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James E. McNellie's Public House

Not Rated.
James E. McNellie's Public HouseJames E. McNellie's Public House
BA SCORE
95
world-class

50 Ratings
Ratings: 50
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.47%
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

409 E 1st St
Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74120-1826
United States
phone: (918) 382-7468

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @mcnelliestulsa

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: keithatoz on 04-03-2005)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 50 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%

Regular trips to Tulsa over the past few years have been frequent, so it is a constant surprise that I never ever got to James E. McNellie’s Public House until quite recently. I had great feedback from my work colleagues who knew all about this place and my love for good beer; so I think it was their continuing incredulity at my absence from here which eventually which shamed me to reconnoiter the place back in February, with a couple of more visits since then.

Despite the smattering of one-way streets in Tulsa, it is a relatively easy town to navigate. McNellie’s is at 1st and Elgin, which seemed like a quiet-ish neighborhood to me with plenty of street parking on the several occasions I popped by. Gold lettered signage is well lit against the all brick frontage. Large paned, dark wood framed windows which sit each side of a centrally located doorway allow first time visitors to see what they are letting themselves in for before walking in. My first visit was on a very cold night in February, but despite being on my own and from out of town, I realized once I headed in though that it was a Wednesday and $3 Burger Night, that probably contributed to the packed lively feel but I am sure that was not the only reason. I felt immediately at home with the relaxed interior, it certainly takes influence from across the Pond and translates lots of wood, mirrors and a relaxing laid-back feel extremely well. I was quickly attended to by one of the wait staff that was near the entrance and managed to snaffle a seat at the bar, packed with a long line of punters, many still wearing their coats which seemed strange to me at the time, but every time the front door opened a cold blast of February wind explained why. Nevertheless, I felt very comfortable on that first visit way back in February, which certainly bode well for a return and it is true to say that the welcome was a genuine warm one during all of my subsequent stops including my latest in May.

A long wooden bar runs down the right hand side wall as you stroll in, seating runs off to the left and back towards the far end. The tables are tightly packed so when this place gets full, it is really only possible to navigate the interior by walking down the right hand side where the bar is. But this too can get packed because a 4 foot tall wooden splitter wall runs parallel to the bar and whilst it helps to demark the seating on the left from the bar on the right, it has stools and also gets well frequented. Lots of bare brick, some old photos, colorful paintings, breweriana, Mirrors, steel and a healthy dollop of wooden tables and chairs help to add a rustic “well-worn” nature to McNellie’s, the words ‘Public House’ in the name are warranted. Lots of personalized Mugs seem to decorate the bar area, there must be some kind of Mug Club in operation here it seems.

Beer range is very good, difficult to have any complaints or even nit-picks about that, it is well stocked too and it never suffered from the “we have a huge list but we don’t have that beer right now” syndrome which affects many beer bars. There is something here for everyone, and despite the fact that this is probably the best beer range in Tulsa, and perhaps further afield, the prices are very reasonable. Behind the bar a long line of some 50+ taps dispensing beers from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, France Germany, Ireland, Scotland, oh and erm… the United States too. The Bottled Beer List numbers around 170 by my quick math, and stretched from Australia to Zimbabwe with a healthy contribution from the UK, Belgium and Germany.

Service was very good; my first February visit was about 8pm and just for food and a couple of beers, even though I had decided to visit McNellie’s during a very busy $3 Burger night - I was served quickly and the beer and food were both delivered with timely precision. Food was staple Pub fare, good portions, well made and reasonably priced. Later visits happened on quieter nights, and my last in May was with a colleague who was driving, so I had free reign to sample a few of the bottled Belgian beers. On that last visit the guy behind the bar was extremely helpful and must have been the resident beer guy, as is usual once contact had been made, the topic for the rest of the night was beer and beer travels.

The beer range and service here can conspire to produce an unforgettable night at the time, but which is soon forgotten the next morning!! I missed the Live Music but apparently they do hold Music nights here.

Glad I finally got to McNellie’s; it is certainly my plan to hit this place at least once during each of my upcoming trips to Tulsa.

Excellent Draft and Bottled beer range which is always well stocked and can be plied from the staff at very reasonable prices all set inside a very nice Pub(lic House) environ.

Recommended.

First / Last Visits: Wednesday 14th February / Tuesday 22nd May.

