Plan B Burger Bar
Taps: 13 / Bottles: 77
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 26 | Reviews: 21 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by DousedInStout:
2.68/5 rDev -32%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
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).
01-10-2009 20:18:52 | More by DousedInStout
More User Reviews:
4.14/5 rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 2.75 | food: 4.5 | $$
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.
06-09-2014 21:54:10 | More by Csparks33
4.18/5 rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75 | $$
While visiting Hartford for a couple of days, picked this place based on reviews, plus a friend independently gave it a thumbs up. At midweek dinner rush, the place was full, but with no wait. Seats at the bar were at a premium, however, but it was no problem obtaining samples of any of the 12 draughts, including four Stones: Ruination, Ruination 10, Arrogant Bastard and Ruination Small Batch with Habanero. The rest of the taps were good, but not quite at the same level. Bottle selection ranges from great to OK with prices for craft 12s lower than Boston prices for BMC. Monday night special is half-price on bombers. The specialty burgers are quite good, but if you're going to promote the "some pink" and "no pink" options, don't bring a "no pink" burger in response to "pink" (and confirmed by the waitress). Aside from being slightly overcooked for the order, the burger was quite good (all beef burgers are made from premium, on-location-ground beef). The waitstaff is fairly efficient if somewhat harried. I had a rather simple order and knew what I wanted, so could not really test how knowledgeable they were. But the bartenders know what they are doing and are friendly and generous. When I asked for sample of Ruin10, I was also offered the Habanero sample for comparison without prompting. The draught pours are roughly the price of a comparable bomber -- for those that come in bombers, so slightly pricier than bottles. Despite the nearly full house, it was easily possible to hold a normal conversation at the tables. Large outside seating area, perfect for the summer (on a rather quiet street).
06-26-2013 04:29:10 | More by VictorWisc
4.5/5 rDev +14.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | $$
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.
02-13-2012 21:55:36 | More by FrankLloydMike
3.65/5 rDev -7.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5 | $$
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.
12-04-2011 21:10:57 | More by pjs234
Plan B Burger Bar in West Hartford, CT
89 out of 100 based on 26 ratings.