Canal Street Pub & Restaurant
Taps: 18 / Bottles: 100
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 24 | Reviews: 18 | Display Reviews Only:
4.11/5 rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75 | $$
The selection of beer is awesome for an old factory building with a brewery in the basement. Took a coworker here and introduced them to Founders Raspberry Ale and had a good time. Great food, reasonable prices, and an awesome beer selection. The wings are awesome. The tap takeovers are rather ambitious and really let you try out 2 different breweries at once. This is a great place for any type of meeting.
07-09-2014 01:05:48 | More by Beastcpa
District of Columbia
3.48/5 rDev -15.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$$
Reading has always seemed to be good beer's "blindspot" in Eastern PA. To the South you have Sly Foxes, Iron Hills, Craft Ale House, Union Jacks, Teresas, TJs, etc and that's before you get near Philly. To the North the Lehigh Valley has an, well not exactly thriving but adequate scene of bars, brewpubs and breweries (which is partly driven by Stockertown and Shangys wholesale operations being located there). To the West Lancaster County delivers the largest number of breweries/brewpubs in the whole state.
And with that, we stumble upon Canal St Pub. In as few of words as possible, it is "good for the area" (as mentioned by most recent reviews as well).
Sure, they do get their cache of rarities (KBS, Hill Farmstead, Sculpin, etc) but they aren't quite as common as they are in the suburbs to the South. However, they will also last 10x as long on draft here as they do there. And to be fair, their daily taplist IS better than average, when average is anywhere in the US, not the greater Philadelphia area (if they were in MD and DC this would sadly be up for best taplist ever among the hype generators there).
And complaining about service when a bar is full... I mean, yea, nearly everywhere sucks at that. Otherwise, if you do get a chance to talk to the bartenders they generally know what they're talking about and can offer some insights into the their list. Growlers are sketchy, sometimes they fill certain things, sometimes they don't.
Hopefully the recently open Liberty Taproom will drive some competition between these two bars to step up their service in quality for the high-end craft beer niche market in Reading. Unfortunately, if you're from out of the area and looking for good beer I still recommend to keep on driving (to Union Jacks that is).
06-19-2011 15:27:29 | More by yourefragile
2.5/5 rDev -39.2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$
When you read the reviews for this place from other BAs try to pick up on two things: 1) That you frequently see the service being described as lacking and 2) that you see a lot of comments like 'the best selection in the area.' Well, it is the best selection on tap in the immediate area by far. And that is how this place is getting by.
The reviews here are far too high and based solely on the fact that they have good taps. And I understand that... God knows I keep crawling back whenever I see a coveted beer in their lineup. But every time I go back it is the same thing. Terrible service, especially at the bar. This place has without a doubt, the worst bartenders of any beer bar I have ever been to. Some of them act like they have never tended bar before. Others act like they have been sentenced to do the job as punishment for some crime. None of them seem to have a real love for craft beer. I really have spent a lot of time sitting at the bar here, and I have never witnessed a friendly and interesting conversation between a bartender and a patron about craft beers. It has the feel of a place that serves Bud/Coors/Miller, only the taps are good, very strange. It certainly doesn't have that BA vibe that is so evident at a TJs, Teresas, Bulls Head or Union Jacks.
1) The food is very hit or miss. I've had some decent grub here, but also some heat lamp science projects. I've had enough bad food at Canal St that I try not to eat here anymore, as the hassle of getting served bad food is stress I don't need when I just want a good beer.
2) The tap list on the web site is frequently out of date. They refuse to put a last updated note on it. I've asked them to do this a few times and the response is always the same. Nothing. Another example of how this place doesn't get it.
3) I tried to buy a bomber once during their advertised $8 bomber special. They told me they haven't had that special for years. Hmm, they still advertise it though on their website though.
4) Speaking of bombers they store them in what is essentially a janitorial closet.
5) If you have to go, I recommend sitting at a table, the waitress service is better than the bar. (yeah I know, I love sitting at a bar too)
6) This place does fill growlers and at a reasonable price. They are typically less than joyful to oblige however.
7) Seemingly bad taps. Commonly have to shut down a beer for a while due to excessive foaming. Growler fills take a long time.
I strongly urge anyone who is going to review or has reviewed this place to complete a task. Get in your car and do a pub crawl. Head south from Reading to Exton. Go to the Drafting Room, then maybe near by Ron's. Now scoot east to TJs in Paoli. Then if you have a designated driver or a high tolerance, onward to Teresas in Wayne. If your still up for it try to hit Capone's in Norristown after that. Crawl back to Reading on 422. The insane can still hit Craft Ale House and Union Jacks on the way back. Oh my, what a trip. Now... give Canal St your review and tell me it deserves an A. Come on, this place is a C at best. There is no way this place should have the same BA grade as TJs. Ridiculous...
I'm giving it a D+ because I think it is below average. I'll still go from time to time for the beers though...
PS - Apologies for leaving the somewhat local Bulls Head in Lititz off my suggested pub crawl, but it is in the other direction. Stellar place though that really gets it and celebrates good beer.
04-08-2011 13:33:49 | More by mcslain
3.9/5 rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$$
The atmosphere is nice, dimly lit in the pub area, large bar and plenty of tables. There is a pool table in the pub area as well as a jukebox and one MegaTouch machine. Kind of nice, but for me, throws off the type of atmosphere I'm looking for.
The assortment of beer is good, but they seem to only ever have one or two gems on the draft list, which consists of between 10-15 beers. Most of the time, their offerings are just "okay" and they seem to have the same stuff on quite often. Maybe they just don't do enough business to rotate the taps often. Who knows.
Their bottle list is on the smaller side compared to what I'm used too, less than 100 varieties I'd say, and most of the time a bit overpriced. It's probably the best bottle selection in the Reading area, though.
The food is okay. It's typical pub food, and decent. It's not amazing but it's not complete crap. Their prices are okay, but definitely a bit more expensive than elsewhere considering their pub food isn't top-notch. The larger dinner menu has a lot of great meals on there, but again it's on the pricier side $20 plus.
I have to dock some points for the service at the bar which is generally good, but does have its downfalls some nights. If you go there on Tuesday night for $3 drafts (yes, this is a big plus), don't expect stellar service. It does get busy, I will give them that, but most of the time it takes a while to get a drink. I've sat there for a good 5-10 minutes at times without being recognized. The wait staff at the tables in the pub dining area are generally quick and snappy.
Overall, Canal Street Pub is good. It's about the closest thing to a good craft beer bar you'll get in the Reading area, but the service could easily be improved with a bit more attentiveness from the bartenders.
01-04-2011 20:31:09 | More by ShanePB
Canal Street Pub & Restaurant in Reading, PA
91 out of 100 based on 24 ratings.