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“Lots of beer choices, food is OK” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Churchkey

1337 14th Street NW, 2nd Floor, Washington DC, DC 20005 (Logan Circle/ Shaw)
(202) 567-2576
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Ranked #79 of 2,563 Restaurants in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene
Dining options: Lunch, Drinks, Breakfast, Dinner
Neighborhood: Logan Circle/ Shaw
Kennebunkport, Maine
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Lots of beer choices, food is OK”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2010

A hip, happening place. The beer is good, service is friendly and efficient. The food is so-so, typical for a pub. Definitely a bit of a hipster scene, but in a low-key way. Go for the beer selection, not so much for the food.

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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207 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
28 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“great haute hops!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2010

First choice was the cask Bell's Cherry Stout on tap, which was the bomb! Hubby savored a lovely Czech pilsner in the bottle. He wishes he was in Prague! We shared an artisan cheese trio with homemade bread and fruit/nut chutneys which hit the spot while awaiting a table downstairs at Birch & Barley. Next time we'll just stay upstairs, the bar stools are more comfortable! My only complaint is I don't have enough time in a year to try all the beer choices! But they do offer 4 oz. tasters of the 50+ beers on tap so you can sample many types in one visit. I tried a "smoked" beer which was to die for! I was transported to a crisp fall day with a bonfire crackling! Now that was some good beer. Wish I could remember the name.......

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Level Contributor
153 reviews
76 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
“Upstairs At Churchkey: Beervana!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2010

A “World Class” beer bar has finally arrived in the nation’s capital! For beer lovers living in this city, its nightly beer scene once overrun by nomadic tribes of pretentious young things seeking $5.00 Bud Buckets, this is a cause célèbre.

Birch & Barley and Churchkey (BBCK), consists of two establishments: downstairs is Birch & Barley, a rather upscale restaurant that regales hungry patrons with an eclectic menu of seasonal cuisine; upstairs, atop a stairway of corrugated black steel awaits Churchkey, the aforementioned “World Class” beer bar and subject of this review.

Once you have climbed the stairs, sheer Beervana beckons. You are in a long and narrow room; hanging from the high ceiling above are several large cast-iron church lights to ensure your quaff has an atmosphere of intimacy. To the right, in front of several large windows, is situated a regal looking lounge area furnished with comfy banquettes embroidered in gold and orange. This area gets packed early.

Then there is the sleek and handsome bar. At seventy feet long, and embedded with printed churchkeys, it runs nearly the entire length of the room and extends towards the rear, where there is a smaller – and quieter – lounge area containing a few small tables. Beyond are the bathrooms. The audio-visual stimulus is provided by several muted flat screen TVs hovering over the taps and a very decent, but well modulated, music system. Besides a great selection of beer, any patron of Churchkey is guaranteed an evening of aesthetic pleasantness.

Once seated in one of the plush swivel stools, I eagerly summon the draft menu from the friendly bartender. It lists fifty craft beers from around the world, many of them new, or rare, to this area. And, if this is not enough, Churchkey also offers five hand-pumped cask conditioned beers. (During this particular visit, I savored Sierra Nevada Celebration and Oliver’s Dark Horse, the latter is a porter brewed by Oliver’s in nearby Baltimore.)

And wonderful as it is given the contents contained therein, the draft menu is conveniently divided into such categories as “Crisp,” “Malt,” “Tart and Fruity” and “Hops” in order to ensure that discerning beer aficionados can find that perfect something for their perfectionist palates. But wait … there’s more! All drafts arrive in their appropriate glassware and, due to three temperature controlled vaults, are served at their optimal temperature. But wait … there’s even more! Churchkey also stocks over 500 bottled beers, all of which are listed in a big black binder kept behind the bar; it is yours to peruse for the asking. (Try not to drool.) Of course, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a taste for craft beer; for these sad souls, BBCK serve a myriad of wine, spirits and cocktails. And if some of the beers are rather exorbitant, it is simply because many of them are just hard to find. For example, while a 10-ounce snifter of Brewdog Paradox goes for $10.00, Churchkey gives you the option of a 4-ounce pour; these “samples” can vary from $1.50 to $5.50. This in itself makes BBCK economical.

As for the bar food, the menu consists of fresh, well made cuisine that is leaps and bounds beyond your typical pub grub. As is the beer menu, it is broken up into the following criteria: “Plates To Share,” “Poppers,” “Salads and Sandwiches,” and “Flatbreads.” I dined on a goat cheese Panini with some (ala carte) tater tots on the side.

Those wishing to avoid the horrific hassle of driving and parking in the District, can get there by Metro. For me, the Red Line’s Dupont Circle Station is the most convenient and a 20-minute walk (along P Street) from BBCK. It is also easily accessible from the Shaw-Howard University Station (Green Line). McPherson Station, on the Blue-Orange Line, is also a 20-minute walk Or just grab a cab. If adventurous and thrifty, you can take the 14th Street Metrobus (No. 52) that passes by the front door. They open daily at 4:00 pm, so grab your ID – it will be checked - and get in line early. (A minor quibble is that it doesn’t open earlier – perhaps, this will change some day.)

After a year and a half of delay and anticipation, Birch & Barley and Churchkey has been a long time in coming. To those of us truly passionate about beer, it will become our haven and it will be cherished. So, thanks to Beer Director Greg Engert and the Neighborhood Restaurant Group – they also own the fabulous Rustico - for daring to take “beer bar” to a new level.

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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