Nestled in the newly gentrified neighborhood of Du Pont Circle is a seemingly nondescript restaurant called Birch and Barkley; directly above it is a brewery/eatery called ChurchKey. At first glance, it looks as if the owner bought an automechanic’s shop and reshaped it into a warm and inviting dining area (the front is a metal garage door with four small windows in the middle). The entrance is a simple wooden door, and once you’re inside, you can see the Birch and Barley immediately to your right and stairs leading up to ChurchKey.
The decor is mostly dark wood … high-set booths with soft leather cushions line the left wall while there are some seperate tables in the rear, and the long bar with its myriad tap selection dominates the right hand wall. All the staff are friendly and very well-versed in the selection of draughts and bottles. Looking for something comparable to your favorite brew? Perhaps your server could suggest three or four of their beers to sample.
The ChurchKey Draught List is extensive and divided by flavor profile. They rotate their tap handles each week, but yet still have some of the standards that stick around for a month or two before an equivalent that is new comes in. Check it out here:
Additionally, the menu at ChurchKey is simple bar fare with a decadent twist. When my partner and I visited this summer, we had the Charcuterie, the Caesar and Waldorf salads, and 8 beer samples between us. Each sample costs $2.50-$3.50 depending on the vessel in which it is served. Normally when I taste beer, I will taste about four and then settle on a glass of something, but that night we just had fun tasting.
If you happen to be in the DC area, I would highly recommend checking this place out. Birch and Barley, the restaurant that provides ChurchKey’s food, was awarded “Best New Restaurant 2010” for the city of DC and the Executive Chef Kyle Bailey’s bio can be found here:
Also, their full website is updated weekly and has great, full-color photographs of food from the menu.
Look for the next blog post about a few of my other summer beer adventures, coming this week!