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.
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.
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.
Armed with a Woodstone brick oven and an unwavering faith in freshness, chef Aaron M. Tootill presides over Fire & Sage’s menu of brick-oven flatbread pizzas, daily made cornbread, and a piping panoply of gourmet entrees. The signature shrimp and pancetta pizza ($14) sneaks to tables cloaked in gooey mozzarella, garlic, and a rich basil pesto, while the wild mushroom ($13) adorns itself with shiitakes, portobellos, and bright green 1-Ups. The short-rib sandwich ($14) ensconces caramelized onions and muenster cheese between its ciabatta bun and arrives escorted by a hearty chalice of three onion soup. Glittering lochs of mustard caper sauce encircle the towers of jumbo-lump crab cake ($31), whose gates open onto a dessert of barrel-aged bourbon pecan-ice-cream sundae artfully flecked with nougatine, pecan brownie, and drizzled glyphs of butterscotch ($8).
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.