Jump to content




Photo

ChurchKey, 14th Street near Logan Circle


  • Please log in to reply
69 replies to this topic

#1 brr

brr

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 568 posts

Posted 07 February 2008 - 09:12 AM

In case you missed it: Click.

Ahhhhh.

 

saw it yesterday and meant to post - another hopefully great addition to that neighborhood - DC has undergone quite the transformation in the last 5-10 years for beer lovers from just Brickskellar to RFD (admittedly far from perfect), Birreria, Beck, Rustico, the Reef etc etc



#2 demandalicious

demandalicious

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 252 posts

Posted 24 June 2008 - 11:03 AM

What's the word on this place?

I've seen a lot of movement/work being done there over the last couple of weeks, but no signage yet.

#3 ferment everything

ferment everything

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,253 posts

Posted 24 June 2008 - 01:07 PM

What's the word on this place?

I've seen a lot of movement/work being done there over the last couple of weeks, but no signage yet.

Aiming for August/September, I believe.
Me: T, t
Mission Gastroclub: T, t

#4 TedE

TedE

    bottom feeder

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 874 posts

Posted 24 June 2008 - 01:42 PM

Aiming for August/September, I believe.

We were at Rustico 3 or 4 weeks ago and I chatted with Greg about progress on the space; he mentioned a Labor Day opening specifically, but obviously that depends on 1,000 different things. A couple nuggets from what I recall:
  • The upstairs will be the bar space with a majority of the taps (and up to six (6!!) beer engines :lol: ) with the ground floor functioning more as a proper restaurant.
  • Upstairs may have more of a limited menu due to kitchen logistics (everything will have to go up and down the stairs)
  • Pizza ovens are definitely in the plans.
  • Greg really wants to focus on service, something that it sounded like he thought was missing in many local watering holes in the District (he lives just up the street from the new space). I guess you could read that as a jab at a certain grandfather of the D.C. beer scene, but he also indicated he wasn't going to hire condescending, cooler-than-thou hipster kids to sneer at his customers.
I am ridiculously excited for this place.

"Mmmm ... floor pie ...." - Homer Simpson


#5 DPop

DPop

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 683 posts

Posted 24 June 2008 - 02:45 PM

[*]Greg really wants to focus on service, something that it sounded like he thought was missing in many local watering holes in the District (he lives just up the street from the new space). I guess you could read that as a jab at a certain grandfather of the D.C. beer scene, but he also indicated he wasn't going to hire condescending, cooler-than-thou hipster kids to sneer at his customers.

I am ridiculously excited for this place.

I am so happy to hear that he is paying special attention to service. Too many places that could be good downtown are ruined by service staff that either don't have a clue or think it's their job to look down at you to make the place have a certain "feel".

If Greg delivers good, friendly bartenders, pretty good food and a comfortable atmosphere, he will be getting my money often. I also cannot wait for this place to open.

#6 ferment everything

ferment everything

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,253 posts

Posted 06 August 2008 - 12:09 PM

Birch & Barley and ChurchKey
Me: T, t
Mission Gastroclub: T, t

#7 bonaire

bonaire

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 169 posts

Posted 06 August 2008 - 12:29 PM

I am ridiculously excited for this place.

I second (third?) that. I live in the neighborhood and love the idea of a relaxed place with some outdoor space! I just sent the Sietsema link to my S.O. who I think will be pacing outside of the place til it opens....Sounds like it could be a great addition to the neighborhood.

#8 TedE

TedE

    bottom feeder

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 874 posts

Posted 06 August 2008 - 01:22 PM

Named

Bummed to see the date pushed back, but it's not unexpected. October can't come early enough!

Signed,

"Dupont beer geek" :lol:

"Mmmm ... floor pie ...." - Homer Simpson


#9 TedE

TedE

    bottom feeder

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 874 posts

Posted 10 November 2008 - 10:48 PM

Latest word on the street indicates a 1Q 2009 opening, that's about as specific as I can determine.

My mantra: "It will be worth the wait, it will be worth the wait, it will be worth the wait"

Seriously. If this place lives up to 25% of my expectations it will be worth the wait.

Serenity now!!

"Mmmm ... floor pie ...." - Homer Simpson


#10 AlexC

AlexC

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 222 posts

Posted 18 February 2009 - 05:09 PM

Serenity now!!

I feel like Frank Costanza over here... "SERENITY NOW! SERENITY NOW!"

Any firmer idea when this place is gonna open up?

Alex

#11 DPop

DPop

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 683 posts

Posted 18 February 2009 - 06:31 PM

I feel like Frank Costanza over here... "SERENITY NOW! SERENITY NOW!"

