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Brickskeller Closing Dec. 18th?

by Prince Of Petworth December 7, 2010 at 11:31 am 56 Comments

J Street Beer Review shares the news:

“The Brickskeller is closing.

Here at J Street Beer, we have on good authority that the final day for the DC craft beer pioneer will be December 18th, 2010.”

We judged the Brickskeller located at 1523 22nd St NW back in Sept. There have been rumors of a sale for months so most wont be too surprised by the news. But if you go drinking tonight, you might want to pour a little out for the Brickskeller that was at one time a powerhouse in DC’s beer scene.

  • goaldigger

    Yeah, um, don’t let the door hit ya. Too many times I went there and had to place my beer order five times before I chose a beer they actually had in stock (hey, here’s an idea, hand me a list of the beers you actually have on hand!) Also a real pain to deal with organizing for a group and their food was yuck. Sorry, won’t miss them.

    • Rick

      Here’s an idea… only order beers you see behind the bar. You seriously expect them to print new menus everytime they run out of something. With 1,000 different beers on their menu, it’s not realistic to expect them to keep millions of different versions of their menu on hand.

  • Kev29

    Rest in peace, old timer. Yeah it hasn’t been good/relevant for years, but some fun was had there.

    • anon

      Yep. I spent many an inebriated evening there. 20 years ago it was the only game goin’, so the crap service, bad food, and immutable decor didn’t matter to people looking for interesting beers. Now? When you’re suddenly up against ChurchKey, Rustico, Granville, Paradiso, and the like… it does. Let this be a lesson to all who would rest on their laurels.

  • GDopplerXT

    Can’t believe it has taken this long. This place has been crap since the first time I went there over ten years ago. Somehow they’ve been riding along for years on the simple gimmick of compiling a long list of beers and pretending it’s actually a “beer menu”.

  • Dsel

    I will always fondly remember how the dart board had about 3 tables if not under it than right next to it. It also had the reputation in the no-pants 90s as being the nerdiest bar in town, especially upstairs in Friday nights.

  • Dsel

    and by “in” I mean “on.”

  • DCRat

    Way overpraised. Never liked the place even when it did have the most extensive beer selection in the area. I would always fight against going there and I was so happy when Joe Englert came on the scene and opened the Crow Bar and 15 minutes which had a decent tap selection.

    • Anonymous

      My buddies helped build out the Crow Bar and demolish when it closed. I ended up taking/owning the original crow bar beer tap!

      • pop-up owner

        I Salute you. I turned 21 at the Crow Bar in the era of Flaming Dr. Peppers. I will always have a fond memory of that corner.

        And to the naysayer below, I believe the Crow Bar’s demise was due to the fact you had a small building on an extremely valuable piece of property and development came… no fault of the crow bar.

  • Le poo

    I went there once. With a bunch of friends. In 1995. It was the best beer joint in dc at the time, and it was packed. I got wasted and broke a fully loaded giant glass of some kinda beer. They apologized for me, cleaned it up, and brought me a new one. Full. Free. Sorry. It had it’s time, and it was awesome. Lots of things in dc have changed since then. These old school places are dropping like flies. Too bad. I can’t stand all these mechanized retail joints where patrons don’t allow even a slight margin of error/wait, or “I want my money back!”. Go back to Iowa, you losers. You know you’ll end up back there anyway. Pls email me at ihatefckingsuburbanmidwesterntransplantsthat [email protected]&ck-u.com, and I’ll donate a few “hard earned dollars, gosh darned it” for your second plane ride back to your fully stocked strip mall.

    I’m all for development, but you strip mall rats need to appreciate the character of this city. It’s one of your last chances.

    It’s closing. It was awesome. Don’t knock it. Think of them like your parents. They paved the way. When they’re on their deathbed, will u say the same thing?

    No? Then, hey. I’ll move to your cull de sac and do it for you.

    Your parents suck!

    That is all.

    • mark

      Liked the upstairs but wished it was open more. Stopped going to the downstairs when it was no longer on my route home. I remember the place from four different decades, but I couldn’t justify going out of my way for it.

      “Le poo,” you’re part of the problem. And not just with the Brickskellar.

    • Dave

      When are YOU going back to South Carolina, Le poo?

      • Tres

        How does everyone know this person? All I can say is that it livens things up when someone is drunk online.

