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Favorite Beer Bar Ever?

Mine personally is the Raleigh Times Bar in North Carolina. I visited on business for six days and spent almost all of my times at that bar. I travel 200 days a year and try to find my place where ever I go. Many places either have great beer, great food, great staff or great atmosphere. Rarely does a place have it all. The Times, as locals call it, has all of it and more.
They only have six taps however I have never had fresher and more interesting selections. No Guinness, no macros except 20 ounce PBR for $2. You will get a Blanche or an amazing Belgian amber, how about a Frambozen that doesn't taste like it has been in the line for a week. Bottle selections are extensive however no beers are on there just to be. Management explained no matter the brand or honor the beer has to be great to make it. What an idea?
The food is all scratch bar food and possibly the best burger I have ever had. The meat is ground everyday and I saw it with my own eyes when I peeked in the kitchen.
The staff are simple, fun and no fluff. They don't where any uniforms and it feels like your neighbor is hanging out with you. When that place gets busy it's amazing to watch them move with composure and purpose. And it gets so busy. I got in early on a Friday and managed a bar seat. At eight o'clock it was packed. I mentioned that and Bobby the bartender laughed and shrugged it off. At ten o'clock there was this sea of people inside and out. I have never seen so much draft beer poured anywhere of the 94 cities I have been to.
If you ever get into Raleigh make a trip happen downtown. I wish I lived in Raleigh.

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  1. Since you travel so much could you run down some other Beer Bars that come close to the Raleigh Times Bar? We'd love to know.

    1. I travel mostly east of the Mississippi and I have been to most of the top-rated places in Boston, NYC (Manhattan only), Philly, Baltimore, DC, Atlanta, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago.

      For me, the top place is the Capital Ale House chain in Richmond. They have a very large tap selection, a nice bottled selection, a "secret" list of vintage bottles and a nice menu.

      There are some places that have a small, but excellent selection and others that area specialty (brew pubs or Belgian bars) but Capital Ale house has the best combination of all key elements without making unsatisfactory compromises.

      3 Replies
      1. re: brentk

        Hands down... the Map Room in Chicago.

        Greatest selection of great microbrews of all styles, European ales, etc. etc. Here's an example of their current beerlist:


        If it's not fresh on tap, then 99% they have it in the bottle...

        The place is real short on amenities... one pool table, a dump really, but the beer selection is the best.

        1. re: Chicago Mike

          Love the Map Room in Chicago. Also love Blue Bird in Chicago.

          1. re: JFarah

            map room is awesome!
            unsure the validity but we were told before going in to not to act like a tourist and whip out a camera...now of course once we were carded (at the door) they knew we were all from nj but hey they were super friendly and the bartender was nice enough to give us samples of stuff we were unsure of.

      2. The Brickskeller and RFD in Washington, DC.

        5 Replies
        1. re: CDouglas

          I hope Brickskeller has improved over the years. I lived in DC for about 12 years, moved away 9 years ago. Back then, Brickskeller was famous more because it was there. Yes, they had an amazing collection of beers, but overpriced, often skunky, and bad food to go with it. We preferred the Ram's Head in Annapolis.

          1. re: Loren3

            the "beer bible" was nice but overall the brickskeller wasn't my favorite either (maybe all the pre-hype skewed my expectations)...honestly, i like "kramerbooks" just across the circle, the selection isn't as extensive but what they do have is great including the food!

            1. re: cellar_door77

              Was at the Brickskeller about a month ago, impressive collection but the place was pretty dumpy otherwise. I much preferred The Saloon, next to Ben's Chili Bowl. Not as large of a selection, but no loud music and not much of a scene, which is just how I like it.

          2. re: CDouglas

            The Brick would definitely win the "most overhyped good beer bar" category. I can't remember them, or RFD's for that matter, ever having half of the beers that I've actually asked for. The food is marginal, the waitstaff subpar, etc. etc.

            1. re: thecheeseisblue

              ha, when i order there, i give the waitress a list of 7 beers and i usually find one to be available.....

          3. spuytenduyvil in brooklyn has one of the best bottle selections i've ever seen. akkurat in stockholm is also outstanding (everything from rare belgians to loads of u.s. micros and oddball english stuff). in toronto, beerbistro has A: an outstanding bottle selection and some well-chosen taps, and a damned good beer-focussed kitchen. they also do their own charcuterie, have their own smoker, and the chef/owner has competed in the bocuse d'or. beerbistro.com, if you're ever in town.

              1. re: shellshock24

                I agree, the Toronado. The best beer bar EVER. Hands down. Not that some of the other places mentioned are not great. Not only is the sausage next door good....but go on Hamburger day on Tues...I think of this place often with envy for the locals

                1. re: lyn

                  I am curious have you been to O'Briens in San Diego?

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Does O'Briens have the belgian selection or the casks that Toronado does? I've never been and am curious.

                    1. re: PaulB

                      Read 'em and weep: http://www.obrienspub.net/index.php

                      Actually... I am sure Josh & the other locals are hating me right now for promoting this place... the three times I have been there its been no problem to get seated during prime time.

                      1. re: PaulB

                        I've been to Toronado a few times now, nowhere near as many times I've been to O'Brien's, but I will say that their selections are pretty similar in spirit, if not specifics. IIRC, Toronado has more handles than O'Brien's, and seems to always have casks available. The bottle selection is a little harder to gauge, as the times I've been to Toronado there were a good number of beers on the bottle list that were out of stock. One night, I think I went through 4 different orders before hitting one that was in stock.

                        O'Brien's has cask beer at least one night per week, sometimes more often. Their draft selection typically includes at least two Belgian offerings, with the rest made up of craft brews, many local.

                        O'Brien's bottle selection is really impressive. Probably 2/3 of the list is Belgian, some very obscure.

                        Another thing that O'Brien's does that's pretty cool is special event nights, where they hook up with a brewer or something along those lines. Recently, during their anniversary week, they had a sour ale night with a huge lineup of sour and barrel aged beer from all over the US, plus a couple of Belgians.

                        All that said, I would much rather hang out at O'Briens. a) They take plastic, b) there is plenty of room to sit, c) there isn't music played at deafening volume, d) they have food.

                      2. re: Eat_Nopal

                        O'Briens in SD: it that the one near the NBC studio? If so, yes

                          1. re: lyn

                            NBC studio is downtown at Horton Plaza. So I guess that's a no.

                            1. re: Josh

                              Oh no she is thinking that crappy Irish pub in the Gas Lamp.... no THIS Obriens is a completely different animal.

                        1. re: lyn

                          Sorry, didn't see the original post. One of my pet peeves is "[fill in the blank] is the best ever." That would imply that you've been to every beer bar in existence, throughout history. Pedantic, I know, but it still bugs me.

                          I couldn't pick such a thing, from the ones I've been to, including Toronado. As much as I love O'Brien's, they don't see as many of the Russian River beers as Toronado does because of proximity. But does that make Toronado better? There are beers I've had at O'Brien's that I didn't see at Toronado, plus I don't have to battle my way to the bar to order and shout to be heard.

                          I have yet to check out Spuyten Duyvil, Map Room, or Brickskellar, but they're all supposed to be awesome. I've been to Ginger Man in Austin, TX, and they had some great beers that I'd never seen anywhere else. Heck I even went to a little place in Waco, TX that had stuff on draft from England I'd never seen elsewhere.

                          Blind Tiger in NYC rivaled O'Brien's and Toronado in terms of selection, and kills both on atmosphere. If I lived in NYC, I'd probably be there every night.

                          1. re: Josh

                            One of the the things I love about Toronado is that they offer so many different Russian River beers. Their beer list is ever changing and many of the RR beers they offer are unique sour belgians in style. I cant find those beers outside of Northen Cal. I was there a few weeks ago and they had six different Belgian Noells on tap!!! You can eat brats from next door, Plantain burritos from across the road and food from good Indian restaurants on the same block in the Toronado. Plus the Tamale lady makes regular appearances there. The great location & beer combined with an awesome staff makes the Toronado my favorite beer bar in California.

                            1. re: Josh

                              Blind Tiger is nowhere near as awesome as Toronado or O'Briens!!!

                              My Top 6-
                              3)Liar's Club
                              4)Pizza Port(Carlsbad)
                              5)The Publick House
                              6)Blind Tiger or Spuyten Duvil
                              7)Monks(in Philly)

                              1. re: Trumpetguy

                                For me, what raises Blind Tiger up is really the ambience. It's dark, dimly lit, and wood paneling, wood floors, etc. It feels like being in a really old pub with a lot of history to it, plus they have great beers from both the East and West coast. For example, when I was there they had bottles from Weyerbacher *and* Lost Abbey.

                                Plus their food is really top notch.

                                1. re: Josh

                                  Yes, Josh--nice vibe there! Love that they serve food late-- until 2am?

                                  Keep in mind beers are $6-$7 easily--I can drink Pliny for $3 at Toronado happy hour; as cheap at O'Briens and Liars Club...As much as you wanna try east coast IPA's very few compare to what is available in SF & SD.So a $7 Weyerbacher or a $3 Pliny? Easy! Heck, I'd easily pay $7 for a Pliny out here:)

                            1. re: shellshock24

                              Yes, love this place! Great selection, particularly if you're coming from the East Coast

                            2. The Brick Store- Decatur (ATL), GA
                              Summits Wayside Tavern- suburban ATL (sports bar, but tons of taps)
                              Map Room- Chicago
                              Sheffields- Chicago
                              dba- NYC or N'awlins
                              Falling Rock- Denver
                              Toronado- San Fran
                              Gingerman- Austin, Chicago, et al
                              Lovejoy's- Austin
                              Flying Saucer- Raleigh, Nashville, et al
                              Abbey Brewing- Miami
                              Leon Pub- Tallahassee

                              All are subject to varying levels of crowdedness, some to potentially fratboy crowds. Sometimes the server isn't great or the list doesn't match what's available. But all have the potential to be a great beer experience.

