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Plan B Burger Bar

Not Rated.
Plan B Burger BarPlan B Burger Bar
BA SCORE
89
very good

30 Ratings
Ratings: 30
Reviews: 22
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 18.23%
Taps: 13
Bottles: 77
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

138 Park Rd
West Hartford, Connecticut, 06119-1753
United States
phone: (860) 231-1199

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @planbwhartford

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-18-2006)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 30 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bjorn2bWild
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Bjorn2bWild, Aug 05, 2014
Photo of Westyn
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Westyn, Aug 05, 2014
Photo of Csparks33
4.14/5  rDev +4.8%

I love Plan B, and West Hartford is the original. The food is great and the service is too. If you're looking for a great burger and don't want Budweiser, guiness or Corona, this is your spot. Their bourbon selection is great too.

However, the beer selection has become very stale. There's almost nothing out of the ordinary there anymore, and the taps seem to rotate between a few mainstays and a few other guest beers. I know I can always get an Allagash White and a Brooklyn lager, but those beers are starting to overstay their welcome. Where is the New England Brewing? Where Are all the other good CT craft beers? Where is the variety? Other locations seem to get better beers, so I know it's possible. I'd love to see beers posted on Twitter and beermenus as well,because the recent lull in exciting drafts has kept me from visiting as much.

That being said, there's a good bottle and can selection, and i can't say enough about how great the service and food are . All of the Plan Bs are worthy of being your Plan A.

Csparks33, Jun 09, 2014
Photo of brewcifix
5/5  rDev +26.6%

brewcifix, Feb 27, 2014
Photo of ChrisChagnon
4/5  rDev +1.3%

ChrisChagnon, Jan 27, 2014
Photo of tylergoov
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

tylergoov, Jan 22, 2014
Photo of beer-to-relax
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

beer-to-relax, Jan 02, 2014
Photo of George1005
4/5  rDev +1.3%

George1005, Oct 08, 2013
Photo of VictorWisc
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%

While visiting Hartford for a couple of days, picked this place based on reviews, plus a friend independently gave it a thumbs up. At midweek dinner rush, the place was full, but with no wait. Seats at the bar were at a premium, however, but it was no problem obtaining samples of any of the 12 draughts, including four Stones: Ruination, Ruination 10, Arrogant Bastard and Ruination Small Batch with Habanero. The rest of the taps were good, but not quite at the same level. Bottle selection ranges from great to OK with prices for craft 12s lower than Boston prices for BMC. Monday night special is half-price on bombers. The specialty burgers are quite good, but if you're going to promote the "some pink" and "no pink" options, don't bring a "no pink" burger in response to "pink" (and confirmed by the waitress). Aside from being slightly overcooked for the order, the burger was quite good (all beef burgers are made from premium, on-location-ground beef). The waitstaff is fairly efficient if somewhat harried. I had a rather simple order and knew what I wanted, so could not really test how knowledgeable they were. But the bartenders know what they are doing and are friendly and generous. When I asked for sample of Ruin10, I was also offered the Habanero sample for comparison without prompting. The draught pours are roughly the price of a comparable bomber -- for those that come in bombers, so slightly pricier than bottles. Despite the nearly full house, it was easily possible to hold a normal conversation at the tables. Large outside seating area, perfect for the summer (on a rather quiet street).

VictorWisc, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of FrankLloydMike
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

This place exemplifies a great neighborhood beer bar--a solid, rotating beer selection with a welcoming environment in a small spot in the heart of the neighborhood.

Whenever we're visiting my girlfriend's family in the Hartford suburbs, we stop by Plan B for a couple beers. I still haven't eaten here, which seems a shame since the food looks so good, but there are few neighborhood bars anywhere where I more enjoy sitting at the bar and sampling some of the draft and bottle offerings.

The room is fairly small with booths and tables filling the rear, and the bar up against the big front windows, with a warmly lit, thick wooden back displaying liquor, wine and beer bottles. The lighting and music levels are spot on. There are only two drawbacks in terms of the space: it can be very cramped in the bar at times, and there are no coat hooks under the small, overflow bar that you can lean against when there are no open seats.

