Georgetown is finally taking its first steps and catching up with the rest of the city. While neighborhoods all over D.C. have exploded with restaurants and retail, Georgetown has stagnated, maintaining its old and affluent neighborhood instead of courting discerning young people with money to burn like the rest of the city. It was an interesting tactic. One that clearly didn’t work out. As high end restaurants and popular bars popped up every NW neighborhood except Georgetown, the only people left were the GU students and the tourists.
In 2016, they lifted their 27 year old liquor moratorium (the oldest in D.C.)… And nothing much happened. Sure, they got a Bluestone Lane and a Blue Bottle Coffee… And yes, Pizzeria Paradiso did renovate their beer basement. But new bars and restaurants didn’t flood into the neighborhood. Finally in 2018, some of that is starting to change. José Andrés’ America Eats Tavern is planning to move into the Old Glory BBQ space (RIP) in Georgetown and Church Hall has opened in a basement off of Wisconsin Avenue.
If walking into the spot reminds you of a subterranean version of Franklin Hall, then you clearly have a good eye and a drinking problem (and I want to be your friend). Brought to you by the folks behind Penn Social, Smoked & Stacked and, yes, Franklin Hall, Church Hall is a mixture of those concepts. It has the space and extensive beer menu of Franklin, the games fun time focus of Penn Social and some damn solid bar food (even if it’s not being cooked up by chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley).
With a total of 28 beers on draft (12 of which rotate on a weekly basis), two draft cocktails, frozen drinks, a small wine list and varying amounts of vodka, rum, tequila, gin and scotch, Church Hall is meant for drinking. If you’re a smaller party, feel free to head to the bar. If you’re part of a large group taking up one of Church’s many leather couches or long tables, there’s a speed bar where you can order beer, food and pay without having to reach between a couple sitting at the bar. It’s a well organized space that wants to make getting a beer in your hand as quick and painless as possible.
And if you have a few too many high ABV IPA’s and need something to settle the stomach, they’ve got you covered there too. You’ll find a much larger menu here than at Franklin Hall, which includes vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options, as well as classic bar food like wings, burgers and sliders. If you eat meat, love gluten and are willing to split a meal, we recommend grabbing the chicken waffle sandwich. It’s as big as a grown adult’s head and comes with a side of fries. Half of a sandwich should do you just fine. We also enjoyed the falafel tacos, which should sate your vegan, gluten free friends who also love beer.
We don’t go to Georgetown often. Considering how non-transportation friendly the neighborhood is, that probably wont change, but the next time your out of town family or your out of town friends drags you out there, let them loose on M Street and head to Church Hall. You’ll have a much better time drinking beer in a basement.
Also they have “beer coins” for your friends who can’t stop talking about blockchains.
Church Hall is located at 1070 Wisconsin Avenue NW.