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Eli Cannon's Tap Room

Not Rated.
Eli Cannon's Tap RoomEli Cannon's Tap Room

77 Reviews
Reviews: 77
Visits: 120
Avg: 4.21
pDev: n/a
Taps: 36
Bottles: 100
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

695 Main St
Middletown, Connecticut, 06457-2732
United States
phone: (860) 347-3547

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @elicannons

Place added by: BeerAdvocate

Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 1:00am
Friday - Saturday: 11:30am - 2:00am
Sunday: 11:30am - 10:00pm
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 77 | Visits: 120
Photo of BranfordBound
3.86/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Reminds me of that scene from Super Troopers: "Hey Farva, what's that name of the restaurant you like with all the goofy shit on the walls and the mozzarella sticks?" Farva: "You mean Shenanigins?!"

Eccentrically clad, Eli Cannon's offered a solid line-up of about 30 taps of beer and encompassed just about everything you could get in CT. The night I went the tap list seemed very lengthy, but the selections were average. Nothing that drew my attention initially but finally found some decent ones to enjoy (Hop Nosh IPA and Sour Tiddy's from the local Stubborn Beauty brewery). Nothing like the oddities that pop on tap list at Prime 16 or Cask Republic. Tried a Mad Hatter IPA but had to send it back because it tasted ancient (no hops at all).

Food was plentiful and inexpensive, nothing overly ingenious about the menu items. Typical American pub grub. Crowd was very boisterous for Saturday night and the bar area was packed to the gills. The place seemed understaffed and the servers were rushed. Didn't seem super clean overall and I've seen better bathrooms inside of dive bars.

Go for the tap list (when it's a good night) but don't expect to overwhelmed with anything else.

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Photo of ale2thechief
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 1.5

Beer beer beer, the three reasons to go. Food is quite bad. Crowd is usually cool and not overrun by obnoxious snobs. Very crowded and you should be prepared to stand. So many tap lines they will always have something for everyone.

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Photo of woodchipper
3.89/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 2.75

Been to Eli's many times over many years. Can't believe I have not written a review until now.
If there was equation that factored "best craft beer bar" and "closest to my house" they would win, even though I am 20 miles away.
Outside vibe is super cool in good weather with their expanded "beach" area, sand, cheap chairs, kids playing while the parents drink. Its really good people watching.
Inside, the bar is basically as if a dive bar had sex with a hip bar. Not the greatest or worst traits of either parent but a good result anyways. HOWEVER, I have always wondered if a sudden thunderstorm struck, where would the outside people go? There is not enough inside for the crowd I have sometimes seen outside.
Service can be good or poor depending on the crowd.
Food- I avoid it unless I am drunk or with people I dragged there under the white lie of "I know a fun place to ""eat""" - basic bar food, nothing bad but nothing a foodie would like.
Fun fact (for me) I always tell other locals who haven't been--- It's one of the very few bars I have been to that write on their draft list (chalk boards) the date the keg was tapped. That openness just makes me love them despite their few flaws.

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Photo of Roguer
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25

Busy and small, but a cool vibe and overall look.

Great selection of craft beer - over 20 taps and a cask option - and very high quality, to boot. Lots of great local and regional options.

I didn't try the food, but the selection looked solid - burgers, nachos, sandwiches, pub food.

Prices on the food were reasonable; beer prices were fair.

I would definitely swing by this place routinely if I lived in the area.

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Photo of socon67
3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Came here on a Wednesday night.

A - Happy hour crowd of craft drinkers. Music is more new age and there are a few TV's with the local sports teams. They have odd chairs like barbershop seats and such as you enter. Certainly different.

Q - Glassware was a bit odd (drinking glasses?) A list of offerings that is maintained daily was a big help.

Serv - Bartender was attentive and given I was in the corner it was impressive I got prompt service. All pours were spot on.

Sel - 36 taps of craft. When I was here there was a Sixpoint tap takeover that had 10 of them. Just about every style covered with localsdomesticsimports given room.

F - I had the Philly cheesesteak which was massive. And it was yummy.

V - $5 pours are unheard of in NY. So to me it was a steal.

I'll be back, as I'll be in the area for work.

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Photo of Mfoleybrews
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

I'm a lucky man to live so close. This is the spot to enjoy some of the best in the world. Their ever changing lineup is impeccable but they rotate so fast each time you go is new list. Difficult rendezvous for a few friends because its tough getting a table in the colder months but the patio area is excellent on nice days. This is a destination and you should be going well out of your way to get here. Put this on your list if its not already there and enjoy! All this typing is making me thirsty I will be there tonight!

