Tasteful, stylish ChurchKey, the bar above Birch & Barley, has high booths, rich wooden tables, a long sleek bar, and exposed brick. Get there when they open at 4 pm or risk being crushed in the impending crowd.
Boasting 50 beers on tap, and trying to streamline their beer menu to customer favorites, ChurchKey has 750 beers on the wall, 750 beers…there so much f**king beer, it’s part of the decor.
I tried the Hofstetten Hochzeitzbier Von 1810. Light, crisp, clean and smooth. A good beer for amateurs like me. My favorite was the ginger wheat ale, part of the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series. I love fresh ginger, and this earthy, spicy ale is slightly sweet and lemony. Refreshing and light.
Let’s talk about food. What are ChurchKey’s more unique offerings? Green eggs and ham! Deviled duck eggs with pancetta were hearty and satisfying. The yolks were whipped into a fluffy cloud dotted with two bits of crispy bacon, and made for a mouthful of coolness and texture.
The sweetbread poppers with chipotle BBQ sauce were disappointing. Sweetbreads are the thymus gland or pancreas of a young animal, especially a calf or lamb. I’m not sure what they are in this case besides underwhelming. They were small and breaded with a batter which was much too thick and dense, like the kind found on popcorn shrimp, overpowering the delicate taste of sweetbreads. And the sauce I could swear was cocktail sauce.
ChurchKey is a fun, fabulous place to have a drink, but don’t order a martini here. That would be frowned upon. Come for the incredible beer selection, and the green eggs and ham.
ChurchKey/Birch & Barley
1337 14th Street
Washington, DC 20005
Mary was born and raised in New York City where her family owned restaurants. Instead of eating dirt on the playground, she ate duck blood, beef tripe and pork belly. She cut her teeth at The Mandarin Oriental and The Ritz-Carlton hotels, working with Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Williams, Michael Stipe, LeVar Burton, Jane Krakowski and others. Mary founded Girl Meets Food in 2009 as a cover for her debilitating addiction to fried chicken and was named Washington Post’s “Favorite Local Foodie.” After 13 years in hospitality, she started freelance writing for USA Today, The Washington Post, Eater, Washington City Paper, and more. Today, she provides digital marketing for hospitality clients as a content creator who’s contently creating content.