Zeno's Pub

Not Rated.
Zeno's PubZeno's Pub
BA SCORE
98
world-class

75 Ratings
Ratings: 75
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: n/a
Taps: 33
Bottles: 155
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

100 W College Ave
State College, Pennsylvania, 16801-3838
United States
phone: (814) 237-2857

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @zenospub

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Ratings: 75 | Reviews: 61
Reviews by ffejherb:
Photo of ffejherb
4.64/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

There's probably not much else I can add to the many gleaming reviews this place has garnered over the years. If nothing else, this review basically just proves that I have been there.

I have visited Zeno's on a few occasions, but this review is based on my most recent visit on 11/27/08, on the eve of my first "beer-cation" to Michigan with fellow BAs brewslut, Deuane and SierraGS.

I am a PSU alumni and I can pretty much sum this place up with the following sentiment:

I wish I drank beer when I attended college. Unfortunately, I did not partake in the joys of drinking beer during my early twenties. I was a late bloomer. Had I known then what I know now, I would have been at Zeno's multiple times a week (and certainly on days when I sold books back to the bookstores)!

At any rate, this place is a true gem and absolute beer destination as far as beer bars go. I will never visit State College again without setting foot in this place for at least a few pints. The atmosphere, service and selection are all top-notch. I enjoyed a few pints of Zeno's Rye Ale, which is brewed by the neighboring Otto's brewpub. the crowd was pretty minimal compared to other past visits, due to the fact that it was Thanksgiving night. But kudos to them for even being open on Turkey Day.

As far as I'm concerned, this place is always worth a visit when you are in the area. They have plenty of taps, a few beer engines and tons of bottles to satisfy even the most jaded of beer geeks. Now, if only I could go back and re-live my college days. Of course, I bet I would have ended up with a lower GPA for sure!

More User Reviews:
Photo of EMV
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Zeno's is an awesome dive bar right on College Ave. in State College that just happens to serve some of the best beer in town. They're located underground below the Allen Street Grill and have a small selection of pretty excellent taps. They always have Zeno's Rye (brewed for them in town by Otto's) and otherwise have a rotating selection of great craft brews as well as a stellar bottle selection. The ambiance is dive bar all the way... it's cramped and usually crowded, but it's not your typical college-age crowd. The later it gets the louder the music which kills the ambiance for me to be honest... to the point that I can't have a conversation with the person next to me. Otherwise I'd visit more often (that and the inconvenience of driving/parking downtown). Pool tables in the back for those interested... and not sure if they serve food (I've never noticed any but I haven't looked either). The reason to come is the beer.

Photo of TheRealColby
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Haven't been to Zenos in 20 years despite living in State College since '79. Went recently for the Founders Day celebration: Kegs of CBS, KBS, Blushing Monk, Backwoods, Curmudgeon, Big Luscious and more. Big crowd of course but service was outstanding. Full menu from Corner Room available. Huge selection of Craft beers on tap and in bottles. Good job Desmond.

Photo of brewtechnik
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

In from NH and first spot I hit was Zeno's...
Cool basement entrance and doorman waiting to card, though not carded...must be the grays. Small to medium main room, with small game room off to the side. Trivia night was in full swing. Very small bar with all stools occupied...few open tables but being solo really wanted a bar spot. Tap list was fantastic, bottle list even better!! Lots of hard to come by beers...Bourbon County Barleywine & Stout, Plethora of Duck Rabbit, Nugget Nectar, Hair of the Dog: Otto, Michael, Adam annnd Fred! Really great stuff!

Bartender Dave was super busy but still made time to chat beer, pluss let me sample a few unlisted items that were real treats! Thanks again!

Band started at 10pm on this Monday night...really great but just wish I could remember the name :)

Had chicken tenders and fry basket...large portions and standard quality. Service was pretty quick.

Prob going back this eve for more...highly recommended

Photo of pcsnyder
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

It's a dark, stony basement bar with an excellent selection and a good rotation. I can usually find hard to get beers there. It's a must-stop place on St. Patty's and during Arts Fest. We usually meet up with some friends there, shoot some pool, play some pinball, and enjoy a lot of beer.