                              Honorable mention to The Garages in Birmingham, Le Tub in Hollywood (FL), and Backstreet Pub in Beaufort (NC) for being cool bars without necessarily having a great beer selection.

                                1. Kulminator in Antwerp.
                                  Monk's in Philly.
                                  Blind Tiger in Manhattan.

                                  1. 1. Toronado - San Francisco
                                    2. Horse Brass Pub - Portland, Oregon
                                    3. dba - NYC

                                    1. Toronado - San Francisco

                                      Great beer and you can get great sausages next door to accompany it.

                                      1. How about the two best beer bars in the US that are within walking distance of each other--Spuyten Duyvil and Barcade in Williamsburg, Bklyn.

                                        1. The best overall time I had at a Beer Bar was at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia for the following reasons:
                                          1) The softest, most buttery octopus and rich hummus I've had in the city at the bar downstairs.
                                          2) Probably the most extensive local beer selection (Victory, Dogfish Head, Stoudt's, etc) in the city on draft.
                                          3) "Mean" decor.
                                          4) Tremendous lines of sight for bands upstairs (I recall having several Victory Prima Pils at the bar upstairs with a great view of a band that were totally ripping off Black Sabbath [i.e. they were great!])

                                          1. Toronado - San Francisco
                                            Bier Circus - Brussels
                                            Kulminator - Antwerp
                                            White Horse - London

                                            Some that haven't got their props here so far:
                                            Brouwers - Seattle
                                            Uber - Seattle
                                            Rogue - Newport Oregon (mostly because the apartments upstairs are available for lodging)
                                            Stuff'd Sandwich - San Gabriel (Los Angeles)
                                            Naja's - Redondo Beach
                                            O'Brien's - San Diego
                                            Publick House - Boston
                                            Hop Leaf - Chicago

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Kevin B

                                              I second O'Briens... most impressive bar I have ever been to... well its really a small dive with 2nd hand office furniture ripped out of the 50's... in a strip mall surrounded by divergently tidy Asian places (boba, yogurt, noodle houses etc.,)... but that beer selection.. are there any bad beers there? 20 or so hard to find beers on Tap... lots of great bottles... served at a good temperature, in proper glassware, for good prices, and a good crowd of people that know what to drink... its the real deal.

                                            2. Mahars in Albany NY

                                              1000 different beers everyday, including a pretty extensive cask conditioned selection.

                                              Love it!

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                                I loved the lights over the tables that would signal them to come over when you were ready for the next beer. It was so much nicer than wading through the crowds at the student bars I usually went to.

                                                1. re: JRSD

                                                  Wow, they stopped doing the light system, but it is still a great place.

                                                  I got my t-shirt for drinking my 50th beer last week. I was so excited I wore it out of the bar. :)

                                                  1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                                    I was able to find a couple of other things to like there besides the lights... Congrats on the shirt, mine fell apart a while ago.

                                              2. I have to second The Map Room in Chicago. The selection is outstanding, and I actually don't mind the dive-y bar aspect of it. It's my favorite beer bar in the city. I also frequent the Hop Leaf quite a bit-- it has a lesser selection than the Map Room (though it's still excellent), but really great atmosphere and food.

                                                1. Toronado, SF- This place rules, reasonable prices, good selection of local micro brews and beers from around the world, great staff and killer brats next door. A must visit in San Francisco.

                                                  Brouwers, Seattle- Awesome beer bar with a ridiculous selection of Belgians on tap,

                                                  Horse Brass, Portland- Old school brew pub with an impressive selection of local and international beers. Smokey though.

                                                  Green Dragon, Portland- A new brew pub with 25-30 rotating taps. My new favourite haunt.

                                                  Jake's Bar and Bistro, Steilacoom WA- A gem located between Tacoma and Olympia. 35-40 beers on tap with an emphasis on rotating Belgians.

                                                  1. I'm a big fan of The Great Lost Bear, in Portland, ME. Tons of bottle selections, and about 50 beers on tap, the majority from Maine and other New England breweries, but some good foreign draughts as well. Great pub food to boot, and they are always having tastings of new and great beer. Support your right to arm bears!

                                                    1. My favorites in order are as follows:

                                                      The Moan and Dove in Amherst
                                                      Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn
                                                      Blind Tiger in NYC
                                                      Toronado in SF
                                                      Drafting Room in Exton, PA (good food, smoke sucks)

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. I third the Map Room in Chicago, as well as the Hop Leaf (which has excellent food as well as great beer). Also, t' Brugs Beertje in Brugge, Belgium is pretty spectacular too - although you can't really go bad when it comes to drinking beer in Belgium!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: jazspin

                                                          I only got to spend a day in Bruges, but that place was on the top of my list. It was closed that day, I was so disappointed. Guess I'll just have to make it back some day.

                                                        2. Dudas in Fells Point, Baltimore

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. Dutch Bar and Lounge, Jackson, MS (RIP)...Most exotic thing in the cold box was a PBR longneck and the "lounge" was an old vinyl sofa in the corner. But a great juke box, coldest beer in town, a couple of pool tables and pin ball machines, and forty year old dust on the college pennants adorning the walls- isn't that what a beer bar is all about?

                                                            24 Replies
                                                            1. re: Clarkafella

                                                              "coldest beer in town"

                                                              Not for me... beer snobery aside... find me the bar with the warmest beer in town =)

                                                              1. re: Clarkafella

                                                                Well, when it comes to beer, I guess what matters most is what you grew up on. But on a hot, sweaty, muggy night when the air is so thick that you can cut it with a knife, I'll take an ice cold PBR- I know this is a horrible thing to say, but it's even better if just a tiny bit of ice is starting to form in it- over some luke warm ale made in a cave by a Trappist Monk somewhere...

                                                                1. re: Clarkafella

                                                                  I'd like to think that people are capable of evolving beyond what they grew up on. If not, I'd still be eating American cheese sandwiches on white bread with ketchup (fact).

                                                                  Beer is a thousands-of-years old beverage. Relative to its history, industrial light lager like PBR is a historical footnote.

                                                                  When I was growing up, my dad and his friends drank Coors, or something like St. Pauli Girl or Henry Weinhards if they were really feeling fancy. In college, everyone drank Hamm's, Natural Light, Keystone, and MGD.

                                                                  For many years I thought beer was crap, and couldn't understand why anyone drank it.

                                                                  Then I had my first Chimay, and was amazed by how it tasted. And as it warmed up, the flavors kept blossoming and unfolding. And this was on a sunny, warm afternoon in Southern California.

                                                                  Still, your point is well taken. I don't think I'd want a trappist ale on a hot, muggy night, either. But there's a vast universe of great beers for that kind of weather.

                                                                  1. re: Clarkafella

                                                                    As I've asked a million times probably, what doesn't quench one's thirst on a on "hot, sweaty, muggy night when the air is so thick that you can cut it with a knife"? When judging food and beer we must eliminate extreme thrist and hunger or this whole thing means very little ya know?

                                                                  2. re: Clarkafella

                                                                    Well, the title of this thread is "Favorite Beer Bar Ever"- I gave *my* favorite, and gave *my* reason- there is nothing that says anyone else has to agree with either.

                                                                    My definition of a "beer bar" might be different from most. I think of a beer bar as a place where they either don't serve cocktails, or if they do, a person would look really foolish ordering one- with the possible exception of an occasional shot- *not* a shooter... I understand that the criteria of what makes a good beer bar for others might be variety of product, freshness of the product, food served, or even the view.

                                                                    I'm ok with all of that- just feel differently.

                                                                    I haven’t had an ice cold PBR long neck in a long time- I try to buy local whenever possible, and currently that happens to be products from Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company. But I still prefer to keep it in the refrigerator! 8-P

                                                                    1. re: Clarkafella

                                                                      In the current parlance 'beer bar' is a bar you go to for their selection of beer so you and they are comparing apples to oranges.

                                                                      Warm beer is a semi-myth. Different beers are served at different temps, with 50 or so being the warmest they get. Since your mouth has a temp of 98 and change, the beer is plenty cold.

                                                                      1. re: bigchow

                                                                        Not sure about 50 being the warmest. 50 is considered cellar temperature, which is generally considered the coldest temperature that beer should be served at. Some beers though, especially barleywines, old ales, and abbey ales, don't really blossom until they get up into the 60s or 70s. Good beer should taste good even when warm, that's a surefire way to tell if what you've got on your hands is swill.

                                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                                          I definitely like my beer in the high 60's to low 70's... not just Trappist Ales but even more pedestrian beers like Negra Modelo are substantial better at 68 degrees than they are at 50 degrees.

                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                            Not to digress into a different thread (beer temp vs. best beer bar) but: Blech! Blah! HOT beer? Cloying. Oppressive. Why not just leave them in the car on a hot summer day and totally skunk them?

                                                                            And I just love statements like "generally considered... should be served...". By whom? You? Everyone in the world? Self-proclaimed beer experts? Sorry for the rant, but this one just kills me. It's just like serving something in the "proper" glass, or that steak "should" be a certain rare. For you maybe, but please spare the rest of us. The whole point of chowhound is to avoid common misconceptions of what "experts" say "should" be, and give the rest of us a forum for fun ideas on other options.

                                                                            You need to try sitting on a beach in Singapore with a big frosty mug of Tiger on the rocks, just for perspective, just for a different point of view, if only to realize that, in Singapore at least, beer on the rocks is "generally considered to be the warmest beer should be served at."

                                                                            And I know Tiger is no Belgian, but even in Brussels none of the beer I had was over 50, and most was colder.

                                                                            Ok. Rant over. Sorry for the digression, but I feel better now.

                                                                            1. re: Loren3

                                                                              I hear what you are saying but it still sort of depends. I recently purchased a case of Belhaven Scottish ale. I grabbed one right out of the refrigerator. I was a bit disappointed because I really couldn't taste much. But by the time that I finished it I could taste more of it and enjoyed it more. The next time I drank one I let it sit out for about 15-20 minutes and it was glorious.

