After losing its bid for a liquor license for Bardo Big River just south of Nationals Park (as first reported by Barred in DC), the folks behind Bardo are trying a different tack with ABRA. This time, instead of seeking for a bar (tavern) liquor license, the renamed Bardo River Brewery has applied for a Class B manufacturer’s license-a brewery license in other words.
Bardo will likely seek permission to sell and serve beer for on-premises consumption similar to most other breweries in DC. Manufacturer licenses, after a recent expansion in the law, allow beer to be served from 8a-midnight. It remains to be seen if Bardo will ask for the full hours as its closing time was a sticking point with the local ANC in its previous application. ABRA has requested a fact-finding hearing; undoubtedly the ANC will protest once again. Stay tuned whether Bill Stewart, Bardo’s charmingly don’t-give-a-damn owner, has figured out from the previous ABRA hearing and decision and is finally successful in bringing another cool drinking option to the Navy Yard/Capital Riverfront neighborhood.
The Brig DC Public Beergarden, website, Facebook, Twitter, 1007 8th St. SE (at L St.) opens at 4p (weekdays) 11a (weekends), HH 4-7p weekdays, est. 2006.
The long-awaited beer garden The Brig finally opened its doors last Friday, June 17th. The open air spot in lower Barracks Row/Navy Yard (about 10 minutes walk from the Eastern Market and Navy Yard Metro stations) first got its liquor license in January 2011 and has been under construction since November 2014 (JDLand has all the background).
Barred in DC made an early visit midweek and found a quite relaxed, chill crowd. Sporting 40 taps (a mix of both German standbys and local drafts), the Brig seats up to 210 people and can fit up to 400 people. About 15 long communal tables are shaded from the sun under huge sturdy German beer-branded umbrellas, while 25 seats front the long bar in the service building.
Prices are fair and uniform and posted on a flat screen in the middle of the bar – all drafts are priced at $8 (for half-liters for German beers, 16 oz. for the rest) and $15 or $16 for the liter. Happy hour specials include $5 select half-liters-not too shabby. As a plus, taxes are included, a departure from most new bars in the city. Food options are limited at this time, though $5 pretzels with beer cheese looked tempting (brats were on the grill to the side). Looking forward to stopping by happy hour and seeing how the crowd evolves as the night goes on or on weekends.
Although there are many naysayers out there about the terrible value (and sometimes taste) of growler-filled beer, they are still very popular and the majority of you have a half-gallon sitting around somewhere. There are a number of spots to fill a growler in DC-breweries and brewpubs of course, but also grocery stores, corner liquor stores and other markets-all are listed below. I’ve also tried to approximate the cheapest price for a 64 oz. growler fill, though some stores with higher prices may have more expensive beer generally and many lists fluctuate regularly. Links included to current list of growlers, if available. If I’m missing any, please let Barred in DC know.
Cheapest: World Wine & Spirits ($8), d’vines ($8 Thurs. specials) Most # of Taps: d’vines (19-20), 3 Stars (13), YES! Organic Petworth (12)
The Sovereign, website, Facebook, Twitter, 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW (essentially “32nd” and M), the Belgian bistro and beer spot in Georgetown from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group folks (Churchkey, GBD, Iron Gate, The Partisan, etc.), is set to officially open to the public this Thursday, February 4th.
The cozy two story bar (84 seat dining room on ground floor with 57 seats upstairs) features rare Belgian and Belgian-style beer as well as cocktails featuring genever (Dutch gin). The dark and moody spot is down a lantern lit alley (think Iron Gate) just off the northwestern corner of Wisconsin and M Street NW a few steps south of El Centro Georgetown (the signage is pretty noticeable walking by the alley on Wisconsin). 50 beers will be on draft (like Churchkey) and 300 more bottles will be available. The more formal first floor features many romantic booths as well as a chill bar area while the second, more lit, floor features a lot of great standing areas/high-top tables to rest your drink on along with two TVs. Although there’s not much natural light in the place, the vibe is still great and expect this to be popular, even though it is in Georgetown and was previously home to the unmemorable Champs and Blue Gin.
At a preview event Monday night, NRG beer director Greg Engert personally passed around pours of one of his favorite beers, the Saison D’Epeautre from the Blaugies brewery in Hainaut, Belgium. This fantastic brew is a reflection of the quality of beer at The Sovereign – I sampled a variety of Belgian beers styles including saison, pale ale with figs (acquired taste), stout, porter, and blonde ale.
For more details, I highly recommend (the slightly esoteric for non-beer dilettantes, but still great) 3 part interview on Dcbeer.com by Dcbeerbill; those with less time should check out Fritz Hahn’s piece in the Post.
Brookland Pint (716 Monroe St NE in Edgewood), just one block away from the Basilica of the National Shrine for the Immaculate Conception where Pope Francis will conduct Mass on Wednesday, September 23rd, will go full out with a stellar list of beers with religious themes starting Monday, September 21st. According to a press release, the bars will offer:
Franklin’s Brewpub’s No Pope, ‘til Brookland (exclusive draft)
Evil Twin Brewery’s Double Barrel Jesus
Avery Brewing Company’s Salvation
Avery Brewing Company’s 5 Monks
Sierra Nevada Brewery’s Ovila Dubbel which is brewed in collaboration with the monks of Vina, California’s Abbey of New Clairvaux monastery.
