Barrel Whiskey Lounge

Surrounded by the glow of the nation’s Capitol, amongst the hustle and bustle of thousands of the country’s most rich and powerful, lies a monumental attraction of a different kind that deserves admiration and recognition in its own right.

Barrel, a rustic yet cozy whiskey bar known for its southern fare and flare, has quickly found itself amongst the best and most palatable grub hubs in the city – and executive chef Garret Fleming is all too familiar with praise and recognition.


While the former Bravo Top Chef contestant’s time on the big screen may be over, his adventures in the kitchen crafting some of the nation’s best brown water cocktails and brunch bites are far from over.

Fleming has built nothing short of a southern dynasty just north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Sugary sips with names such as “Members only” that features a mixture of Ford’s Gin, Campari, Raspberry Syrup, dry vermouth, lemon, and egg white, and “Last Resort” that is a dreamy concoction of Bulleit, Licor 43, Cynar, Angostura, and orange bitters grace the Elixir Bar menu.

After taking one good look at us after coming in from the blistering cold, our informative and delightful waiter Sam recommended the “Milk Punch” cocktail – a beverage with a slightly sweet yet potent punch (no pun intended) that contains rum, brandy, vanilla bean, carmelized bananas, brown sugar, and maple syrup. (Trust us, it is magic in a glass!) The liquid goes down smooth and leaves a surprisingly yummy aftertaste, much like a mixture of tropical fruit with the subtle undertones of nothing but southern goodness.


Not stopping there, Sam decided we couldn’t make a trip to Barrel and not take full advantage of the self-serve bottomless mimosa brunch bar (how does he know us so well already?) The bottomless brunch that runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday features house made simple syrups that guests can add to their orange or cranberry mimosas, which they can also pour themselves to get the right amount of champagne:juice ratio. (Considering how incredibly impossible it is to find a brunch in DC that serves mimosas with the correct ratio of juice to the stuff we really want, can we get an Amen?)

The friendly staff showered us with a bucket of chilled champagne accompanied with fresh raspberry pineapple simple syrup, mint lemongrass simple syrup, fresh squeezed OJ, and cranberry juice. While it was a treat to be able to pour our own champagne, it was the simple syrups that sealed the deal. Even after all of the brunches we have attended (most of which we remember), these mimosas were the freshest, most flavorful mimosas of all.

Let’s just take a close-up so you can appreciate the consistency of the yumminess within the glass. We think this pour-form of the raspberry pineapple syrup deserves an Olympic gold:

Now, a proper southern whiskey bar would never serve ladies brown water without offering them nibbles, but Barrel took the term “southern hospitality” to an entirely new level.

Simultaneously, Barrel staff brought out plate after plate…after plate of beautiful food art.


Chef Fleming started us off with the creamy, crispy Croque Madame made with ham, crab mornay, egg, and chard (a green, leafy vegetable), all on top of a thick slice of lightly toasted bread.

Sam recommended we break the egg yolk first while the dish was hot. Check out this serious yolk porn below:


Next up was the Mac n’ Cheese. Before we dive into the details of this rich and cheesy dish, let us first take the time to distinguish this mac n’ cheese from all others. Made with five different types of cheeses including aged Wisconsin parmesan, fresh goat, gruyere, fontal, and topped with fontina, the dish is SO good, that a popular food magazine asked for the recipe! We won’t ruin the surprise of course, but let’s just say we can certainly see why they want to share Chef Fleming’s secret with the world:


We decided to dig into the Fried Chicken, Sausage Gravy, and Peach Jam Biscuit dish next which was a pure southern delicacy. The crisp boneless chicken breasts and fluffy biscuits made these former belles swoon! The mixture of the sweet jam with the salty brown gravy was a match made in foodie heaven:


Working our way through the massive feast before us, we decided to take a stab at the Jagerwurst, Baked eggs, Roasted Garlic and Toast dish. Chef Fleming starts out with crushing slivers of garlic in a pan, adding cracked eggs over the top once the garlic is browned and roasted. A blend of secret spices is dashed on top before it is served along side a perfectly toasted piece of bread and a giant, juicy jagerwurst.

