They’ve Got Whiskey Connoisseurs Over a Barrel in Capitol Hill

With a name like “Barrel,” you can think up your own jokes. I mean, it’s like shooting fish in a … ha ha ha.

As much as the name reminds me of a brave, crazy fool going over Niagara Falls, here, “Barrel” refers to the Capitol Hill whiskey joint’s cask-aged cocktails. Though trading in bourbon, the eclectic choices of cocktails and craft beer give this bar extra flavor.

Not a fan of whiskey myself, I know there are scores of you out there who love to knock back a glass or two. We’ve written about a couple other whiskey bars before, so I decided to give this fairly new one a whirl. Opened in April 2014, Barrel gets great ratings from Yelp (4.5 stars) and a 100 percent ranking from Urbanspoon.

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Whiskey (Edsel Little via Flickr)

Sleep on it: At $50 an ounce, Pappy Van Winkle’s 23-year-old variety is worth more than its weight in silver. That’s a high-end whiskey. (Edsel Little via Flickr)

On Barrel’s website, I counted about 180 different whiskeys listed, with the following categories represented: bourbon; rye; single malt scotch and Japanese whisky; blended scotch whisky; American/Tennessee whiskey; Canadian/Irish whiskey; and reserve (top-dollar).

And yes, whether to spell it “whiskey” or “whisky” is a tricky thing. One of those spellings would be looked at askance by the author of the above article. If you’re interested, read up. Either way, just seeing all those whiskeys on one menu is enough to make you breathe fire.

The prices? They range anywhere from the relatively cheap Old Overholt ($6) to the mouth-tightening, 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle ($50-$100). If you pay 50 bucks or more for a shot of whiskey, I’m not sure I can relate to you. I can only imagine what’s going on in your mind.

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Whether cask-aged or not, Barrel does not list the prices of its cocktails, but here are some examples you’ll see there: the Bucket (Elijah Craig 12, pepper ginger syrup, bitters), the Doobie (George Dickel 12, lime, blackberry cordial), bijou – aged (Tanqueray, green Chartreuse vermouth, Regans’ bitters) and el lobo – aged (Montelobos mezcal, Licor 43, Bonal, cherry bitters).

Craft beer runs from $7 (Bell’s Amber Ale) to $15 (Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout).

The food at Barrel is Southern, mid-priced, and features a lot of meat and pasta. There aren’t many selections, but it’s touted as Chef Garret Fleming’s Kitchen, and he’s got some experience. According to Yelp readers, Barrel has some fabulous Carolina BBQ pork sticky buns (for $11, one of the cheapest things on the menu).

It also houses a basement bar called Elixir, which has its own menu. And alas, the restaurant offers Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. A positive review in the Washington Post mentions a happy hour, but Barrel doesn’t list one on its site.

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Every day other than Sunday the operation opens at 4 p.m. The site does not list any closing times either, but since Barrel is essentially a bar, I’m sure it’s open quite late.

Apartment renters in Capitol Hill can walk here, and it’s easily accessible to the rest of us by way of the nearby Eastern Market Metrorail station on the Blue/Orange Line.

So come down a shot of expensive bourbon and taste those pork sticky buns everyone’s raving about.

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Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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