Barred in DC and Right Proper Collaborating on Beer Designed By DC, For DC

Here’s the big news folks. [Now covered by DCist and Washingtonian]

No, we are not moving to Clarendon. Instead, Barred in DC is teaming up with the great folks at DC’s own Right Proper Brewing Company (head brewer, Bobby Bump) as well as Michael Stein (Lost Lagers, to collaborate on a new beer designed by DC, for DC (well, our Twitter followers at least).

We’ve devised a series of Twitter polls querying DC on their preferred beer characteristics (including appearance, body, hops, other ingredients, ABV, and others). The beer will be crafted based on whatever characteristics are the top result of each poll, which will be tweeted out over the next few weeks. This may be either brilliance or madness (why not both?), but the beer will be available for all at a release party at Right Proper’s Shaw Brewpub in the coming months (TBD date).

This idea was hatched when Mr. and Mrs. Barred attended the wildly successful collaboration with Black Brew Movement for a Cuffing Saison earlier this month. Bobby and Michael have always been great supporters of Barred in DC, so this is a great fit.

Let the polling and brewing begin.


Appearance/Color (1528 votes): Copper/Ruby (33.2%), Pale/Hazy (30.4%), Pale/Clear (18.8%), Dark as Night (17.6%)

Body (closes Thu 1/16, 10p): Light/Crisp, Not too heavy/too Light, Creamy/Thick/Robust


City-State Brewing Coming to Edgewood / Brookland Border

City-State Brewing, [TwitterwebsiteInstagram] which originally was slated to come to Ivy City as of summer 2018, has now confirmed that it instead will coming a bit further northwest in Edgewood at its border with Brookland. The 13,000-square foot craft microbrewer, taproom, and event space will be constructed in an existing two-story building at 705 Edgewood St. NE, directly adjacent to the popular Metropolitan Branch Trail. It hopes to open sometime in June-December 2020 timeframe.

705 Edgewood St. NE, Location of City-State Brewing. Credit: Google Maps/StreetView

The brewery comes from Brookland resident James Warner, a former Senate staffer. The taproom will feature a “DC Wall of Fame” to celebrate local legends, serving the 8 Wards Independent Pale, Self-Determinator maibock, and a saison called The Brookland. The brewery will include both a 20-barrel system for larger batches and a smaller 5-barrel brewhouse for more experimental brews. Cans will be available onsite and self-distributed in DC, Montgomery County, and limited in Virginia.

Location of City-State Brewing. Credit: Google Maps

The location is roughly 5 minute walk to Rhode Island Ave. Metro, and 15 minute to Brookland Metro. More importantly, the cult-favorite divey bar Dew Drop Inn will be 4 minutes away, Right Proper Brewing 10 minutes away, and beer bar Brookland Pint 12 minutes away. Add Red Bear Brewing (short bike ride away), this is going to be a great addition to DC. Full press below:



Brookland resident and City-State owner James Warner plans brewery and taproom that celebrates D.C.—the city behind the monuments

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  A Senate-climate-change-staffer-turned-brewer is breaking ground on City-State Brewing Company, a 13,000-square foot craft microbrewery, taproom, and event space on the border of Brookland. Owner James Warner signed the lease and will soon start construction in the building, which sits over the Metropolitan Branch Trail, within walking distance of both the Rhode Island and Brookland metro stops.

“The whole idea behind the brewery is to celebrate the history and culture of the District—the city behind the monuments” Warner said. “We want to create a space where everyone is welcome, and can connect with what it means, and has meant, to live in the nation’s capital.”

Warner’s venue will be devoted to the District’s heritage of art, performance, and intellectual ferment. The tap room will have a funky, modern aesthetic, featuring a D.C. Wall of Fame to celebrate a rotating cast of local legends. City-State will serve a broad assortment of craft brews, from 8 Wards Independent Pale Ale to Self-Determinator maibock to a saison named The Brookland.

“We’re opening in a historically diverse area,” Warner said, “and we want to help it stay that way. I’m a Brookland resident and City-State will be a part of the hardworking, creative, and welcoming character of our neighborhood.”

After spending 17 years working in public service, which included a stint in the Peace Corps, Warner decided to take a different path and devote himself full-time to building City-State. To gain a better understanding of the industry, Warner worked as a brewing apprentice, server, and craft beer salesman. The tap list will align with his mission to be welcoming and inviting for all people.