TheLongBeachBum, Jun 17, 2007
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2.25/5  rDev -47.7%

Basoos1, Yesterday at 04:57 PM
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4.36/5  rDev +1.4%

Edockery, Aug 15, 2014
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4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

beergeekokla, Jul 21, 2014
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5/5  rDev +16.3%

Velogas, Jul 12, 2014
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5/5  rDev +16.3%

Irasema, Jul 11, 2014
Photo of jtladner
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

jtladner, Jun 28, 2014
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5/5  rDev +16.3%

BradleyR, May 08, 2014
Photo of Charlie_Richardson
5/5  rDev +16.3%

Charlie_Richardson, Apr 23, 2014
Photo of zerocrane
5/5  rDev +16.3%

Amazing environment, the food is out of this world, the service is great 99% of the time. There is a smoking and non-smoking section, which you just don't see anymore. Not to mention, they have the largest beer selection in town. 60 handles and about 250 bottles. Fun activities held year round, check out the centennial club, and buy a mug, because you'll be back!

zerocrane, Mar 24, 2014
Photo of Trex
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Trex, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of BillRoth
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

BillRoth, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of remccaskey
4.13/5  rDev -4%

If you are looking for a place that has probably the best beer list in Tulsa, then this is the place. They have over 40 beers on tap and probable over a hundred different beers in bottle. Every Monday they have a pint glass give away, I got a couple of Moose Drool pint glasses last month. The staff is always friendly and if you are in the downtown area then this is the play to go to enjoy great beer and pub food.

remccaskey, Oct 23, 2013
Photo of sneezye
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

sneezye, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of RobbieAshmore
3.9/5  rDev -9.3%

I really didn't pay much attention to the prices, but I think it was rather expensive. But let's face it you don't go here to save money, you go for the world class beer selection. I was very pleased with the beer and the service. The waitress was friendly and knowledgeable. I have been to this pub several times during business trips to Tulsa. But only once on a weekend. On Saturday nights it becomes sort of a very noisy 'yuppie' bar....but the beer is still great!

RobbieAshmore, Oct 06, 2013
Photo of Carl_R
4/5  rDev -7%

This is actually a really nice place to try if you are looking for selection. Most beers I like are not available in this state, but McNellie's does a really good job carrying the beers that are available in this state. I cannot really think of another bar in Tulsa that I would want to go other than McNellie's.

Carl_R, Jul 20, 2013
Photo of jmharney
3.89/5  rDev -9.5%

Probably the best place in Tulsa to try new beers on tap or in bottle. Been going here for about 6 years and keep going back. It's my default Tulsa bar. Beer menu is endless, you could order something new everyday of the year and not be done with it. The staff is knowledgeable although if you go on a Friday or Saturday night, do not expect the greatest attention given to you. Mid evening is the best time, not as crowded and bar staff have better time to serve you.

jmharney, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of LittleDon
4.16/5  rDev -3.3%

Pros: Great selection of OK beers, inexpensive, lots of taps to choose from, smoking allowed upstairs.
Cons: Popular, particularly with the under 30 PBR and tequila shot crowd, you might not be told that they'll be smoking upstairs.

McNellie's Public House, like Tulsa, surprised me. When I found out that I needed to meet with a potential customer, I expected to time warped to a 1950's dry municipality where I was going to hell for even thinking about getting a drink. I was wrong. Tulsa is a city where there's great art and music and you can get a decent beer.

McNellie's location belies its popularity. I stopped in on a Wednesday at about 6 and there was a 45 minute wait for a table (I overheard that there was some event downtown). Of the three bars, all of which have the same tap list, I was told that the bar upstairs would be the least crowded. I went upstairs, found one of the few seats available, sat down, and discovered that OK is one of the remaining states that allows indoor smoking. Not wanting to brave the growing crowds downstairs, I decided to stay.

Service was quick. Even had a chance to ask the bartender about his recommendations from one of the dozen or so OK brews. Despite the crowds, my glass never went dry. Food was well prepared and tasty. Aside from the number of people, my only other beef was the vibe. As a craft beer enthusiast, I felt out of place in an atmosphere where many of the customers where ordering XXX Lite and tequila shots. I asked if there was a college close by and was surprised to find out that there wasn't. Nothing wrong with this, just that I prefer it a bit more laid back.

Despite the crowds and vibe, worth a second look.

