The J. Clyde
Taps: 60 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 52 | Reviews: 38 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Bonhoeffer:
4.95/5 rDev +11.2%
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.
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 :)
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.
09-19-2011 21:28:17 | More by Bonhoeffer
More User Reviews:
The J. Clyde in Birmingham, AL
97 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.