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4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

My ole watering hole for nearly the past 10 years... so this review may be biased.

Atmosphere: Very eclectic decor. You could spend hours in here just staring at stuff on the wall. Lots of tap handles line the walls and the decor also changes seasonally. Very cool beer bottle chandeliers in the bar area. Lots of local garb on the walls and above the bar as well. You can almost always strike up a conversation in the bar with anyone, usually around beer. Summer time...this place has the patio I envision my backyard to be. You have to see it for yourself...Hint: there's a beach

Quality: Best tap lines in the state. The bar manager there is an avid homebrewer and knows his craft beer. Always fresh and clean draft lines, with the chalkboards having the date the line was tapped, a very nice touch that I would like to see in more places with lots of lines.

Service: Bar service is top notch, always friendly and knowledgeable. Wait times, especially when the patio is busy, can be a tad long if you're at a table(both inside or out) but the bar service is quick and efficient.

Selection: Sorta goes hand in hand with quality. 36 rotating draft lines... not too many to be overwhelmed but enough for everyone. There are a few import staples(Guinness, Stella, etc..) however, Eli's has a top 3 draft list in the state in my eyes.

Food: The food quality while unique and eclectic(similar to the decor) used to be a tad better when they really focused on creole dishes(ie: Alligator and crawfish) but I love some of their food and they seemed to have streamlined the menu to not offer as many choices, but the more popular offerings. Food prices have gone up, but so have portions sizes as well over the years.

Value: You pay for what you get. A night at Eli's is never going to be the cheapest night out, but you may find yourself sipping on an out of this world beer for $4 or $4.50.

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Photo of BrewsterPunky
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Hands down the best pub/restaurant in the state. Great selection of current and seasonal beers on tap. Simple and tasty menu items. Anyone who's ever visited this eclectic pub will agree.

Oh, and bring a sharpie marker to scribble your name on the wall (it's encouraged).

Stinky Wizzleteats rating: 5 out of 5 Happy Happy Joy Joys

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Photo of devonlandry10
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

I lived within 10 miles from this place for the past three years, and had no idea of its' existence. Excellent place, even for a family dinner (if you don't mind the noise). LARGE back area though I have not seen it in the spring/summer time. Staff is super friendly and helpful, but I have not had the opportunity to talk to them about the brews yet, so I can't comment on full knowledge yet. Food is excellent, so much so that Saturday evening is Eli cannon night for my wife and I. Always a great selection on the board with the day it had been tapped. Normally have a cask on as well, but not always.I'm very disappointed I didn't find out about this place sooner, it is a true gem among the many bars in Middletown.

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Photo of lamp
4.25/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Always great beer selection on chalkboard complete with day tapped. Sit at bar, dining room, or outside weather permitting in their beach themed backyard. Many special events on their calendar and beer tastings usually every Tuesday. Some construction recently downtown so parking can be a slight challenge but not bad. Menu is huge, from appetizers to wraps to sandwiches, burgers, etc. sure to please all. Website, facebook, etc to find out what is going on there. Also a mug club with a waiting list, I believe for regulars.

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Photo of ScottieD
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I have been to Elis several times and enjoy it each time I go. It's got a very interesting vibe with dentist chairs, leather furniture, blackboard lists of beers on tap, and a nice outside patio area. Taps rotate fairly often with a good selection. Bartendars are pretty good and recommending beers to try and ones to avoid. Food is fairly good for pub grub, but it's the beer that reigns supreme here. Not a great place to watch sports due to a lack of quality TVs and placement. However, it's a great place to go in the greater Hartford area for quality beer selection and a cool vibe.

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Photo of zoolzoo
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Nice place, sort of small. Crammed with trinkets and junk. The atmosphere is kinda punk, writing on the walls and tables is encouraged, apparently. Lots of flyers and stickers everywhere promoting local music and other riff raff, cool. I really like the little lounge area with the comfy seats, though Ive never seen it unoccupied. The bar is small, always crammed with people. The raised booth area feels private, which I like.

The selection is pretty much on par with other CT spots. The grub is a step down from my other fav CT spots, but still good. The service is questionable, as I have had a couple good experiences and a couple bad ones. If I were more local Id be here often.

