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Bar Review: Bread and Brew

Submitted by on April 26, 2010 – 12:03 PM3 Comments
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1247 20th St.
Washington, DC

Hours: Mon. – Fri.   7:00 a.m. – Close
Sat. – Sun.            9:00 a.m. – Close

Best time to visit: During the day for the café, after dark for the bar – especially 8:00 p.m. Tuesday for the Quiz

This may be the sign of a wonderful trend: a place to grab locally-produced, organic food, and chase it down with a fine craft beer.  Dupont Circle’s Bread and Brew is an organic coffee shop and a sweet basement dive under one roof.

Bread and Brew is disguised as a sort of friendly, hippie-café – which is in fact more-or-less what you’ll find on the ground floor.  Organic coffee and tea and some excellent soups, salads, and sandwiches are on offer, and there doesn’t seem to be a bad choice on the menu.  From the watercress soup to the lobster and asparagus ravioli, there are plenty of unique and delicious options.  The artisan pizzas also come highly recommended.

Which leads downstairs to the bar, where a fresh, natural pizza will match up nicely with a rich, distinctive brew.  Bar manager Marcia Vottero shares with most of B and B’s patrons a taste for the unique and hoppy, and she selects the ever-changing assortment of draft and bottled beers accordingly.  At any time you’ll find an IPA or two (“Brew Free or Die IPA,” for example), and probably a “West-Coast” style ale (like Stone Brewing’s “Arrogant Bastard”).

But there are also options for the less hop-minded, like the Brooklyn Lager and Bell’s Double Cream Stout.  Anyone should feel at home in the rec-room bar, which has a couple TVs, but also hosts events like an intellectually taxing (but fun) weekly Pub Quiz on Tuesday nights.

The way you approach Bread and Brew might just depend on the time of day.  If you pass by before sundown, there will be nourishment and relaxation in a very amicable café-restaurant.  In the evening, it’s downstairs for the hop fest, with a pizza or two thrown in for good measure.

The prime location, just South of the Dupont Metro stop on 20th Street, puts you near the bustling heart of one of DC’s most welcoming areas, out of the way of the crowds and traffic.  In this part of town, an organic café with a quality, built-in bar feels right at home.  In fact, in less than a couple years (DC food-industry veteran Teri Van Goethem opened shop in January, 2009), Bread and Brew has become a defining business for this forward-thinking neighborhood.  Van Goethem’s dedication to the environment and sustainability will hopefully be the forerunner of a massive trend, through which no town or district will be without locally-produced, organic food, and fantastic beer.

Pros: Great beer, great food, and lots of organic stuff

Cons: Not for hop-haters; organic food is rarely cheap (although there are moderate-priced options).

Rating: 4.5 out of 5