Birch & Barley / ChurchKey

BA SCORE
98
world-class

274 Ratings
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

PLACE STATS
Score:
98
Ratings:
274
Reviews:
118
Avg:
4.44
pDev:
7.88%
 
 
Taps:
55
Bottles/Cans:
500
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
N
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 274 |  Reviews: 118
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 jak
4.51/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of Zonian1
4.95/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of PrestigeWorldwide
4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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

Photo of dcisco44
4.89/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of deakin
4.74/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Photo of Jay_P22
4.56/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Visited ChurchKey on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017.

Vibe is really nice. Perfect size crowd, every table and spot was pretty much filled.

Quality is almost as good as it gets...from the beer to the food. Draft list was amazing, food is solid. The place looks nice, hip and modern. Really up to date.

Service was good. Server was knowledgeable about the beers which was good to see.

Beer selection there makes this place a must. Started with fresh Hopslam on draft, had Hardywood Christmas Morning, Dino Smores, Mexican Cake collab with Evil Twin, and a RAR juicy IPA. I took a friend there who was visiting from LA and he was impressed. The bottle list is even better.

Food is nice. Ordered wings (solid) and tots (really good version). We only really came for drinks, but the menu made me want to come back.

Overall, you must go if in DC. I have been to most of the places, and this is near the top. Parking is tough, but a parking garage is walking distance if you can't score street parking.

 1,019 characters

Photo of d_stack
4.55/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of HipCzech
4.69/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

From notes: visited Birch & Barely on 30-May-2013 for dinner. Enjoyed the tasting menu while visiting D.C. Outstanding mix of stylish dining room, friendly and knowledgeable staff, delicious modern plates, and terrific beer list to match - a winner on all levels.

Crudo of Spanish Mackerel - Gin Yogurt, Celery, Dill, Pickled Mustard Seed
Marsilia / Birra Amiata / Italy

Seared Striped Bass - English Peas, Sunchoke Purée, Watercress
Perle ai Porci / Birra Del Borgo / Italy

Handmade Potato Gnocchi - Rabbit Sausage, Fennel Pollen, Ramps, Ricotta Salata
Instigator / Bluejacket & Mad Fox Brewing Company / DC & Virginia

Spring House Farm Goat Loin - Toasted Bulgur, Savoy Spinach, Pine Nuts, Cherry Belle Radishes
Rippa / Green Jack Brewing Company / England

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake - Citrus Segments, Blood Orange Sorbet, Pound Cake, Basil
Aphrodite / Brasserie Dieu du Ciel / Quebec

 892 characters

Photo of StoutLover14
4/5  rDev -9.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.75

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

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Birch & Barley / ChurchKey in Washington, DC
4.44 out of 5 based on 274 ratings.
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