Any firmer idea when this place is gonna open up?

Alex

Someone told me that they heard March and I laughed at them. I walk by the space at least 3 times a week and, for the most part, the inside looks exactly the same as it did in June of last year. Still a mess of pre-construction debris, and they still haven't even taken down the Dakota Cowgirl or Ramrod signs off the front!

My mantra now is "I'll believe it when I see it." :P

#12 AlexC

AlexC

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 222 posts

Posted 18 February 2009 - 10:35 PM

...they still haven't even taken down the Dakota Cowgirl or Ramrod signs off the front!

I never made it up there, but I like to think that "Titan's Ramrod" made the Blue Oyster look like Chuck E. Cheese. They used to run a special night for "Bears, Otters, Cubs and Wolves," and even my gay friends couldn't reach consensus on the definition of that demographic.

Dakota Cowgirl, however... that place is happily in the rearview. Bring on Birch & Barley.

Alex

#13 TedE

TedE

    bottom feeder

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 874 posts

Posted 19 February 2009 - 10:40 AM

Someone told me that they heard March and I laughed at them. I walk by the space at least 3 times a week and, for the most part, the inside looks exactly the same as it did in June of last year. Still a mess of pre-construction debris, and they still haven't even taken down the Dakota Cowgirl or Ramrod signs off the front!

My mantra now is "I'll believe it when I see it." :P

I walked by earlier this week and they had drywall up. That was a recent change.

"Mmmm ... floor pie ...." - Homer Simpson


#14 rbh

rbh

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 211 posts

Posted 06 August 2009 - 10:43 PM

The Dakota Cowgirl sign is down.....

#15 AlexC

AlexC

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 222 posts

Posted 07 August 2009 - 07:41 AM

The Dakota Cowgirl sign is down.....

...and given the amount of noise, dust, motion and people, I'd say that someone has decided to get this place open. Finally. A month ago, Tim Carman reported a September opening. Seems ambitious.

#16 DPop

DPop

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 683 posts

Posted 10 August 2009 - 08:36 AM

A month ago, Tim Carman reported a September opening. Seems ambitious.

The quote in bold is the understatement of the year. There has finally been some activity in the space, but I'd be shocked and awed if this place is open before mid-October to November.

#17 RWBooneJr.

RWBooneJr.

    hammerhead

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 675 posts

Posted 18 August 2009 - 01:57 PM

Today, DC Beer Digest had this:

I highly doubt that I am the only one that has been anxiously awaiting an
update on the Birch & Barley / ChurchKey opening in DC. Heck, they're
slated to have 5 casks and 50 drafts, what beer lovers wouldn't be excited.
And given the history of delays, I would be hesitant to place any money on
an opening date. But while at Rustico for lunch yesterday, I asked our
waiter if there was an update on the status. I was surprised when he said
'yes', they plan to open on September 21st.... not Fall 2009, or sometime in
September but September 21st. I actually called Rustico this afternoon to
confirm and the hostess to whom I spoke was able to verify the opening date.
I haven't seen anything on their website and I know that their chef, Frank
Morales, recently the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, so there are still
plenty of opportunities for further delays, but I'm going to remain
optimistic. If anyone has further details I'd welcome them. Hopefully I'll
see most of you there at one time or another.

I can't vouch for it, but thought I'd pass it along.

#18 TedE

TedE

    bottom feeder

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 874 posts

Posted 18 August 2009 - 05:40 PM

Today, DC Beer Digest had this:.

Saw that, too. This tease has gone on long enough. Maybe if they miss the 9/21 date I'll chuck a brick through the front window. But then that would delay the opening even longer! Damn.

"Mmmm ... floor pie ...." - Homer Simpson


#19 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,684 posts

Posted 18 August 2009 - 06:15 PM

Today, DC Beer Digest had this:

I can't vouch for it, but thought I'd pass it along.

[Is there a link we can give them? I can't find it on Google. (Thanks for the update - NRG is good at playing their cards close to the vest (not that that's a bad thing).)]

dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#20 DPop

DPop

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 683 posts

Posted 17 September 2009 - 08:40 AM

Saw that, too. This tease has gone on long enough. Maybe if they miss the 9/21 date I'll chuck a brick through the front window. But then that would delay the opening even longer! Damn.

I echo your frustration, Ted, as it seems like I've been waiting for this place to open since I moved into the neighborhood a year and a half ago.