The taplist is always changing and always consists of excellent beers, including many regional breweries and no imports. The bottle and can list is impressive and well-rounded. My only beef with the taplist is that it is often missing any Connecticut beers. I'm glad to see many other New England and Northeast breweries--as well as those from all over the US--represented, but I'd personally like to see at least one tap line dedicated to a truly local beer.

What really makes this a great neighborhood beer bar, though, is the excellent service. Our bartender, who introduced himself as John, on our last visit was extraordinarily friendly and helpful, offering both samples and detailed descriptions of various tap offerings. Multiple times while we were sitting at the bar, he explained to patrons that they had neither Guinness nor Blue Moon, but politely offered samples and descriptions of various similar beers that they might like. This unpretentious approach, rather than the beer snobbery encountered as some other bars, is the way to convert people to good beer, and get people to try something new. Right neighborly.

FrankLloydMike, Feb 13, 2012
Photo of pjs234
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%

I've been to the West Hartford Plan B a few times. Overall, I enjoy going to this bar. It has a real nice atmosphere and the food is great. They have a great selection of burgers and sandwiches, all of which are very tasty. Also, They also do a good job at actually cooking the burgers as requested. The place is small and gets crowded quickly and they don't offer call-ahead seating, which is really freaking annoying. Not sure why more restaurants can't do this, especially these guys since there is no place to wait for your table inside the restaurant, other than the tiny bar area.

In general, the wait staff is solid. My only complaint has been at the actual bar. The most recent time in there, the bar tender really did not know his beers. I'm not going to get into the specifics of the issues, but I just feel that if you are going to specialize in beers, that you should have your more knowledgeable employees in the bar area. Also, I feel that the beer selection is, at times, disappointing. It is rare that I go in there and find something that I really want. They seem to specialize in the beers that are better than the BMC crap, but not as good top tier craft options. I am probably being over critical, but I just wish they were a tad stronger in the beer area. Overall, this is a very good bar and worth a stop by.

pjs234, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of donkeyrunner
4.78/5  rDev +21%

Specializing in beer, burgers, and bourbon. Me too! We could get along!

Atmosphere is a cross between sports bar and saloon. Everything is made of wood which I like.

Arguably the best burger I've ever had and I do love me a good burger (the only other contender is from Craigie on Main in Cambridge MA but that's a somewhat of a different bag altogether). The meat is ground fresh daily and it tastes like it.

Our server was friendly, knowledgable about both beer and food and more than willing to provide beer samples for indecisive me. The other staff worked together as a team to run our food and seat us and were all equally friendly. We left a 30% tip we were so impressed. Plan B's manager deserves credit for such a cohesive unit.

Beer selection was the only qualm I have about this place. The tap list wasn't only not local-centric, it didn't have a single Hooker, Cottrell, NEBCo., Calvary or local CT beer on tap. They did have many of the aforementioned in cans/bottles but I'm a stickler for a well rounded taplist. Plan B has Sabrett hot dogs which I can't find anywhere else and are the perfect hot dog in my mind.

I want one in my backyard.

donkeyrunner, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of ThreeDimesDown
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%

This place is a pretty good joint, one of the few that caters to micros in the area that I know of. Have been there a few times but was able to walk out somewhat level headed today for a review...

Basics of the place: kind of a higher end sports bar without all the memorabilia bullshit on the walls. Dining area appears to be bigger than the bar area (never have been in the dining section) which has booths and tables along with seating at the bar. 13 taps and a nice bottle menu.

Today I started with a Mojo Risin Double IPA which was a nice one to see. Along with Mojo, Sierra Nevada Hoptimum, Ommegang Abbey, Cisco Whale's Tail, RJ Rocker's IPA, Dogfish Head Aprihop, Allagash White, and more were on tap.

The food is two steps above sports bar crap. Pulled pork sliders with coleslaw are very good.

Our waiter was very knowledgeable, and happened to have worked in a Portland Maine micro brewpub. All I can say about the rest of the waitstaff is that they are soft on the eyes...

Overall, this is a nice stop when I'm up in that area. Always have solid beer selections rotating on the taps and even a great bourbon selection. If you are in the area, a definite must stop.

