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The J. Clyde

Not Rated.
The J. ClydeThe J. Clyde
BA SCORE
98
world-class

61 Ratings
Ratings: 61
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: n/a
Taps: 60
Bottles: 200
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1312 Cobb Ln S
Birmingham, Alabama, 35205-4918
United States
phone: (205) 939-1312

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: Poser on 12-08-2007

Casks are now tapped on Friday at 4pm; call ahead.

3 Beer Engines.
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Ratings: 61 | Reviews: 41
Reviews by Bonhoeffer:
Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Wow, has it been 3+ years since I updated my Clyde review? Anyway, couple notes people should keep in mind. They got a new central air unit a couple months ago, so the interior temp problems are a thing of the past. Very nice.

Also, they have a new head chef as of very recently. They had some consistency issues with food in the past, but the new chef is working out the kinks. The food is only going to get better, so if you've ever had a bad food experience here, give 'em another try.

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UPDATE on 7/21/08: Just wanted to mention for anyone who's not a regular at TJC, if you visit anytime between now and next summer you'll see a giant wall of empty taps in the front room, and you may wonder what the deal is. That section of the front only recently underwent a complete remodel including the addition of scores of taps. Jerry is going to leave the taps empty until the 6% limit is lifted, as a protest. Once the law is changed, he's going to fill them with high gravity offerings. I get chills just thinking about it :)

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ORIGINAL REVIEW on 1/5/08: Glad this finally made it out of the approval queue. It's a long overdue addition to BeerFly.

The J. Clyde opened in Spring of 2007, with the passion and vision of owner Jerry Hartley. He's told me his hope is to eventually rival Decatur, Georgia's Brick Store Pub as the premier beer bar of the South once Alabama's beer laws are reformed by Free The Hops. Jerry is an active member and supporter of FTH, by the way.

Although On Tap's new owners have been doing of great job of expanding that establishment's beer selection, I believe TJC still has the best selection of beer in Alabama. They have a standing order for anything new to be delivered as soon as it hits the distributors' warehouses.

Although he started out with only a handful of taps, he's been working hard to add cooler space for kegs and wall space for tap handles and his draft selection is very impressive right now. His ultimate goal is to have every craft/specialty beer that is available in draft form in Alabama.

Also very notable is that at the time of this review, TJC is the only establishment in Birmingham and only the second place in all of Alabama to offer cask ale (the other is Montgomery Brewing Co). Their first cask offering was Rogue Santa's Private Reserve, which sold out in one night. They continue to work with craft breweries around the country to maintain a supply of cask ales.

Their prices on beer are pretty typical for the area--$4 for many craft beers and higher for things like Samuel Smith's and high end Belgians (of which there aren't many in AL, yet). But every Tuesday and Thursday features half price drafts, which are a steal.

The food is really excellent, in my opinion. I'd take TJC's best entrees over just about any high end restaurant in Birmingham. Fortunately, they've also added their "late night" menu full time, which features cheaper fare like wings and sandwiches. So you can spend as little as $6 on something to snack on with your beer, and as much as the high 20s on a nice dinner entree. Whatever you're in the mood for.

The service is acceptable. Not the best in Birmingham, honestly, but getting good help in the food service industry is a challenge. TJC is still working to establish themselves among Birmingham's long list of high end independent restaurants. I suspect many of the best servers have great gigs at Highland Bar & Grill, Hot & Hot, Daniel George, etc. and wooing them to a newcomer is not easy. But I know Jerry is trying to stay on top of any glitches in service and is working to educate his servers on beer.

Watch college football on the large plasma HDTV during the fall, and enjoy live music most of the rest of the year.

Bottom line, The J. Clyde is actively working to be the best beer bar in Alabama and it will only get better once the 6% and 16 oz limits are lifted on beer in the state. Go here.

