For the Brickskeller, the end is near
As stories began filtering out yesterday that the Brickskeller's last day might be Dec. 18, I started feeling nostalgic for the place. (We've tried to contact the owners via phone and e-mail to confirm the closing date, but have not heard back; some Brickskeller employees have told me that the sale of the building won't be finalized until Dec. 23, which means the bar could theoretically stay open until then.)
My most recent visits to the Brick had been okay-to-bad -- apathetic or missing servers, musty atmosphere and the tired ritual of having to order two or three beers just to get one, because the bottles on the menu aren't the ones in stock. It's easy to see why so many beer drinkers these days are into ChurchKey, Rustico or Birreria Paradiso, not the Brick.
But figuring I might not be able to see the place much longer, I decided to meet a friend at the bar for old time's sake.
I have some fond memories of the Brickskeller -- beer tastings led by some of the world's top brewers and authors, especially the great Michael Jackson; happy hours with friends and colleagues at the huge tables in the back room; furthering my beer education by tasting exotic styles that, until the last few years, only the Brick really offered. And when I grabbed a seat at the upstairs bar last night, the 12 choices on the draft list reminded me that the Brickskeller's selection can be as impressive as any in D.C. This time, several taps were given to the beers of Lost Abbey and Port Brewing Company -- cult brews from Southern California that rarely make it to the D.C. market. The hoppy, citrusy Wipeout IPA, for example, is certainly a beer you don't see every day.
But when the upstairs bar closed and we had to join other stragglers downstairs, I began to remember why I didn't frequent the Brick as much as I used to. The dining room had a dank odor. The menus had pages missing.The first two beers I asked for weren't in stock. The third arrived in a bottle, but without a glass. And then our server disappeared. We finished our beers and sat there with empty glasses waiting for someone to show up. By the time they did, we were ready to go.
What are your favorite Brickskeller memories? And what do you think will become the city's most famous and tourist-worthy beer bar when it closes? Share your comments below.
| December 8, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories: Bars and Clubs
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