                                                                              Please do whatever pleases you with your beverages. I can't tell you different. But I can tell you that you are capable of tasting more when the beer is not ice cold. Again, I'm NOT prescribing that YOU do this (your mind seems made up) but flavor is simply more apparent when the beer isn't ice cold. Not suppressing flavor is something that I think would be worth a mention on chowhound even if it isn't everyone's preference.


                                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                I agree with Chinon00. When you drink good beers ice cold, it really dulls the flavours. Allowing good beer to warm up a little after being removed from the fridge brings out nuances that would have otherwise been masked by the cold.

                                                                              2. re: Loren3

                                                                                While its true that there is quite a range of good taste.... there are also some "truths" in taste. For example... take blue cheese. Not a lot of children like it, they think its gross and vastly prefer Velveta... but then you try it as an adult when your palette has become more sophisticated & experiences... and you think its the best thing ever, while Velveta is only marginally preferable to eating your own defecation.

                                                                                Same with beers & temperature... drink a craft beer & a mass produced beer everyday for a year... I will be suprised if after 2 months you don't become enamored with the craft beer & the mass produced crap holds no appeal. Same goes with temperature.

                                                                                I still my Mexican beers.... but after have some great Scottish & Belgian Ales... Negra Modelo tastes thin & simplistic to me even though I still think it has good flavor... and my taste buds just normally prefer that bigger bodied Ales. Still if I am in Mexico, in the sub-tropical heat... I crave a Mexican beer.... and I have now discovered that even a Negra Modelo or Dos Equis Ambers tastes much better at 65 degrees than it does at 40 degrees... its just a matter of trying things with an open mind.

                                                                                1. re: Loren3

                                                                                  You said:
                                                                                  "The whole point of chowhound is to avoid common misconceptions of what "experts" say"

                                                                                  How many places do you go that serve beer at cellar temperature? Anywhere I go, when I get served beer not only is it ice cold, but it's served in a chilled glass. I'd say the only common misconception here is the idea that beer is supposed to be served ice cold.

                                                                                  Comparing drinking a 60 degree beer to leaving beer in the car until it gets skunked seems to indicate a pretty big misunderstanding on your part about the role temperature plays in flavor perception. Flavors are hard to perceive at cold temperatures, that's not a matter of opinion.

                                                                                  You can easily see this is true by observing people who drink swill: they only like it when it's ice cold, and as soon as the beer gets warm they no longer want to drink it. That's because the warm temperature allows you to taste just how awful these beers are.

                                                                                  When I say "generally considered", I mean by people like professional and home brewers, and certified beer judges. You may scoff at such a thing as beer judge certification, but it's very real, and those who do it take classes and have to pass tests where they demonstrate their ability to identify specific flavor components by taste and smell.

                                                                                  I myself have participated in several beer judging events, and the beer is always served at a temperature in the low-to-mid 60s.

                                                                                  I'm not surprised that people in Singapore think Tiger should only be served ice cold, it's not a beer I'd want to taste either.

                                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                                    Actually, pretty much anything that you can drink will have more flavor at or near room temperature- coca-cola, milk, water, orange juice, etc. But that doesn't always make it more enjoyable. Sometimes I like for things to be really cold, sometimes not...
                                                                                    At any rate, when I first responded on this thread, I didn't realize that it was in the "beer" forum, for some reason I thought that it was in "not about food". Even though I still have my own opinion about this and guess that I have the right to share it here, I would have *never* have given my opinion had I seen that this was the beer forum.

                                                                                    My posts (those still on here and those thankfully removed by the moderator) certainly must have appeared pretty trollish- talking about the virtues of ice-cold PBR in the realm of people for whom beer is a passion is certainly not my style- I really wasn’t trying to start an argument!

                                                                                    I apologize to anyone who might have been offended, but ask that you understand that had this topic (favorite beer bar) been brought up in a more general forum, there would have been many others who shared my opinion- I was actually pretty surprised to be challenged on it!

                                                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                                                      Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that ice cold is the only way to go either. And I do like my beers at "cellar" temperature. On the other hand, I'm also saying is the 60-70 degrees is just as extreme (and to me as extremely biased) as ice cold, but instead of no flavor, you're getting cloying and overwhelming. There is no one-size fits all, and sometimes we go overboard in pursuit of an ideal.

                                                                                      1. re: Loren3

                                                                                        Sure, and there are some beers I've had that I wouldn't really want in that warmer temperature range, like lagers, lambic, and IPAs. But I just had a great example recently - it was Great Divide's Yeti barrel-aged Imperial Stout. It was served ice cold, with cold glassware, and all you got from it was hop bitterness. Once it warmed up to room temp, all kinds of flavors emerged.

                                                                                        In general though, I think that American pubs serve beer too cold, and people get used to that, without knowing what they're missing.

                                                                                    2. re: Loren3

                                                                                      Did you notice when in belgium that beers came in specific glasses? The Belgians are very insistant on this, and after experimenting, I agree. Just like using different glasses for different varietals of wine, the beer glasses are designed to highlight and release the flavors, aromas and mouth feel of each particular beer.

                                                                                      Would you serve champagne in a pint glass? No, the bubbles would not work.

                                                                                      Ice cold beer is usually served that way because it tastes like crap. The colder it is, the less you taste. I NEVER drink out of a frosty mug. Some beers are best room temp, some a little lower.

                                                                                      The people who say this are "beer experts" who have years of experience, such as Micheal Jackson (RIP) and his contemporaries as well as the dang brewers themselves, who know their beers through and through.

                                                                                      Don't knock thousands of years of knowledge, dude! Play with it, and you'll find out what you're missing!

                                                                                      1. re: Diana

                                                                                        Champagne can be really good when served with the proper glassware- it can also be good (or at least fun) to drink it right out of the bottle on occasion.

                                                                                        As the saying goes, I've done both and will again...

                                                                                        And if one happens to be in Belgium or any of the wonderful beer bars that people have listed here then I agree that the taste of a really good beer served at whatever temperature is proper for it (whatever that is- seems like it is pretty hard to come up with a consensus), in glassware that is made for that particular style of beer, would be about as good as it gets.

                                                                                        But some of my favorite "beer bars" are juke joints and honky tonks where the chances of getting anything other than an ice cold tall boy, quart, or long neck from a major domestic brewer are slim to none- is it really "proper" to miss out on that experience just because of the beer that they serve and the way that they serve it?

                                                                                        I enjoy a good beer here and there, even at 50-60 degrees. But I hope that I never lose the ability to enjoy an ice cold "swill" when the time and/or place call for it.

                                                                                        1. re: Clarkafella

                                                                                          I'm not sure what experience you're missing out on. I just had the opportunity to experience my choice of Bud, Miller, Coors, or Lone Star at a honky tonk. I opted for Makers instead. Drinking those beers in a honky tonk setting isn't going to magically convert them into appealing beverages, it's just going to make me more annoyed about my surroundings. YMMV.

                                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                                            I aovid honkey tonks, mostly becuase there are always guys there who remind me of the men in "Roadhouse".

                                                                                            I do enjoy a few of the So Cal "motercycle bars" like the rockhouse

                                                                                            1. re: Josh

                                                                                              Hey Josh next time you are up in Sonoma County tasting wines... you should hit Red's Recovery Room its as honky tonk & road house as it gets with the toothless, truck driving patrons and so....but what is interesting is that most of the locals also enjoy decent Nor Cal beers served at a moderate temperature.... even the honky tonk's know what is good once they are exposed to it.

                                                                                          2. re: Diana

                                                                                            The other thing, too, is that when a bottle is brought out at 50 degrees, it's not with the understanding that you're going to chug it down quickly so it never warms up. It sits out on the table, and is drunk from room temp. glassware, and as the session progresses gets warmer and warmer, allowing all those wonderful flavors and aromas to come forth.

                                                                                    3. re: Clarkafella

                                                                                      Back, I guess in the '80s, there was a group called the Bar Tourists of America. I think you would have liked that bunch. They were very much into ambience and traditional bar culture. They would organize tours from tme to time. I never attended, but did read reports on the tours.

                                                                                      Years later two of the principals won the Wynkoop beer drinker of the year contest.

                                                                                  2. The Porterhouse in Temple Bar district of Dublin is among my favorites. Huge selection of beers from around the world, plus many great home brews. Their Wrasslers stout is amazing.

                                                                                    And for a chain, the Bishops Arms pubs in Sweden are pretty good. Great beer selections, with very knowledge staff. And also incredible single malt selection!

                                                                                    1. Gritty Mc Duffs in Portland Maine, Great beer, good pub food, downhome atmosphere, friendly staff that won't call the cops when you get rowdy.and above all, tables you can carve your name with that pocket knife you just got on sale at LL BEAN 2hours before.

                                                                                      1. Don't know about favorite ever... but favorite currently is The Sharp Edge in Friendship Heights, Pittsburgh, PA - 28 Belgian beers on tap, all at correct temperature and in proper glassware, plus hundreds more Belgians, imports, and micros in bottles. Smoke free, daily happy hour with half of all Belgian drafts - heaven, really.

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                                            It is, actually - with a great, low key atmosphere to boot. I'm surprised there aren't more Pittsburgh folks in this post - it's a hell of a beer town.

                                                                                            The beer list at the Sharp Edge: http://www.sharpedgebeer.com/html/bee...

                                                                                            1. re: addiegirl

                                                                                              That's an amazing draft list. How's the Pink Killer? Is it a witbier?

                                                                                              I'm surprised a Belgian place would have so few bona fide lambics. In bottles they only have the Lindeman's and one Cantillon.

                                                                                              Still, quite a list. I'd be broke and fat if I lived near a place like that.

                                                                                              1. re: Josh

                                                                                                I've been to the Sharp Edge a few times, it really is a great place, and low key and not super trendy to boot. Fat Head's is another fun place in Pittsburgh.