More User Reviews:
Photo of brewskifan55
4.46/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

We were able to get in early and found a good seat (and a glass of El Gordo). Our waiter was really attentive; he even found me a great J. Clyde logo glass to purchase. My wife went nuts over her steak and egg. The chicken fingers are terrific. And the beer selection can't be beat. The patio out back was covered and heated since it was winter. I look forward to coming here again and surfing the draft menu. Wish we had a place like this back home.

Photo of JackRWatkins
5/5  rDev +11.9%

the best craft beer selection of any bar or restaurant in bham that I know of, the food is great as well

Photo of MOVERTON1284
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Great spot for rare and hard to find beers in Birmingham. It is very dark and kinda dirty, but their selection is incredible. The major downside for me is that they have a single seat bathroom and there is always a line. They take reservations, so it can sometimes be hard to find a table to eat at. The food is great, I have never had anything bad there. The service usually is lackluster, but from time to time you get a good server/bartender. Must visit if you are coming to Bham!

Photo of AUGRAD06
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Great selection of beers on tap and in bottles. Bartenders are knowledgeable. They do flights if you want to try a wide variety, just let them know what you like and they'll make you an interesting selection to try. Food is great, but a little on the pricy side. Try the humus it's fantastic!

Photo of Dreizhen
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

This is not the type of place I would expect to find in Birmingham, Alabama.

Met a friend here for a late lunch in route to New Orleans and I was very pleasantly surprised. Very good selection of beer (I say that after coming back from a summer in Brussels) and not terribly expensive (aside from a few things, namely the Belgian beers). I had a flight that was pretty reasonably priced in relation to the selection and a very good burger. Had a recommendation for something from a bartender at the Mellow Mushroom around the corner, but I forgot the name. Regardless, I'd stick with the sandwiches or burgers. And add goat cheese to whatever you get. Pleasant atmosphere, nice waitstaff and bartender, cool interior. Wasn't too packed at 2-4 PM when I was there, but there were a few regulars, all of whom seemed nice enough.

If you're in the area, you definitely have to try it out.

Photo of osupuck19
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Great place for great beer selection and quality. Food was average, but everything else about this place was amazing. Definitely try one of the cask beers if you go here - a unique experience that you don't find many places. Had my first World-Class beer here when traveling for work.

Photo of RyanInGA
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Great place to hang out and enjoy some beer and food with some friends. This is the first place I ever tried a cask style beer. I definitely recommend trying a cask beer as it is a unique beer experience. I love the pub feel of the place. Our server was knowledgeable of the beer selection. Ask for the beer list as the selection is extensive.

Photo of joshodonn
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I have been frequenting the J. Clyde for almost 3 years now as a business traveler. I am in Birmingham about one week a month and usually find myself at the J. Clyde more evenings than not when I am in Birmingham. As far as beer bars go, this used to be THE place to go in Birmingham if you wanted to find unique and hard-to-find brews. The unfortunate thing about that is the staff knew that as well and thought VERY highly of themselves. I have seen a lot of folks get pretty bad service or be sold on crappy beers just so they can empty a keg and put something new on. Thankfully for me I usually get pretty decent service because I've gotten to know most of the bartenders and I tip well, so they remember me even though they don't see me all that often. I'm thinking that now that there are a few new places popping up in town (World of Beer, Hop City, etc) that the J. Clyde may have to re-evaluate their attitudes or risk losing business. Don't get me wrong, I love the place and will continue to frequent it, I'm just saying the staff can be somewhat pretentious. The beer selection can vary from day to day and they aren't real consistent with updating their draft lists so that can be quite frustrating when you ask for 5 beers before you find one they actually still have on tap. The food is really good, I don't know that I've had anything there that I wouldn't recommend. I really love their BLT made with a fried green tomato. Their house made balsamic vinaigrette dressing is also phenomenal.

Photo of StuartCarter
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

UPDATED 4 SEP 2012
This is definitely the best beer bar/restaurant in central Birmingham. They have beers that are not available anywhere else, and their choice has exploded since they opened the refurbished back bar area. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are their "insanely busy" days so avoid them if you don't like crowds!
---

This is the regular pub for my wife and me. We go in on average once a week, usually on Tuesday or Thursday to take advantage of the half price draft!