ThreeDimesDown, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of sulldaddy
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%

Visited for lunch after an REI trip with my wife. Hard to find as we drove right past, maybe more distinct signage? It is right on a main road but lots of other food places etc around.
Walking in there are table and chair combos in front of you and a horseshoe bar to the right with about 12 stools. Decor is dark wood and some exposed iron work. some mirrors and other breweriana. Lots of bourbons behind the bar. beer, bourbon, burgers that is what you find here.
Kind of a smaller pub but doesnt feel claustrophobic. menu is pub grub with emphasis on fresh ground beef and humanely treated animals. beer selection is great, a chalkboard details the draft list and the bottles are very extensive. Maybe 20 drafts and 50-60 bottles. I had a 50/50 beef and pork burger that was great! My wife had possibly the best turkey burger ever. I enjoyed a Brother thelonious with my sandwich. Staff was very knowledgeable about the beers and were friendly, nice to see informed servers.
WE are definitely going to hit this place again, next time we go to REI.
Not sure of the other Plan B locations but this one is a good place for a tasty sandwich and excellent beer choices!

sulldaddy, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of bceagles39
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

I have been to Plan B in West Hartford twice, both times I ate at the bar and enjoyed several draft beers as well as lunch.

Both of my visits were during the late afternoon, before a dinner rush. During this time there were no problems finding choice seats at the bar and the bar service was excellent. They also have a nice patio out front, perfect for the spring/summer weather.

I visited primarily for the draft beer selection, which is great. About 15 drafts with good 'national' crafts (e.g. Stone, Allagash) and some smaller places (Long Trail, Ithaca). They also have a few mainstream stuff on tap (PBR?) so there is something for everybody. Good mix of seasonals and year rounders. Seemed to be only domestic stuff on draft. I did not take a thorough look at the bottle list but it appaered to be impressive for the area. They have some varied glassware but not proper "beer bar" service. The staff seems to generally know about and respect the beers but not beer-bar level knowledge. Shot-sized sample tastes were happily given.

The food is very, very good. I have tried the mini burgers as well as the standard classic burger. They taste like some of the best, backyard burgers you will have - this isn't prime beef, but its very high quality meat prepared to perfection, cooked nicely and super fresh. The truffle fries are also great. The apps are very good as well.

bceagles39, May 24, 2010
Photo of jeffthecheff
4.03/5  rDev +2%

I've been to this place twice now. Once to meet someone for a pint, and once for lunch. The interior is probably my least favorite of the three, but it's still nice. The space is a little tight, with only a small bar, but I didn't have trouble finding a seat both times.

Plan B definitley respects their beer. The staff has above average knowledge of the beers, and if you ask them about the tap beers, they give you samples without hesitation. The two times I went I got Allagash White and Stone Ruination. They have about 12 rotating taps, usually with some decent stuff. On my second visit, there seemed to be limited variety on taps, but I guess the bottles make up for that. The bottle selection is huge. They have just about any canned craft available, as well as 12 oz. and bomber selections. The bombers can get expensive, but I saw a sign that said they are 1/2 off on Mondays.

The Plan B chain specializes in high quality burgers, but when I went for lunch I ordered a bowl of chilli. The chilli was very good...very meaty and not too spicy. There are some higher quality restaurants in the area, but I have no complaints. The prices for the beers and food all seemed reasonable to me...I got a pint and a bowl of chilli for $11. I'll come back if I'm in the area for lunch.

jeffthecheff, Apr 29, 2010
Photo of mnrider
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%

I've been to this place a few times. Both during the day and at night.

The atmosphere is good. Kind of a small place but you can also sit outside. the bar is also on the small side. Everyone seems to be always having a good time. A mix of every kind of person you can think of.

The service was good. Nothing to complain about. They seem to know their beer good enough.

The beer. They have a huge selection of brews on tap, bottled and even in the can. Only american however. I'm not complaining, it's a burger place. The variety is very good and the beers on tap are always changing.

The prices of the beer is way to high for me. I can only go to this place once in awhile. They should really go down on the prices. Not on the food though, that seems to be reasonable but not the beer. So if your on a budget and want to drink alot. I recommend the Spigot.