“Our beer is going to be approachable and sophisticated,” Warner said. “I love taking relatively simple ingredients, and making something complex. We’ll be experimental, sure, but there will always be something to like that tells a story of this unique place.”

Breaking from the conventional design of a startup brewery, City-State will feature two interconnected brewhouses—a 20-barrel system for larger batches and a smaller five-barrel brewhouse for variety and innovation. Warner hopes this design will provide both flexibility and a creative outlet for his brewers. City-State cans will be available onsite for purchase, and self-distributed across the District and Montgomery County, with limited initial distribution planned in Virginia.

In addition to hosting live music and performances, City-State will be open as an affordable event space and wedding venue. The brewery will be outfitted with a catering kitchen. Warner plans to work with local food and beverage industry partners to provide food at the brewery.

“We want this brand to help tell the story of the District. City-State will give people a place to find love and belonging in D.C.,” Warner said.

Warner first fell in love with craft beer while attending the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The tradition and practice of beer there left a mark on Warner, and he began developing homebrew batches not long after moving to the District. City-State is the fulfillment of a long-pursued vision to build a brand and cultural institution around well-made beer at friendly prices.

The area around City-State Brewing Company is fast developing, with an apartment building and shopping center being planned for construction soon. City-State expects to officially open in Summer or Fall 2020. Warner is working with Nick Freshman, a hospitality vet and Founder of consulting firm Mothersauce Partners, to find investors for the ambitious project. Interested parties can contact City-State through this online form. 

Crowd-sourced Favorite/Most Neighborhood/Most Comfortable/All-Purpose DC Bars

On Saturday night (1/4/20), journalist/fan-of-all-things-DC/map extraordinaire Chelsea Cirruzzo posted a great question to her thousands of Twitter followers: “if you had to choose ONE dc bar to frequent for the rest of your days what would it be!!!!” Responses came in fast and in droves; as of 24 hours later, the tweet had received over 180 replies.

This is a brilliant question, as it’s always tough to pin down people on wishy-washy it-depends DC on their favorite bars. Then again, the question can easily be interpreted different ways: favorite bar (my response), your go-to neighborhood bar, the most comfortable bar, the most versatile spot, the spot that can feed and sustain you, etc.

Here’s a compilation of the responses which named 105 (I’ve been to 100 of them) different existing DC spots (quote tweets not included) as of 10p Sunday (1/5/20), all of which are essential DC bars; 20 bars received at least 3 responses which are highlighted here:

9 responses

  • Red Derby (Columbia Heights)

7 responses 

  • Service Bar (U Street)

6 responses

  • Tunnicliff’s Tavern (Capitol Hill/Eastern Market)
  • Boundary Stone (Bloomingdale)

5 responses

  • McClellan’s Retreat (Dupont Circle)
  • Looking Glass Lounge (Park View)
  • Lyman’s Tavern (Columbia Heights)

4 responses

  • The Pug (H Street)
  • Showtime Lounge (Bloomingdale)
  • Beuchert’s Saloon (Capitol Hill/Eastern Market)
  • Tune Inn (Capitol Hill)
  • Dan’s Cafe (Adams Morgan)
  • DC Reynolds (Park View)
  • All Souls (Shaw) (Barred in DC’s response)

3 responses

  • Jackpot (PQ/Chinatown)
  • Ivy and Coney (Shaw)
  • Reliable Tavern (Petworth)
  • The Big Hunt (Dupont Circle)
  • Astoria (Dupont Circle)
  • The Blaguard (Adams Morgan)

2 responses

Tryst, Madam’s Organ, Clyde’s, Old Ebbit Grill, The Saloon, Barrel, Rocket Bar, Martin’s Tavern, Jack Rose, The Passenger, The Big Board, The Raven, The Green Zone, Jackie Lee’s, The Tombs, The Wonderland Ballroom, Churchkey, Pub and the People, Bar Charley, Lost & Found, Archipelago