Nebraska Brewing Company’s Hop God
DuClaw Brewing’s Divine Retribution
Brewer’s Art Resurrection
DC Brau On The Wings of Armageddon
4 Hands Resurrected IPA
Avery Hog Heaven
Avery The Reverend
Epic Big Bad Baptist
Founders Blushing Monk
Trappist beers (which are all brewed in monasteries by monks): Spencer, La Trappe, Chimay
Jack Rose, located at the far southern end of Adams Morgan at its border with Dupont and U Street, is my favorite non-dive bar in DC. With frequent events at any of its 5 bars spread over 3 floors, the whiskey-and-beer-centric bar from Bill Thomas (owner of both locations of Bourbon) is a great place to drink all week long.
My visits to Jack Rose are usually spent at its second-floor Open-Air Terrace bar, reached by the stairwell that greets visitors at the front entrance (the folks who make up the fast-moving line that often forms on weekends are typically waiting to go up here). This expansive rooftop space, carved out of the second floor of a former boxing gym, can be enjoyed all year long; the long bar that occupies one side of the space is covered by a permanent roof, while the other half, with high-top tables, can be covered by removable glass panels when it rains or the temperature goes down. The wall to the north provides a great view of 18th Street and the rest of the Adams Morgan neighborhood (sometimes clear plastic panels are hung to protect folks from wind and cold) . A host of craft beers (mostly $7-8) and cocktails can be ordered from the friendly and knowledgeable bartenders, who do a great job of taking orders even when the place gets crowded, as it often does on weekend nights from 10p-1a. The crowd upstairs skews slightly younger than the rest of Jack Rose; but the lack of cheap beer (often only 1 light beer available) and other typical 18th Street specialties (I overheard a bro and his young lady friend lamenting the lack of Red Bull on a recent visit) means that this bar isn’t overrun with 22 year olds like the rest of the hood further north. Tasty bites cooked on the wood-fired grill upstairs can be ordered earlier in the evening if hungry.
Two more smaller bars also make up the second floor. To the front sits the enclosed Balcony Room, which contains a wood-burning fireplace, its own bar and outdoor veranda overlooking 18th Street, and often serves as the location for private events; while in the back, past the restrooms, is the cozier open-air seasonal Tiki Bar (at least during late summer/early fall 2013), with décor and drinks to match, along with an unique view to the east and south .
The more sedate Dining Room on the first floor is impressive for the shelves and shelves of booze (mostly bourbon and other types of whiskey) that line its walls, evoking the coolest library ever. Many of the reported 1,600 different kinds (“the largest publicly available collection of whiskey in North America” according to one report) of whiskey that Jack Rose possesses are on these shelves. Because it’s more relaxed than upstairs, this is a better place to sample some of the amazing spirits on offer. A dining area makes up two-thirds of the room, separated by a railing/partition from the long bar makes up the rest; I could do without this partition, which forces patrons at the bar to squeeze into a smaller space when crowded.
Those looking for an even more intimate whiskey experience should check out the recently opened Whiskey Cellar, reached by going down the stairs at the back of the Dining Room. This cozy basement space is only open Thursday-Saturday evenings, but is quickly becoming a favorite spot to sample whiskey (bourbon on tap is offered) and spend time in an even more relaxed environment.
If you visit, you’ll frequently spot an older gentleman who looks like Father Christmas with a long hair and beard; this June 2011 Washingtonian profile on this man, Harvey Fry, who supplied around 1/3 of the whiskeys for the bar, is well worth the read. Also, Jack Rose makes great use of social media to advertise its many events; I’m an especially fan of the colorful, informative posters it produces to provide event details.
Although the place (especially upstairs) can get crowded, the lines that often form on weekends are an annoyance, and (most selfishly) it opened up right after I lived less than a football field away (you can spot my house’s old rooftop from the Balcony Room), Jack Rose is well worth a visit.
Fried chicken, doughnuts, and beer are three things that are stellar on their own. Still, one place dares to put them all together—GBD (Golden Brown Delicious). This new Dupont Circle joint, from the same folks who brought you the uber-popular Churchkey and Birch & Barley, is located in sliver of a storefront previously (ironically) occupied by Yola, the yogurt parfait + coffee shop (operated by a young, idealistic fellow UVa alum, as chronicled in this illuminating Washington City Paper story in Oct 2012). GBD mostly lives up to its hype as a welcome change from the meat markets that make up Dupont/Midtown—though the anticipated throngs have not yet materialized.
Open nearly all day and night (save for mid-afternoon and Monday nights), GBD offers great doughnuts all day, solid-but-not-great fried chicken (at its best, it is still underseasoned), the best biscuit (crème fraiche) in the city, a variety of beers (helpfully organized as fried chicken or doughnut beers), and tasty punches (a recent visit found bourbon, gin, and vodka punches) in a low-key environment that inspires one to just chill and let the Luther-induced food coma slowly take you over (in case you don’t know, the Luther is a sandwich made up of a donut sliced in half with a piece of fried chicken and bacon in between; it’s delicious and heart attack-y as it sounds).
GBD contains two rooms: the front area includes bar stools by the front bay window (good for people watching) and the only bar; the back contains tables and a few booths. Most crowded during the great happy hour ($3-5 beers & punches from 4:30-7p Tues-Sat., along with an industry happy hour after 9p on Sun.), GBD has sadly been relatively empty the times I’ve stopped by after midnight on the weekends (10-15 people in the entire place). No one likes a crowded bar, but more patrons would definitely add a needed jolt of energy late night and keep this place sustainable long-term. A well-advertised late night happy hour (drinks and/or food) may be a good idea. Still, GBD is a solid place to get good eats and beers in a more Metro-accessible location.