant is much better than in the upstairs bar.
S - Unbelieveable. Top notch.
F - Somewhat narrow menu but the food was good. I had the pieroges and the chicken rosemary flatbread. Both were yummy and arrive quickly.
2/2/2013 - Arrived about 6pm looking to have a few beers before we headed down the street for dinner. This was the first time I had visited. ChurchKey had been on my "to visit" list for quite some time and I finally made. Unfortunately I was underwhelmed.
A - When we walked in the first thing we noticed was the stale beer smell. Reminded me of my fraternity bar where I paid $0.25/beer. I can get over the smell, but for paying the prices the least they can do is keep it clean and somewhat fresh smelling. It was crowed (not complaining, popular places get crowded) with a good vibe. Seating is a challenge. And the lighting is quite low, making it difficult to read the beer menu.
Q - No complaints
S - Waiter was friendly and helpful, but the service was very slow. Busy and crowded means slow, but it was almost an hour between my first and second beers.
S - Beer selection is great, both on tap and by the bottle.
05-23-2014 13:54:54 | More by Sludgeman
More User Reviews:
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 156 ratings.