1 response

Moreland’s Tavern, St. Arnold’s Dupont, Residents DC, Duffy’s Irish Pub, Lucky Bar, Atlas Brew Works, Bar Elena, Kramerbooks Afterwards Cafe, Shaw’s Tavern, Rock & Roll Tavern, Kelly’s Irish Times, Crown and the Crow, Kingfisher, Post Pub, Marx Cafe, Copycat, The Airedale, Walters Sports Bar, Breadsoda, Bossa Nova, The Sovereign, Flash, Nanny O’Brien’s, The Queen Vic, The Brig, Tallboy, The Eastern, El Centro, Trusty’s, Dio Wine Bar, Mr. Henry’s, Recessions, DIK, No Kisses, Restaurant Judy, The Salt Line, Johnny Pistolas, Red Bear Brewing, A League of Her Own, Off the Record, Don Jaime upstairs bar, The Hamilton, Drink Company Pop-Up Bars, Espita, A&D, Capitol Lounge, The Royal, Cinder BBQ, Duke’s Grocery, Brookland’s Finest, Cafe Citron, Columbia Room, Dew Drop Inn, Calico, Elle, Truxton Inn, Little Miss Whiskey’s, Roofer’s Unio, Right Proper Beer, Soussi, Penn Quarter Sports Tavern, Casta’s Rum Bar, Dacha Beer Garden, TikiTNT

Compare this list to the one I posted 6 years based on comments from a PoPville post (Red Derby continues to reign supreme).

A Bartender’s Rules for New Year’s Eve – Guest Post

[Ed. Note: No matter whether you go out to a bar in DC (check out the comprehensive guide here) or somewhere else in the world to ring in the 3rd decade of this century, please enjoy yourself as well as respect the folks serving you. Here’s a list of rules shared by Chrissy, a bartender on H Street, that you should follow.]

1. Bought tickets for an open bar? You still need to tip your bartender when you order drinks

2. Just because it’s an open bar doesn’t mean you can’t get cut off, don’t get mad if this happens – know your limits

3. If you do throw up, toilets and trash cans only – then leave the bar

4. When the lights come up – it’s time to go home, your bartender does not want to have a drink with you

5. It doesn’t matter how old you are – when you are asked for your ID, show it to the bouncer/bartender

6. When ordering for a group, have all your orders ready at once (we can remember more than one drink order at a time)

7. Have some patience – we will get to you, you won’t die of thirst, I promise

8. It’s cute to kiss your partner at midnight, but no one wants to watch you make-out for 20 minutes

9. Leave the cheesy NYE party favors at home ie: noisemakers, beads, silly hats etc. Your countdown screaming is bad enough

10. If you can’t follow the rules. STAY HOME!

DC is the King of Rail, not Well, Drinks – But Where Else in America?


Essentially every bar keeps a bottle of whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, tequila, and usually a triple sec (for margs and LIT’s) somewhat hidden within easy reach of the bartender right behind the bar counter. These liquors-the cheapest stuff a bar carries-aren’t consistent in level of quality across bars, as, for example, some bars may use Bowman’s vodka while others may go with Tito’s (see this piece about bartenders who chose fancier). In Barred in DC’s coverage area, 3 out of 4 people (and even higher proportion of bars, in Barred’s experience) call such drinks rails. [Note: Although bars advertise these as rail drinks, if you ask any bartender, even in DC, refers to the area of the bar where the drinks are as “the well.”]

However, as evidenced from my Twitter mentions, the term “rail” is overwhelmingly supplanted by the term “well drink” in most of the U.S. I was curious where rails also prevailed, but unlike many regional differences in American English linguistics (popularly chronicled by this New York Times quiz in 2013), I found no articles noting where each was told, so I tried to fix that.

Based on my research, it appears, there are at least five states (plus DC) where rail is used primarily instead of well:

Land of the Rail

  • Wisconsin

  • Minnesota

  • D.C

  • Virginia (Richmond at least)

  • Maryland

  • Delaware

North of the border, in Toronto, the phrase “bar rail drink” is most popular, and in Montreal (at least English-speaking) uses term “speed rail drink.”

Per Twitter feedback and research, there are other places in the U.S. where it seems “well” still dominates but rail isn’t unheard of: St. Louis, Indianapolis, Chicago (not surprising given WI and MN proximity), West Virginia, and New York City (transplant bars from other spots)


The Sheppard Returns with Cocktails in Mount Pleasant

The Sheppard, Instagram, Twitter the faux speakeasy-style cocktail bar last seen south of Dupont Circle before it closed in January after almost five years due to redevelopment of the property, is making a comeback-this time (almost certainly) in Mount Pleasant.

