Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Ratings: 47 | Reviews: 47 | Display Reviews Only:
3.36/5 rDev -5.1%
List of things to do on Saturday:
1) Drive to Boston in the goddamn rain for the Belgian Beer Festival. (check).
2) Belly up to the B United table as soon as you get in the door and get the skinny on the Stille Nacht Reserva 2000 (1 bottle and it's being cracked at 4 PM? Um... okay, we'll tag this as "in progress").
3) Park yourself at the Shelton Brothers table. Sample, sample, sample, sample, rinse, repeat (check).
4) Ommegang Ommegedon & Bier de Mars, Allagash Interlude, crazy good bret beers from Alchemist, sour things from the Shed (check).
5) Revisit that guy at the B United table to make sure that he was talking 4 PM Eastern Standard Time. (check).
6) Return to the Shelton Brothers table, sample, sample, try to talk them into adopting me. (in progress).
7) Relieve harried overworked staff at the Southampton table. Pour one for you, one for me, two for you, and a one two for me (check).
8) Turn the reins of the Southampton table back over to Spencer so I can be back at the B United table promptly at 3:52 PM. (check).
9) Enjoy beautiful Still Nacht Reserva 2000. (check).
10) Be nice to Phil by taking him to one of them chain brewpubs he likes so much...
We'd grabbed a bite at the secret pizza place, and now young Kenneth was heading back for session 2, while Phil and I were going to hit Rockbottom. It was a brisk little walk, for me, anyways (I'm almost old, you know), but I didn't mind because the rain had stopped and you could see that Phil was so excited. He was pointing out the sites along the way and yammering like he does. The park, the hotel, the place with the food, and then Rock Bottom. It's a vast rectangular room with large windows with slat blinds running the front from end to end, brick red, olive and yellow ochre walls with the standard Rock Bottom Southwestern motif pics and 40'X 60' prints of the 4 house standards on the far wall. Exposed duct work, drop lamps throughout and TV's in the corners. Roughly 4 dozen tables and booths to the one side and flowing to the rear. They're somewhat separated out into smaller seating areas by dividers holding kegs and plants. On the other side, an angled bar seating a dozen split by a large pillar in the back corner and nearly a dozen and a half bar tables in the adjacent area. Fermenters visible in a corner glass front room behind the bar. Tiered booze in a pyramid on the bar back, a wine rack with a GABF metal above, drop cone lighting over the bar, and a "fresh beer" board mounted listing names, ABV's, birthdays, OG's, and beer descriptions. "Oh, look, the Pumpkin Ale has the same birthday as I do", spoke Phil kind of solemnly, with a sudden kinship for another gourd who shared his day.
8 taps on a single tower on the bar; 4 standards (Lumpy Dog Light Lager, Munich Gold German Lager, Improper Hopper IPA, Northstar American Amber), a rotating dark (Shea's Extra Stout), and some brewmaster's reserves (Pumpkin Ale, Liquid Happiness English Strong Ale, Weizenbock), and 2 casks on the bar back (Improper Hopper & Shea's Extra Stout). The IPA was more like an APA, but the Pumpkin Ale was solid. The bartender asked me if I wanted brown sugar and cinnamon on the rim of the glass. I declined, but thought it was good that she asked. It was a fine Pumpkin Ale in and of itself, spicy, nice. I thought things were going pretty good, I hadn't noticed...
The bar had a bubbled copper sheet under plexy bar top, with a wood trim and a sunken "cold strip". Maybe I had seen it but it just hadn't registered, I don't know, but it sure had Phil ticked. All of a sudden, "See!! This is my issue with Rock Bottom! It's asinine and they shouldn't be encouraging this sort of behavior, seeking the coldest beer on Earth!!" I thought he was going to get all "Hulk smash!!"
While Phil ducked out for a smoke and rage, a few people bellied up and ordered some beers right next to me. I wasn't paying any mind, but I did notice the bartender giving them a small glass with orange and lemon wedges with their beers. After they left, I leaned in and said, "Okay, I've got to know, why did you give them the fruit?" She offered confidently, "You put the fruit in the beer, it compliments them". I had to look up at the beer board to make sure I had this right before I countered, "Yeah, but you don't have a Weisse beer and you don't have a Wit beer?" and she replied, "They're for the IPA". I got loud. "You would never, ever, put a piece of fruit in an IPA! EVER!" She then tried to convince me , "It's true, an IPA is borderline for fruit in it".