Photo of Ixian
3.1/5  rDev -30.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Have been happy with Zeno's in the past, with my usual being to get 2 pitchers of beer followed by 2-3 shots of Southern Comfort, but tonight I was just told basically to piss off by the employee behind the counter after only two beers and can say that after the way I was dealt with they will never get my money again. It really is a shame because they are the only place in town that carries some of my favorite beers, but after tonight I'm just going to deal with the Wine and Spirit shops and probably stop drinking beer entirely since nowhere else in town gets the things I like to drink. Sucks for them too since I generally spend about $70-$100 per night out not counting tips.
Also I would like to note that the first employee I dealt with was helpful and introduced me to a new beer I enjoyed a lot, but thanks to the second guy Zeno's has lost a customer forever.

Photo of Darkmagus82
5/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This place is by far one of the best out there. It is a classic bar focused on really great beer. Dimly lit, great music and all about the beer. They have 30 + beers on tap, most of which rotate with a high level of frequency. You can try a wide variety of beers from week to week without breaking the bank, as their prices are always reasonable -hey they want to give people access to great beer, and one way to do that is offer great beers at a great price; which they definitely do.
On tap they have plenty of locals, but plenty of international and nationals as well. Most all the bartenders know quite a bit about the beers they serve and are all fantastic to look for advice as to what to drink for the mood you are in as well as just sit back and chat with. The bottle selection is amazing for this rather little place; with a bottle list that puts most bottle shops to shame. While they don't cook food at the bar itself and I haven't actually had any food there, you can order food from the restaurant above the bar and they will bring it to you. From I have heard from fellow bar goers it is very good.
If you are in the State College area and looking for a relaxing and great place to have a beer you must come here. It is great!!!!

Photo of jifigz
4.28/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Okay, so this is a pretty cool place. It is a dungeon like setting in downtown State College. They have a wonderful selection of beers to choose from. They might not have everything you are searching for, but if they don't have what you are looking for I am sure they have a reasonable substitute. They do have brews that I have never seen anywhere else and that is a cool thing. The bartenders and employees can be okay for conversation, but it can seem as if you are unaccepted if you are not part of their clique. Well, maybe not unaccepted, but they are just not overly nice, they do their job and that is that. I am there for the beer anyways and on that mark they always deliver. They have great local brews like Victory and Troeg's, but also wonderful Trappist ales and everything in between. I would highly recommend this place.

Photo of wdeck9
4.36/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Zeno's is a State College institution and if you are only visiting the town once or twice you must stop in for a couple beers. Once you head downstairs, you enter the basement bar filled with old Penn State sports and university collectibles on the walls. The ceiling is low and the lights are dim but it makes for a nice, intimate atmosphere to enjoy their beer selection. They often have 30ish beers on tap ranging from Yuengling products to high end beers hard to find anywhere else in Centre County. Their bottle list is very extensive and whenever they get new bottles in they are listed on the back of the tap list. Prices are fair but can be expensive when buying bottles. They get a great selection of local bands, especially on Wednesday for their Clem's bbq and bluegrass night....very worth it. The music can get loud though given how small the place is. Either way, you cannot go wrong with a stop into Zeno's.

Photo of PittRooney
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

i have been to zeno's a few times now and must say i really enjoy the place. the manager spends a lot of time getting in beers, and it shows. there isn't a place that i can think of outside of philly that has a similar selection. staff is always friendly and attentive, and the atmosphere has improved significantly since they went nonsmoking. also always enjoy the bathroom reading ha ha. i have never eaten there, but everything i have seen come out of the kitchen always looks good. its also impressive that a bar like that in state college has never had a violation. it also doesn't have the "college" feel and atmosphere that most of the other bars in the area have. would definitely recommend and will be back every time i am in town.

Photo of TheBCrew
1.69/5  rDev -62.1%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5

I had the unfortunate experience of visiting Zeno's on St. Patrick's Day. After spending most of the week in southwestern PA on a business trip I looked forward to being able to settle in for a couple of pints at this very well-reviewed bar. The doorman who gave me a hard time for having a NY driver's license was the first sign of trouble to come. (I understand that this is a college town and you need to be strict with IDs, but at least have knowledge of IDs of neighboring states.)

The atmosphere isn't so much "basement" as it is dungeon. After walking down the stairs and in the door there is a small, dimly lit bar area immediately to the left and a deep open room to the right. The room has several wooden tables of various sizes and there is room for maybe 8 people or so to sit at the bar. There were about a dozen taps or so of fairly standard offerings, three beer engines (Tröegs Hopback Amber, Victory Hop Devil and a third one which escapes me) and what appeared to be an extensive bottle offering in coolers (Lost Abbey stood out). There was a duo playing music in the back and they were far too loud. Everyone was crammed as far away from them as possible, and I still had to yell to be able to make any conversation with the person next to me. I wouldn't have minded so much if the band weren't so terrible. From what my friends I was with told me, loud terrible music is standard here.