The food is exceptional could be the best burgers i've ever had. Nice variety of burgers also. The other entrees are good also. Just wish the beer was cheaper!!

Cheers!!!

mnrider, Apr 02, 2010
Photo of manofmanners
1.73/5  rDev -56.2%

To start off with a friend brought to this place with the words "best beer selection around." Well that is not the case, they don't serve imports. Only American beer, not that all American beers are bad. To have the best selection you got to have beer from all over the globe.

It being my first time there and not knowing the domestic beer policy I ask for my old stand by, Bass. The bartender rudely tells me about "only American beer here buddy." He could have offered something that is like Bass or close to it.

They don't have anything on the tables with the beer selection what they do have is alll the bottles about ten feet above the well of what they offer. It is possible to see what they have.

It is a odd mix of 20-somethings and 60-somethings.

Not a place I would go to again, but to each there own.

manofmanners, Oct 27, 2009
Photo of CharlesRiver
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%

Having gone here twice in the past two weeks, I think it is time I review it. Bar is directly to your right as you enter. On nice days, they open up the large window/doors by the bar which is nice.

Lets start with the easy part. The food is very good. Three mushroom burger is probably my favorite.

On to the beer, roughly a dozen on tap. A lot of fall type beers are currently on tap including Dogfish Pumpkin. Southampton IPA was a welcome site but the only IPA that I saw. They do have a solid selection of bottles/cans as well.

The service can be hit or miss and I have found most of the time they are a hit. They do tap handle jiggle thing to "foam" the beer which is really annoying. I think someone else noticed this as well.

Overall, one of the better places in CT for beer.

CharlesRiver, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of DousedInStout
2.68/5  rDev -32.2%

I'm re-posting a review previously from January (which is still below, unedited)...

This place has been declining ever since my last post, and now I feel compelled to edit this review. I go to this bar, on average, 3 times a month. They have the best selection in the West Hartford area, but more and more frequently I find a lack of variety on tap (especially a lacking in the dark beer department). They also have trended more toward larger, less adventurous craft brewer offerings (Rogue, Brooklyn, Long Trail, Abita, Magic Hat) than the more boutique brewers.

While I never update reviews, tonight my threshold was met. My fiance (who has an extensive craft beer knowledge as well) and I walked up to the bar. We looked at the taps, and the bartender immediately says to her "You won't know anything on tap - you want a recommendation?". We said no thanks, and admitted that yes, we have seen everything on tap (Magic Hat Circus Boy, Long Trail Double Bag, Rogue Dead Guy, Lagunitas IPA, PBR, Wolavers Pale, Shipyard Summer, Abita Purple Haze. etc) - nothing very rare or special. So then my fiance asks for an old rasputin bottle - to which he says they are all out of. Then, instead of offering something comparable that they do have, like a Ten Fidy or Rogue Shakespeare, he recommends Abita Purple Haze, because "it's kind of fruity".

Absolutely absurd. If you're going to operate a beer bar, hire a knowledgeable and approachable staff - not a demeaning and ill informed one. Also, watching the bartender pour, he continually jerked the tap back and forth on each beer - making it pour foam heavy while wearing down the tap faucets. It was cringe inducing. If your staff isn't familiar with craft beer and how to pour them, educate and train them. And while you're at it, how about putting a couple unique offerings on tap - like something from special from Ballast Point, Oskar Blues, Smuttynose, Avery, Boulder, etc?

Last post: 1-10-09
I've been going to Plan B a couple times a month for about a year or so. For the immediate Hartford area, you won't find a better tap selection.

This past week, they had Avery Czar Imperial Stout, Dogfish Chicory Stout, Stoudt's Fat Dog, Ballast Point Yellowtail, Oskar Blues Gordon, Trinity IPA, Allagash Black, Brooklyn Lager, Cisco Whale's Tail and several others. The tap selection at the West Hartford location always seems to have better beers and more of a variety than the Simsbury and Glastonbury locations.

