Over the last year or so, ChurchKey has quickly become our favorite go-to bar in DC. Not only do we love the extensive and creative beer selection, but the bar fare cannot be beat. We already wrote about its sister establishment, Birch & Barley, so this review focuses on the upstairs and ever popular (and crowded) bar.
We decided to meet my good friend from high school and her husband at the Logan Circle establishment since they have never been before, and in our opinion, everyone must come to ChurchKey at least once.
We arrived a little after 7 on a Thursday night, so needless to say, it was difficult finding a table at first. We didn’t mind since we had no place to be the next day, so we were able to find a spot near one corner of the bar to get drinks and chat while eyeing tables.
It wasn’t too difficult to order drinks, just a little more pressure when trying to decide from the long list of options when you have to order quickly. I quickly found my drink of choice with the Edmund Fitzgerald from the Great Lakes Brewing Company.
After awhile, I glanced over to one of the tables to see what I thought was a man paying for his check, but no such luck. As I was walking away, I saw the table next to them and sensed that they were leaving. I quickly asked if we could take the table, and less than a minute later, we had our spot!
One of the many reasons it is so hard to find a table at ChurchKey is, once you do score one, you’re unlikely to leave it anytime soon.
Once we were settled, we started making our food selections. We decided to share a few plates since everything looked great. Our friends hadn’t been before, so everything looked good to them, and while we have had the food here several times, there was nothing we wouldn’t try again.
To start, we ordered the disco fries, Arancini, the Birch & Barley bread plate, and, of course, the tots. Yes, it was a lot of fried slash potato things, but admit it, ChurchKey does fried food very well.
Everything was, as it has been in the past, delicious. Our only complaint was that the cheese found atop the disco fries was more in chunks rather than fully melted, but that might be because we got the sausage gravy (which was delectable) on the side.
The risotto balls were the perfect balance of creamy and crunchy, and went well with the acorn squash sauce. The bread plate is one of the reasons alone to go for dinner at Birch & Barley since you receive a complimentary version for twice the size. And the tots, well, good as always.
After some digesting, and more beers, naturally, we went for round two and got the North Carolina pulled pork BBQ flatbread as well as the grilled cheese with tomato soup dip. The flatbread was a nice combination with the meat and barbecue sauce with a tangy slaw. The meat was a little dry but the overall flavors went well together.
The grilled cheese, on the other hand, was a little strange. Instead of the bread being grilled, it was instead made with a very dry ciabata bread with a cheese that didn’t quite mesh. It tasted better when dipped in the soup, but the “soup” was served in a very small ramekin, and was barely enough for half the sandwich. It was the only real miss of the night, but five out of six isn’t bad.
Suffice to say, it was yet another successful night at ChurchKey. We would have ordered dessert but, alas, we were stuffed. It’s too bad since I know how good the desserts at ChurchKey/Birch & Barley are. Ah well, there’s always next time.
Any chance we can get an outpost in Bethesda? I know…wishful thinking.