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Birch & Barley / ChurchKey

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

116 Reviews
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
churchkeydc.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by drabmuh on 10-27-2009

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PLACE STATS
Score:
98
Reviews:
116
Ratings:
264
Avg:
4.44
pDev:
7.88%
 
 
Taps:
55
Bottles/Cans:
500
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
N
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 116 | Ratings: 264
Reviews by BeerSox:
Photo of BeerSox
4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I finally made it to the place after two attempts. Attempt one resulted in arriving on a Tuesday night (shortly after the grand opening) to find a packed bar, and that the restaurant (Birch & Barley) not taking "walk-ins". Attempt two I showed up at 3PM ET when the bar was supposed to open at 1PM (according to their website). Others made the same mistake, although they updated their webpage the same day, probably after many people informed them of the error. Anyway, I was turned away, so I wandered around DC for an hour and went in about 4PM (3rd attempt). The bar already had several people, not sure when they started accepting people. Maybe 3:30?

The place is located close to both Dupont Circle (Red Line) and McPherson Square (Orange/Blue Line). Depending on where you're coming from, either one is just as good, and about the same walking distance. It's close to a neighborhood which seems quite, but not sure what the area is like.

The atmosphere reminds me of a tea room, with it's mustard yellow cloth and the shape of the furniture, along with the lanterns. All that's missing is the hookahs. The bar area is a little more typical, with about 30 (very comfortable) seats, along with plenty of LCD HDTVs playing sports or maybe daytime TV.

The selection of this place is amazing. Close to 50 taps, five of them are cask (best I've ever been to). Many of them very rare (and also pricey, but reasonable for what it is). There are tons of bottles (didn't count), accompanied by a little binder listing all of them.

The service is spotty in my opinion, even when it isn't crowded. There have been several apathetic server moments, and sometimes it takes a while to get attention of a server, even when they look right at me (again, even when it isn't crowded).

The food selection is somewhat slim, and a bit overpriced in my opinion. The burger is not worth $14. It's good, but not that big is not that great. The downstairs menu is probably a lot better.

Best selection in DC, one of the best cask selections in the US, and probably one of the top bars in the country overall. Recommended.

 2,113 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of frasergrove
4.78/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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

We were in DC back in March and went to Churchkey mid-afternoon on a Saturday. The place was very crowded, but with a very positive buzz. We grabbed beers at the bar and waited for seating to open up. The seating situation is kind of sit-where-you-want and first-come-first-serve, so vigilance is the key if you're waiting around.

A few days before our visit, they had hosted Victory's 20th anniversary celebration and the taplist still showed the residual effect of it. As a person who'd call Victory his favorite brewery, I was fine with this, however is probably isn't a great indicator of the everyday offerings. Everything was in good shape and served in appropriate glassware. I also appreciate that they appear to always have a handful of cask options.

Once we got a table, we ordered food. There's a lot of small plate and appetizer-type options, but the menu is on the short side, on the whole. The flatbreads were good and likely the standout.

Service was attentive, despite the large crowd. We never waited long for a round.

At the end of the day, ChurchKey was great. It might be a tad pricey, but it's DC.

 1,122 characters

Photo of redgorillabreath
3.76/5  rDev -15.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Visited solo as an out of towner. There's a restaurant downstairs, and a bar with many selections on tap and a hip menu food-wise. Prices reasonable for DC, grilled octopus with squid ink and couscous was outstanding, accompanied by a RIS on tap served in a snifter. I'll be going back.

 286 characters

Photo of SveNss0N
4.9/5  rDev +10.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of hockeypuck
4.66/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of epyon396
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

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

Photo of Emersonio
4.51/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of dwagner003
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of Dmcdonald33013
4.33/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Great spot to add to your pub crawl wild in Georgetown.

55 characters

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

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Birch & Barley / ChurchKey in Washington, DC
4.44 out of 5 based on 264 ratings.
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