40 Beers on Tap & Diverse Dining Menu at City Tap House

City Tap House D.C. opened near City Center in Washington, D.C., at the end of 2013, and has already established itself as a popular choice, with its 40 beers on tap, two cask-conditioned beer engines and dozens by the bottle, as well as its dining, with a menu which is well beyond what you’d expect from typical pub grub.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you’re at a “gastropub” and won’t be able to get some of the go-tos which you’d like to see on the menu while you’re watching a game or winding down after work. From burgers and sandwiches, to pizza and wings, there are plenty of bar classics and comfort food choices on the menu.

Except that at City Tap House, the burgers are made from a unique blend of four cuts of meat from Creekstone Farms, sandwich choices range from roasted pork to lobster rolls, and flatbread pizzas are made in a brick oven and highlighted by choices such as the Three Little Pigs, with chorizo, guanciale, fennel sausage, Fontina and broccoli rabe.

Entrees include Monkfish Osso Buco, Duroc Pork Collar, and Rabbit Bolognese, with amazingly tender, shredded rabbit meat, Pecorino Romano cheese and bacon hunks, and elsewhere on the menu you’ll find a variety of mussels, steak frites, and even foie gras stuffed french toast.

Clearly, it’s not meant to be standard bar fare. And it’s not your standard beer list, either.

They break down their selection into an easily sortable format for those who may not be experts on craft beer but are interested in trying something new. The selections run the gamut in terms of style and variety, with a focus on local breweries and hard to find microbrews.

Back to the food, the Blue Crab Mac N’ Cheese is the dish you’ll kick yourself for not trying. Made with fresh jumbo lump crab and Fontina cheese, it’s the perfect mix of creamy and rich without being excessive. The dish, served in a cast iron skillet and technically featured as an appetizer, showcases big hunks of delicious and fresh, slightly sweet crab, as well as that pleasing crunch on top that is an absolute requirement for any good mac and cheese.

It’d a bold move to put Korean tacos on the menu when you’re less than two miles away from the permanent outpost of TaKorean at Union Market. Here, the Korean Short Rib Tacos are flavorful, if not a bit small for the price. They may help you bide your time until your next TaKorean visit, but they likely won’t take over as your new fix anytime soon.

Ultimately, the menu at City Tap House is a strong combination of the familiar types of food you want to see at your bar, with elevated ingredients and concepts, and unique takes on other classics. It bends the rules of what you want your bar food to be, without breaking them or straying too far. You could choose to stay within your comfort zone or you could expand your boundaries a bit, depending on what mood you’re in and who you’re with.

Brunch is also set to debut at City Tap House. Hey, this is D.C., after all, right? Many of the regular menu’s food items will make their way to brunch, along with some weekend morning additions, and the option to go for bottomless mimosas, bloody Marys and “beer-mosas” for $18.

This is the second location for the restaurant, which first opened in Philadelphia in 2009, and it’s a nod not only to the ever-growing culinary scene in D.C., but also the quickly expanding craft beer scene as well. The rustic 180-seat restaurant has a large space divided into several different areas, including a back dining room which overlooks a semi-open kitchen and the housing for the beer lines and taps, and a large bar area as well.

City Tap House D.C. is located at 901 9th Street, N.W., at the corners of 9th & I, which is just a few block away from the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro stop. Visit CityTapHouseDC.com for more information or to make a reservation.

*This article was first published on Yahoo Voices on January 14, 2014