Food quality and choice are fantastic, and the chef has shown himself to be versatile and willing to experiment.

The owners are trying very hard to increase the choice of beers, aggressively pushing their suppliers to get everything they can despite the 6% restriction on beer ABV in Alabama.

If you ever go there, I recommend the fish & chips - just get the sweet potato fries instead of the chips, have a pint of a good pale ale, and relax while enjoying the friendly atmosphere that is the J Clyde :)

Photo of Ksims1
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

It is definitely my favorite place to grab a beer and hang out with friends. The atmosphere is very unique with the old stone walls and wood. It is a great atmosphere. The service can be slow at times but the servers are VERY knowledgable and helpful with the different beer selections. There is a wide variety of beer that will fit most anyones likes. The best food selection is the sweet potato fries, you just can't go wrong. The food is very good! Overall the J. Clyde is a perfect place to kick back and hang out. I would recommend to anyone!

Photo of kopfjaeger
2.78/5  rDev -37.8%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

What good is having a big selection of beers if your customers can't get one? You could sit down anywhere at the J. Clyde and die of thirst waiting for someone to bring you a beer. It would be a good place to go, if they ever hired good people and trained or managed them, which they obviously have no interest in doing. They have always had the worst bartenders and servers in Birmingham, and they just don't care. I have always tried to support them anyway, because I love craft beers, and they do too. However, the last time I went there the "bartender" aggressively ignored me for so long, and pissed me off so bad, I swore I would never go back there again.

Photo of HeavyCsOptician
4.15/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

To reiterate what the previous posts had to say, I was impressed with what The J Clyde has to offer. Very cool setting, especially if wanting to enjoy a game.

The server was very knowledgeable as to the selection that is offered and turned me on to the Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning. Ended up stocking my fridge with it after having tasted it.

The only food we ordered was the fried dill pickles which are a great appetizer to enjoy while partaking in some beverages. Much better than some freaking Butterfish, which is a terrible mixture with a fine brew!

Given the selection, setting, staff, and service I will be visiting this place again. The location is neat given the fact that there are other bars in the vicinity.

Photo of TrappistJohnMD
4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I love this place. The selection is fantastic! Mississippi is such a desolate waste-land for beer that I really have to pace myself at The J. Clyde because they have so much I want to try.
The food was o.k. but, to be fair, my group only tried a few things. Atmosphere was good and our server was very knowledgeable and friendly. Glassware was appropriate too. I would recommend going early because we had no trouble getting a table at 6:00 but it was packed when we left. I developed a new love for Eisbock after my visit here. The J. Clyde will definitely be on my list of regular stops when we visit Birmingham.

Photo of WoodBrew
3.7/5  rDev -17.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

From Beer Advocate, I tried J. Clyde's this evening. I met a former colleage their and we had a couple pints and burgers. The place is located on a neat little lane near UAB campus and is in a old building that from the outside does not look like a beer haven. Inside there are walls of stone and ornate ceiling which makes the place feel old and nostalgic. The quality of beer was good...I thought a couple beers from the tap were a little to warm, but all the beeter to taste...right. The service was very slow...mostly due to the crowd that patronizes the place. The beer selection was amazing....20+ on tap, and big bottle menu. The burger was AMAZING....really enjoyed it. Great Sweet potato fries. Over all....had 5 pints, one beer flight, two burgers, all for $50...I thought it was reasonable.

Photo of yesferro
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Went there last Friday before we went to the Magic City Brew Fest, many of our Raise your Pints MS friends had recommended this place and we weren't disappointed! Great tap and bottle selection and very good prices. Our waitress knew her beers, she knew what they were out of and what was new, without having to run back to the bar to check. She recommended some great beers to replace what I wanted. The husband wanted an Oerbier, which had not been cooled, they promptly iced it down while he had something else. Great place BUT... no AC during 90degree weather made us leave after 2beers. I'm not sure if this was a temporary issue or not but it was unbearable for me to stay. I guess we could have moved on outside. Other then that, the food was pretty good, but it's hard to screw up a chicken sandwich. The beerlist was impressive and the glassware was correct, I will certainly go back!