LittleDon, Mar 08, 2013
Photo of dmcgilvray
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%

I Love McNellie's. Very good food. It's mostly American style entrees - the burgers are excellent - with a few pub grub items in the mix. Their Fish & Chips is consistently good. But the food is the bonus. You go for their exceptional beer selection. McNellie's has revolutionized the culture of beer drinking in Tulsa and I say "Cheers!" to them.

dmcgilvray, Mar 04, 2013
Photo of rudyarmand
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%

I had never been to Tulsa, and I thank the beer advocate website for the recommendation of the James E. McNellie's Public House.

I actually drove to Tulsa from Atlanta, GA since the flights took almost 10 hours if you include waiting around at the airport. When I got to my hotel out in the suburbs (Broken Arrow), I thought that this was going to be a TORTUROUS TRIP.

I drove downtown with my colleague and as we approached the Public House we thought that we were in the middle of a zombie apocolypse. There is absolutely nothing going on in downtown Tulsa!

We parked across the street and headed in to James E. McNellie's, and it was like we were in Chicago or Portland or Asheville. A beautiful bar with tons of taps of old favorites as well as Southwest brews I was happy to try.

Service? Great! The ladies working the bar were great at recommending the local brews and we left it all in their capable hands. We also dined there and the food was hearty, affordable and tasty as hell!

The second trip there, we experienced a bloody-mary bar where customers ordered their choice of vodka and mixed the tomato juice concoction with almost two dozen spices. There were some happy people there I can assure you!

Please go to McNellie's if you are in Tulsa. It is a great place. The rest of the town is absolutely depressing as hell, but there's a glimpse of greatness in this pub!

P.S.- There is also a great old town area with a knock-out museum (Philbrook)in Tulsa that was utterly charming. Like going into the Twilight Zone! The rest of Tulsa...absolute suckage!

rudyarmand, Aug 15, 2012
Photo of chemidtown
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%

First off my complaint. Is it too much to ask that a bar stays open past 11:00PM on a Sunday? They locked the doors and forced me to patronize their smaller competitor around the corner. I would understand closing one floor and the kitchen to save costs, but come on this is supposed to be a bar.

Now to be very clear I normally love this place and it is the only bar I frequent. It has great ambiance and good bartenders that let will from time to time let you sample before you commit to a full pint.

Selection is the best in Tulsa and most is on tap, since that is why I go to the bar. I work in a local beer store, so I never care what they have in bottles. They also get one off brews from local breweries for Thursdays, the only place in Tulsa I know that does.

The food is normally very good, but this is not a gastropub, it is just good simple bar food. I like the spinach dip and steak, but the chili is very good too.

If you are not looking for a bar on Sunday, I would highly recommend this one.

chemidtown, Jun 30, 2012
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4/5  rDev -7%

The wife grew up in Tulsa and I’ve been to OK a couple of times, so now that I’m elbow-deep into beer it is high time for me to review the preeminent beer establishment in town.
McNellie’s is kind of weird. It is a fine bar that sits close to all the nightlife in the “Blue Dome District” and Downtown, but it also is right next to empty lots, tumbleweeds, industrial sites, dead nothings and a busy train route. It bills itself as a “public house” (aka Irish pub), but there’s nothing really Irish about this joint. Which is fine with me, since the ambience here is classier and cooler than your average Irish pub.

There is a main dining room and bar, a little quieter bar called the “Sidebar” where the cask and the occasional firking is and an upstairs bar where you can smoke (whaaatt??) and –at least during my last visit- they have live bands playing. I like that McNellie’s is big and quiet like a friendly bear. You can come here and have a conversation without being overwhelmed by music or screaming kids.

Let me get this out of the way: the food is your average pub grub. Burgers, sandwiches, appetizers… not too cheap, not great- but there are specials like their famed “burger night” when you can have a three-dollar burger with your beer. We ordered sweet potato fries with a side of remoulade (more like a spicy mayo) and chips and queso. The fries were damn good, but the queso was too runny and the chips under-seasoned and bland.