        • A

          Especially before noon!

    • eddy fuentes


      I will kick in some $$ for the plane tickets.

      • eddy fuentes

        I meant to +1 Le Poo’s post.

        Dave’s post above sucks. -1 Dave. You suck.

        • Dave

          Better get back to washing those dishes.

  • Le poo

    Btw, crowbar closed YEARS ago. Why? Wrong time, wrong place, wrong target audience? Whatevs. I ride, and I never went there. It was crap and pretentious. All you Midwestern transplants need to take a class. 101 appreciating DC….. When you’re done with your prolonged internship. Seriously.

    “oh my gawd, it’s like so closing! OMG, I can’t wait for….. Something different! OMG!”

    I truly dislike u people.

    • dues

      are you drunk?

    • Anonymous

      FWIW, Brickskeller’s owners seem to disagree with you, as they have dumped a crap ton of cash in to RFD, which seems to fit the mold you deride.

      Long time DC resident here, veteran of the 90s and all that. Brickskeller sucked b/c the owners didnt care enough to keep it going. plain and simple.

    • Anononymous

      Obvious troll is obvious. Go back under your bridge.

    • Nikki

      “I ride?” What does that even mean?

      • saf

        Crow Bar was a biker bar.

        Bikers don’t drive, we ride.

        • Chuck

          Real bikers drive. Unless you’re on the back of the bike, then you ride.

          • saf

            I disagree.

          • Chuck

            Maybe in the Midwest they ride, but in DC we drive. Which leads me to believe that “Le poo” is most likely from Kansas.

          • saf

            Sorry Chuck – biker since the 80s, DC the entire time. Obviously, there are 2 usages here.

          • Anonymous

            umm… I think it was called “Easy RIDER,” no?

  • Legend

    I will really miss this place. I’m always surprised by the hatred people have for places that are closing, when people are losing their jobs, lots of longtime customers are losing the great memories… It’s kinda sick, actually.

    Brickskeller was ahead of its time, and perhaps overly ambitious and never really “kept up” with the times, especially the food. But does every place have to be a yuppie or hipster heaven? The prices for beer were unbelievably reasonable- especially considering the lengths they must have had to go to get all of those obscure African, Asian, and South American beers. THANK YOU, Brickskeller- a true DC legendary watering hole, and one that will not soon be forgotten.

    • Your Mom

      Except there are no costs for simply listing beers from Africa, Asia, and South American beers. (Who the hell wants those anyway?)

  • anon.

    Ever since the first time I went there around 15yrs ago, they never had all the beers in stock.

  • Anon

    If you post misleading beer lists, employ rude servers, serve horrible food, and chronically defer investment (so you can create an ultra-generic bro bar like RFD), then good riddance, you’ve had it coming.

    Nostalgia Schmoltalgia. It is the experience that counts. And for fifteen years the experience at Brickseller has sucked.


    • Shaw Parent

      Fifteen years is an overstatement, but I share the sympathy (and the critiques). I began my mourning period for the ‘skellar when they got rid of the old jukebox and put that pop-centric internet crapbox in. I’m gonna guess 2002 or 2003.

      I guess the only thing I was upset about is that I had always thought that somebody might step in, clean house and restore the glory.

      • Ed Fagy

        It’s possible that a new owner could swoop in and clean it up, but to be honest, there are so many other new beer bars in town doing an outstanding job that this place isn’t really needed anymore. It’s also in a crappy location that isn’t too close to any other good bars or restaurants.

        • Anonymous

          that’s a crappy location?
          hahahahaha. that’s kind of awesome.

          • Anonymous

            let me elaborate. such an awesome comment that i think PoP should have an Awesome Comment of the Week/Day post.

  • Jean-Michele

    Nobody who has been to the Brickskeller in the last decade or two should miss it when it’s gone.

  • PG

    They probably would have done better if they stocked up on Four Loko.

  • nathaniel

    I can stress this enough, they didn’t have well over half of the neer on their list. Plus I don’t think the lsit ever changed. I don’t know if any of the newer beers that have ocme on the scene in the last 3 or 4 years ever even made it there. The food was bad, the service sucked, the prices were a bit much, there were no specials. I love dive bars, I love beer, I love the concept of the place, but the execution was awful.