Photo of jsprain1
4.74/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

A- Only two real complaints here. First, though it was a busy night, it was too loud in some parts of the bar to hear my group very well. Second, you'll be waiting in line for the bathroom, as the men's room is a one person situaiton. Big plus for the nice outdoor seating though.
Q- Beer was served properly and promptly.
Ser- Service was a bit slow at first and at times I had to take a bit more initiative than you should have to in getting the waiter/waitress to come to our table, but they were speedy and helpful.
Sel- Amazing how many taps they had behind that relatively small bar. Tons of bottles too. Always appreciate the multipage bar menu. They also do make your own flights which is pretty cool.
Price was a bit higher than I'm used to but not entirely unreasonable.

Photo of dnrobert24
4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Hands down the best beer bar in the state of Alabama. They regularly have specialty taps of beer unavailable anywhere else in the state (or the rest of the South, for that matter). Some specific examples of how they excel: Jolly Pumpkin on tap, Alabama/Mississippi beer dinner, Imperial Stout blind tasting, dry-hopped cask beers, etc. They regularly have a rotating cask and always have a ridiculous bottle list. Recently, the Clyde was voted one of the best 30 beer bars in America by Paste magazine. The servers know their beer, which really sets the J.Clyde apart from other bars in town.

The food it great too. I've had a couple of so-so dishes back when the restaurant first opened, but in the half-dozen or so times I've been recently, the food has been fantastic. Most recently, I ordered the sausage-stuffed mushrooms and parchment-wrapped tilapia, both of which I'd highly recommend.

The J.Clyde building itself is quite old but Jerry, the J.Clyde owner, has taken pains to do renovate the structure right. He clearly has a passion for beer and few others have done more to contribute to Alabama's craft beer culture.

Photo of BierGartenok
4.05/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Been here twice, always go when I am in town visiting my sister. Really nice to finally see a good beer pub in Birmingham! They have all of the local stuff on tap (good people etc) and many other great craft brews. They have a great import selection as well. Service is great even when they are really busy and the atmosphere is warm and cozy. The food is as you would expect from a pub, burgers, pizza etc. Just a great place to go if you are in Birmingham and are looking for a cool place to try some of the local and regional brews!!

Photo of BamaViper1
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Favorite bar in the 'ham. Staff and regulars are beernuts who know what's what. The selection is unparalleled in the city: 30 something taps and hundreds of bottles. Pint nights on Tuesday and Thursday. Other specials are available each of the other nights. Cask beer. Knowledgable staff. Local brew support. Need I say more?

I've been going here since they opened, and when it comes to craft beer in Birmingham at a bar, especially with a patio, I don't know of a better place.

See you there Wednesday night late and Thursday.

Photo of mklinger
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Nice pub atmosphere. Lots of brick & wood. Fairly low ceilings. Very comfortable.

Awesome beer selection. Probably 25-30 beers on draft including cask ale (one of which was just drained before we got there). A lot of beers otherwise unavailable in Alabama because of the container limit (no bombers for sale in state). We had 3 beers in a bit over an hour there -- Avery 17th Anniversary, Old Rasputin on the nitro draft, and Avery Hog Heaven -- all we awesome, served in perfect glassware at just the right temperature.

Both bartenders were extremely knowledgeable beer geeks & homebrewers that I had extensive beer-centric conversations with. Pleasure to interact with both.

Food was good. We got the cheese plate while drinking at the bar. It was nice quality cheese that went very well with the beers. Great place though at 50 minutes from home, kind of hard to make it up there as much as I'd like because of the drive home after beer.

