Church and State: the American Bar
Sometimes we feel we have no choice about which bar we should go to and write about. We had to go to an Irish pub on St. Patrick's Day. We had to go to the bar in a Mexican restaurant on Cinco de Mayo. When we discovered a bar called Church and State two blocks from where we were staying in Washington, D.C., we had to go there. It's thematic to the location and to our journey to visit a church and a bar in every state. As if that wasn't enough reason, we're patriots who love the red, white and blue, and this is a bar that loves America.
bar downstairs (but under the same ownership) with a video game theme, but we walked up to the second floor and waited to be seated as the sign at the top of the stairs told us to. The decor primarily went with the Church theme -- stained glass, pews, and a pastor's study. For the State theme, there were a few eagles, but the real emphasis on patriotism was in the menu.
It's printed like an old timey newspaper called The Church & State Times. The preamble to the drink list reads, "This not a Church. D.C. is not a State. But every bottle, whether heavenly or devilish, comes from the United States, its territories or possessions. We are the first all-American cocktail venue. Our craft cocktails take time, we appreciate your patience and invite you to be free and brave."
Patrick was sitting next to us at the bar. He's a regular, working in the area but not living nearby. He appreciates the small and intimate atmosphere of Church and State, since he doesn't like big bars or sports bars. In answer to what makes for a good bar, he continued with other things he appreciates about this bar. He likes the creativity of their cocktails and likes to watch the bartenders work. He likes to take mixology tips for making drinks at home.
Mindy asked her our questions, "What makes for a good bar?" and "What makes for a good church?" Victoria said the booze is the obvious first thing -- having good options for people to choose. For her, though, she said that "even with good options, you need a good atmosphere." She likes a place that is a "little sexy, a little seductive," but that as a local, "I like being known -- the Cheers atmosphere." (She'd heard me mention Cheers when I was talking to Patrick. I need to speak more quietly.)
Church and State Bar isn't about getting drunk; it's designed to give people an experience they will remember rather than forget, and one that will keep them coming back.