                                                                                                1. re: Rick

                                                                                                  Not only is Sharp Edge one of the best beer bars (belgian in particular) I've ever been to, they also have amazing food. They get pomme frites right, even do them in a sweet potato version, and have a burger (called the 'Belgian Burger') that is the only burger I'll ever order in a restaurant. Unfortunately I don't live in Pittsburgh anymore (I live in the Middle East which has one distribution store who's "gold standard" beers are Leffe Blond, Franziskaner Heffe Weizen, and Sapporo) and I miss Sharp Edge (and Fat Head's too!) dearly....

                                                                                                  1. re: darbi.roberts

                                                                                                    To veer off-topic for a moment, what's a Belgian Burger?

                                                                                        1. Having lived in NYC and SD I have to say my favourites would be the Blind Tiger and OBriens. BT always has cask and gravity offerings and wins for me just for that. Still Obriens does get casks so I cant fault them. BOrth have great bottle selections with good vintage offerings. BT wins on decor and food again and on top of things I dont have to drive there. You can get over the limit fairly quickly with a couple of Youngers.

                                                                                          Other good NYC beer bars are the afforementioned Spuyten Duyvil, the Diamond, Mugs which are alll in Bklyn and DBA in the East Village.

                                                                                          Travel wise the Toronado was great but I only went once so it was too hard to get a feel.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: MVNYC

                                                                                            I miss Joe King's Rathskeller. The oldest bar in NYC. Its where I learned what a piano bar was and think of it every time I hear Billy Joel's song. I loved drinking underage w/ my dad and uncles in my NJ home town. When dad was dying, a few years ago, my bro and I took took our underage kids to the same places that served us and no one batted an eye and served them. I remember the Czech pavilion at Expo '67 and my first experience w/ Pilsner Urquell (and trying pretend we were not blitzed for my mom). At college we used to drink $.15 draft Heinikens at the Neff's Hotel or Yuengling at Gust Bold's Buffalo Inn in Schnecksville, Pa. (Great roast beef & ham sandwiches.) In New Mexico, I learned to drink Snappy Tom poured into a draft Coors (in retrospect, a good idea) at the Frontier Bar in Grants and got to listen to icons of 70's music (Townes Van Zandt) in a great college bar, Okie Joe's and learned the joy of Anchor Steam Beer. In Stavanger, Norway, we used to hit Den Rodde Sjohus(The Red Sea House) and drink Tau and eat shrimp. In Helsinki there was a great pub, the Ukkumunki (the Old Monk), with the bouncer dressed in a monk's robe and my Finnish friends would sing Born in the USA when I walked in, Drank Karlja. In Bolivia I learned fluent Spanish in Chopperias, beer pubs, drinking Ducal, and picking up the groups bar tab It did a lot for Bolivian-American relations. In Maine, we used to hit Mai Dee's classic bar and drink stouts while waiting for the kids to get out of scouts. Now we hit the Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor and drink Bar Harbor Real Ale while throwing darts. Last week we learned the pleasures of The Continental in Austin, drinking Guiness and watching great acts. Whew! What next?

                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                              Wow, this is a wonderfully written passage. Thank you, Passadumkeg, for this array of memories.

                                                                                              1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                I am now back in New Mexico, where I worked as a uranium miner in the 70's. We car pooled out to the mines in Ambrosia Lake (what irony) and on pay day Fridays our carpool would stop at The Stope (an open area in a mine) in San Mateo. A rougher bar I have never known; my time warp into the old west. It was there that I learned Olympia beer was smoother than Coors and shots of tequila and beer chasers were lethal. Strippers and good time women flocked there on payday Fridays. After a stressful week in the mines, where a man a week was killed, miners liked to let off steam w/ fist fights and shooting into the ceiling. I earned my money to go to UNM and get my MA and then to life in Europe, South America and raise 5 wonderful kids in Maine. The Stope is just a concrete pad...So it goes.
                                                                                                Next: Chief Ranchos in San Fidel.

                                                                                          2. Monk's (Philly)
                                                                                            Blind Tiger
                                                                                            Capital Ale House (Richmond)
                                                                                            RFD is OK

                                                                                            I don't like the Brickskeller in DC - I've been disappointed every time I've been there - between the selection and the service, I'll just pass on that experience.....

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                              The Brickskeller was THE beer bar. In the 80's...I used to go in the mid 80's and then moved out of the area. Then a few years ago I returned for a visit. I was heartbroken it had changed so much and the service was rude.

                                                                                            2. My three favorites:

                                                                                              Cafe Gollem in Amsterdam: http://www.cafegollem.nl/

                                                                                              The afore mentioned Sharp Edge in Pittsburgh (the Friendship location is best in my opinion).

                                                                                              The Muddy Pig in St Paul, MN: http://www.muddypig.com/

                                                                                              1. Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown on M Street (Washington, DC)

                                                                                                Brasserie Beck (Washington, DC)

                                                                                                Duda's in Fells Point (Baltimore, MD)

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: MarcDC

                                                                                                  I forgot about Duda's - I didn't even know they were still around. I'd bet it's been 20 years since I was there. They had a great beer selection, and a great crabcake sandwich.

                                                                                                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                    youll be happy to know they still have fantastic crabcakes

                                                                                                  2. re: MarcDC

                                                                                                    Good choices. PParadiso is such a cool place. If only you could park anywhere near it. And Brasserie Beck has outsanding beers available but you have to take out a second mortgage if you want to have a meal there.

                                                                                                    Dont forget Max's in B-more! Certainly one of the best beer bars on the east coast.

                                                                                                  3. I'd say (in no particular order):

                                                                                                    Toronado (SF)
                                                                                                    Barclay's (Oakland)
                                                                                                    City Beer (SF)
                                                                                                    Map Room (Chicago)
                                                                                                    Brickskeller (DC)
                                                                                                    Hamilton's (SD)
                                                                                                    Stone Brewing World Bistro (Escondido)
                                                                                                    Pizza Port (Solano Beach)
                                                                                                    Trappist (Oakland)
                                                                                                    Papago Brewing (Scottdale)
                                                                                                    Cooter Brown's (NOLA)

                                                                                                    Need to go:
                                                                                                    Hop Leaf (Chicago)
                                                                                                    O'Brien's (SD)
                                                                                                    Pizza Port (Carlsbad)

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: The Dive

                                                                                                      Need to update my list (it’s been a good year for beer drinking/traveling). I would gladly spend the day—and have—enjoying beers at any these places:

                                                                                                      Blind Tiger (NYC)
                                                                                                      Ginger Man (NYC)
                                                                                                      Delirium Café (Brussels)
                                                                                                      De Garre (Brugge)
                                                                                                      Eramus (Brugge)
                                                                                                      Café Gollem (Amsterdam)
                                                                                                      Pour Judgement (Newport, RI)
                                                                                                      Graduate Center Bar—yes, really (Providence, RI)
                                                                                                      Moe’s Tavern (Lee, MA)
                                                                                                      Moan and Dove (Amherst, MA)

                                                                                                      1. re: The Dive

                                                                                                        Oh, the GCB. That really takes me back to the college days! Go Bears!

                                                                                                        I recently had a great experience at the other belgian place in Philly, Eulogy. The bartender was super educated and helped us choose some funky, delicious pours.

                                                                                                    2. I think my favorite is Park Tavern in Denver, CO. Saturday is $1 draft, and they actually have a huge selection of beers on tap (including, but not limited to my personal favorite, Arrogant Bastard Ale...which I can never seem to find anywhere!)

                                                                                                      1. Great thread... independent of the pissing contest with all the Hand's Down Best of the Entire World even though I have never traveled outside of neighborhood type comments... it seems to me we have put together the Koran of beer bars for those who commonly travel to new places etc.,

                                                                                                        Very valuable!

                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                          E_N I travel for work frequently and use the beerfly feature on Beeradvocate.com Very helpful to any travelers looking to stop off and get a decent local brew.

                                                                                                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                            Yeah this is nice, but it seems too heavily weighted towards the Northeast and CA. Perhaps some more folks in flyover could list their faves.

                                                                                                            1. re: bigchow

                                                                                                              I was surprised to have made it this far down the thread without seeing the Hopcat in Grand Rapids, Michigan mentioned- it's gotten a lot of love from Beer Advocate too. Also, a nice alternative, though nowhere near the same vibe as Hopcat, is Ashley's Pub in Ann Arbor- good selection, but the staff are hit-or-miss in terms of their knowledge, and the place is as dumpy as you'd expect a college bar to be.

                                                                                                              1. re: erin_grogan

                                                                                                                +1 on Ashley's. On my two visits (about a year apart), my servers were definitely up on their game. Maybe I got lucky.

                                                                                                                Also, Foran's Grand Trunk Pub in Detroit. All Michigan brews, knowledgeable bartenders, realxed vibe. I passed several enjoyable hours there during the '09 Detroit Jazz Festival.

                                                                                                          2. Naja's Place-Redondo beach

                                                                                                            Lucky Baldwin's Pasadena

                                                                                                            99 Bottles-Santa Cruz

                                                                                                            1. Brasserie Beck in Washington DC. If you like Belgian beers, this is the place.

                                                                                                              Rustico in Alexandria, VA. They always have a cask conditioned ale in addition to an extensive list of both drafts and bottles.

                                                                                                              1. 25 years ago, when my husband (who has since died) and I first met he used to take me to a great beer bar in Boston that had terrific beers on tap (including Belgian, but also really good local beers -- and this was before the microbeer revolution). I don't know where we were -- Roxbury, South Boston?-- but I remember a subway ran over our heads or at least very nearby. It had an Irish name. Does anyone know what I'm thinking of and does it still exist?

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: ccferg

                                                                                                                  No one answered my question so I did a little research on my own. I think it was Doyle's, and it sounds like it got discovered since I was last there 25 years ago. It was a neat spot back then; is it still OK or has it become a theme park? I don't remember the food being anything special -- we were just there for the beer. And I liked the feel of the place.

