Young and Hungry

Brickskeller Chatter: Anticipated Closing Draws Near

Brickskeller May Close Soon

It seemed this day was inevitable. The owners of the Brickskeller, who have been looking for a buyer for the venerable tavern and inn on 22nd Street NW near Dupont Circle, may have found one.

Details are still sketchy—like whether the Brickskeller name will move to its sibling restaurant/brewpub in Chinatown, Regional Food and Drink.

But DC Beer tweets that it has "an unnamed but credible source that The Brickskeller will shut it's doors for good on 12.18."

Tim Carman, on Young & Hungry earlier this fall, offered some advice to any new owners of the Brickskeller, since beer culture has evolved and matured considerably since the days the good 'ole Brick was really the only game in town for discerning beer drinkers. In October, Carman painted the bittersweet scene:

Last week, 20 drinkers who once considered the Brickskeller home—either because they had worked at the bar or because they practically lived there—dropped by the subterranean saloon for one last taste. They had heard rumblings that the Dupont Circle institution, the place that pioneered the craft beer movement in D.C., had been sold. ... As far as these romantics were concerned, come November, the Brickskeller as they knew it would be gone forever.

Well, it's December now. And if the chatter is correct, it looks like the final days of the Brickskeller as we know it are now upon us.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • keith

    Hope not. Some chatter about this, but the owners have to retire sometime!

  • Christina

    NOOOOOOOOO....say it ain't so!

  • Dick

    The Brickskeller is an embarrassment to this city, living off an ancient reputation that no longer is applicable.... their claim about beer selection is a joke, the staff is horrible, the management is worse, and the atmosphere is a dump.... good riddance!

  • Jaime

    Dave has offered a friendly and supportive eye to so many brewers, including this one. At least RFDB remains with his genetic code, and thanks for the years of excitement and support at the Brick!

  • Marshall

    Fu*k you Dick. Seriously. Sorry it doesn't fulfill your bro microbrew desires. Good name.

  • bostondann

    You had to be a regular in the 80's to truly appreciate what the Brick was in its heyday! Gunslingers Corner, Oogiewawa, Mike the despicable D.J., discovering Italy's answer to PBR, Joe the Bouncer, big tips to Andi so she could pay her rent, all my first dates (if they could handle the Brick ...), and they have a stage, why?, collecting goats, Macs motor oil, depth charges on your birthday, and the best g*ddamn chicken wings ever!

  • Richard

    Marshall, I notice you didn't have anything good to say about the brick either!

  • Michael E. Grass

    My favorite memory and I wish I had photos: Joining friends in the back corner of the second-floor space as one would consistently order can after can of Iron City, which were promptly turned into an Pittsburgh-inspired beer can triangle. Naturally, our party bought every last Iron City in the place. Who knows how long it took the Brickskeller to restock... This happened at least three times, maybe more. It's sort of hazy, like many Brickskeller memories.

  • tbx

    I'm not as sad as I should be. I remember we used to wait long times for tables on a Friday or Saturday night as it was the place to be. Now whenever I go we sit immediately and it stays half empty. This place has been abandoned since RFD opened since it has more food and more on tap beers. Also, record setting or not, they really don't stock anything close to what is printed on their menu. Its sad to lose a landmark but RFD keeps the spirit alive and improves on the Brickskellar's shortcomings. Anyone who didn't see this coming hasn't been there in a while.

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  • Dave

    The brickskeller was great - but now its just a shithole with hardly any beer and horrible food.

  • Zambezi Lager

    As Charles Dickens put it: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." That pretty much sums up the Brickskeller. It's like watching an old family pet slowly fade away and you know that the only sensible thing to do is to put it down. The Brickskeller WAS a popular and respectable place to spend time in 'back in the day' as they say, but for years now it's been a veritable dump. Deplorable service, health code violations, food not fit for human consumption, and yes the rats - falling from the ceiling and rotting in warm pipes...a disaster waiting to happen (didn't anyone notice that support beam in the middle of the restaurant holding up the second floor that was caving in?). To top it all off, it was supposed to be a "beer bar." A horrible and filthy draught system, overpriced cups of beer, and then of course the "beer list," need I extrapolate? Oh, there were great memories made at the Brickskeller, but the time has come to let go. "This used to be my beer bar, this used to be my childhood dream, this used to be the place I drank in, whenever I was in need, of an ale...why did it have to fail? R.I.P.

  • Former Bartender

    Jeez, I can't believe it. Sure, it was a dive, even in its better days, and no one went there for the food, but if you did go you never forgot the experience. Who remembers what the inside of a TGI Fridays looks like, or some other flash-in-the-pan trendy spot that came and went in a few years. No one forgets the Brick. Where else could you wean a beer neophyte from Bud Light to Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter? Where are you going to hear local and regional brew masters, wearung faded jeans and baseball hats pulled low over their faces, mumble into a mike to talk about the receipe for their Christmas beer? If Bob Tupper hasn't chained himself to the doors by now I'd be shocked. I've been to RFD, nice place, great location, totally forgettable. Gordon Biersch is in a shopping mall, what kind of blasphemy is that? Yes, it had rats. Yes, it had more cockroaches than a Chinese restaurant. OK, it smelled a little, and the worn carpet and cheap wooden chairs/tables didn't impress anyone. If you found a parking spot within three blocks you entered the Brick with the aura of victory surrounding you. Dang, I just remembered, where will DJ Mike spend his weekends now? And, even more importantly, how will he pay for all of the Bud Lights? Where will all the cute AU and GW girls go for part time jobs? If the Brick does get sold, I have dibs on the Rolling Rock neon sign 😉

  • Patti

    Very sad this place is closing! Was my haunt back when I went to GW in the 90's and my dad from University of Maryland days! The atmosphere was the best and it will be missed by us. We are coming to say goodbye for one last drunken haunt and I am with bostondann-best chicken wings ever!!

  • Scott

    @BostonDann - sounds like you frequented around the time I worked either to stock the bar or behind the bar (89-92). (if the Mac you mentioned referred to Mac the 'tender, then you have to remember the dude's ties) You forgot to mention 40s swing on the juke. Wish I weren't 3k miles away, so I could pay my final respects ...

  • Scott

    p.s. I had my first Bigfoot at the Brickskeller, and for that I'll be eternally grateful ...

  • Marty

    time for one last pilgrimage to the Brick. I have a bottle collection of over 6000, and hundreds of them came from the Brick.I found many foreign labels that were not available anywhere else.