18 November 2017
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Birch & Barley/ChurchKey

Once upon a time, bars and restaurants decided that bar food wasn’t cool enough for the DC scene. So they changed the names, made the food worse and started overcharging for it. For example, what is the difference between a pizza and a flatbread?

Give up? A flatbread is smaller than a pizza and costs twice as much. But with a fancy name like “flatbread,” who cares how much it costs, right? Take my money, please.

That said, ChurchKey’s fig and prosciutto pizza (I mean flatbread) isn’t half bad. It might actually be the best thing on the menu. I’m not sure it’s $16 good, but it’s ok. Now, if it was only $8.99, I would tell you it’s fantastic. But it’s not. Want chicken wings? They come 4-5 on a plate without blue cheese and without celery (very fancy). Honestly, why even bother? The tater tots are a strong choice, though. They might be the best thing on the menu, next to the flatbread.

ChurchKey is definitely a cool spot for which to hang. The decor is great, and the vibe feels more like a comfortable New York City neighborhood bar than any of its counterparts on 14th Street. The bar itself is pretty big and has enough TVs to see games from anywhere you happen to be standing. If you can find a seat at the bar or an open table, it’s a very comfortable place to hang out at for a few hours. But considering it’s one of the hottest spots on 14th Street, it’s almost always packed. ChurchKey also has the largest beer selection in Washington, DC. I actually have no research to support that claim. But I’m declaring it a fact, anyway.

Hands down, the best aspect of ChurchKey is that it sells 4 oz flights of beer for between $2-3. That makes up for the $200 you just spent on flatbreads. Normally, I’ll go down the menu and choose one flight from each category (Crisps, Hops, Malt, Roast, Smoke, Fruity, etc.). What does a Smokey beer taste like, you might ask? Bacon. Yes, I said bacon. The flavor comes from distilling the beer over a wood-smoked fire. Genius. Actually, it’s really gross, but you should try it anyway – especially if you’re a vegetarian, because that’s the closest you’re ever going to get to tasting meat. The flight experiment makes for an interesting night, and an even more interesting morning after.

In summary, ChurchKey is a great spot if you’re a beer drinker or looking to socialize. But until they drop the prices on the menu or start focusing on making just a few really good items, I’m opting to eat elsewhere for bar food. Stoney’s, anyone?

Neighborhood: 14th Street
Address: 1337 14th St., NW (Bet. P St. and Rhode Island Ave.) Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-567-2576
Web site: www.birchandbarley.com
Parking: Street
Metro: N/A
Serves: Brunch (Sunday); Dinner (Tuesday-Sunday)
Specials: N/A
Go for: Fig and prosciutto flatbread; tater tots; bread board; beer selection; dessert tasting plate; socializing
Price: *****
Rating: *****

Churchkey on Urbanspoon

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)
Birch & Barley/ChurchKey, 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

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