                                                                                                                2. Now everyone can compare their favorite beer bars to what Forbes thinks: http://www.forbestraveler.com/food-dr...

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: shellshock24

                                                                                                                    I have to admit this article gave some great suggestions. I have been to a lot of those save a couple and would whole eartedly agree. Usually when non beer magazines list articles of americas best "whatever" they usually are poorly researched. This one however was excellent.

                                                                                                                  2. I have to plug my favourite beer bar ever:

                                                                                                                    The Eastside Club Tavern in Olympia Washington. They have 35 micro taps with a focus on Washington and Oregon beers, most of them constantly rotating. They also have a rotating cask. All beers $2.50 on Thursday. The place has been there forever and it's like the heart of Olympia IMO.

                                                                                                                    1. While I haven't been to many in the states (of which the Map Room & Toronado are on my wishlist), my top three hands down are:

                                                                                                                      1. De Garre - Brugge
                                                                                                                      2. Volo - Toronto
                                                                                                                      3. Cafe Gollem - Amsterdam

                                                                                                                      The beer lists at all three are very respectable, however it's the atmosphere that does it for me overall.

                                                                                                                      1. My beer bar experience is limited, but I consider myself lucky to live near Rich O's Public House in New Albany, IN.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: mamaciita

                                                                                                                          Legendary place, but it's not in CA or NY, so it does not get the love...

                                                                                                                        2. When in Cleveland visit The Beer Engine, in Lakewood on Madison Ave. Great food, great selection of beers on tap, low key friendly vibe.

                                                                                                                          1. Ebenezer's - Lovell, ME
                                                                                                                            Cafe t'Arendsnest - Amsterdam
                                                                                                                            Barley Pub - Dover, NH
                                                                                                                            Pizza Port - Carlsbad, CA
                                                                                                                            Moan and Dove - Amherst, MA
                                                                                                                            The Publick House/Monks' Cell - Brookline, MA
                                                                                                                            Sunset Bar and Grill - Brighton, MA

                                                                                                                            1. When I was in Grad School in Seattle I loved the Big Time Ale House (a brewpub) in the U district. Of course the fact that it had over a dozen great, award winning brews on tap; were 1/2 a block from my apartment, and I worked their part-time so beers were free didn't hurt.

                                                                                                                              When they first opened until a year ot two ago, d.b.a. in the East Village in NYC was my home away from home. I drove 40 minutes in from the 'burbs to hang out there every friday night. Great beers, great vibe... but now they basically suck.

                                                                                                                              I really liked Gingerman in NYC, with 65 beers on tap and hundreds of bottles. I would go on a sunday when it was practically empty except for a few European tourists, usually pretty girls, who invariably showed up in the early afternoon. Some hotel in the area must recommend the place to pretty tourististas on a regular basis. It was like my own private hunting ground for awhile.

                                                                                                                              Now I drink my beers at In Good Company in Rockland, Maine. A wine bar / cafe, but with 2 dozen great bottled beers from all over the US and the world. Every beer on the list is excellent and it changes pretty frequently.

                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                Raleigh Times was my old stomping grounds! Great selection, reserves and all..only place that good in Raleigh! I lived there for 7 years and finally the Times was the answer to beer loving Southerns & hipsters alike, the bartenders are even blogging their knowledge, fantastic descriptions!. I'm also a fan of the Hopleaf in Chicago. 200+ beers, brilliant bartenders, Dr. Granville's in DC has a fun selection of Belgians.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                  Why does d.b.a. suck now? I've only been a couple of times- once at night when it was packed w/ a too-frat-ish crowd for me; then in January I caught it right as they opened on a weekday and the beer certainly was still good (I was the only customer).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ted

                                                                                                                                    Like you say, too fratish. Also the beertenders aren't as friendly as they were in the past. A bit too 'withit' and 'cool', but actually just more off-putting. The garden is nice with a group of friends, but the bar can be a real hassle lately. It used to be you could sit at the bar by oneself or a buddy, chat with folks around you and the beertenders, and feel welcome. Not so the last 2-3 years. I have been a long time regular since they opened back in 1994 so these are just my thoughts on a place I have been to hundreds of times over 14 years.

                                                                                                                                    I haven't been more than once every two months since I moved to Maine last May, and not once this year, so things may have picked up. I will have to check in there next week on my next visit to town.

                                                                                                                                2. As a fourth generation San Franciscan, I have to go with the Toronado. On my last few trips, I have enjoyed Drake's Denogginizer, Pliny the Elder and Younger, Racer X, Moonlight Toast and Reality Czech, Hop Stoopid, and Green Flash West Coast IPA. This place is great if you can cut out early during a weekday and enjoy their happy hour prices without dealing with the weekend throngs asking about the style and taste of every beer on the board. They also have a nice bottle selection and you can't beat the sausages or cheapy Indian food in the neighborhood.
                                                                                                                                  I also have to give love to the folks who work at the Brickskeller in DC for turning me on to Avery, Dogfish, and Ommegang a few years back. These beers are still slowly showing up in CA.

                                                                                                                                  1. I have to say, I really enjoyed the Sunset Bar in Allston, MA (outer Boston)

                                                                                                                                    One of the more local places for me (Upper East Side, NYC), is David Copperfield's. Great selection & very down to earth attitude.

                                                                                                                                    1. I second Great Lost Bear in Portland, Me. I believe it made the Forbes list.

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. Croxley Ales in New Hyde Park, NY is one of the best bars I have ever been to. 60 beers on tap. They have a sign on the wall that says "We dont server Bud, Miller or Coors. Check out the beer menu.

                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: dereklaw

                                                                                                                                          used to be ruby's tap room in manhattan.

                                                                                                                                          in my 'hood - the upper east side, is david copperfields... not the best ambience, but a nice varied selection of beers and ales that is constantly rotating including one cask ale at all times

                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                            The crown & Anchor in Las Vegas!? Ask for a Bud, Miller or Coors and you get thrown out! Good fish & chips too.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                              "Ask for a Bud, Miller or Coors and you get thrown out!"

                                                                                                                                              Huh? Seems awfully inhospitable seeing as they've got all 3 of their light beers on tap-

                                                                                                                                              (And not one good UK beer, either.)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                                                OOPs! That's what my niece told me when she carted me off there to meet her friends. Sorry, no kidden.
                                                                                                                                                I had a great time from what I remember.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                  The Kulminator in Antwerp Belgium. Very small (seats maybe 20-25 people), run by an old man and his wife and two cats, with an absolutely unbelievable beer selection. No flashing neon signs, no blaring music, no televisions, no people dancing drunk on tables etc. Just the best darn place to drink the best darn beer in the world.

                                                                                                                                        2. Spike's in San Luis Obispo, CA.

                                                                                                                                          Great beers in a friendly place. Years since I've been there....

                                                                                                                                          Agreed with dba and Monk's. Avoid the bathrooms at dba and the food at Monks.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                              Poorly executed. Had some chicken there that was obviously frozen and then deep fried to thaw. Wow, was that incredibly nasty. They move a lot of mussels and frites, so that's probably safe due to volume, but I've eaten there 3-4 times and it was mediocre to terrible each time.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: tomishungry

                                                                                                                                                Whenever I am in Philly and stop at Monk's for dinner, I always have the mussels with a veal cheeks appetizer. I have never been disappointed.

                                                                                                                                          1. Sayner Pub, Sayner Wisconsin. Not the greatest selection, not the best food, and when it has live music it is invariably terrible. But it is the classic Northwoods bar and some of my favorite memories have been forgotten there. Goes to show selection, food, and ambience don't have a scratch on memory and connection.

                                                                                                                                            1. Hands down and without a doubt, The Old Bay in New Brunswick, NJ was my favorite. The bar at this Creole themed restaurant in this college town (Rutgers University) was a true pioneer in the multiple specialty tap category, and I remember when they made the almost unheard of move of banishing Bud, Coors, and the like from their taps in 1988 in favor of what became an ever expanding list of specialty brews, many of which made their NJ or East Coast debut at the Old Bay (a few even made their US debut there). For many years, it was THE destination place for beer within a 100 mile (or more) radius. Can't think of a single other bar in the early 1990's that was serving cask conditioned ales direct from Young's and Fuller's from an authentic beer engine. The hand pumps haven't been in place for a while, and when bar manager Chris Demitri (R.I.P.) left the Old Bay some years back, the beer selection and especially the thought put into it suffered quite a bit. Still a lot of great choices, but a bit more mainstream, though it could be argued that craft and specialty beer itself has finally become more mainstream. Old Bay is still a great place though, and any beer afficianado will still find something to his liking.

                                                                                                                                              1. The York on York Blvd. in Los Angeles. I love their Telegraph white ale on tap.

                                                                                                                                                Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena, CA for their great selection of Belgian beer.

                                                                                                                                                The Red Lion in Los Angeles for German beer and food. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                Red Lion Tavern
                                                                                                                                                2366 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039

                                                                                                                                                The York
                                                                                                                                                5018 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042

                                                                                                                                                Lucky Baldwins
                                                                                                                                                17 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

                                                                                                                                                1. I've just returned from my first trip to Pittsburgh and have to add to this list a bar.
                                                                                                                                                  We went to Fatheads on the Southside. Great Beer bar with 36 quality offering on-tap, sandwiches that are off the hook and a great staff who were helpful and well educated on the different beers being offered. I'm from the Philly area and Monk's was at the top of my list with Capones a close second, now I'm adding Fatheads.

