Jerry Bailey began homebrewing with friends in 1989, hopeful that the craft would bring fulfillment that his 9-to-5 failed to provide. Fulfillment it brought, along with numerous batches of tasty brew. Bailey couldn’t keep his inventions to himself; he quickly decided to open his own brewhouse as well as distribute his goods to other local establishments.
Today, Bailey proudly stands at the helm of both Old Dominion Brewhouse and Old Dominion Brewing Company. In the pub, chefs add variety to liquid meals with food such as burgers, crab cakes, and thin-crust pizzas while 30 flat-screen televisions keep patrons entertained with sports. The chefs also exhibit flair for Asian cuisine, slicing and rolling sushi and offering create-your-own mongolian stir-fries. At the bar, eight handles remain perpetually reserved for Old Dominion's craft beers, such as the award-winning Baltic porter and the Oak Barrel stout, which is loaded with flavors of vanilla and the color brown.
Forty varieties of bourbon and 60 beer draughts flow freely from taps into souvenir glasses, slaking thirsty throats with unlimited sips as guests tear through smoky meat concoctions at the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival's tasting stations. Once stuffed with ribs, brisket, and sausage, attendees can retire to the tasting theater to take in a seminar from pit masters and gourmet chefs on preparing fine barbecue or brewing stellar bourbon. Live rock, blues, and bluegrass bands set the airwaves quivering from the main stage with wailing tunes or announcements drawn in barbecue sauce. A cigar tent provides a smoky haven for puffing on fine tobacco products, and big-screen TVs beam the latest sports action directly into eyeballs.
In its former lives, the space now occupied by J'Ollies Restaurant was a biker bar, a seafood restaurant, and a pub. When J'Ollies moved in, though, that space was transformed into a family-friendly restaurant where diners can feast on pancakes and waffles straight from the griddle, or homemade biscuits bathed in sausage gravy. They can even create their own omelet, filling a hearty three-egg and cheese package with meat and veggies. Later in the day, lunch and dinner options include American classics such as beer-battered cod, meatloaf, and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Though the design in Fire & Sage’s dining room exudes modern elegance, the eatery’s kitchen relies on a decidedly more Old-World device: a wood-fired brick oven. Serving as the kitchen’s cornerstone, the oven bakes signature flatbread pizzas whose flavors range from the classic pairing of mozzarella and basil to an eclectic mélange of sopressa, pepperoni, chorizo, and goat cheese. These upscale twists on finger food represent Executive Chef Stephen Malfatti’s entire menu of refined American classics such as crab-cake sliders on potato rolls, sage-marinated organic chicken over sweet-potato risotto, and sea scallops topped with wild-mushroom ragout. As a starter, the gooey artichoke dip was described as “so generous with lump crab, we imagine it comes from the recipe files of Daddy Warbucks,” by the Washington Post. Regional microbrews join domestic and international beers on the drink menu, which also boasts eight signature cocktails ranging from a tiramisu martini to a cucumber-based concoction with Skinnygirl vodka. Inside the Washington Marriott at Metro Center, diners sit at high-top tables in the bar area or in plush, lime-green booths with giraffe-print accents in the dining room. The colorful booths and chairs play elegantly against the golden-hued wood of the walls and floors, all of which are illuminated by oversize hanging lamps.
Central Liquors, one of Washington DC's oldest and most established liquor suppliers, employs a staff with encyclopedic knowledge of the shop's multitude of wines and spirits. Seventy-one types of single-malt scotch tumble into glasses and sport peaty or mild flavors that have been aged for years in oak-lined casks or oak-lined halls of a private school. Liqueurs and cordials sweeten cocktails and clear spirits such as vodka and gin provide the basis for many a martini.
The shop's selection of champagne and sparkling wines can fit any budget or occasion, from New Year's Eve festivities to the bathtub christening of a new toy boat. Wednesday through Saturday, Central Liquors hosts in-store wine-tastings, sharing multiple bottles from their international inventory. The staff can also advise party throwers by helping brainstorm appropriate libations their event and recommending an appropriate number of bottles based on the number of guests.