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Photo of spydo99
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This is my local. Worth a visit - especially in the summer. They have outdoor seating, where I constantly have to remind myself, "yes, you are still in Middletown"

Beer selection is ample and the kegs are fresh. They always have something worth trying again or for the very first time.

They pull an excellent pint of Guinness. (When all else fails)

One of only a few places I have been able to find a regular pint of Bellhaven. They have a strong selection of inernational beers to add to their local craft brew selection.

Pub Grub is just that - pub grub. I make sure I am coming in to drink when I eat. Pretty good college hang out - but not exclusively a college hang out (which is good for me!)

Note - Some construction happening in old parking lot - but don't let that deter you!


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Photo of swierczt
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I've been frequenting Eli Cannon's Tap Room for about 14 years now, it's the best beer selection that is close to home for me. There are thirty something taps that rotate on a regular basis and about another 20-30 bottled offerings. No Bud Light or Coors served at this establishment. Sometimes the beer offerings beyond the dedicated taps (Guinness, Smithwicks, Bass, Boddington's, Hoegarden, Newcastle Brown) are more interesting than others.

The service can be good at times, but down right horrible when the place is busy. The same can be said for the food. Don't be surprised to wait at least 45 minutes to an hour to get a table on a Tuesday night or over the weekend. Reservations are not accepted in advance. It is easier to get a table during the summer months when the restaurants capacity stretches outside.

Popcorn machine is a nice touch while waiting for a table. Lots of interesting stuff on the walls to look at and they keep adding more. If you are into hot stuff - lots of hot sauces to try or buy. Just ask your server.

Food is typical pub grub - nachos, burgers, wings, quesadillas make up the majority of the menu. All of these items run between $10-$15. Prices have definitely gone up a bit over the past couple of years, but that seems to be the case no matter where you go these days. Most beer offerings run between $4.50-$6.50 a pint, with higher octane, short pours (12 oz.) running between $6-$11.

Overall, worth checking out at least once.

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Photo of BertSugar
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2

I have to say right up front that every time I'm in CT, I have to stop here. I've been here off and on over the past 15 years and always enjoy it. However, the place is really filling up with stuff! Man it's crammed with props and junk that really is just diminishing returns. Maybe I've been spending too much time in Midwestern beer meccas, but I found the selection sort of disappointing. Plenty of fresh and high-quality English-style east coast ales (the dates on the board are a nice helper here) on tap, but nothing very challenging at all. However, for a few pints and good conversation you could do much worse.

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Photo of Chincino
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I went to college in Middletown, CT so I've been to Eli Cannon's Tap Room on numerous occasions and I really like this place. It has a fairly eclectic atmosphere with sports, beer, and some music paraphernalia on the walls. Unfortunately, this place is almost always packed and there is often a space issue. There is an outdoor area that is opened seasonally and that definitely helps with the crowd situation. There are different types of seats by the bar including sporting event seats (stadium seats). This place is definitely unique and a popular hot spot for Wesleyan University students. It is in my opinion the best bar in Middletown. There seems to be news beers on-tap each time you go in and on certain nights cask beer is available. There are a lot of special events and promotional events so there seem to be exciting things going on at Eli's on a fairly regular basis. The beer selection is decent, especially for Middletown, CT. The service is good, but when it gets crowded it can get difficult to get a beer in a timely manner. The food is pretty good and the prices are reasonable. I highly recommend Eli Cannon's Tap Room if you are in Middletown, CT.

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Photo of xanok
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Go here pretty regularly as I work nearby.

Love the atmosphere here. LOADS of crazy stuff on the walls and ceiling here. Not just like any restaurant or bar. I mean this place is flooded with posters, barber chairs, skeletons, bottle chandeliers, etc.
Bartenders are friendly, but only 1 or 2 are knowledgeable about the beer. They make up for that with efficiency though, as I've never had to wait long for a beer, even on a crowded day.
There's about 30 taps here, which are listed on chalkboards throughout the bar. And as others have said, quite a bit wasted. Smithwicks, Guiness, Boddingtons, etc always on tap. There's usually a few to keep me interested though. Recently had Allagash Victor and Victoria. They've had cask Gandhi-Bot a couple of times as well. For regular stuff, Smuttynose makes regular appearances with the RIS, Big A, and Finest Kind. Be careful with the prices though, as they are not listed. I've paid $8 for things like Ten Fidy in the past.
Food here is very good for bar standards. The mac and cheese with pulled pork is to die for. They also have burger challenges. If you can eat all 4 burgers and sides within a month with each sitting only lasting 30 minutes or less, you get 1 free year of their mug club, which is larger pours for the same price.
Anyways, people looking for a killer selection may be disappointed. If you're looking for a fun place, great food and a very good but not great selection of craft beer, try this place out.

