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Canal Street Pub & Restaurant

Canal Street Pub & RestaurantCanal Street Pub & Restaurant

Taps: 18 / Bottles: 100
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

18 Ratings
Ratings: 18
Reviews: 17
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.26%
$$ - reasonable


[ Bar, Eatery ]

535 Canal St
Reading, Pennsylvania, 19602-2675
United States
phone: (610) 376-4009

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: bigsplash on 12-08-2007)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 18 | Reviews: 17 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by ffejherb:
Photo of ffejherb
ffejherb

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$

I've known about Canal Street ever since I lived in the Reading area between 1996 and 2000, but I never had the opportunity to visit. However, I recently found out that they only recently beefed up their beer selection to include quite a fine selection of craft offerings from around the country.

Canal Street boasts quite an open floor plan with a huge, wrap-around wooden bar that seats about 30 people. There's also plenty of seating throughout the establishment, with lots of tables. The decor is primarily wood and brick, with high ceilings, wood beams and hardwood floors. There is also a nice stage area for live entertainment, as well as a pool table in the back. The have an ATM on premesis.

The bartender on duty was extremely knowledgeable about beer in general, and he was very friendly and seemed to enjoy talking about beer to the patrons. Service in general was fine.

While we didn't have lunch or dinner, we did order their hummus platter, which was tasty. As for the beer selection, they have a nice variety of taps, including Reading Premium, Nugget Nectar, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin, Two-Hearted, Jever Pils, Stoudt's Old Abominable, Hercules IPA, Yard's Tavern Porter, Harpoon IPA, St. Bernardus, Young's Oatmeal Stout, Ithaca Cascazilla, Troegenator, and more. They also offer about 50 or so bottles and bombers, including many craft selections, Belgians, imports and domestics.

Overall, this is a really comfortable place to kick back and enjoy a few beers. Music wasn't too loud, and, while there is smoking allowed, it wasn't too smokey during our visit. It is also important to note that they have a nice, big private parking lot, with plenty of parking for patrons. I would definitely come back again when I'm in the area.

02-10-2008 21:16:55 | More by ffejherb
More User Reviews:
Photo of TimoP
TimoP

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

01-10-2014 03:58:28 | More by TimoP
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
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
Photo of mcslain
mcslain

Pennsylvania

2.5/5  rDev -39.9%
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.

Other observations:
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
Photo of ShanePB
ShanePB

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
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
Photo of heavyonthehops
heavyonthehops

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$

This is my favorite beer place in Reading, PA. It has a relatively safe location in what was once a heavily industrial part of the city. The pub itself is a converted warehouse/factory building that they had gutted. If anyone is familiar with Legacy beer, I believe it is produced at the same place, but for some reason it is never available at the pub.

The pub area has a casual and cozy atmosphere, while the dining room area in the back of the restaurant is more formal. The draft beer selection (20 or so) rotates rather frequently and leans towards American ales and IPAs. With that being said, there is always a Belgian and German selection. There is also a large selection of bottled beer and a fully stocked bar. Tuesday nights are the best time to go as they offer half-price drafts and appetizers. For food, I recommend the Buffalo wings- the hot variety have a perfect blend of pepper and spice. My only real complaint about this place is the service at the bar. The bartenders are not very friendly and not always focused on the customer. However, when we get a table the service is usually spot on.

02-12-2010 17:02:26 | More by heavyonthehops
Photo of bbeane
bbeane

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$

I live about 5 minutes from Canal Street, but would visit it almost as frequently if I lived further. It's located in a decent section of the city ( though you might have to go through some not so great sections depending which route you take ) with plenty of parking. I mostly frequent there on Fridays, so they usually have some live music as well as free finger food for happy hour. I know they also run a good beer special one day a week, but I've never been in for it. Service is usually pretty good sitting at the bar, but I've never sat at a table. The selection there has always been good with plenty of rotating spigots and bottles. The finger food is always tasty (free food is always good for the most part Ha HA), and prices seem reasonable.

Also worth checking out for "Brewphoria" beer fest that they have there.

