PoP Preview – Birch & Barley and Church Key – Grand Opening Thursday!


This is a huge spot located at 1337 14th Street, NW (which used to be the old Dakota Cowgirl space). It is actually two concepts. Downstairs is the more restaurant focused Birch & Barley and upstairs is the beer focused Church Key (though there are also dining options for the upstairs space). I was able to take some preview photos on Wed. and the place is looking good – it finally opens to the public on Thursday. Be sure to let me know what you think. For the beer lovers, you will have lots and lots of options (500 bottles, 50 drafts, and 5 casks).



Lots more photos after the jump.


Above is the downstairs front section that will open up in the warmer months.


Bar on the first floor features a “beer organ”. Sweet.


Huge bar upstairs (75 feet).


Not all the taps were set up yet, but that’s still a pretty killer sight.


Upstairs front section. (The back section will be more lounge like but it wasn’t set up yet).


This was my favorite part.

If anyone stops by tomorrow night be sure to let us know how it goes.

43 Comment

  • hmmm my 21st is tomorrow…..might drop by.

  • Isn’t that the old Hamburger Mary’s spot? Looks sweet. I only hope that, unlike Brickskellar, they actually have some of the beer on their menu.

  • Is this the place that Rob from Biddy’s is headed? Where is he anyway?

  • If this place is managed and operated as well as Rustico’s, then we will be in good shape.

  • Wow, looks fantastic.

  • Looks amazing! Can’t wait to stop by for a long happy hour- the beer organ is freaking awesome!

  • super excited. great concept and from the decor looks like it will have a great vibe!

  • Have mercy! So long as they don’t price their beers like over at Commonwealth, they’ll have a steady customer here.

  • Grotti: So, you got this table?
    Michael: Yes.
    Grotti: This is one of those half booths, can’t-decide-what-it-is type of thing.
    Michael: Well.
    Grotti: Waitress, we’re gonna sit over here.
    Waitress: That’s fine.
    Michael: Okay.

  • Commonwealth has always sold $3 low-end beers, so there’s no need to go broke on the high-end stuff. If their menu is like Commonwealth, their bar food will be rock solid but the entrees will be hit-or-miss. Still worth it just for the beers, pizzas, burgers, and excellent twice-fried fries.

  • My mistake. Replace “Commonwealth” with “Rustico.”

  • Lovely! Cant wait to try it out

  • saf

    Monkey – yes. First it was Hamburger Mary’s, then it became Dakota Cowgirl. Now it will be this.

  • I’m going to play In-a-gadda-da-vida on that beer organ.

  • Frigging gorgeous. Wow.

  • It’s like everything Brickskeller is not: clean, bright, nicely decorated, in-stock menu items, and (presumably) good food and pleasant service!

  • Bitter Elitist for comment of the week.

  • I have yet to be disappointed by anything the Neighborhood Restaurant Group has done. (Except for a really weak cheese plate at Vermillion once.) Their food is fantastic (Columbia Firehouse now has the best burger I’ve had in the DC area) and their bar programs are consistently interesting. (Rustico is always hosting brewers from around the country, their regular beer selection is fantastic. And, it always seemed odd to me, but before they gave up serving it b/c of the weird Virginia laws governing such things, they had really amazing sangria.)

    This place seems like it’ll be the bizzarro RFD: good food, atmosphere not reminiscent of something you’d find in a Reston office park and no health code violations. I plan to be there early and often.

  • Keep one legitimate English bitter on tap and you’ll have an intangible friend for life, you place you.

  • I’m digging the looks of this place. And I just knew that simulated woodgrain would make a comeback. It was just a matter of time.

  • love this space…can’t wait to try it out.

  • Thanks for the update on opening night and the photos! I walked by on the opposite side of the street last night and all the chandeliers inside were lit up and it looked fan-tas-tic.

  • Beautiful, can’t wait to go there directly from my office at least once a week.

  • On the one hand I am impressed with the renovation of this space – it certainly was a long project and it shows.

    On the other hand I am still mourning the loss of the Hamburger Mary’s/Dakota Cowgirl/Ramrod Bar – it was the first gay-owned establishment I made my regular place after coming out and I was lost when they closed. Sort of like meeting the people who bought your childhood home, I am not sure I can warm up to the place.

    Of course, if the food is good and the service is pleasant (not always the case at the old establishment) they might bring me around.

  • That Beer Organ is incredible!

  • 5 beer engines (five!!!!). And with Greg’s track record we can expect that most if not all of them will be active at any time. He’s gotten some incredible West Coast and British casks for Rustico, stuff this area rarely sees. Cannot WAIT to see what he has on tap. All 50 (fifty!!!) of them!

  • I walked by last night and had to mention how beautiful the space looks from across the street. The lighting and the full window facade makes it sparkle.

  • Second IntangibleArts on the English bitter. Something low carbonation that doesn’t fill you up with gas, and where you can taste something BESIDES the hops.

    Also, some stouts besides Guinness, please. Like Beamish maybe? Can’t think of a place that has Beamish on tap.

  • Wait a minute, people actually miss Hamburger Mary’s? It was a bad chain.

  • Neat looking space. What is it with so many bars called church key?I’ve been to 3 myself.

  • I don’t think I miss Hamburger Mary’s per se, but the buzz on a Sunday afternoon from the all-you-can-drink bloody marys was pretty awesome

  • monkeyrotica: Fin Mac Cool’s on Barracks Row used to have Beamish on tap, but I haven’t been there in years, and it’s changed hands since then, so this post is probably altogether useless. Sorry.

  • monkeyrotica: They might not have Beamish, but they’ll probably have something interesting. Rustico seems to always have a pretty interesting American micro stout, and it isn’t always some Imperial Russian monster. Last time I was there I had a nice Irish stout from Victory (I think). 3.7% ABV or so, good session beer.

    “Church key” is a name for those old-timey bottle openers. It appears that several people have found it to be a clever name for a beer bar.

  • dreas Says:

    October 22nd, 2009 at 10:08 am
    It’s like everything Brickskeller is not: clean, bright, nicely decorated, in-stock menu items, and (presumably) good food and pleasant service!

    **hee hee

    When I went there I had brown stuff on my menu and got my 3rd choice of beer.

  • ugh. so many beers. so many bars. so little time…………

    seriously. that place looks effing hot!

  • Looks amazing! LOTS OF BEER! YEAH!!!

  • Just got back from soft opening. The staff was totally in the weeds but was still friendly and cool. Only taps tonight, at least while I was there. Their limited selection is better than most places full offering. Very loungy space for a beer bar but I like it. Two minor quibbles: no hooks under the bar for coats/bags and too many TVs in the bar. Otherwise, the place is awesome and I am very happy to finally see it open.

  • Jeannette has done a fantastic job getting this resturant open. All of her hard work has paid off. It will be a huge success

  • I went by last night and liked the place a lot. The beer list is very impressive – lots of the best beers from across the US and world and across different styles are covered. A bit on the pricey side given the relatively small pours, but not too bad. Food menu looked good and reasonably priced, although we didn’t order anything. The upstairs bar was very crowded last night and it was a bit challenging to get a beer, but I’m sure that was mostly due to the fact that it was opening night. Staff seemed very nice too.

  • Wow! Loving it.

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