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Photo of modernartblues
3.83/5  rDev -9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

A- I like the atmosphere, which the website describes as a cross between trailer park fusion and an Irish pub.

Q- They keep up a pretty good list, but never quite as impressive as you would think. They always have Smithwicks, Guiness, Stella, and Boddingtons on tap, which in my mind wastes valuable real estate. I've never gone in and not found something good, but I've never gone in and been head over heels about the list (unlike lets say Prime 16).

S- I've been a couple times had a nice lady once, and a douchey dude another time. Its kind of crap shoot, but not as bad as some bars.

F- Not bad, but wouldn't eat here if not for the beer list.

V- Same as the rest of CT's decent beer bars.

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Photo of Durge
3.86/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

I finally stopped here for my first visit after hearing so much about this place for years. I just don't get to Middletown ever but i went out of my way to swing through for a beer. Cute entrance with the tapestry thing, and lots of stuff hanging everywhere which is a nice diversion, generally fun stuff. But my first impression was that the place seemed way small and crowded. Surprisingly at approximately 5 PM on a Thursday, the dining area, to the right of the "tap room" was fairly busy, and there were only a couple seat at the bar, and not good seats, so I grabbed a wall seat once I got the beer. Took me a while to locate a beer list which the bartender finally pointed out, and once I did I was just a little surprised by the preponderance of macros and common choices that took up space on their list. Granted their were some excellent choices included but I'd say it was a pretty even match between the good and the common (or not so good) and only a few really got my interest. I settled for the Smuttynose Imperial Stout which was really excellent and i saw they had Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence which was really the only other selection I saw that excited me. There didn't seem to be a high priority on hoppy brews as I've come to expect from true beer bars. So yes, there was some good beers here, some very good ones, but my impression of this being one of 2 or 3 Meccas in Connecticut has changed a bit. I didn't try the food, smelled pretty good. The bartender was not unfriendly but he wasn't Mr. Beer Guy anxious to share his outstanding selection of quality brews. He was just an order taker who seemed to prioritize speed and I will say I was waited on expeditiously. I just got the feeling that this is a popular little watering hole in the quirky town of Middletown. Probably works well for the college crowd in town, but it's not in the fraternity of real beer bars based upon my admittedly brief visit. Anyone can have fun drinking beer of reasonable quality when you are joined by a drinking partner or a group of friends. Being a traveler, I always find the true test is making an old guy like me feel comfortable and have fun, with the caveat that the beer on tap offers an experience to the discriminating beer enthusiast. This proved to be a bit disappointing. Perhaps I'll try one of the promotional nights but not sure I want to be tested by the cramped quarters. But i will try it again since so many people have commented on wonderful selection. I just don't get why they insist on so many non-beer lovers beers. Even the college kids will drink good beers if you can offer them for a decent price.

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Photo of honey740
3.28/5  rDev -22.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Has potential. That pretty much sums it up for me. The food is good, but could be better, especially the fries. I love hand cut fries but they cut them so tiny and soak them in vinegar. I like vinegar, but can I have a choice?

The beer- I agree with another reviewer that a lot of taps are wasted on big macros. I found it hard to find an IPA to try, and settled on Captain Lawrence Imperial IPA which I love but have had many times. I like to try new things when I am out at the bar.

The Tuesday night promos also are too crowded. I have gone a few times but won't again because I hate being shoved up against the wall while I am trying to enjoy my drink. Also, be sure to check the promo for the week that you want to go because chances are 4-5 taps will be occupied that week by that brewer. This week was Saranac, which I don't care for.

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Photo of DNICE555
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Atmosphere is very eclectic. There is stuff everywhere. The inside is a bit dark with random items used as chairs in the waiting area(barber chairs,ect). Old tv's playing classics. Not much for sports so don't choose this place if you are looking to catch a game. The outside seating is awesome during the spring/summer/fall. There's a beach you can hang out in as well as a couple patios with tables. Except for Guiness and Smithwicks there is usually no crap on tap here. 33 taps usually with a couple gems. This and Willibrew are def top two for CT. Friendly service and some cool bartenders. Food is decent with tons of different hot sauces to try on your wings and available for purchase. I live 45 minutes away from this place and I get there at least once a month.