The bartender seemed completely disinterested when I ordered a Hop Devil cask, and in fact poured a Hopback Amber. While normally a solid beer, this cask was stale, bordering on having soured. Clearly Zeno's does not move enough cask beer to justify having 3 offerings, and either does not know enough to take stale beers off the engine or does not care about the quality of the product as long as they make money. Either way, the combination of terrible atmosphere, quality and service is enough for me to never come back again. After reading all the praise in other reviews I was severely let down. We left after one drink and headed to The Deli on Heister Street which was a much more enjoyable experience. Don't waste your time on this sorry excuse for a beer bar.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This place is a real gem.

It feels like you are in a basement and is certainly not a place for pretentious people, but it is just full of character.

The bartenders are very knowledgeable and friendly and the other customers at the bar were very friendly too.

The selection was great - about 20 taps with various styles and breweries represented. The bottle selection was also ridiculously good with a number of breweries that aren't even available in the are on hand. There must have been 200 different bottles. Maybe more.

This place is one of the best beer bars I have visited and I hope to return some day.

Prices are fair.

Photo of PABeerHiker
4.9/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

As a recent grad from Penn State, Zeno's was definitely my favorite bar to visit. If you don't know it's there, you'll easily walk right by the stairwell down to the basement of the Allen Street Hotel. Zeno's knows what their priorities are and doesn't attempt to cater to the "college experience". There is one reason to enter Zeno's and that is for beer.

They feature at least thirty taps that are always rotating with local beers or from other parts of the US and the world. All of the bartenders can easily blow you away with incredibly specific facts about each beer on tap and most of their vast selection of bottles. Zeno's has two beer menus, one for those on tap and those in bottles. The tap menu is updated about weekly.

Zeno's will usually have the same group of regulars on any given night and virtually no large student groups. Only fans of good beer go to Zeno's. The end of the semesters see a large influx of students trying to visit all of State College's bars.

The food is good as it's brought from the Allen Street Grille or the Corner Room depending on what you order. After 9pm, the Night Menu is available with some of the best BBQ you'll find in Central PA.

Photo of sbw138
5/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Definitely a diamond in the rough in State College, Pa. While so many of the bars off of Penn State's campus cater to yuppie frat boys, Zeno's is focused solely on what makes State College such a great town, beer, beer and more beer!

Zeno's is a small basement bar, below the iconic Allen Street Hotel. There is a small bar directly to the left when you enter, and to the right are tables, a couple booths, and way back, a stage for some live music. There is also a room with darts and a pool table.

Zeno's might have the best beer selection in Central Pa. They host over 30 beers on tap, and are always rotating a combination of local beers, beers from across the country, and the world. They have a huge bottle collection as well.

They have a cool beer club thing going as well, they call it "Around the world in 80 beers." You get a small passport, which the bartender will mark off each beer as you buy it. When you reach 80, you get your name enshrined on the wall of the pool room, as well as a free t-shirt. I mean, you are already going to drink the beer, might as well get some fame as well!

The food is pretty good as well, as it is served form the Allen Street Grille, and Corner Room located above. If you check out their beer fests/tastings, they offer food with the cheap admission price ranging from $15-$25. I had some of the best homemade Venison stew while I was there.

Bottom line, if you love beer, and a nostalgic atmosphere, come to Zeno's

Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This is a dark basement pub without much to look at in State College. Its pretty small and the atmosphere is typical bar/pub and the bathroom is filled with sharpie writings on the wall about bar crawls-but what else do you expect in a college town...I guess?

The tap/bottle list is pretty impressive and a good mix of what is common on the eastern and western sides of the state. Probably the closest place to Pittsburgh to find Port/Lost Abbey as well as the Bruery...for prices probably higher than out of state...but pretty good considering I live in Pittsburgh.

The bartender was great...he really knew his beer. He was able to give great recommendations of other places in the area to find brews. This made us stay longer and chat with him rather than leaving to perhaps eat somewhere else.

The food is pretty good...typical bar fare and menu that certainly goes with the brews just fine. Atmosphere appears a little rough around the edges but this is a great place/find overall!