The beer selection is very good for Tulsa-Oklahoma, but it won’t blow your mind if you come from, say, the East or West coasts. I liked the emphasis on local brews (Marshall, Coop, , Redbud, Choc and Mustang from OK; Tallgrass from Kansas) and the occasional rarity (Nogne 500 Double IPA, Sam Adams Cherry Chocolate Bock), but other than that, I didn’t go crazy. Anderson Valley, Bridgeport, Great Divide, Rogue, North Coast, Left Hand… about 30 taps of American crafts and a whole bunch of Euros, both quality (Wells Banana, Youngs Chocolate, Belgians, Ayinger Celebrator) and shit (Stella, Harp).

We were there during “Firkin Thursday” but it had already kicked. Sad… service was pretty good, not super friendly like in Dallas but fine, we were never out of anything, although the server wasn’t too happy about my asking for a lot of beer samplings before I committed to a full pint. Why don’t you guys serve half pints??

We all had several pints of the incredible Coop F5 IPA, then I had a pint of the fine Tallgrass Oasis Double ESB and we all sure were happy. You gotta come here if you’re in Tulsa. It’s about the only place for quality brews.

DoubleSimcoe, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of BierGartenok
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%

Definitely the best place to have a beer if you are a "beer snob" and in Tulsa. They have virtually every beer you can get in Oklahoma, if not on tap than in bottle or can. They have special releases of kegs from the local and regional breweries. They also have "pint night" and "3 dollar burger night" every week. The food is exactly what you would expect (burgers, fries etc) and service is good! I have always had great service unless its a BUSY night. Waitresses could be more educated on beer though, but they know the menu front to back. Just the best place to go in Tulsa if your seeking great atmosphere, good food and great beers! try this one out!!

BierGartenok, Jan 21, 2011
Photo of wolfinthemirror
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%

After wanting to visit this pub for quite a while, I got to stop by in the afternoon on my birthday wich just so happened to coincide with pint night. Buy a Great Divide Hercules Double IPA, and take home the pint glass it's served in!

Inside it was quaint and cozy, a nice refuge from the cold on a windy winter day. As we waited about an hour and a half for pint night to kick off, I got to sample the menu a little bit with a few pints and sweet potato fries while taking in the atmosphere. I started off with a couple of local offerings, first the COOP F5 IPA (a must try), and then Marshall's winter seasonal Big Jamoke on cask. smooth and delightful. I then noticed they had Boulevard's Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, and couldn't pass up a chance to try it on tap. Although, they didn't always use the proper glassware. While serving a Saison in a pint glass was a bit cringe worthy, I was able to look passed this minor infraction.

There are plenty of local and regional offerings, foreign beer from the likes of St. Bernardus, Unibroue, Paulaner. The service is quick, and the waitstaff checked back on us a lot, which is always nice.

As Pint Night kick off time (5 p.m.) neared closer, people began piling in, and the place filled up pretty quickly full of people ready for their share of the nectar that is Great Divide's Double IPA. The food people were ordering looked and smelled fantastic. Every beer I ordered also tasted extremely fresh, so i don't think you have to worry too much about the freshness of their beer, as they seem to go through a lot of it, and switch up their selections monthly.

Everything is very reasonably priced. 4 pints, a Great Divide pint glass, sweet potato fries appetizer, and a pepsi for the designated driver came to a total of $25. You really can't beat that. I had a great time visiting, and will definitely be returning for a proper meal and of course, more beer!

wolfinthemirror, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of StaveHooks
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%

If you're a beer advocate visiting Tulsa, your best bet for beer is McNellies. The downstairs is non-smoking and if you want to smoke you have to go upstairs. The atmosphere varies from families, beer advocate, to partiers.

Beer - They have a new menu every month that stays mostly stays the same except for the draught selection and a few bottle versions. The beer selection is excellent and they have several "flights" and break them up by the country that the beer was brewed. They are very seasonal in their offerings and provide plenty of local brews as well. Some notable beers they've had on tap when I've been there are St. Bernardus Abt 12 and Hennepin. The selection is the best in Tulsa as far as I have seen.

Cask - They have 2 local Beers on cask which typically consist of "Marshall-McNellies Pub Ale & Marshall Atlas IPA" Both are fantastic are a must if you like cask beer.

Food - The food is not that memorable, but the Sweet potato fries and the cottage pie are pretty good.

My only complaint is that sometimes the bartenders don't serve the right glass for the style. Most of the time they do though. And that good beers seem to sell out quickly.

A great place to have a cask beer and potato fries.

StaveHooks, Nov 22, 2010
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James E. McNellie's Public House in Tulsa, OK
95 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.