Although a lease was signed and announced in mid-November, its location has not yet been revealed. However, thanks to Barred in DC’s eagle-eye and all-around internet dominating sleuthing skills, it appears very likely that the new bar will be on the 2nd floor of a building on the 3100 block of Mt. Pleasant St. NW. The location is possibly 3165 Mt Pleasant NW (above a dentists office in space previously occupied by AboveZest, travel agency/party venue, and Boveda Tribal Art for awhile before that) or one of the buildings between it and the building housing Mola and Purple Patch (3155) a few doors down. Instagram posts held clues which were confirmed by use of Google Maps Street View.
Given the IG posts show nothing has been constructed and no liquor license apparently is approved yet for the space, don’t expect this spot to open until well into 2020. But this should be a welcome development for neighbors, as the last cocktail bar (Last Exit, same block) in the area closed in 2014. The bar (owned in part by David Strauss) also announced that Dylan Zehr, former head bartender at The Sheppard (as well as sister bar Morris in Shaw) is now also a co-owner; Zehr is currently slinging drinks at Room 11 and Columbia Room until The Sheppard opens.
The hidden spot in Dupont had really good value cocktails ($12) despite having no menu (you just told bartender what flavors/spirits you felt like and they whipped something up). Unclear if the new location will have same concept, but expect it to be a cocktail bar.

eat brgz in Eastern Market offers $3 Beer and Wine Alongside Unique Take on a Burger

Three types of burgers at eat brgz

eat brgz, 250 7th St. SE (at C St), website, Twitter, Instagram, 11a-10p everyday, Eater. This newish spot (opened in mid-August) is directly across Eastern Market. I first stopped in because I spotted a sign advertising $3 beer and wine ALL DAY EVERY DAY. This isn’t cheap plonk-3 taps of DC Brau (16 oz.- Joint Resolution IPA, Brau Pils, and The Public Pale Ale) and French wine (white, red, and rose) on tap. I don’t think there’s a place you get cheaper craft drinks this cheap in all of DC, at any time (other than in the comfort of your own home). I didn’t try any of the burgers, but I did get some great McDonald’s-style fries (helpfully in a $2 small size, small upcharge for garlic parmesan, jamaican jerk, or cajun seasoning) to accompany my drinks.

eat brgz

Incidentally, soon afterwards, I was invited by Brandon Gaynor, co-owner and founder of the spot, to sample some burgers. Brandon was in finance (particularly focused on restaurant industry) when he decided to start this spot, moving down from his career in NYC. This is definitely not a typical burger spot-instead of toppings abetween the bun and the meat, eat brgz mixes the toppings with the burger. The result is definitely tasty, though it certainly isn’t for everyone. I sampled one of each of the three types of burgers – beef (dry-aged, from Roseda Farms outside Baltimore), chicken (antibiotic-free), and Impossible plant-based versions (which is made on a dedicated grill for those vegetarians worried about cross-contamination); they each cost $9, except Impossible is $12. Once a protein is picked, you can pick one of eight “signature mix-in’s” or build your own. Brandon selected Mexico City (chorizo, red onions, bell pepper medley, jalepenos, oaxaca cheese, taco seasoning) for the beef, Memphis BBQ (sauteed mushrooms, carmelized onion, aged cheddar, bbq seasoning) for the Impossible, and Samosa for the chicken (carrots, green peas, red onions, bread crumbs, feta cheese, and kafta seasoning). Dipping sauces (queso, house bbq, and harissa yogurt respectively) also come with each burger; you can pour them over your burger or dip them, your choice. Burgers come on awesome potato buns from Lyon Bakery.

The Impossible Burger is made on a different grill than the meat versions

All the burgers were very tasty and well-seasoned, and I will definitely try them again. Unless there’s a long line out the door, the burgers come lightning quick for a fast casual spot. However, I can tell you they’re (particularly the beef version) are not for everyone. Not only the toppings being mixed into the protein takes getting to used to-they’re are made pretty lean so if you’re looking for big messy burgers, this really is not for you (after customer feedback, serve-your-own lettuce and toppings are available). That being said, the chicken burger (made with ground chicken) is fantastic and one of the best chicken burgers I’ve ever had.

Excellent chicken burger

Brandon, an affable guy who’s still quite excited about the concept as well as frank about the growing pains of any new business. He even explained that he had been trying to eschew press until 3 months in because he wanted to make sure he was on good footing. Dropping beer/wine prices from $7 to $3 was a recent and brilliant choice-as Brandon puts it, unlike bars and lots of restaurants, they make money on food, not drinks, and it’s just a good business decision to try to attract people like me who is intrigued by the cheap drinks; they’re still able to sell them over cost.

Exterior of eat brgz