06-21-2009 23:39:44 | More by bbeane
Photo of thain709
thain709

Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$

I finally was able to visit the Canal Street Pub. Looks nice from the outside with the bricks and their logo on the side of the building...it's nice on the inside as well.

There are tables for dining and a large rectangular bar with 12 taps. There is a separate room with 6 more taps. The taps were very nice...6 Stones (11th and 12th), Sly Fox, Founders, Great Divide, Chimay, and Troegs...to just name a few. I sampled the Founders Centennial IPA and the Sly Fox Liberty Pale Ale.

Prices were around $4 a pint. It looked like they ran some good specials as well. I did not visit on a "special" night. Not only was their tap list impressive...but their bottle selection was nuts! The bartender seemed to know what he was talking about when I could not decide for me second beer.

The Canal Street Pub is a must visit when in the Reading area. And after visiting...I recommend the 5 minute drive to Beer Yard.

06-02-2009 13:55:36 | More by thain709
Photo of PhillyStyle
PhillyStyle

Georgia

4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$

Visited on Tuesday May 5, 2009:

Good crowd for a Tuesday night, bar area full and the restaurant portion was filling up. Nice old warehouse with high ceilings and exposed duct work. Big circular bar that the bartender was working nicely.

Good selection of beer on tap (I didn't count, but it looked like more than a dozen) (The bartender also provided me with a list of beers that they expected to have on tap in the near future, none of which I recall or wrote down), different styles, different breweries and a pretty extensive selection of bottles, so much so that they had their own menu dedicated to it. I tried Southern Tier Unearthly and Kasteel Rouge, both on tap.

Service was good and knowledgably about the beers and served them in appropriate glasses. Prices seemed to be fairly reasonable and in line with what I normally expected.

Food was good and very reasonable priced. I had the meatloaf and macaroni.

Overall, this is a very good place for any BA that finds themselves in the area to go to and honestly, this would be a good beer bar in any town in America.

05-14-2009 21:38:30 | More by PhillyStyle
Photo of tokyofatts
tokyofatts

Pennsylvania

4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$

Ambiance is nice with the high ceilings and huge wooden structural support in this renovated hardware factory. There are 18 taps: Yuengling Lord Chesterfield Ale, Guinness Stout, Weyerbacher Merry Monks Triple Belgium-style, Founders Double Trouble IPA, Stoudt's Smooth Hoperator American-style Doppelbach, Boak's Monster Mash Imperial Stout, La Chouffe Belgian Pale Ale, Erie's Drake's Crude Oatmeal Stout, Sly Fox Crystal Pale Ale, Weihenstephaner Hefe-weisse, Sly Fox Jake's ESB, Dogfish 90 Minute IPA, Troeg's Nugget Nectar Imperial Amber Ale, Union Barrel Works Dortmunder-style Lager, Victory Old Horizontal Barleywine, Bell's Two-Hearted Ale IPA, Green Flash West Coast IPA.

On Deck: Founders Imperial Stout, Avery Maharaja imperial IPA, Fkying Fish Espresso Porter, Moylan's Hopsickle Tripple-hopped Imperial IPA, St Bernardus 12 Belgian Quad, Humbolt Red Nectar Ale, Southern Tier Unearthly Imperial IPA, Unibroue Trois Pistoles Belgian-style Dark Ale.

As you can see, this is, in my opinion, the best beer bar in the city of Reading, hands down, on tap selection alone. Add to that an impressive bottle selection, my favorite bartender (Dusty), a beer-knowledgeable staff, pretty good food (the Hostile Mussels rock!), beer specials ($2.50 Draughts on Tuesday, $8 Bombers on Wednesday) and, voila, this bar holds its own on a national scale.

Upcoming events: April 2nd is a Firkin of Sly Fox 113 IPA, meet the brewer; April 25th Brewphoria with multiple Brewers bringing product to sample, live music, and food for one ticket price; May 7th is Stone event with 6 kegs of Stone Products going on tap.

03-11-2009 12:16:10 | More by tokyofatts
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Canal Street Pub & Restaurant in Reading, PA
92 out of 100 based on 18 ratings.