Where: 1337 14th St. NW
Carded: Yes, at the door
Damn it. It’s freaking cold. So why would I dare go review a bar that is, gasp, outside the 4-RIDE zone?! Blasphemy. But, I will and I did.
I have a soft spot for bars that have ironic names, kind of like the intersection of Gay and Church streets. So ChurchKey seems like a good place to go and get some beer. ChurchKey is a temple of beer (sorry, had to get the pun in), that is worth the pilgrimage to 14th Street and Rhode Island Avenue. With eight categories of beer from about 30 countries and 50 artisan drafts, varying daily, and five hand-pumped, cask-conditioned beers available at all times, this is a place for those who really love beer.
I’ve been here several times, and it is usually the place to go with your friends all gussied up in your sophisticated wear. Most of the patrons seem to have graduated college in the past five years, those well-dressed D.C. yuppies, the kind that think Logan Circle is trendy and hip (i.e. not Georgetown), but are scared to actually go to the trendy and hip places (i.e. H Street, NE).
ChurchKey is situated on top of Birch & Barley, a restaurant managed by the same owners. The upper level is sleek and cool in a casual and understated way. A bar running from nearly one side of the restaurant to the other, lengthwise, is backed by giant refrigerators showcasing all the bottled beer and one of the longest stretches of taps you’ve ever seen with all the bar’s draughts. It is an impressive bar, to say the least. There are also plenty of booths and other types of seating around.
The staff members at ChurchKey are prompt, attentive and know their stuff. They really love their beers and want you to as well. So when I tell them I like the girly, unpronounceable German beers, they’ll suggest a couple, maybe even offer to bring a taste of some, and I will love whatever they bring out. The prices, while not incredibly cheap, are not as expensive as you would think. The average draught beer is around $7 or $8. This is a great opportunity to expand your horizons and treat beer like most people treat wine – something to be cultivated, understood, savored and enjoyed.
ChurchKey is the kind of place you’ll want to remember the next morning. It’s too loud and bustling for a date, but perfect for a night out with a group to taste some excellent beers, feeling sophisticated and “so D.C.” So venture outside the 4-RIDE zone and go praise the beer gods at ChurchKey.