                                                                                                                                                  1. The 10 Best Beer Bars Ever: (in no particular Order)
                                                                                                                                                    Wildeman, Amsterdam
                                                                                                                                                    t Brugs Beertje, Brugge
                                                                                                                                                    Chez Moeder Lambic, Brussels
                                                                                                                                                    T’POATERSGAT, Brugge
                                                                                                                                                    O'Briens, San Diego
                                                                                                                                                    The Trappist, Oakland
                                                                                                                                                    Map Room, Chicago
                                                                                                                                                    Spuyten Duvil, NY
                                                                                                                                                    Monks, Philly
                                                                                                                                                    Publick House, Boston

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: monkeyhead

                                                                                                                                                      Yes! Let's hear it for Wildeman, in Amsterdam. Nothing wrong with Gollem('s), but I like this place the best. Then Monks, then the Schneider-Weisse Brauerie (sp?) in Munich.


                                                                                                                                                      Scheider-Weisse (in English):


                                                                                                                                                    2. No disrespect to Raleigh Times (I love the joint) but in North Carolina, it has to be Taylor's in Durham -- good bar food, great tap selection (40) -- and Horniblow's in Raleigh, the home of Big Boss Brewing and a pretty kickass bar, handpump and all. In Baltimore, it's the Brewer's Art where you can still get great beers from a great brewpub (sort of) for about $5 a pint, and Max's Taphouse, which has the best tap selection in the D.C.-Baltimore area and a very respectable bottle selection. And in London (why not?), it has to be Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, the only bar in the world I've ever been to with a selection of Sam Smith's on tap.

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FlaHopper

                                                                                                                                                        Delirium Cafe in Brussels, Belgium


                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FlaHopper

                                                                                                                                                          You probably mean Tyler's in Durham.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Ginger Man - NYC
                                                                                                                                                          The Chapter House - Ithaca, NY

                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Solstice444

                                                                                                                                                            Wow havent heard that name (Chapter House) in a long time. Used to go there when I was in school there but I graduated a good 15 years ago. The place is still going strong? I know since Ive left they now have a powerhouse microbrewery in Ithaca (Ithaca Brewing Co.) that Ive heard great things about.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                                                                                              Extremely belated reply, but yes it's still going strong, as of the last time I was there in April! :-) And the Ithaca Beer Company makes great beer.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Solstice444

                                                                                                                                                                Indeed, since I wrote that Ive actually visited Ithaca twice and managed to hit up both IBC (did a full tasting there) and the "new" Chapter House. Enjoyed both visits and its weird seeing such a world class beer selection at a place that was very much a college dive bar when I was there. Cool to see the same old carved up furniture though.

                                                                                                                                                          2. I'll second The Brick Store Pub in Decatur (Atlanta), GA.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Sunset Grill in Allston, MA... over 100 beers on tap! And over 300 in bottles!

                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sadiefox

                                                                                                                                                                And yet, it's one of my least favorite "beer bars" in Boston.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                                  Haven't been there but unless the place is crazy busy I would wonder about 100 taps...since most bars use a mix of co2 with air rather than just gas in order to cut costs, it would seem to me that unless those 100 kegs are all getting emptied quickly, there's going to be a lot a stale beer crossing that bar.
                                                                                                                                                                  Give me a place with 12 or 15 well selected taps, and I think it will be a more satisfying experience.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                                    And that is exactly one of the reasons why the Sunset is completely overrated.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                                      Well, geez, I thought that place was fun. I must have bad taste.

                                                                                                                                                                      My real favorite local beer bar is Standard Tap in Philly. They feature an interesting selection of regional microbrews on tap. Well, plus Yeungling. They always have Yards Philly Pale Ale too, yummy. The newer Memphis Taproom (also in Philly) also keeps quite an interesting rotation of taps. The best part is that the owner is very knowledgeable about the brews. As he should be.

                                                                                                                                                                      My favorite brew PUB is Dogfish Head in Rehoboth, DE. It's their smaller, "experimental" brewery so they have lots of neat stuff only available there on tap.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sadiefox

                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, it has it's place - I just find that they don't take very good care of their beer stocks/lines/etc. Food-wise (not that that's key to the conversation), I think they pretty much suck. The crowd gets more annoying as I get older, but that's more a function of me getting older than anything else ;)

                                                                                                                                                                        But considering that it's essentially a college bar, it's pretty amazing that they have that sort of selection available to them.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                                      I guess you won't have high expectations for this place.......144 tap lines in Jersey City.


                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sadiefox

                                                                                                                                                                    Wanted to weigh in on this one-even though its almost a year old. Sunset will always have a place in my heart for having lots of great beers-though pretty terrible food. This past weekend I found Mr. Pickwicks in Stowe VT-amazing beer selection, the barkeep was incredible, and the food was really delicious-though not as extensive a menu as Sunset- and considerably pricier :-)

                                                                                                                                                                  3. Saint-Bock in Montreal has an incredible selection of beers on tap, both brewed by the pub and by other local micros. They also carry a WIDE selection of Belgian beers by the bottle. Couple this with the great terrace and the scenic, people watching-tastic location on St. Denis (possibly the neatest area in Montreal, and thus, the world =D) and you have a killer destination. If you ever go, try thier house Blanche (#3, I think)... single best blanche I have ever had.

                                                                                                                                                                    Another great place for those not lucky enough to live in the wonderous Quebec beer scene is Pub Italia in Ottawa. They have something like 36 beers on tap and a selection of hundreds of different beers to choose from in their 'beer bible'. It has a fun and ironic catholic theme, 'friendly' waitresses and great terrace. Each beer also has a short description in the beer bible, which is often hilarious. Ie. "This is a very bad beer, order it for someone you really dislike."


                                                                                                                                                                    1. The Bow Bar, Edinburgh

                                                                                                                                                                      1. The Stope, Ambrosia Lake, NM; The Bluewater Inn, Bluewater Nm; and The Iron Blossom Saloon, Grants, NM. The gunfire made cheap beer taste great! Life is fleeting (No Kidding. All uranium miner's bars.).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm a new member, and this is my first post - notice the topic I chose...thank you.
                                                                                                                                                                          God Bless "Diana" back in March for mentioning Naja's in Redondo Beach, CA.
                                                                                                                                                                          Apparently no one else has been there or it would top most, if not all, of your lists.
                                                                                                                                                                          70+ taps, 700+ bottles, casks, etc...I'd be surprised if any one of you asked for a beer they didn't have. Owner is present and involved. On the pier in Redondo, hidden a little in the corner, makes it perfect for sitting and enjoying everyone's favorite drink...beer heaven. A "must go" when you are anywhere near the area.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. My number one is the Brick Store Pub in Decatur, GA. About as close to perfect as it gets in my opinion. Great atmosphere. Great people. The upstairs Belgian bar is so nice and the main bar always has fantastic stuff on tap.

                                                                                                                                                                            After that you have a lot of the usuals…
                                                                                                                                                                            Map Room & Hop Leaf in Chicago.
                                                                                                                                                                            Toronado in San Fran (they need a kitchen to make it even better).
                                                                                                                                                                            Grey Lodge in Philly
                                                                                                                                                                            Max’s in Baltimore
                                                                                                                                                                            Roman’s Pub in Milwaukee

                                                                                                                                                                            And technically it’s a brewpub but I need to add Luna Brewing Company (Chicago) to this list. Because its truly a neighborhood dive bar that serves great beer and has great entertainment. Ive never been more at home in a place before…

                                                                                                                                                                            Not having been to a decent place outside the US I know my choices are fairly limited. But of domestic places those were my favorites for what its worth…

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                                                                                                              So a few weeks ago I finally made it to tiny Lovell, Maine and to the hallowed Ebenezer's Pub where I spent way too much money on some of the best Belgian tap options Ive ever seen (and a couple lobster rolls). Turns out its apparently been rated THE BEST beer bar in the US for the past few years running. No argument here. It appears like an oasis in a desert considering its remote hard to get to location. Add it to the list...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                                                                                                                Agree with everything you said- love it. The cellar tour was an eye-opener.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Falling Rock Tap House - Denver
                                                                                                                                                                              Sheffield's Beer Garden - Chicago

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Have to mention Papago Brewing in Scottsdale AZ.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I adore Victory beers but the food is another story. I ordered a “Caprese” pizza which is comprised of mozzarella, tomato and basil. I’ve never tasted a more flavorless pizza in my life. The dough and cheese had no flavor what so ever. And I've completely given up on the bbq (they claim to have a geniune "smoker") because it comes out completely overcooked.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Whenever this kind of thing happens to me I’m reminded of a book written by Paul Fussel titled “BAD”. In the book the author explains how things can be elevated from simply “bad” to “BAD” due to added pretension (i.e. “Caprese” and "smoker") on top of the complete lack of quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I travel a bit for work, and I don't know that I could name single favorite, but here's a list of some great ones I've been to in various cities. I know many have been mentioned already but I'll try to provide my take on each place and hopefully provide a little useful info.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Atlanta -
                                                                                                                                                                                    Brick Store Pub - (Decatur) as previous mentioned. This bar has great beer and some great relationships with local brewing. They tend to have some rare casks on tap from time to time which is really awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Vortex - (Midtown) Doesn't have the beer cachet of the Brick Store but a great atmosphere, very decent eats, and a very cool wait staff.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Boston -
                                                                                                                                                                                    Sunset Grill & Tap (Allston) - An extensive beer selection and some decent eats. I'd definitely hit this place again if I'm in Boston but I don't know if it would stack up against a lot of other bars nationally for lack of any real charm or unique atmosphere.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Dallas -
                                                                                                                                                                                    Ginger Man Pub - Cool layout with Biergarten out back, nice selection always includes a lot of great local brews, which is definitely my favorite part of the experience at this bar. I also went to the Fort Worth Location because they had Live Oak Hefeweizen on tap but didn't find the atmosphere to be on par with Dallas. I would love to make it to the Austin branch.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Flying Saucer (Addison) - Cool bar, had a bunch of people every time I was in, good specials and a very nice spicy beer cheese soup. Also a killer waitstaff. I know there are some other locations and I hope to check them out as well as I become more well traveled.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Denver -

