Birch & Barley / ChurchKey

Not Rated.
Birch & Barley / ChurchKeyBirch & Barley / ChurchKey
BA SCORE
98
world-class

109 Reviews
Reviews: 109
Visits: 229
rAvg: 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

Notes:
Place added by: drabmuh on 10-27-2009

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 109 | Visits: 229
Reviews by Sludgeman:
Photo of Sludgeman
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

UPDATED

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. (2,521 characters)

More User Reviews:
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

Photo of djhowell
4.38/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of woodchip
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of Jbrett13
4.93/5  rDev +11%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of ArkyVaughan
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of lorenwhite7
4.93/5  rDev +11%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of McMatt7
4.26/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Photo of 31Sam13
4.75/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of qchic
4.21/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Been a couple of times, both when it was quiet and also when packed. Great selection--menu is separated by style and a sample size is offered for half the price of a full pour. Fair pricing, especially for the area. They seem to get some limited beers and feature events and releases. Service has been decent, efficient, but don't expect warm and fuzzy. I'm sure I won't be the only one to mention the parking, as in there is none. It may be a while before I return as there are just too many other beer bars to explore, but it's inevitable that I'll be back. (560 characters)

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Birch & Barley / ChurchKey in Washington, DC
98 out of 100 based on 109 ratings.