I do have two constructive critiques though. First, the bar area is very small and it gets tight on weekend nights. It's really hard to enjoy an amazing beer when you are being bumped every 5 minutes in the bar area. One should definitely avoid going there between 6-9pm if they just want a nice craft beer and watch part of the game. My other critique is that I continue to be amazed at how many people in the bar area are drinking bud light bottles. With such an amazing tap selection (and always pbr on tap), the bud bottles seem an unneccessary and almost offensive placation to the unappreciative.

Overall, the burgers, apps, and deserts are delicious in their own right, and combine that with top notch draft beer, I could stay there all night (as long as I have a seat at the bar).

DousedInStout, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of chuckd123
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%

Been to this place so many times in the last year or so it's time for a quick review.

If you're in the Hartford area, you know we really have no true beer bars. You can go to New Haven or Middletown, or (much) better yet, drive to western MA, Boston or NYC -- but around Hartford the places with a solid selection of taps or bottles are nil.

Plan B brings a great atmosphere; bartenders are attentive & knowledgable, and the selection is about a dozen constantly rotating taps & perhaps 30 or so good bottles to choose from. Worth pointing out they only serve American brews here.

Typical breweries on tap:
Brooklyn, Stoudt's, Great Divide, Rogue, Boulder Beer, Weyerbacher, Southern Tier & Allagash.

Great food too -- probably the best burgers around.

Overall great place, not a hardcore beer bar, but a great neighborhood bar with good food, beer and atmosphere.

chuckd123, Sep 30, 2008
Photo of fredandboboflo
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%

Visited twice recently, once on a Tuesday night, once a Friday night. Huge difference: Tuesday a sparce, relaxed crowd, conversation with the bartender, nice spot for a drink. Friday extremely crowded, wouldn't really want to stand in the tight spaces, 45 minute wait for a table. Always have some very solid brews on tap, seems like often they'll have an Allagash, a Rogue, Sierra Nevada, Avery, Brooklyn, all good stuff, I guess about 12 in total. Bottle list kinda random, lots of different breweries, but only a couple brews from each. Also NOTHING imported, ONLY domestic. I only had an appetizer, some portabella bites and goat cheese, extremely tasty...but not exactly a lot of food for your money...that's an understatement...beer prices seemed pretty reasonable to me, especially considering you can't expect anything better at a bar for miles as far as I know.

fredandboboflo, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of Hibernator
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%

In Connecticut for the holidays and a friend suggested this place after having been here a bunch of times. I wasn't expecting too much going in and left completely satisfied. I can't wait to get back.

The atmosphere was pretty relaxed for a Saturday afternoon, the vibe was quite festive with holiday lights all over the bar area. Seating for tables is rather limited, we were lucky enough to snag a few seats at the bar. The bartenders were friendly, responsive and up for talking beer.

The beer is selection is remarkable with highlights draft highlights that included Anchor 2007 Our Special Ale (delicious!), Avery The Czar, Rogue Santa's Private Reserve, Long Trail Double Bag, Brooklyn Lager, Allagash Grand Cru & Mojo IPA. I noticed about 15 taps and another 50 or so bottles including Dale's Pale Ale in a can. My buddy and I shared a bottle of Thomas Hooker Old Marley barleywine that was incredible.

The food was really good too. Their cheesburgers are the main attraction, offering about 12 different burger combinations including the Cuban burger that features ground pork. Burger combinations are unique and creative. Everything was fresh and had a good quality.

I really dug this little gem of a bar - I wanna get back soon.

Hibernator, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of BlueHammer
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%

I headed here with a friend on a Friday night. It was busy but not overcrowded. The music was an interesting mix of '80s to present (nothing like sucking down a beer to Counting Crows "Long December"!!!). The beer list was impressive for this area. They had about 10 micros on tap and a fairly extensive 2 page list of bottled beers, listed Light to Dark and Darker to Darkest. Unfortunately the were out of the first two I asked for. The bartenders were friendly and attentive. I didn't have any food but my friend did and it appeared good; the menu was your typical "bar-style" appetizers.

Plan B is definitely a place I'd return!

BlueHammer, Jun 23, 2007
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Plan B Burger Bar in West Hartford, CT
89 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.