Photo of cyraxx
4.9/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Ah, the place where I enjoyed my first legal beer. Ever since my 21st birthday, I have never stopped going. Most other bars I have been to can't even compare to my experiences at Zeno's.

A - I love the feel of the place and that it's on the smaller side (although this is somewhat of a hindrance on the weekends). My only real problem is that the lights are usually too dim to fully appreciate the appearance of your beer.

Q - The beer is always fresh and they clean their lines fairly often. Their beer festivals are always great.

S - I love all of the bartenders (except maybe one of them) and they all know their stuff. I usually have decent length conversations with one of them whenever he's there.

S - Best selection you'll be able to find in the middle of PA. Being far removed from Philly, they don't always get the beers that the suburbs get (RR for example) but Dave is always getting new breweries into the lineup. Great beers all around.

F - The food is good, but not fantastic (what do you expect, really). It's a small selection of food from the Corner Room and Allen St. Grill). I've never gotten anything bad before.

Overall, the best bar I've ever been to. No matter how far away I'll live once I graduate, it will always hold a special place in my heart as the bar that I learned to love beer in.

Photo of OrangeCharlie
4.31/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

What a gem this place is to have in State College. Had an excellent time there on Friday. The atmosphere is alright, though a little dim. They featured two great music acts, a blues band followed by a bluegrass group (not sure of the names) that were both excellent. The smoking ban has helped make Zeno's a far better atmosphere to really take in the flavors and aromas of their incredible beer selection.

And selection is where Zeno's truly shines. Zeno's boasts a wide range of beer styles to choose from and they certainly deliver. They feature several of the best US micros around with a myriad of specialties in the lineup. Even more impressive though is their collection of Continental beers. The draught selection is phenomenal, with each tap handle featuring beers ranging from British style ales from our local brewpub to the more esoteric and funky Belgian sours.

To go along with Zeno's impressive selection is a very knowledgeable and friendly bar staff who were able to make great recommendations based on my tastes.

Zeno's is a must for any BA living in State College. I have yet to visit a local pub that can come anywhere close to their selection.

Photo of baranak
4.9/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I can't say enough about Zeno's. It was one of the first bars I ever went to and it quickly became my favorite. Its Fairly small, with old wooden tables and dim lighting, but its an very inviting establishment

Dave, the bar manager for ages, is a beer guru and is always happy to talk and teach about beer when he has time (most likely not on a weekend) I went every Monday without fail my senior year of school and he taught me the majority of what I still know. Half the time I would give him a price range and a beer style and he'd pour me something that I loved but never may have tried.

Speaking of beers, they always have a wide variety on tap and an exceptional bottle selection. The casks and weekly firkin are a special treat too. They also have beer fests and tastings quite often. A recent highlight was the East vs. West tasting, which was a Stone vs. Victory taste-off.

Zeno's is also well known for bringing in great bands and everyone is quick to get up and have a good time. Nothing is better than playing pool in the back room and jamming to The Blue Method (a band) at the same time.

On top of all that, its very reasonably priced, being thats its in a college town. I can get a pint of Magic Hat Lucky Kat for $2 or a bottle of Chimay Blue for around $6.

Again, can't say enough about it. If you're ever at Penn State do yourself a favor and grab a beer here.

Photo of Lolli1315
4.55/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Great bar in Penn State that I got the chance to visit with a friend while going to a football game. Underground and pretty dark place with a lot of old wood, something I enjoy in a bar. Nice music, usually bluegrass, folk, or something of the sort. Really liked listening to music while having a nice beer. The quality of beer was outstanding coupled with a great place. The service was nice and everyone seemed to know what they were talking about. Very busy place so you may not get the face time that you may want with a waiter or bartender, but can't expect much more on a busy weekend. Selection was huge, somewhere around 30 taps and a gigantic bottle selection. This is the place you want to be in State College if you are craving a good beer. Food is not horrible, but it is nothing special or anything that much better than bar food. I have no problem with this as I am coming here for a good beer rather than great food. If at Penn State, make sure to check this place out.

Photo of gciccarelli
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

THE premiere beer bar in State College, if not Pennsylvania.

Zeno's is a basement pub that is a bit dark and dingy but has some character- it's definitely old school. Thick wooden benches, old photos, etc. My main gripe is the bands - it gets entirely way too loud in there considering it is an enclosed space. The music is usually very good (classic rock, acoustic, etc.) but when a band plays you cannot even hear the person next to you without yelling.