  • dittie

    yeah the food wasn’t good and they never had all the beers in stock but it had some character and I will miss it. sad news.

    • ET

      ditto, dittie

  • cookietime420

    I drank here a bunch as an underage youth. The Brickskeller, Ireland’s 4 P’s, the Fox+Hounds and a now-closed place called Tucson Cantina in Woodley Park were the places my friends and I relied upon for serving us. We had plenty of great times at the Brickskeller and, for a long time, it was the king of obscure beers. But then everyone caught up to them. It was a pretty sad joint for the past decade. Time to go.

  • maxemmanana

    You had to be there in the late 60’s. It was great!

  • StanleyKubrick

    I will miss the place- it’s a dc landmark/hallmark/skidmark. Definitely haven’t been there for a long time, but it was nice to know it was there. Oh well – and they had good pierogies too – at least according to someone who isn’t Polish.
    In terms of all the midwest, culs-de-sac hating on Lee Poos part – dc is a transient city and if you don’t love that aspect don’t pretend you love dc… maybe you should move to b’more.

  • Insidious Rex

    I loved the Brick even though it became ignorable in recent years as craft beers became trendy and snooty glass and marble foodie types overtook the aging scruffy beer heads and dive bar denizens that had called Brickskeller home for decades. When you have choice its a lot easier to give up on a place thats not nearly perfect even if it is an institution. This place has been a light house for beer lovers in a time when beer with any taste was very difficult to come by in most bars. No matter how bad their food was or how bad their service was or how annoying it was when they didnt have the beer you wanted, that fact will never change. My one fondest memory of the place was going there with a college friend back in the early 90s and attempting (unsuccessfully) to drink every German beer on the menu! I give them points for not kicking us out…

    I for one will be returning to the Brick in the next few days before it closes to put a last dollar in the juke and toast its farewell with a long series of brews. Im glad it wont be packed with the likes of those who bid it good riddance… more room for me.

  • Dsel

    What happens to the world’s leading collection of beer cans?

    • Ed Fagy

      One of the articles I read mentioned that they weren’t part of the deal. It’s a wonderful and vast collection, but I think the hobby of beer can collecting peaked in the late 70’s and they aren’t particularly valuable right now, so it probably wouldn’t be too hard to buy someone else’s collection with which to replace it.

  • ForTheShorties

    Have a friend who went to a beer class there the other night and they were talking about other events in January and February, so not sure if the rumor is true.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    From sommermathis on twitter: “WTOP’s @atuss is reporting that Brickskeller will remain a bar, to be called “Rock Creek.” Will get new floors and bathrooms.”

  • Ace

    The brickskeller name will be leaving with the previous ownership, but the establishment endures to offer the same world renown selection of beers! The new owners are international hoteliers with properties around the globe and in our nation’s capital and are proud to be part of this famous DC beer-tradition and are going to give the building a much needed facelift while preserving the same local flavor and atmosphere

    • Dr Pangloss

      The brickskeller name will be leaving with the previous ownership, but the establishment endures to offer the same world renown selection of beers!

      YAY!!!! “1001 Bottled Third-World Lagers” endures!!


  • Dr Pangloss

    Last time I went, they had draft beer available exactly *one* day a week (upstairs only). The beer menu, while extensive, was about 95% shitty lagers from third world countries. “Hey look! Ugandan lager!” Fuck me.

    Sure, the Brickskeller is a time capsule from the darkest ear in US beer history, but the fact that Churchkey now exists, and Birra Paradiso now exists, and the Brickskeller managers were content to plod along with their shitty business model should consign them to the 8th Circle of beer Hell.

  • buh

    what the hell is wrong with you assholes. this is why i moved away from dc… you people have no taste. you corporate assholes can’t appreciate a place with real character. Brickskellar was amazing because it had the most amusing bathroom grafitti, was quiet enough to hear your friends talking, had charmingly ugly decor, and had truly excellent beer selections. All you assholes can think about is whether or not your drinks come the second you order them. its about sitting back and talking to your friends and enjoying the experience, dumbasses. Go to the fucking cheesecake factory where you belong.

    And dear brickskellar, thank you for being a place that felt like a cozy, boozy, humble home.

    • Tres

      I hope you’re enjoying the charmingly ugly town that you now reside in. Cheers.

      • Anonymous

        how do you know where he lives?


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