Just about stuffed to the brim, we still had quite a few surprises in store (but don’t worry, we always make room). Next, we decided to expand our horizons and dig into the Cauliflower Migas with Chilis, Peppers, Currants, and Poached egg. For a dish with such seemingly simple ingredients, it sure packs a flavorful punch. Spices such as curry, turmeric, cayenne, and smoked paprika dance around a mixture of chopped jalepeno and chili peppers and baked cauliflower for a smoky flavor with subtle spice.


The skillet dish is topped off with crunchy croutons and a poached egg with creamy yolk. Here’s a closer look:


Taking a glance down the table, we realized we had one final dish left: the glorious, ginormous, warm, gooey cinnamon bun. This wasn’t your average cinnamon bun, either. This big ole’ bun was topped with a melted cream cheese glaze mixed with the perfect pinch of bourbon.

To make this treat even sweeter, underneath the cinnamon bun was a 1-inch thick layer of carmelized brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.  Check it out:


As we finished up our cocktails and enjoyed the feelings of our overstuffed but satisfied bellies, the gracious staff led us to the room we dubbed the “bourbon basement.”


In a dimly lit private room below the main restaurant is a hidden gem full of some of the world’s best bourbon-whiskey (some they even age in barrels themselves). In fact, just behind the bar on the top floor, visitors can find what aged bourbon is currently on “tap,” which flavors are up next, and which flavors the elixir masterminds are brainstorming on mounted chalkboards.


The bar downstairs offers fun weekly themed cocktails (this past week was David Bowie), and rumor has it upcoming cocktail themes could possibly include Harry Potter and Game of Thrones. Flickering candles, stained-glass decor, and rustic wooden tables also offer a relaxing atmosphere for reasonably sized groups wishing to host private parties.

Barrel is truly an experience unlike any other; a unique and thrilling gem tucked away in the heart of the nation’s capitol that offers visitors a chance to export themselves south of the Mason-Dixon in a matter of minutes. With its friendly staff, one-of-a-kind dishes, cocktails that don’t skimp on the special sauce, and knack for creativity, Barrel will hopefully remain a staple of Capitol Hill for years to come.

9 replies to “Barrel Whiskey Lounge”

  1. I should not have read this an hour before lunch time. OH MANNN this looks amazing! Following you on bloglovin now so that I can get this kind of tasty goodness on the regular!

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𝟏𝟎 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨𝐬 + 𝟏𝟎 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 @dominicanrepublic 𝐚𝐬𝐚𝐩!

There are way more than 10 reasons why you should book a flight to the stunning island of the Dominican Republic, but here’s what convinced me:

1. The beaches. The Dominican is known for having some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world! 
2. The hospitality. This goes without explanation, but the locals are so welcoming and truly want you to enjoy their country!
3. The cuisine. Think flavorful dishes like soups, thick stews, desserts, fried chicken, and plenty of fresh fruit 🥭🍍🍌
4. Saona Island Reserve. Waist-deep turquoise waters, gorgeous oceans and beaches, and stunning scenery provide peace and tranquility. 
5. Breathtaking landscapes and national parks.
6. Luxury hotels + resorts. The DR is known for having some of the most luxurious all-inclusive resorts in the world, especially in and around Punta Cana. I recommend staying at @sunscapecoco which is a @sunscaperesorts property by @hyatt! 
7. Amazing Nightlife + entertainment. The DR is the birthplace of the merengue and bachata after all!
8. The rums. Dominican rums are known for their high quality. They are aged in American oak barrels and then distilled in column stills. The tropical climate also is a huge factor in the maturing process and taste! 
9. The wildlife. Flamingos, cushion starfish, whales, dolphins, lizards, crocodiles, and more than 300 species of birds!
10. Tropical surroundings. The DR is home to the most northern rainforest in the world! 

What would you want to experience first? 🇩🇴

***View my Dominican highlight to see everything I did during my time there with @sunscapecoco and @amstardmc! #UnlimitedFun #SunscapeResorts #WorldofHyatt #AmstarWelcomesYou #DominicanRepublic #puntacana #caribbeantravel
𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐲𝐩𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐀𝐢𝐫𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐞 𝐌𝐨𝐝𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐩𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞 👌🏻😮‍💨

The 5-star luxury @sunscapecoco resort in Punta Cana @dominicanrepublic is nothing short of a dream stay. The @hyatt property offers 24 different on-site restaurants and bars My favorites were DaMario’s for Italian cuisine and Blue Water Grill steakhouse!