I'm not going to resist the urge to do an "I told you so" after predicting that this place would not be open until at least mid-October despite them releasing the Sept. 21 date, as I walked past the other day some definite progress had been made, but with (at the time) 8 days until opening, I laughed to myself at the thought of them being open on their firm, specific planned date. Dry wall was up but no bar, no paint, no decorations, wires everywhere, etc. With inspections and everything else that goes along with opening a restaurant, I again say that I don't expect them to be open and fully up and running before October 15.

#21 balakoth

balakoth

    shrimp

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 13 October 2009 - 03:01 AM

I echo your frustration, Ted, as it seems like I've been waiting for this place to open since I moved into the neighborhood a year and a half ago.

I'm not going to resist the urge to do an "I told you so" after predicting that this place would not be open until at least mid-October despite them releasing the Sept. 21 date, as I walked past the other day some definite progress had been made, but with (at the time) 8 days until opening, I laughed to myself at the thought of them being open on their firm, specific planned date. Dry wall was up but no bar, no paint, no decorations, wires everywhere, etc. With inspections and everything else that goes along with opening a restaurant, I again say that I don't expect them to be open and fully up and running before October 15.

Have no fear, October is a very very very very strong possibility. We are working our butts off in the kitchen, and construction is going on through the wee hours of night. I hope everyone is excited and can't wait till our kitchen can cook for everyone. The Chef, myself and the other Sous are excited as well. Pure bold flavors, great beer, and a great location are key ingredients for success!

#22 TedE

TedE

    bottom feeder

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 874 posts

Posted 16 October 2009 - 04:41 PM

Monday?!?!

Signage is a good (ahem) sign.

"Mmmm ... floor pie ...." - Homer Simpson


#23 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,684 posts

Posted 16 October 2009 - 05:18 PM

Monday?!?!

Signage is a good (ahem) sign.

Things are in flux, but as of right now, it will NOT be open to the public Monday. But soon ... within a week ...

dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#24 DPop

DPop

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 683 posts

Posted 19 October 2009 - 09:02 AM

Things are in flux, but as of right now, it will NOT be open to the public Monday. But soon ... within a week ...

I know I've been harping on this, but why keep announcing dates to the public if you're really not sure you're going to be open? I don't understand the philosophy here other than frustrating potential customers with the tease of finally opening. I walked by on Saturday during the day and they looked more than a week away, but we'll see.....

#25 Escoffier

Escoffier

    Old, grouchy and hungry.

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,743 posts

Posted 20 October 2009 - 04:01 AM

The rule of thumb is "once you open those doors, there is no shutting them once you start".

I believe the "test run" for staff and management was last night. If so, it shouldn't be long now.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#26 resting

resting

    shrimp

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 20 October 2009 - 09:02 AM

I believe the "test run" for staff and management was last night. If so, it shouldn't be long now.

And mock service for friends is tonight and tomorrow. So excited!!
Ryan Jensen
Owner
Peregrine Espresso
660 Pennsylvania Ave SE, DC
peregrineespresso.com

#27 TedE

TedE

    bottom feeder

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 874 posts

Posted 21 October 2009 - 10:54 AM

And mock service for friends is tonight and tomorrow. So excited!!

According to multiple sources this morning Thursday is the official opening night. I'll have to wait until next week to check it out!

"Mmmm ... floor pie ...." - Homer Simpson


#28 resting

resting

    shrimp

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 21 October 2009 - 01:58 PM

My wife and I got to go last night and thoroughly enjoyed our time.

Things booked up quickly when we wanted to go so we ended up getting seated upstairs (Churchkey) and ordered off the Churchkey menu. Some interesting options on the bar menu including foie tots, mac n cheese sticks and a delicious charcuterie (the pate was our favorite). We tried one of the flatbreads (Quail Egg BLT) and the Marinated Shrimp Panino with housemade chorizo and manchego. We really enjoyed the atmosphere (and I think he stole my ipod with the likes of Pavement, Wilco, Grizzly Bear, etc, over the speakers) and service was good, though everyone is still learning the menu. The beer and wine was great but I had my eye on the cases and cases and kegs and kegs that filled up the back part of Churchkey near the bathrooms. I'll be back soon to begin sampling as only a few were available last night.

Both spaces are beautiful and Churchkey's bar is giant--plenty of space to come alone or with a companion and geek out with the beer menu. We also took a peek at the Birch and Barley menu before we left and are primed to come back for a proper dinner--maybe the roast chicken for two.

Metrocurean has some great pictures of the interior: http://amandamc.blog...n-thursday.html
Ryan Jensen
Owner
Peregrine Espresso
660 Pennsylvania Ave SE, DC
peregrineespresso.com

#29 Rovers2000

Rovers2000

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 456 posts

Posted 21 October 2009 - 02:02 PM

Metrocurean has some great pictures of the interior: http://amandamc.blog...n-thursday.html

My god...the picture of the "beer organ" almost made me begin to weep at my desk :( . I am going to have to make a trek down here to do a beer tasting once they get up and running.

