Last week I wrote about The Liberty Tree, my favorite place on H Street to sit back, eat some fries, and drink a beer. Today, it’s time to share my favorite place to go right after. Almost every time I’ve eaten at The Liberty Tree, the night has continued a couple of blocks away at the speakeasy-style bar Church and State. Located up a flight of stairs (directly above the bar formerly known as Fruit Bat, which will reopen soon in an undisclosed new format), Church and State mixes prohibition style drinks with flair.
Church and State’s schtick is their two drink menus: the first, the “Church” menu, offers drinks named after each of the Seven Deadly Sins, while the second, the “State” menu titled the “Bill of Rights,” is made up of cocktails themed after classic American drinks. It’s a gimmick, to be certain, but it works. The playful nature of their menu design (and of the room: there’s even a mock confessional with seating in the back) both reminds you that you’re there to have fun and prepares you for the quirky nature of many of their drinks. But it wouldn’t work, of course, if the cocktails weren’t delicious, and lucky for us the bartenders here know what they’re doing.
My suggestions all come off the “Bill of Rights,” though the sins I’ve tried have been delicious as well. Start off with a Chuck Yaegar – a play on an Aviation, of course – a fantastically light gin drink with gin, lemon juice, and lavender bitters. Still thirsty? Move on to either their version of a Sazerac or a Mint Julep, both well-crafted versions of two Southern American favorites. And finally (and for me most importantly), top off the night with a Manhattan, mixed here with rye instead of the traditional whiskey. Make sure to eat the brandy-soaked cherry at the end: it’s the perfect sweet, boozy finish to your night.
Much like the similarly-themed Mt. Pleasant bar Last Exit, drinks at Church and State won’t come cheap. Most cocktails run between $10 and $12 dollars, so more than a couple could blow your budget for the weekend. For the quality, though, the price is worth it, and Church and State is the perfect place to either start or end your night. And for all the cheap drinks you’ll be needing before or after? That’s what PBRs at Sticky Rice are for.
Church and State is located at 1236 H Street NE.