Packed with people not drinking house beers. Still, not bad for what they do here (unless you're about using that cold strip).
12-20-2006 03:19:21 | More by slander
3.3/5 rDev -6.8%
Session 1 of the Beer Advocate Belgium Beer Festival at the Cyclorama had ended and Session 2 was an hour away, what do to?!?
Well a small gathering including a hobbling Drewbage, Gentleman RoyalT, RokotGirl, djgonzalez and Moon0 outside of the Cyclorama decided that a short walk over to the nearby Rock Bottom was the way to go given the limited amount of time that we had. Probably somewhere between a good 5-10 minute walk from the Cyclorama, we were limited a little by the fact that the East Coast cold was wreaking havoc on the old shrapnel wounds in Drewbages Testicles and Knees, but we easily managed a Taxi back though; Hey never let it be said that we West Coasters dont stick together in times of Temperatures below 65F!!
This one is on Stuart Street in Boston, and is one of the larger Rock Bottoms that I have frequented, a decent sized gathering outside had me thinking that we may struggle to get in, but as with other Rock Bottoms the people waiting outside, and some inside the entrance even, were waiting for seating in the Restaurant portion of this branch outlet.
Once inside the Restaurant area breaks off to your left and it was very busy during our visit as I mentioned earlier, but the high ceiling and tall massive windows that look out onto the Sidewalk gives a real impression of space here and didnt make it feel crowded at all, even though it was. We headed down the little curved alleyway that ramped down and right into the general drinking area. The curved bar is all wood and set against the back wall, in front of which are many tall round tables surrounded with high stools. Plenty of TVs with mixed Channels to keep the attention of American Sports Fans that have ADD busy. Our party grabbed one of these high tables immediately, and we were greeted in a half decent time by our Server whom appeared to have had a Sense of Humor Lobotomy only hours earlier. Still Service was punctual and polite so I cannot complain too much
Beer range is, well .Rock Bottom, so to speak. The usual range of Wheat, Brown, Red, Stout, Light Lager, blah, blah, blah ..they seem to rotate a little and may not all be on sale at the same time though. Thankfully, during our visit we had the fortune of being able to try the IPA Special/Seasonal, I forget what it was called but it was Cask, not bad but a tad lifeless [a regular bitch of mine with US Cask dispense] and nothing more than a barely hoppy Pale Ale really. We ordered shared snacks; Quesadilla and the Titan Toothpicks, which were standard RB fare, not bad, not great, but good enough.
The Rock Bottom served its purpose, it provided some consistent fare and a decent enough barely above average beer range to accompany it, but not much else. If youve seen one you really have seen them all I guess but the Downtown Boston Branch is a little larger than most and does have some redeeming, interesting and even tacky features like the ice-rink thingy on the bar for keeping your beverages cold, erm no thanks!
Whilst not worth a sole trek, it is worth popping in if you're passing by, it wont let you down, but it aint gonna make yer dangly bits tingle either (unlike the Boston cold did to Drewbages).
Classic Rock Bottom; Dependable but Predictable.
Last Visit: Saturday 6th November, 2004.
11-24-2004 04:14:50 | More by TheLongBeachBum
3.38/5 rDev -4.5%
Located in the Theatre District along side plenty of fast food restuarants and other chains. Last time I was here was when this was the old Brew Moon. This place looks like any other Rock Bottom brewpub, with plenty of TVs and hightops in the bar area off to one side, and a restaurant area in the other. Typical warehouse feel. Some fermentation tanks are visible in the bar area.
Service was a bit slow, as it took a few minutes for a waitress to get to our table. We ordered some appetizers which were OK, but the pretzels with the jalepneo cheese dip was my favorite.