Dave

"Make sure that the beer - four pints a week - goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop."
-Winston Churchill to his Secretary of War, 1944


#30 TedE

TedE

    bottom feeder

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 874 posts

Posted 22 October 2009 - 03:35 PM

WP has a the tap list for the public opening tonight (no bottles yet, but who cares!): click.

"Mmmm ... floor pie ...." - Homer Simpson


#31 jparrott

jparrott

    A stew called New Orleans

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,889 posts

Posted 22 October 2009 - 04:09 PM

I'm glad to see that they've kept to a minimum the number of Belgian ales on tap that would be better in their original, bottle-conditioned form. I'm not so glad to see all "imperial"-style beers on the casks. Just a month or so ago, I had a pint of the excellent Gwatkin real cider from Herefordshire in, wait for it, New Iberia, Indiana. Surely if traditional English ale and cider can fly in a Louisville exurb, it ought to at least have a puncher's chance on 14th Street?

That said, I can't wait for Monday when I get to try the place out :(.

Jake Parrott
Haus Alpenz
Importers to the trade, serving the adventurous palate
Follow me on twitter: @jakehparrott
Anyway, I need f (4, 2) resolved to an integer value....


#32 TedE

TedE

    bottom feeder

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 874 posts

Posted 22 October 2009 - 08:55 PM

There were some definite service kinks being worked out, but we loved the space (upstairs for beers and snacks, downstairs was fairly empty actually). Much bigger than I remembered from the previous venues. The beer list continues the themes Rustico has going on: well chosen domestic micros with several unusual or downright rare imports on tap. Prices range from decent ($5 for several domestics) to splurge ($14 for Old Dubh on cask). The upstairs catwalk/cold keg storage is very cool. There was applause from the crowd when Greg went to change the first keg of the evening. Menu read like Rustico as well, just different labels (flatbreads instead of pizzas). Snack foods ranged from spiced nuts ($8, not sure they were worth it, but gratis this evening given the service delays) to the aforementioned foie tots, regular tots, charcuterie (deli slicer on the counter, didn't see it being used), much more I can't remember. Salads and sandwiches were in the $10-14 range, flatbreads $11-16 or so. And to our delight they do have the gluten free chickpea crusts as an option. We didn't get a peek at the Birch & Barley menu.

Verdict: this place is dangerously close to both my house and place of business.

"Mmmm ... floor pie ...." - Homer Simpson


#33 theakston

theakston

    grouper

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 82 posts

Posted 23 October 2009 - 08:41 AM

Are they open for weekend Lunch?

#34 Rovers2000

Rovers2000

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 456 posts

Posted 23 October 2009 - 01:51 PM

I have to admit, I'm pretty fired up to head over here this afternoon/evening around 5-5:30.

Planning on trying the Allagash cask, the Weyerbacher cask, and maybe some of the Founders Breakfast Stout as well as some of the food.

Dave

"Make sure that the beer - four pints a week - goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop."
-Winston Churchill to his Secretary of War, 1944


#35 Rovers2000

Rovers2000

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 456 posts

Posted 23 October 2009 - 08:43 PM

Planning on trying the Allagash cask, the Weyerbacher cask, and maybe some of the Founders Breakfast Stout as well as some of the food.

Tried out Churchkey tonight with Gennaro and the +1. Arrived a bit after 5 and there were a few people milling around outside waiting for them to open the doors (as an FYI, it appears it'll be 5:30 moving forward). By the time 5:30 rolled around the line was all the way up the block.

Got in and headed upstairs (it did not appear that they were ready for folks to sit downstairs at that point). Managed to grab one of the nice little booths opposite the bar and began to peruse the beer list. Across the evening I had:

Otter Creek Russion Imperial Porter - Excellent, strong coffee flavor
Sublimely Self Righteous Ale (9.09.09) by Stone - Good, somewhat smokey, felt like it could be aged a bit longer
Allagash Curieux (Cask) - Fruity but I could taste the barrels of Jim Beam that this was aged in, excellent
And a few sips of the +1's Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale - Actually felt that this being on cask did a disservice to the pumpkin flavor. I could smell it, but missed some of the taste.

I must admit that I was impressed with the overall service considering the place was pretty packed. Additionally the upstairs was WAY bigger than I'd anticipated so the sheer volume of people they can fit in there is surprising. That said, they seemed to be making some effort to keep the crowd from getting too packed in.

