City Tap House

$$$$ ($15-$24)
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Editorial Review

"Our signature is accessibility," said Andy Farrell, City Tap House's beer steward. "Craft beer isn't a language everybody speaks yet." (Though it is a language that has been spoken fluently at the nearby RFD for years.)

Farrell aims to make the menu easy to navigate, and to educate guests who are looking to try something new. He's aiming to keep about 40 percent of the taps local, but expect to see some beers from Philly that haven't made inroads in D.C. yet. Among them: Yards Brewing Company and Tired Hands. Of the 40 draft lines and two cask lines, 20 will be devoted to rotating seasonal favorites. Farrell is also planning on hanging on to some of the holiday beers that come his way so he can have a "Christmas in July" night in six months.

Meat lovers will be pleased with the bar snacks, which include double-smoked bacon popcorn and duck fat fries, and the daily specials, which include beer-braised short ribs on Wednesdays, and butcher-selected steaks on Saturdays. A selection of six brick-oven pizzas includes the Tartufo, topped with roasted mushrooms, taleggio, guanciale, a fried egg and black truffle oil.

Beers can be paired with three types of mussels, all served with house-made focaccia. In January, City Tap House will launch a brunch menu, with chicken and waffles with a beer gastrique as its signature dish.

The entire restaurant has a rustic lodge feel, thanks to reclaimed hardwood from Lancaster, Pa., and numerous chalkboards on display around the dining room. A see-through keg refrigerator is a focal point, as are framed vintage Prohibition-era photos. There are 40 seats at the bar and a capacity of 180 total. There's a private dining room for up to 80, which can be partitioned. For happy hour, large groups can reserve an elevated room with direct access to the bar.

--Maura Judkis, December 2013