There were 7 beers on tap - Lumpy Dog, Munich Gold, Northstar Ale, Improper Hopper, Freedom Trail Stout, Cranberry Ale, and Liquid Hoppiness which was listed as an English strong ale. The beers we had were decent and fresh, with the special strong ale being my favorite. Don't expect to be blown away with the beers here, but they seem to work with the crowds as most customers were drinking the beers.
This was a good place to meet up with some family members as we assembled in Boston. The Bud Lite drinkers in the crowd were happy with Lumpy Dog, and the other beers don't overwhelm the food.
03-14-2007 11:49:58 | More by Gavage
2.9/5 rDev -18.1%
Stopped by here for a few drinks and apps on Saturday night. I haven't been here in 1.5 years after three visits that featured bad food or poor service. I figured I would give it another shot to see if things changed. Got some seats at the bar and order a few pints. Had the Freedom Trial Stout and the Cleeland Scotch Ale. The stout's taste seemed to fade away by about mid glass, but the ale was nice, and had a kick at 8.1% abv. Overall, the beers were good. The atmosphere here is decent, pretty lively and upbeat. The bartender was a bit hard of hearing, as she asked every person to repeat their order at least twice. I had two really gross dinner entrees here before, so I decide to just go the app route and we got some nachos. They were so-so, I've had better. The salsa was a bit blah. This is not a bad place to grab a quick beer, but I should just learn to go anywhere other than the Theater District if I want to enjoy dinner and beer.
02-05-2007 21:51:16 | More by morebeergood
3.95/5 rDev +11.6%
I had been here once before, with Artied2, after working a whole day at a BA fest. Needless to say, I was not with full faculties that night. So, after stopping in yesterday with Alewife, I was in better condition to put in a review.
This was a Saturday afternoon, about 230PM or so... Place was not too full at this point. It's located in a rather new building on Stuart St, about 1 block up from the Jacob Wirth. Situated on the ground-level floor, it is a long establishment, from left to right. Entering about mid-room from the street, there are numerous booths ahead and to the left, with tables also scattered about and to the right. The bar is in the right rear, seating about a dozen or so. There are lots of windows along the street, though not much light filters in. The room itself is furnished with mostly modern decor and furniture, save for the ceiling, which looks industrial with bare venting and fans. Some bier-related pics hang here and there... It gets somewhat loud when more populated, though I think it's a good thing - drowns out the newish, pop-music (give me classic rock anytime, bitte!). We hung at the bar and enjoyed a few pints each of their Toppler Maibock, one of 6 regulars and 2 casks they had flowing from the taps. Service was solid, friendly and attentive; no probs at all. A plate of nachos with carnitas was huge, and more than filled both of us. Biers seemed a bit pricey ($6.00 for a pint of the Toppler), but costs for the food seemed in line with what a big-city asks. Can't speak for the other biers, but the Maibock hit the spot. Atmosphere was a bit meh, but we still had a good time.
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 - $$$
02-24-2008 20:55:05 | More by Bierman9
3.9/5 rDev +10.2%
I have been here a few times over the years, but recently visited with a group of BAs on a pub crawl.
This brewpub is located not far from the theater district. The pub has many booths and tables for dining. Many of the tables are of the high variety, which are OK for drinking and casual dining. There is also some seating at the bar, and a portion of the bar has a chilled strip for keeping your beer glass cold, presumably. The atmosphere is somewhat reminiscent of a TGIFridays or Houlihans.
Above the bar is a chalkboard listing all the current beer offerings. On this most recent visit about 6-8 beers available, and 2 available on cask (an IPA and a stout). This board also listed the ABV and gravity of each beer, and I thought this was a nice touch. The beers were good (better than I remembered from previous visits): we shared several pitchers of their new Rocktoberfest, and I also sampled the IPA, which was quite hoppy. I give them credit for offering a fairly varied selection of beers at any one time.
I have eaten here in the past, and on this visit sampled a taste of the nachos. The food is decent American pub type food. The service was OK to good on various occasions.
It seems that their beers might have improved since my last visit, after which I would not have given it such high marks. This is the last remaining Rock Bottom in the Boston area, and it is worth a visit.