In addition to the delicious beers we sampled some of the food:

-Fried Mac 'n' Cheese
-Fried Risotto Balls
-Deviled Eggs with Duck Pancetta
-Cheese Flatbread
-Pulled Pork Flatbread
-Oatmeal Creme Pie
-Caramel Popcorn

I found all of it to be delicious. Whoever is manning the fryer did a heck of a job b/c the risotto balls and the mac n cheese were perfectly done. For me, the highlight of the meal is tied between the Deviled Eggs and the Oatmeal Creme pie. The eggs were perfectly done and the duck pancetta was a perfect accent. The oatmeal pie was basically two oatmeal cookies with a delicious creme filling (I wish I knew what they used b/c it was unbelievable). We found the cheese flatbread to be great (perfectly done crust) whereas the pulled pork flatbread was overpowered by the pickled vegetables/peppers on top and the crust wasn't quite as crisp (to be fair, we got this one during a period where the place was filled to capacity so some change in the doneness was to be expected).

All in all, I will be back to try some more of their vast catalog of beers (they had all the bottles in the case, but no bottled list yet) and to try the food downstairs. For the 2nd night this place made a hell of an impression on me. I can't wait to go back.

Dave

"Make sure that the beer - four pints a week - goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop."
-Winston Churchill to his Secretary of War, 1944


#36 GennaroE

GennaroE

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 320 posts

Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:32 PM

Looks like Dave beat me to the punch, but I'll throw in my perspective as well (even though I'm mostly in agreement). I'd been planning on heading over to Vidalia for the Pig and Pinot happy hour, but all the coverage of Birch & Barley and ChurchKey had me interested. When I saw Dave was heading over there tonight, I joined in, and like he said, we weren't the only ones standing outside, eager to get in. Just as it started to drizzle, they opened their doors (around 5:40?) and we headed upstairs.

I'm not exactly a beer enthusiast, but I knew that I was going to have to do some exploring of their ridiculous beer list. I settled on the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and though I'd never had it before, I sensed the same thing as Dave: I could smell the pumpkin, but the flavor wasn't there. Still, it was enjoyable enough. My second was the Climax Nut Brown Ale, chosen simply because it hails from New Jersey. Filed under the Malts, this one had a rich flavor, slightly nutty, but more caramel-like than anything else.

As for the food, I too was extremely impressed. Based on the mass of people flooding the place, and the fact that it's so new, I'd set my standards relatively low. As soon as the Arancini and the Fried Mac and Cheese came out, I knew I was mistaken. I was amazed by how crispy, and not greasy, both of these were. I would easily trust anything fried coming out of that kitchen, and I want the secret behind that frying technique for when I make my Suppli at the picnic. Beyond the perfectly crispy exterior, the Arancini were good, but I wouldn't feel compelled to order them again; the Mac and Cheese, on the other hand, was dangerously good, and the tomato sauce served alongside it was a perfect match. The Deviled Eggs (dubbed Green Eggs and Ham) were not my favorite, but that's simply because I'm not a big fan of deviled eggs. Despite this, I could tell that they were truly well done, and the duck pancetta was great.

The major miss of the night was the Pulled Pork Flatbread - no where near enough pork (I didn't taste any), just lots of pickled flavor all over the place. Also, it took quite a while for this to come out (not sure what the circumstances were), but our waitress did a fantastic job of keeping us updated amid the delay, and when it finally did come out, she removed its cost from the bill. The Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Taleggio flatbread was impressive though: a nice crust, wih good balance between being chewy and crispy, and with the right amount of char and resulting smoky flavor. Plus the cheeses worked nicely, and gave it a lot of flavor.

The desserts were simply fantastic. The icing in the Oatmeal Creme Pie must have been laced with some form of illegal narcotic, and the cookies themselves had the sort of soft, chewiness I love in an oatmeal cookie. The Caramel Popcorn contrasted completely with this: it was perfectly crispy, and delicious as a result.

Some of the pricing seems a little unbalanced (that Pulled Pork Flatbread didn't come close to reaching its $14 price tag), but the ratio of portion to price is generally reasonable (especially with the desserts).

Based on both the food and service offered tonight, I'll definitely be back to tackle the more substantive downstairs menu, to continue plowing through the beer list, and to get at least one more order of that Mac and Cheese.

