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Posted at 7:32 AM ET, 01/13/2010

Bar openings for beer lovers

By Fritz Hahn

When a sign went up in late December proclaiming that Axis Bar and Grill was closed and "Bistro La Bonne will open after New Year's Eve," my friends and I were concerned that the new place -- whatever it was -- would do away with the beer lineup.

Axis had been one of my favorite beer destinations on U Street. For an unassuming little restaurant, it had an out-of-the-ordinary selection of 15 U.S. microbrews on draft. Lagunitas, Speakeasy, Bear Republic, Southampton, Bells, Founders -- you could find all of these on draft at Axis before they started showing up on tap handles across the city.

But we needn't have worried what would happen to the beer selection. The place has a new name, a new chef (Daniel Labonne, formerly of Tabaq and Bistrot du Coin) and a new French menu, but the draft beers are as stellar as ever. Stoudt's American pale ale, Founders Centennial IPA, Lagunitas Brown Shugga, Stone Arrogant Bastard and Gordon's Ten Fidy were all on the menu when I stopped in, and the guest bottles included Founders' Backwoods Bastard, a Scottish ale with plenty of malt and caramel and a little bit of Scotch. Also worth trying: Flying Dog Double Pale.

In coming months, there will be more beers, especially more Belgian styles, to complement the French food. Look for inventive brews like Brigand, a strong golden ale, in addition to the usual Stella and Leffe.

Get news on the projected opening for Meridian Pint, another bar designed for beer fans, after the jump.

It seems like we've been waiting forever (okay, two years) for Meridian Pint, the promised 25-tap bar at the northwest corner of 11th Street and Park Road NW, across the street from Room 11 and RedRocks pizzeria. But finally, it seems like there's some movement. John Andrade, who owns Meridian Pint as well as Asylum in Adams Morgan, reports that if work on the interior goes well, the bar will be open by this summer.

"I'm shooting [for] June, and if I beat that, great," says Andrade, who plans on being open for lunch during the World Cup.

Filling two floors of the building, Meridian Pint will be 6,000 square feet in total -- that's double the size of Asylum. The first floor will be a restaurant and bar with a menu focused on American craft beers. "I feel like there are so many other venues targeting every beer out there, and there's also the saturation of Belgian beer places," Andrade explains. He hopes there will be beer pairings with the "contemporary American" menu that he has planned, but no chef has been hired yet.

The basement level, called the Joint Chiefs, should have more of a bar atmosphere with billiards and shuffleboard, plus occasional DJs and live music.

-- Fritz Hahn

By Fritz Hahn  | January 13, 2010; 7:32 AM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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It is Oskar Blues' Ten Fidy, not Gordon's. Gordon is another one of Oskar Blues' brews.

Posted by: rhefter | January 13, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

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