09-22-2003 06:19:09 | More by UncleJimbo
3/5 rDev -15.3%
The usual four brews with an average of two specials and a rotating dark. Nothing earth shattering but sometimes interesting. The Double Barrel IPA is standard and is probably your best bet.
Typical American style food ... it might be somewhat good but the portions are HUGE and everything tastes like butter and salt. Each meal is enough food for three people with prices to match.
If you want good service sit at the bar, table service and the tables near the bar can be anywhere from decent to horrible depending on how busy they are. Come in for a pint but if they are getting slammed by the theater crowd don't expect quick service.
03-20-2004 21:17:21 | More by Jason
3.55/5 rDev +0.3%
Until today (10-7-04), I had not been in this place for about 5 or 6 years. It was Brew Moon before, and after it first changed to Rock Bottom, it kinda stayed the same for a while--beers, food, and decor-wise. They were all pretty much the same as when it was Brew Moon which equates to very mediocre. Because BA has taught me to re-evaluate every so often, it was time for another try.
It seems so much smaller now-in the bar area especially.However, the decor is much more in line with the current time than it was before. It has gone from grey cement/granite/stone to a more wooden look. The windows are different and seem to have a better look onto the street than it used to. So they had about 8 beers if you include the casks. I tried them all. Ok--they're a little better than mediocre now. Not a whole lot. I still would rate it the lowest of the Boston brewpubs but that doesn't mean its bad. There used to be a place called Fort Hill brewery that was worse for beers and still wasn't too shabby. The staff was great and very amusing. I would go here again but I like CBC so much more. BBW too. I will make a return to JH very soon.
10-08-2004 03:31:00 | More by rousee
3.75/5 rDev +5.9%
This Rock Bottom location is located at the corner of Tremont & Stuart Street in the Theater District of Boston. Decided to stop by on a rainy Friday afternoon with a good friend.
Tables and booths to your left as you enter via rotating door. The bar, which rather spacious is located to your right. There is a nice placement of TV's around that will mostly likely be carrying a good variety of sports.
Around 10 beers on tap with two of those being cask options. There is a consistent rotation of regular beers on tap like the Munich Gold, Improper Hopper, Lumpy Dog Light, Shea's Extra Stout and others. The two cask options during my visit were the Improper Hopper and Shea's Extra Stout. I had the opportunity to try both and they were great. The Improper Hopper was a true highlight. Awesome IPA and so enjoyable.
Service was good. Our waitress doubled as bartender and she did a great job. The service was attentive, friendly and responsive. A highlight of my visit for sure. Food was good as well. Typically pub options like nachos, burgers, salads, etc. Maybe slightly better options with some flair too. Tried appetizers and sandwiches, both were tasty.
This Rock Bottom location is without a doubt a solid option if in the area. How many other bars in this area of Boston do you have the option of two cask ales on tap? Not many, if any. I was happy with my visit and pleasantly surprised.
10-15-2005 00:24:24 | More by Hibernator
2.7/5 rDev -23.7%
The "crown jewel" of the Rock Bottom's in the North East. They totally gutted the place and gave it a true mid-West Rock Bottom look-n-feel. The bar area is much more inviting, complete with a "river of ice" -- a glycol cooled strip of ice that runs along the bar so patrons can keep their beers cool. Beer menu on display, a mug club and they'll feature outdoor seating in the summer. Inside is warmly lit, to compliment the earth tone colours ... creating a very relaxing place to have some beers and food. The food is way to expensive and the portions are bigger than your head -- typical American quantity vs. qaulity and they are definitely marketing themselves towards the tourist theatre goer.
There are the 4 mainstays brews (Lumpy Dog, Munich Gold, North Star and Double Barrel IPA) along with 3-4 slots open for brewer creativity (currently a Scotch ale, bock and sweet stout). The bar also features the expensive cellar stream nitro pour system for an above perfect pour, and potential for 2 casks. They've also recently introduced a rotating $1.99 a pint beer.
Personally, I'd love to see a cheaper menu, smaller portions and more beers in the rotation. Oh, and the service is hit or miss, leaning towards sucky -- never the same people working there.
06-25-2002 08:14:37 | More by Todd
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Boston, MA
82 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.