Edit: Terribly low quality photos, incoming. Only captured a fraction of what we ordered, since I was so hungry that I pounced on the food each time it was brought and forgot all about taking pictures (as proven by the photo of half eaten Fired Mac and Cheese and Arancini)

Fried Mac and Cheese:

Posted Image

Cheese Flatbread:

Posted Image

#37 evilkim

evilkim

    shrimp

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 11 posts

Posted 25 October 2009 - 05:32 PM

Went to Churchkey last night and had a great time. My friends and I showed up at about 7, it was busy but there was no wait and throughout the evening it was never uncomfortably crowded. The enormously long bar was about 2-3 people deep, but at the far end of the bar it actually thinned out a lot. Eventually we were lucky enough to snag a table. I tried a couple of the "Fruit and Spice" beers, all very good. I really like that the beer menu includes ABV, where its from and what its served in. Between the three of us we tried the BLT flatbread, the cheese flat bread and the (complimentary, thank you!!!!) cheddar and broccoli flatbread. The cheddar and broccoli was by far the favorite of the three. The cheese flatbread was good, nothing special but hit the spot, but my meat eating friends at the table did not like the BLT flatbread. All agreed that the combination of quail egg, bacon ect. was a great idea but just didn't work out in the end. Service was good, kind of slow at times but understandable considering how busy it was. All in all the experience was great and I will be back soon!

#38 Joe Riley

Joe Riley

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,108 posts

Posted 29 October 2009 - 12:47 PM

If there's a better place in town to watch the World Series than Churchkey, I don't know what it is.

A 22-page (and growing!) bottled beer list, and a huge, double-sided draught list.

A tip of my e-cap to Greg for running such a great operation, and to Rochelle, the hardest-working server in the industry. Glad to have you folks on this side of the river. :(

Fine Spirits Manager
Ace Beverage
Washington, DC
www.AceBevDC.com

COAL PASS poster boy. (Donations for a cure gratefully accepted.)

The BEST cocktail in Washington, D.C., courtesy of Tom Brown at The Passenger

Visit my Nats blog, which will surely be updated someday! Nationals Power


#39 gnatharobed

gnatharobed

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 164 posts

Posted 06 November 2009 - 12:59 AM

They have poutine on the menu at Churchkey! I have waited so long...

Debbie Tang
A&J Restaurant


#40 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,684 posts

Posted 24 November 2009 - 12:37 PM

It was a cold, rainy afternoon yesterday, which made an pilgrimage to ChurchKey sound irresistible. And in fact, it would have been perfect if it wasn't so cold upstairs when I first arrived.

But one sweeping glance (which turned into several) at the cavernous room, as well as an initial flip-thru of the even more-cavernous beer list, and the afternoon chill was quickly forgotten.

The stats for ChurchKey's beer program are awesome: 55 beers on draught, all of them available in either 4-ounce pours or full glasses. 5 of these were cask ales. 331 bottled beers on the list (not including an impressive selection of ciders).

Those numbers alone (assuming Greg Engert can maintain the currency of the list a year from now (easier said than done, and many restaurants with large beer lists will have a high percentage of the beers 86'd, which is a sign they aren't doing their jobs)). Anyway, as I was saying, those numbers alone are impressive, but the way ChurchKey has the list organized is like nothing I've ever seen before. It is a flat-out brilliant beer list, the best I've ever seen in terms of organization, and I'd like to give an extended standing ovation, with multiple curtain calls, cigarette lighters burning (no, no, no - I outgrew that ten years ago at the Beck concert), shouts and screams of "Encore!", and my absolute highest praise to whichever genius is responsible for coming up with this presentation.

No matter how much I rant and rave about the way this beer list is organized, I cannot do it strongly enough. Based on easy-to-use classifications and descriptions, It tells me exactly the beers I want to hone in on, and exactly the beers I want to stay away from, based on my own personal tastes and preferences. Thank you, thank you, thank you for having come up with this exceptionally useful format, which should be a model for all other restaurants to follow.

I started off making my own flight of 2 4-ounce glasses of German Lagers, and then continued with a flight of 3 4-ounce glasses of Scottish Cask Ales. The three Scottish Cask Ales they're offering are shockingly different, one from the other, and having them side-by-side was an education bordering on a revelation.

The only food item I tried was the Green Eggs and Ham ($3), one-and-a-half little duck eggs, deviled and filled with a greenish liquid (unusual), and each topped with a chintzy little pea-sized nugget of rock-crisped duck pancetta. These were merely decent, and even at three dollars, I wouldn't rush to order them again. Still, my total bill for the evening? A mere $22.55.

It's important to realize that the tiny little area off to the side of the bar (if I'm not mistaken) is basically the entire kitchen of ChurchKey, and consists of one person working two panini presses, one microwave oven, a fire-engine-red Anvil charcuterie cutter, and a tiny counter space for putting it all together. The flatbreads, and probably some of the other more elaborate items, are cooked downstairs in Birch & Barley's kitchen, and run upstairs.