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Photo of brucemoose2
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I recently moved to CT from Seattle. This is one of the very very rare places in CT where I can find a large selection of decent beer. I drive about 30 minutes from my house to visit Eli Cannon's on a fairly regular basis and I would drive further if I had to.

Their selection is generally good, and often very good. I love big beers from the Pacific Northwest. (Some of my favorites include Rogue I2PA, Rogue Brutal Bitter, Stone Arrogant Bastard, Elysian Immortal IPA, etc.) While Eli Cannon's doesn't carry that many PNW beers, they do carry Rogue quite regularly and they are in the "John's Locker Stock" (JLS) program - which means they often have the limited release stuff!

Their taps rotate often, so call ahead if you're looking for something specific.

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Photo of MaxBrews
3.55/5  rDev -15.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Re-viewing this, because this is now my go to bar. I gave it an awful review before, but after visiting more places this isn't so bad.

Atmosphere: Always lively and packed on weeknights and weekends. There are lots of beer related stickers outside the door. Upon entering you see a bunch of collected tap handles, sings and other quirky stuff on the walls. Old barbers chairs and traditional bar stools are offered. The back offers wooden booths, large tables a living room type seating arrangement. Out back there is a patio and "beach" area with sand and beach chairs.

The service is the one thing that bothers me about this place. Elis presents itself as the go to place in the area for craft beer, however I usually know far more about the beers then the staff do. Unless theres a decent bartender expect stadium pours and the classic I ordered a Duvel wheres my glass? and upon asking for one you get a pint glass. If you ask about a certain beer the bar tender might offer you a tiny bit of insight but rather they'll hand you a sample and walk away. The only great thing a staff member has done for me is ask the chef is something was vegan, which I appreciate very much. Overall though for a beer bar the service is kind shoddy.

Selection: It appears like a lot more then it is when you walk in. 20 or so tap handles but several are wasted on things like Hoegarden, New Castle, Stella and Guinness. Luckily no American adjuncts on tap. The main reason why I go here is the do often have things only available on tap. Brooklyn Brewmasters, Vintage Sierra Nevada, Magic Hat and such. The rest of the taps are often things from Victory, Dogfish, Sierra, Laguinitas and lately Stone. Far better then many places in the area and the bottle selection is mainly Belgians and other imports though I don't know why you'd waste your time on bottles unless it was a sunday.

Food: I'm vegan so well most of the menu doesn't interest me but they do have falafel which is average to say the least. Not true to tradition by any means. They put hot-sauce in it and give you pickles. From other people though I've heard the food is good.

The prices are average for most places in the area. No happy hour though. They do have beer tastings on tuesday nights. If your in the area stop by but its not really worth traveling for and I use the word travel lightly.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Finally had the chance to check this place out on a drive back from NJ.

Outside of this place is a myriad of beer signs and other random things, its a good display of what sort of interior you can expect. Walked in noticed The Smiths playing on the radio, lots of different age groups at all the different random seating arrangements scattered about. Immediately I begin to think that I could spend a LONG time at one of these tables with some good friends but alas I am alone.

The bar is packed so I get a seat at a very uncomfortable table/bar area with two seats. Checked the beer list on the wall, here are the standouts in my opinion (June 16th): Brooklyn Cuvee de Cardoz, Leipziger Gose, Long Trail Coffee Stout, Lake Placid UBU, Spaten Maibock, Hop Wallop and the new Harpoon 100 Barrel. They had some other great stuff but nothing too hard to come by.

Service was fine, waitresses were busy but no waiting involved. I didn't talk about beer at all with them, just ordered my drinks and food and kept to myself. That being said, the Carribean pasta was awesome, as was the Brooklyn Cuvee de Cardoz!

Great beer bar with some excellent pub/comfort food. Unique interior, lots of beer tastings and events and friendly staff. If you are in the area check it out for sure!

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Photo of apowar
3/5  rDev -28.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 3

So--Eli cannons.

Definitely the best beer bar in the area, but that being said, I have never had an experience which has indicated that anyone who works at the location knows anything about beer (most specifically the waitstaff and the bartenders). This is really the most disappointing part for me, considering the location really positions itself as the go-to beer bar. The selection usually has a few startlingly delicious premium brews that tend to be more expensive, but by and large the extensive selection does not tend to represent the best brew.

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Eli Cannon's Tap Room in Middletown, CT
93 out of 100 based on 77 ratings.