                                                                                                                                                                                    Falling Rock Tap House - Does this place sell food? I don't know. What I do know is that they have an outstanding selection of beer, including a few obscure one-off sour ales from New Belgium Brewing, which are in themselves worth the trip should you find yourself in the Mile High City. While you're in the neighborhood, do yourself a favor and make your way over to the Wynkoop brew pub for some nice BOP.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Jacksonville -

                                                                                                                                                                                    Kickbacks - Very good food, very good beer selection, very reasonable prices. This place is fast becoming one of the most popular hangouts in Jacksonville and deservedly so. If you're there, make the time and check it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I used to talk a lot of trash about Jax but the rising popularity of Kickbacks and European Street Cafe have made me put my foot in my mouth. Stop by the Bold City brewery and grab a Growler or two. These guys can make beer even if they haven't yet figured out the business and distribution angle.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Orlando - Where I currently reside

                                                                                                                                                                                    Redlight Redlight - Serves a very limited food menu but has without question the best beer selection in town. Make sure you bring cash money and a high tolerance for scenesters. I would definitely go to this place more often if it weren't for those two requirements. If you want to go to a place that takes beer seriously, I'm not sure there's a legitimate rival in the Sunshine State.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Cricketer's Arms - noteworthy for having 4 or 6 cask ales at a time and without a doubt the best fish and chips in Central Florida. This place is on international Drive, which is the tourist trap of tourist traps, so be prepared for high prices and sometimes grouchy staff - you'd be grouchy too if you had to deal with all those tourists. If you're into watching soccer, you really have to go here. There's just nothing on par with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The Ravenous Pig - good to outstanding food depending on what you order and what's on the menu, which rotates frequently, great beers, including some local standouts both on-tap (Cigar City!) and in the bottle (St. Somewhere), but very expensive. I go here once in a long while.

                                                                                                                                                                                    A few other places worth checking out are Underground Bluez over by UCF, Odin's Den, if you're in the mood for a dive bar with a few decent beers, The Copper Rocket, cool bar that has a lot of Trivia Nights and Live Bands, but also has St. Bernardus 12 and Southampton Double white regularly on tap with guest appearances by other decent beers.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Tallahassee -

                                                                                                                                                                                    The Leon Pub - Bring cash, a tolerance for a lot of cigarette smoke, and if it's busy, no claustrophobia. This place is a hole in the wall but they have Liter nights and an amazing tap selection. I practically lived here when I was in College. Go 'Noles!

                                                                                                                                                                                    Tampa -

                                                                                                                                                                                    World of Beer - If this bar were a girl, I'd marry it. I'm glad I don't live in Tampa because I would be a homeless alcoholic bum begging for change and showering at the Y so I could go have a pint at this bar. They don't serve any food though but you can order from the Tijuana Flats next door.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Datz - An awesome deli, the best Corned Beef/Pastrami in Tampa and a very decent beer selection.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Anyway, that's my list. If you're going to be traveling, be sure to check out Beerfly on Beeradvocate.com That's definitely my bible when I go traveling.

                                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bizzy_geek

                                                                                                                                                                                      The Deerfield Inn, Sayreville, NJ. They served me underage when I was a teen and they served our kids underage while visiting when dad was dying. A lost art, drinking beer, when you are underage w/ your folks at the local bar.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                        My god...I haven't heard the name "Deerfield Inn" is ages....that one sure brings back memories. A great old local.
                                                                                                                                                                                        If it's still there, I think I may have to pay a visit in tribute...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                                                          No, it closed recently, just like the Sayrville Barr; both within walking distance to mom's house. I miss the slavic/italian/irish bar culture from Sayreville-South River and the coal mine town of McAdoo, Pa. When my bro and I visit, we play bar golf,; going from hole to hole; great food too.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                            There was a local bar in nearby iselin called the Pioneer Tavern. It was a neighborhood bar in a residential area that my parents used to go to. Occasionally I went with them to enjoy some of their wonderful pizza. At the age of 14 or 15 I had an interest in beer even though I was underage (the legal age in Jersey was 18 at the tie). I once saw a guy drinking a beer from Germany called Holsten which was advertised in a local paper. I asked him how it compared with the other imported beers (Heineken, Beck's, etc.). He told the bartender to give him a small glass and then proceeded to pour some beer for me!

                                                                                                                                                                                            A few years later when I was 17 and looked even younger, they let me have beer when I was with my father who knew the bartenders.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                                                                                                                                              Our next door neighbor used to send his son and me to the local bar a couple hundred yards away through a field and return w/ full 2 qt. pitcher for him to watch the the Yankees game. We were maybe 12 years old.
                                                                                                                                                                                              What ever happened to the white quart cardboard cylinders that you used to be able to fill w/ draft beer and take out of the bar in NJ?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                The NJ "container" apparently died when the ABC laws changed to allow liquor stores to open on Sunday and to allow bars to sell "package goods" to go even during the hours when liquor stores were closed (early 1970's?). Even before the law changed, many bars had switched to plastic containers, which certainly didn't have the same cachet as the waxed cardboard ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                There are a few beer bars that sell "growlers"- 1/2 glass jugs- of draught beer to go in the state (and, of course, most brewpubs also offer growlers) but the classic "NJ container" seems to be dead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Current "open container" laws, in fact, would seem to be contrary to the old containers rules, which (at one point at least) forbade sealing the container (that was considered "bottling"). Most brewpubs now use a heat-shrink seal on their screw-on growler caps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Prof & Kidd, do either of you remember the 2x4 Bar on the corner of French & Church streets in old Savreville's Tangletown area? A great clientele.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. For SF, yes, Toronado rocks.

                                                                                                                                                                                      For LA, naja's place; york is good too...lucky baldwins is excellent

                                                                                                                                                                                      I need to check out O'Brians in SD. I enjoy visiting there

                                                                                                                                                                                      For Toronto, Volo is good but there's also brewpub (brewhaus? - its near Jamie Kennedy's wine bar down near front street)

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've enjoyed beer in other cities but can't say I found a great beer bar - some good bars with good beers.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. i forgot - other room in venice is good as is library alehouse. the latter rocks!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Cafe Gollem in Amsterdam, without a doubt.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rknrll

                                                                                                                                                                                            Cafe Gollem is excellent. Also the Cracked Kettle is only a few steps away so you can grab some bottles on the way home.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Of those previously mentioned, I have been to Duda’s and Max’s in Baltimore, Monk’s in Philly, The Ram’s Head in Annapolis, the Deerfield Inn in Sayreville, and even The Porterhouse in the Temple Bar. I have no quarrel that they are quality places to quaff.

                                                                                                                                                                                            My favorite, however, no longer exists - in a way that kind of contributes to its myth. Does anyone else remember the Northeast Taproom on 12th & Robeson in Reading, PA? A beer only bar with 200 selections by 1987. Owner operated. Tapper, a basset hound, lying around all the time. The floor littered in peanut shells. A jar of beef jerky on the bar– “pick your own!” Giant pickles affectionately known as Martian Dix. $1.25 for a “Classic” – a bottle of Chesterfield Ale and a goblet of Yuengling Porter!

                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                              Ditto, Gus Bold's Buffalo Inn in Schnecksville, Pa on Rt. 309. Buffalo paraphenalia all over from it's real, not fakey, early 19th century road house ara, Yuenglings, Horlacher and other Pa Dutch beers on tap and a huge ham and roast beef to cut thick slices for great sandwiches w/ pungent horseradish. I stood at the auction of all its great stuff (Boy, did I want a buffalo robe!) in '69 or '70, unable, as a poor college kid to buy anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                Northeast Taproom is where I got initiated in good beer, in 1988. I eventually moved two blocks down the street, which meant I spent a LOT of time there! The Taproom was always a great time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                btw, Pete has a new bar in Reading; Mikes Tavern on Exeter St.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: SP1

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I probably saw you there. That's great to know about Pete. I was just out in Adamstown for a beer fest at Mrs. Stoudt's. I wish I would have known - next time, I suppose, I'll head up 222.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. my top 6 in order

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Le Graslin - Nantes France
                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Hopleaf Bar - Chicago
                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Spytten Dyvil - Williamsburg Brooklyn
                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Bar Gray Harry – Carroll Gardens Brooklyn
                                                                                                                                                                                                5. Ginger Man - Manhattan
                                                                                                                                                                                                6. Blind Tiger - Manhattan

                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Asumnuthin

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Isn't it Bar Great Harry? (was just there this weekend, really dug it)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Asumnuthin

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have a new number 1 edition following my Italy Vacation MA CHE SIETE VENUTI A FA' in the Trestevere section of Rome.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cantillon St. Lamvinus on draft and a Eylenbosch Gueuze 1984

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Asumnuthin

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was at Hopleaf when I was in Chicago in October and loved it. We had dinner there, too, and the food, while a little overpriced, was very tasty. Next time I get out there, I want to visit Sheffield's, too, since I think their beer list is even more impressive: http://www.sheffieldschicago.com/beer

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. - Delirium Cafe in Brussels, Belgium (they won guiness world record for having the most beers in a bar - here's proof: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23236047...