However, Birch & Barley's menu is not available at ChurchKey, so even though you're drinking beer at the highest-possible level, you're still limited to a very basic pub menu (not a bad thing, because it includes some worthwhile items, such as Nathan Anda's charcuterie). Incidentally, because ChurchKey and Birch & Barley are two completely different experiences, each with their own menu, they are being split into two threads, with Birch & Barley's being here. (Unfortunately for Birch & Barley, their hit count will be artificially low since I just spun it off into its own thread this morning.)

ChurchKey is the finest beer hall that the Washington, DC area has ever seen. Is it the finest beer-drinking establishment in the United States? I'll leave that question for others to discuss.

Cheers,
Rocks.

P.S. Michael B, could you contact me please?

dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#41 bettyjoan

bettyjoan

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 898 posts

Posted 25 November 2009 - 07:26 AM

Don, would the space at Churchkey be conducive to a large-group gathering (in the neighborhood of 10-20 beer-lovers)? Or is it more of a "belly up to the bar by yourself" kind of place? Thanks!

Betty Thurber Rhoades
http://hungrytriathlete.wordpress.com/

 

Help me help blood cancer patients!

http://pages.teamint...nrusa14/bettyrh


#42 goodeats

goodeats

    Certified geek.

  • Calendar Girl
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,660 posts

Posted 25 November 2009 - 10:13 AM

Don, would the space at Churchkey be conducive to a large-group gathering (in the neighborhood of 10-20 beer-lovers)? Or is it more of a "belly up to the bar by yourself" kind of place? Thanks!

If you go *early* enough, you may be able to snag the long table toward the front - I think that seats 10, or the little lounge/sofa area in the back. But, best of luck if you do that, since by 6:15pm on a Monday or Tuesday that I went, it was clearly scouting time for many and the bar showing a belly shape of folks gathering nearby the bar, as well as all the booths, lounge areas, and everything else possible taken. It's also very, very loud that it was hard to hear the person next to you, iirc. Downstairs at BIrch & Barley, you get the same beer list, I think, and the nice flow of space that still allows for beer-lovers and food-lovers alike.

Taste. Feel. Be comforted.

Am not a fan of finding out that I started a new topic...

Oh ply me with barley,
Or ply me with rye,
Just don't expect to hear
A coherent goodbye.

Twitter


#43 rbh

rbh

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 211 posts

Posted 27 November 2009 - 12:46 AM

This last Tuesday was packed at about 7pm... tough for even 2 of us to grab a seat. Vulturing for seats definitely required. Had the scottish cask ale, Schiehallion, and also the Hopfenkonig. Friend had the Bell's Double Cream Stout, which was also available in cask. Food... tater tots (awesome), and the cheese flatbread. The 4-oz pours are definitely nice for sampling. 5 bartenders taking care of everyone - their hearing must be incredible (or perhaps its their lipreading) to make out some of the orders at the bar 3 people deep. The bottled menu comes out in a 1-inch 3-ring binder.... and the pages are laminated double-sided.... though it does also include the wine list.

Awesome place.... especially not even 1 block from home. Now I've got to try downstairs....

#44 brr

brr

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 568 posts

Posted 31 December 2009 - 08:38 AM

Finally went yesterday. At 4.30 during the 'dead' week between Xmas and New Years it was filling up rapidly, by 5.30 it was full and by 6.30 it was jam packed. Incredible to see - fair play to the owners and staff for putting out a product everyone wants to try.

We stuck mainly with an incredible 'smoke' beer, ‘Aecht Schlenkerla' which was something like $7 a glass. One of the best beers I have had in a long long time. Nice aroma of smoke and incredible bacon-y, caramelly taste - we put away 3 or 4 of these. Also tried the Brewdog Isle of Aran Imperial Stout on cask, if only to reassure myself that I did still like beers aged in bourbon barrels after my bad experience with Goose Island Bourbon County. Very nice brew, significantly more restrained and balanced than the Goose Island abomination.

We didn't order much food-wise but I did think $7 or $8 for a bowl of spiced nuts was a bit cheeky.

#45 bettyjoan

bettyjoan

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 898 posts

Posted 01 January 2010 - 09:52 AM

While in town for NYE/honeymoon, hubs and I gathered with friends at Churchkey on Wednesday night. We got there at 5 PM, and the bar (and surrounding tables) was already full. I was about to have a mini panic attack when a very nice server led us to the back "lounge" area, where there were plenty of sofas and where we ended up camping in a cozy corner for the rest of the night. By 7 PM, the place was wall to wall packed. Kudos to the folks behind the operation - as the previous poster mentioned, it's pretty impressive when you can pack 'em in during a traditionally slow holiday week.

