Bar Belle

Originally Published 04/23/98

Bar: The BrickskellerWhere: 1523 22nd St. N.W.Crowd: College students and twentysomethingsGetting in: They card at the door, unless you’re really luckyPrices: $50 beer from Holland, but most beers are $4-5Food: Typical bar grubDancing: NopePick-ups: Not if you can see straightPluses: A mile-long beer listMinuses: Slow service on weekends

Nestled into its canopied spot on the corner of 22nd and P streets, The Brickskeller lacks the upper-crust appeal of a Georgetown bar or the unique, international flavor of an Adams-Morgan nightspot. The Brickskeller is comfortable, kind of like an old pair of sneakers (which, incidentally, is the footwear of choice – this isn’t a tight-black-pants-and-boots kind of place.) The bar’s proximity to campus, laid-back atmosphere and unbeatable drink menu make it a magnet for college students.

Beer is the drink of choice at The Brickskeller – and what a choice it is. Your best bet? Take a risk and choose at random from the eye-straining list of ales. Try a 32-oz. jug of Mississippi Mud, a Tennessee black-and-tan, or Starobrno, a lager from the Czech Republic. Order Bruce’s Gooseberry Wheat from Scotland or Broadway Old Scratch Flyin’ Dog from Colorado. Trinidad’s Carib Shandy with Sorrel is bright red and tastes like that strawberry soda at Safeway. Billie’s Pooch, a cider from England, looks and tastes like Sprite – proof that beer doesn’t always have to taste like beer. For the daring (or bargoers who want to camouflage their beer), The Brickskeller offers “beer-tails,” mixed drinks made with beer. The Bar Belle’s favorite is the “Skip and Go Naked,” made with beer, lemon juice, grenadine and gin. Wine, shots and mixed drinks are available too, but the word here is beer. If you’re not a beer fan, try another bar.

The Brickskeller is a busy place on the weekend, and larger parties may have to wait to get their drinks. Have a backup beer in mind when you order – more often than not, they don’t have the one you wanted. But the waiters and bartenders know beer, and they’ll help you pick one that suits your taste. The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed and the music is a campy ’80s mix – all in all, not a bad night.

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