H Street NE is a popular bar and restaurant destination and many of the spots there are quite crowded. However, Church and State is a little oasis from that hustle and bustle: a fantastic, intimate and quiet cocktail bar.
Located upstairs from the fun Atlas Arcade (a dive bar with video games) the spot is dark and moody, decorated with stained glass, pews and ornate candelabras and chandeliers – hence the church part of the name. There’s also a few confessional rooms you can reserve and sit in with a group, complete with sliding window where the bartender delivers your drinks. A priest of alcohol, as it were.
And the drinks shine: they’re interesting and tasty (and many quite strong.) They have a rotating assortment of seven deadly sins-themed drinks, as well as traditional American cocktails like the Old Fashioned and Manhattan plus their takes on other famous ones, like the Chuck Yeager, a variation on an Aviation with gin, lemon juice, tart cherry liqueur and lavender bitters – I get it every time I go.
The bartenders are friendly and helpful, so they can always suggest something or invent one for you as well.
There’s no food, so you may want to eat before or after, and it can be a little pricey, but it’s a great spot with a wonderful atmosphere.