I love the way the draft beers are organized on the menu - I stayed in the "Hops" section and enjoyed many tasty treats, including my dear sweet Bell's Two-Hearted Ale (hard to find in ATL). I also loved the Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale that they had on cask. Our large group had many varied beer preferences, yet everyone was able to find things to enjoy. As for munchies, we had the deviled eggs with fried pancetta, the arancini, the mac and cheese sticks, a couple of flatbreads (pulled pork and fig/prosciutto, I believe), and the homemade tater tots. The latter were definitely the table's favorite, though everything was pretty darn tasty. My only complaint was that the food prices were on the high side - but, then again, it could simply just be sticker shock (we've been out of DC a while, so we have to ease back in).

Service was absolutely AMAZING. Even though the place was crazy busy, we never had to flag our server down - she was always close by, and she seemed to be very tuned in to the timing and dynamic of our group. She was friendly and knowledgeable, and she took our good-natured ribbing quite well. :angry: There were always folks walking around, clearing glasses and plates and keeping the process running smoothly. Even the doorman was awesome.

I would love to try Birch & Barley, so we'll see if we can squeeze it in between now and Monday when we leave. We all really enjoyed our evening at Churchkey, so thanks to all and best of luck in 2010!

Betty Thurber Rhoades
http://hungrytriathlete.wordpress.com/

 

Help me help blood cancer patients!

http://pages.teamint...nrusa14/bettyrh


#46 Merry Mary

Merry Mary

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 137 posts

Posted 14 February 2010 - 12:11 PM

A slightly disappointing visit yesterday. Went right around 4 because that is when it opens, specifically for the charcuterie. Checked the website right before we went to see the menu, meats available. They now open at noon for lunch and have a different menu. I mentioned that they hadn't updated their website and the bartender said, yeah that is why they didn't get any customers until the usual time. She also wasn't sure if the new menu would be in effect only for lunch. Said they were still working out the details. The beer is still good though.

#47 DPop

DPop

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 683 posts

Posted 15 February 2010 - 05:57 PM

Hopefully the new menu offers some better fare than the old one. It would be great if the food quality was in the same stratosphere as the beer list.

#48 mtpleasanteater

mtpleasanteater

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 239 posts

Posted 03 March 2010 - 11:07 PM

Had a really awful fried Mac & Cheese dish and Ceasar Salad here tonight, which isn't really a big deal because the beer list is so wonderful. I'm posting about those two items because I'm sure you can do a better job of ordering off that menu than I did.

There are at least two places in town whose beer lists offer the same highs as Churchkey's, but nowhere I've been has anywhere near the breadth. The food at either Two Amy's or Pizzeria Paradisio is so much better that I will probably only drink at Churchkey in the future.

#49 GennaroE

GennaroE

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 320 posts

Posted 03 March 2010 - 11:23 PM

I don't think it makes sense to complain about Churchkey's food not being up to snuff, and then to not discuss what about it is off, and instead to express a sentiment to the effect that the food sucking isn't a big deal because of the fantastic beer program. If a restaurant offers a full menu, the food sucking is never forgivable. As such, it would be helpful to go into details regarding the food's flaws (rather than simply dismissing these offerings altogether), this way those who visit will have a more informed opinion when it comes to ordering, rather than making a knee jerk reaction to vague awfulness.

#50 mtpleasanteater

mtpleasanteater

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 239 posts

Posted 03 March 2010 - 11:51 PM

I don't think it makes sense to complain about Churchkey's food not being up to snuff, and then to not discuss what about it is off, and instead to express a sentiment to the effect that the food sucking isn't a big deal because of the fantastic beer program. If a restaurant offers a full menu, the food sucking is never forgivable. As such, it would be helpful to go into details regarding the food's flaws (rather than simply dismissing these offerings altogether), this way those who visit will have a more informed opinion when it comes to ordering, rather than making a knee jerk reaction to vague awfulness.

I'm sorry you don't like my post. The reason I didn't go into specifics is that there is so much that is great about the beer list that the food simply doesn't matter to me. I thought I had made it clear that the reason I posted was to say 1) eat elsewhere 2) if you have to eat there don't order what I did. My second point was intended to create "a more informed opinion when it comes to ordering." If the people in charge of the restaurant are aware of what they are sending out and don't know how to make it better I certainly can't help them.

Don't get me wrong, I can't wait to go back to Churchkey - the beer list is really wonderful and is easily the equal of anywhere else I've been in the US. The way the list is written is just as excellent as the contents, both the organization and the descriptions are thoughtful and do a great job of making a large list more navigable. Very few wine lists are able to do this for me.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users