It also provides 24-hour room service (late night pizza + fries yes please!), a full service spa, daily activities and family-friendly entertainment on-property, six pools, access to a stunning white sand beach, beach lounge chairs and cabanas (for rent), gift shops, a casino (if that’s your thing), and an on-site medical clinic. 

For those visiting with kids, a section of the property contains the Explorer's Club for kids ages 3-12 which offers a large playground, pool, arts and crafts, and movie nights. A kid approved snack + food truck is also nearby.

Want to explore beyond the resort? You can easily book private transport or a tour at the @amstardmc desk in the front lobby or before your arrival.

It really has everything you could want or need! 

What’s a place you keep your phone on airplane mode to truly enjoy the experience? Let me know below!
#UnlmitedFun #SunscapeResorts #SunscapeCoco #DominicanRepublic #Caribbeantraveler #Caribbeantravels
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝟒 𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐢𝐧 ::

(You’ll want to SAVE this for your next trip!)📌

𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝟏:
- Check into the @hvicharleston. Here you can enjoy a complimentary wine and cheese reception, milk + cookies at night, and a made to order breakfast in the mornings!
- Grab a sweet pick me up at @tintoycrema next door 
- Stop for pics at Rainbow Row
- Walk to White Point Garden + The Battery
- Visit Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
- Have a late seafood lunch at @fleetlanding 

𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝟐:
- enjoy complimentary breakfast at @hvicharleston (order the ham + cheese quiche or croissant!)
- take the free DASH bus from the hotel to Liberty Square to visit the @southcarolinaaquarium. They have an amazing Sea Turtle Rescue Center! 
- eat lunch at @browndogdeli (I recommend ordering The Folly Beach Turkey Crunch Wrap or the Fried Green Tomato BLT) 
- tour the Nathaniel Russell House and/or the Edmondston-Alston House (it survived hurricanes, the earthquake of 1888, and the Civil W*r!)
- eat dinner at @magnoliaschs. Order the fried green tomatoes and southern egg roll!

𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝟑:
- enjoy another breakfast at @hvicharleston! You can order it as early as 6am.
- Board a boat to @ftsumternps. This historic Fort is marked as the spot where the first battle of the Civil W*r was fought. Reservations required. 
- take an Uber to @fireflydistillery to try their Sweet Tea Vodka, Banana Pudding Moonshine, and their Chocolate Pecan Whiskey. Dont pass up a boozy moonshine milkshake (for 21+) and a Rocket Burger from @rocket_burger_chs food truck!

𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝟒:
- enjoy an iced coffee and a breakfast sandwich at @carmellasdessertbar (just a few blocks from @hvicharleston)
- stroll through the @charlestoncitymarket. It’s been around since the mid 1800’s!
- eat late lunch at @hymans_seafood. Don’t pass up their hush puppies and crab cakes. They were voted Best in Charleston for a reason! 

Click on the link in my bio to read my full “4 Days in Charleston” guide (yes, there’s more!) on my blog to help you plan the ultimate Charleston vacation.
𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐢 𝐆𝐮𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐨 @puntacana 𝐃𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐑𝐞𝐩𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜 ✨

I had 4 full days to spend in the eastern region of the @dominicanrepublic (which was definitely not enough time to see everything!) but made for a great intro to the DR. 

Here are just a few must-do activities to check out when you visit!

✨ Stay at the newly updated @sunscapecoco by @hyatt. This 5-star all inclusive @sunscaperesorts property offers *24*on-site restaurants, bars, and cafes for unlimited food + drinks. It also has a spa, multiple pools, and beach access.
✨ Visit the Basilica Nuestra Señora De La Altagracia in Higuey. It’s one of the most important religious sites in the country!
✨ Spend a few hours at Playa Macao. It’s a beautiful white sand beach with bright turquoise waters!
✨ Try traditional food such as Dominican fried chicken, Bandera Dominicana (rice, beans, and stewed chicken), and Sancocho (a hearty stew).
✨ Spend a day exploring the islands of Cotubanamá National Park with @amstardmc 🌴 

Do you have plans to visit the @dominicanrepublic soon? You can see more from my time there in my IG stories and my “Dominican” highlight! 
#DominicanRepublic #puntacana #puntacanaexcursions #dominicana #UnlimitedFun #sunscaperesorts #SunscapeCoCo #caribbeantravel #caribbeanvibes #amstarwelcomesyou #dominicanrepublic🇩🇴
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