                                                                                                                                                                                                      honorable mentions:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Monks in Philadelphia, PA
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Theresa's in Wayne, PA

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Doh! i posted before I was done. Also, need to give Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn it's credit, that place is incredible. Blind Tiger in Manhattan is top drawer as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: micreynolds

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was in NYC about a month ago and really liked Blind Tiger. I love the backyard at Spuyten Duyvil but the beers are a bit overpriced

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I'm happy to see two of my favorites already on the list - Gollem in Amsterdam and Delerium in Brussels. Both great places, great selections and great atmosphere. I actually had Westvleteren 12 in both places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I haven't been there in a while, but Andy's Corner Bar in Bogota, NJ has always had a great selection and a small, comfortable feel - although no food, boo. Also like Vol de Nuit in NY, Eulogy & Standard Tap in Philly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Just moved to Vancouver, BC, found the Alibi Room in Gastown...excellent Pacific Coast micro selection (IPAs, stout, dbl choc porter, lambic,etc) incl 3 cask-conditioned ales - haven't even looked at the bottle list!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Dieu Du Ciel! in Montreal. Great microbrewery, and awesome staff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: vanierstudent

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ha! I just visited DDC this past weekend and loved it. Vice & Versa was another excellent Montreal beer bar as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. In the Detroit area, The Box Bar in Plymouth has ~40 tap beers and over 500 in bottles/cans. Food is Ok, service is good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Saraveza in Portland pretty much rules!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Falling Rock Tap House Denver, CO

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Monk's in Philadelphia - but I haven't been to most places mentioned in this thread. I look forward to trying some!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Monk's is my favorite, too, lacking lots of other experience. Part of Monk's charm is that it's been around for awhile, and kind of introduced me to the whole beer bar concept. So even if I find a place with attributes that might add up to a better place, I'd probably favor Monk's for sheer nostalgia. And the good beer, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I am really only familiar with the Denver and Washington DC beer bars mentioned here, plus The Ginger Man in NY and The Brickstore Pub in Decatur GA, among places frequently mentioned in responses, but equal or nearly equal to any of the places listed here with which I AM familiar is Ashley's in Ann Arbor; if business or academia ever takes you to within 30-40 miles of this joint I HIGHLY recommend it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. San Fran-Toronado Portland-Horse Brass NYC- Blind Tiger (Brooklyn-Brazen Head)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chicago- Maproom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Churchkey in Washington DC - a bit too swank but amaing beers that you can try in a number of sizes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Seanchai

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Great place. Its amazing how much money you can spend in beer and gourmet appetizers in a few hours...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I dont think anyone has mentioned Belmont Station in Portland.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Where else can you have a full glass of a rare micro while walking through a liquor store with one of the most diverse selections of beer in the world... It was a surreal experience the first time I went there. I kept looking over my shoulder like I was going to get in trouble.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Kazy Ctn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That reminds me of a place in the little town of Ojai California. A liquor store with about 20 coolers taking up the entire side of the store, fully stocked with an excellent choice of import and domestic craft beer. In the back of the store is a small bar with about 10 taps. I ordered a large glass of Klokke Roeland which a strong Belgian ale (11% abv) and drank it while picking out my bottled beers to go. A great experience to be sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Father's Office in the Los Angeles area is excellent. Two locations - newer (nicer) in Culver City, and the original in Santa Monica. Awesome selection of premium beers, including many hard-to-find Belgians, and nice bar menu with gourmet burgers, a great grilled pork chop, and good salads too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I'm in Sacramento, which has a complete lack of beer bars (sniff, sniff) so I really look forward to my trips to Austin, TX to hang out at the Flying Saucer. Only problem is, I fall in love with some fantastic beer from the east coast, then can never find it when I get back home. Great place, lots of yummy beer, and attentive waitstaff - food's pretty tasty too. After reading this board, looks like I need to head down to SF and try out the Toronado - its been on my list of places to try for awhile...just a long cab ride back home :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. The bundbrewery in shanghai is a place that i use to frequent. The place is great for drinks. Has the perfect atmosphere for a bar. If you want to get away from the usual selection of erdingers, guiness etc etc then try out their bundlanders. Its their specialty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The food however is not so great. Tad bit overpriced. Bring a few friends along, try their bundlander lager or dark. Thats worth the money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Augustiner in Munich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. i was amazed by The Beer Sellar in Newport Ky. It shares a barge in the Ohio River with a Hooters, almost under the Big Mac Bridge,across from downtown Cincy which looks great in the big picture windows at night. The food is quite good. There's 70 tap beers and about 150 available in bottle and they had "special/seasonal" beers/ales on tap,about 15 usually.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Edmund Fitzgerald and Dogfish Head 90 min IPA really impressed as I'm West Coast (for now) The bartenders know the brews..the cute waitresses.......not always.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        To me,the freedom to smoke in a bar is a nice plus. Can't do that in Cali or Ohio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Catalyst is Santa Cruz was a helluva beer bar until about 10 yr ago when Randall sold it. Going back to the late 70's you could get 20+ GOOD beers on tap. I liked Anchor Porter,seldom seen on tap. Black Hook, Sierra (various) Anchor Steam,Red Tail,and imports made a nice selection.They added a few later. They did a great carrot cake.too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The MUSIC made it not just a beer bar. Neil Young liked to play there,not far from home. Neil in a mid size club,is SPECIAL. Peter Tosh,Jimmy Cliff,Jerry Garcia Band, Albert King,Bonnie Raitt,Shawn Colvin, Gillian Welch,Little Feat,Burning Spear,Tina Turner,Ziggy Marley......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lot's of great artists you seldom can see in a medium size club.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. After slugging through the recent NYC craft Beer week i would say my current 5 favorites in Manhattan would be:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1- Blind Tiger - my all-time fav place to drink a brew.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 - Jimmy's No. 43 - my neighborhood staple. Great beer,even better food and Super Podcast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 - The Pony Bar - hadn't been before. Great Selection. Good venue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 - BXL Cafe - Belgium beer bar and restaurant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5 - Swift -

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Okay I have to chime in too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My favorites are, in no particular order:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Monks (Philly)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Brewers Art (Baltimore)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Green Leafe (Williamsburg, VA) and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Porch (Key West of all places)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But its been a couple years since I've spent a lot of time searching out beer bars so I'm looking forward to trying some of these places out too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: momnivore

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In the honor of the late Don Younger who passed away this morning, I'll throw in Horse Brass Pub in Portland, OR.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: shellshock24

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow - I had no idea. I was just there on Friday and pointing out his portrait on the wall to my wife and explaining some of his history. I'd see him there fairly often and he didn't look in the best of health.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shellshock24

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  RIP Don Y... Truly awesome dude!! I will raise a pint to you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. The Hofbrauhaus in Munich may be the greatest beer hall on earth. Everything is on a grand scale, and the barmaids can easily bench press 100kg.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'd like to add 't Brugs Beertje and Staminee De Garre in Brugge to the Kulminator in Antwerp which I mentioned previously. Both are very small, but have good beer selections and nice atmosphere. The house tripel at De Garre is wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Hofbrauhaus in Munich was enjoyable in it's own way as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I'm a Portland boy (in terms of drinking, quite literally) and my favorites are Belmont Station, Beer Mongers and Saraveza here. I also love Toronado in SF, Bottleworks in Seattle (I think Brouwer's is way overrated - worth it for the taplist alone, but bad service). Local Option in Chicago was awesome as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. For atmosphere Hofbrauhaus in Munich wins (or any tent at Oktoberfest)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But, for beer selection and exclusive beers Cambrinus in Bruges is incredible. Over 600 beers all served in their appropriate glasses (as they should be)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Asheville, NC is a beer-crazy town. If you're ever in this neck o' the woods, definitely try the Thirsty MOnk. The basement level is devoted to Belgians, the upstairs is a rotating roster of microbrews from around the country, and they have various cask nights, etc. Really decent food, too.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. how about the BULLDOG in the garden district of new orleans ... and you can't miss the beer-tap waterfall on the patio while sipping an ice-cold Abita Andygator in the sweltering NOLA heat

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cellar_door77

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow, great thread. Very fortunate that this thread hasn't turned into a pissing match.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Some of my favorites:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Map Room in Chicago (If I had to pick a favorite, this would probably be it)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Max's Taphouse in Baltimore

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tria Cafe in Philadelphia (more of a beer/wine bar, but their beer list is always stellar)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Brouerij Lane in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          La Barberie in Quebec City, QC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Barcade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (bonus for awesome arcade games)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This year I'll be checking out Toronado in S.F., Beer Revolution and The Trappist in Oakland, and Hopleaf in Chicago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. 1702 in Tucson! 50 craft beers on tap, usually 99% ales, always changing selection. I love it! (Pizza's good too)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. My personal favorite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Alchemist - Waterbury, VT

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Stoddards - Boston, MA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            William's Uptown Pub & Peanut - Minneapolis, MN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Really love Novare Res in Portland. Amazing selection of bottles (over 500) and 25 rotating taps.


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DavidPalmer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A few weeks ago I visited The Drunk Monk in Mataro Spain, and it was excellent. Small but very comfortable, and with a nice outdoor patio overlooking a park. The beer selection from around the world is superb, and a great selection of Belgian cheeses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Service is quite good too. The owner noticed my interest in some of the more rare beers on display in one of his coolers, and he pulled out a beauty and shared it with us at our table. Extremely nice of him, as I've seen bottles of that beer sell on eBay for quite a bit of money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Drunk Monk is currently listed on Rate Beer as the 16th best bar in the world, and it's been ranked as high as #1. It's certainly one of my favorites. If it wasn't half way around the world from where I live I'd be in there on a regular basis. Anybody living in or planning to visit the Barcelona area (Mataro is about 30 minutes north of Barcelona) and having a few beers should make The Drunk Monk a must visit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DavidPalmer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I second Novare Res! Amazing diverse selection, lots of deep cuts. Very cool atmosphere too... love the long tables and the sofas in the other room.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DavidPalmer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, Novare Res is awesome. Loved The Alchemist in Waterbury, VT but heard it flooded during Hurricane Irene.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. If you ever find yourself in Iowa City, IA [home of the University of Iowa], try The Sanctuary. Extensive beer list and pretty solid food to boot [in a great non-college bar type atmosphere]: http://www.sanctuarypub.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. The best place in the universe for Japanese craft beer (and a lot of good brews from around the world) is Beer Club Popeye in Ryogoku, Tokyo. They have about 70 brews on tap, so that is why their website is at www.70beersontap.com . A bit expensive, but so is Japan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I do like Toronado's in San Diego, but I prefer Small Bar in University Heights. They have WAY better food, a better range of beers with some wacky's thrown in...Wacky's meaning hard to find, limited productions and new flavor's...And they rotate it smoothly. The beer has always been fresh there too....

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DejaDru

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Three Floyds Brewpub Munster Indiana absolutely great beer and they have soccer on tv.