Photo of hangh
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

CURRENT SPECIALS:
Mon. - $5 flat for all draught beers over 6.0ABV
Tues. and Thurs. - Half off all draught beers under 6.0ABV

A- Great location on Cobb Lane right off of five points and a free parking lot. The bar has an outdoor patio that is great in the summer and a nice indoor that reminds you of an English pub. There are two plasma TVs that show whatever sports events are going on so it's a great place to stop in for that or with friends (Happy Hour 3-6 everyday).

Q- Great beers, they store beers at the appropriate temperature and even have something called a cask-conditioned ale which is prepared without refrideration or forced carbonation. They advertise it as beer before modern technology. The beer is prepared well whether or not is is on tap or from a bottle.

Ser- The staff are very knowledgable about their beers. If you ask them what a beer is like they can detail the tastes and styles. They make excellent suggestions and also will point out specials to save you money!

Sel- The place has an unmatched selection of beers. There are several beers, I'd never seen as well as some favorites. There are no "standard" american beers though that you would find in an average bar. It seemed the 9 beers served at the basic bar next door were not on the menu at all, although that is not always bad.

F- I only got one appetizer but it was pretty good.

This was a great bar and excellent if you go for the specials. They also sell glasses for any brewery they serve as well as support many local beers that you won't find anywhere else

Photo of TheBlack77
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Nothing but good things to say about The J. Clyde. Well maybe one semi-negative and that is the restroom situation. One toilet for the men at a beer bar can create lines. But i'm pretty sure that will addressed in the future. Right now they are refinishing the back bar.

The J. Clyde's selection is second to none in this state. The staff really knows their beers. There's always something on cask as well. Lots of one-offs from Good People Brewing that are always a treat.

The food is quite tasty as well. From pub food to a little nicer grub, everything is tasty. The beer dinners are always fantastic. I think it is a necessity that one should try the fried saurkraut balls. They are fantastic! Didn't sound appetizing to me until I tried them, but now I get them just about everytime I go.

If you're in Birmingham for anything, a stop at the J. Clyde is a must.

Photo of Bounty628
4.44/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Finding a good beer bar in Birmingham, Alabama was a bit difficult but at the recommendation of Good People Brewing we checked out The J. Clyde. We did not dine here, simply ponied up at the bar for a couple of good beers.

Great selection on draft and the bottle selection was as impressive as it was voluminous. The draft selection featured several offerings from Good People Brewing, which I certainly can appreciate since supporting the local guys is important. The rest of the draft selection featured a good mixture of stouts, IPAs, etc.

Interesting finds on draft included a couple of Bell's offerings (Two Hearted Ale which is always a nice find since in Massachusetts you cannot get the stuff) as well as some Colorado offerings like Tommy Knocker and Durango Brewing Company. A cask was pumping away and a trusty favorite like Guinness could be found on draft.

The J. Clyde did offer a sampler selection of 5-6 different offerings. The prices were quite reasonable across the board and the high selection was not matched by high costs to the consumer.

The staff behind the bar was as knowledgeable as they were friendly. When people had questions about beers, they knew the answer and when others sought recommendations the entire staff seemed to make sound decisions.

The J. Clyde is sort of tucked away so you might need to ask a local (or a cabbie) how to get there but if luck should have you landing in Birmingham, Alabama anytime soon this is a must stop location for you!

Photo of Seru1
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Atmosphere- Very quaint and fun place. Two patios and a cool bar to sit in. Room for everyone, and a few TV's turned way down to.

Quality- Awesome attention to care and craftsmanship on the product that's given. Fresh beer with knowledgeable service

Service- No better beer service in the state, maybe the south itself. The staff are well versed int here product, honest, and always friendly.

Selection- Amazing selection, All craft beer, with a new cask every week. If your in the Birmingham area and love beer. This is the place to go.

Food- the food's diverse and good, I don't think I have ever ordered the right thing, but the beer dinners are breathtaking, perfectly timed, and well worth the price of admission.

Price- Good prices lots of deals on Monday and Tuesday. and a regular happy hour. Watch out though, so much good stuff you'll run up a tally fast.

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The J. Clyde in Birmingham, AL
98 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.