Service is excellent on the whole - especially Dave. All the bartenders know their stuff and will answer your questions about whatever you are looking for. On occasion, a certain bartender seems to have a pissy attitude towards the younger crowd like myself (probably assuming we're all hammered or something) but the rest of the staff is superb.

The selection is out of this world - at least 30 taps and literally hundreds of bottles. They have the best selection of any place I've ever been to, and they rotate it often.

The food is solid - same food as the Corner Room restuarant upstairs. Your standard pub fare - burgers, sandwiches, etc.

A great, great beer bar and worth checking out - it's at Penn State so there's plenty of reason to head up there!

Photo of cullenvens
4.46/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Although I was nearly too drunk the first time I arrived here to accurately remember the details of my excursion, I went back and can continue thusly:

The service was nice. My wife knew the bartenders and we were served immediately. They were chatty and knowlegeable.

The atmosphere was cool. There was a Jimi Hendrix cover band playing that consisted of two new-age hippie hotties and a very nerdy dude. Awesome. The tables are arranged on the crazy uneven floor in a pattern that bewildered me even after the hangover had subsided.

The beer selection was quite nice. They had some awesome brews like Troegs Nugget Nectar and a couple of Victory and Dog Fish Head selections.

I was all in all pleased with both experieces, however foggy either of them may be.

Photo of mattcomstock213
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Zeno's was my favorite bar throughout my time in undergrad. Zeno's has tons of taps and a very large bottle list featuring beers from all over the world. The taps are rotated frequently and have lots of local beers, national and imports too. They have no beers from BMC, which is always a plus for me. They also have 3 hand pumps and a constantly rotated (sometimes to soon!).
On Wednesday nights is the best deal of the week. Bluegrass night features two bands and a free BBQ sandwich and chips from Clems, all for a $3 cover.
It can be a bit pricey and as such there are a higher percentage of locals and older people. Some also complain the there are not many good looking young women, but I always said that if you meet a woman there you know she is cool, she is at Zeno's. Besides, it was a Playboy bar of the month. They know what they are talking about.

Photo of sholland119
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This is my kind of place. Located below street level, Zeno's is the bar portion of a multi-level dining establishment. Rather low-ceilinged and nicely dark, Zeno's consists of a short bar on the left with a good number of tables to the right.

Tons of taps with very little macro stuff (amazing for a college town) and lots of variety. Locals from Otto's, including an amazing rye schwartzbier they brewed just for them, some semi-locals like Victory and DFH and other US craft taps sit side by side with an almost equal number of Belgian taps. Bottle selection is fairly extensive as well.

Service was very knowledgeable and outgoing. We felt right at home. We'll definitely be back..

HV

Photo of CoolJosh
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

My absolute favorite bar, I usually make 2-3 stops here a week with or without my buddies. As you walk in, you're challenged by an old wooden dungeon-like door, which provides a real "ENTER IF YOU DARE,'' feeling. As you walk in, you step down into what a dark and cavernous cellar. Bar on the left. Behind the bar, is an incredible selection of some of the finest and hard to find beers, from all corners of North America and Europe. The Bar staff is phenomenal and very knowledgeable. They've always got a great suggestion when you're in need. Every Wednesday night, they offer one of the many awesome beers that Otto's brews on firkin. Every month, a beerfest occurs, and allows sampling of many different beers pertaining to a particular style. Another aspect that can be often overlooked is the fact that they have the right glass-wear for most styles of beer. They often showcase a wide variety of music acts, and according to one of my good buddies, Bryan Adams played here at an early point in his career. In short -- I love this bar.

REVISION: As pointed out by the Dave, it was actually Ryan Adams who played here in his early days, haha

Photo of treyrab
4.64/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

My new favorite place in State College. Ever since I visited it, I have been going at least once, sometimes twice a week. It's wonderful.

Q: The quality is simply stunning. You walk down the steps and set foot into a, well, semi - dungeon - Irish pub like atmosphere. The bar is rather small, but there are plenty of wooden tables throughout the place.

S: The service is unbeatable. I never had to wait to order a beer and the bartenders are always on top of it. The bartenders are extremely knowledgeable about beer and helpful when selecting one.

S: The selection is unmatched not only in State College, but in many places. Tons of local beers, tons of micros, and a great selection of imports. 20+ taps, 3 hand pumps, 250+ bottles....simply unparalleled.

See you in there!

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Zeno's Pub in State College, PA
98 out of 100 based on 75 ratings.