Graduate Center Bar (GCB)
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Ratings: 13 | Reviews: 9 | Display Reviews Only:
3.65/5 rDev -19.6%
Such high praise, everyone claims of how cheap it is, let's see what the deal is.
A: Very faux-hipster-like, dimly lit, almost impossible to get a seas, but pretty neat. Bathrooms lined with comics, it's a wannabe-New York bar.
Q&S: It takes a membership to get, or a $5 cover. They take your license and write down information by hand, not sure what that's all about. The beers are served in proper glass wear, everything was clean. The service always seemed not-so-good. The bartender (possibly new) had a bad attitude, and made everything out to be a hassle. Getting him to accept a credit card was even a pain for him. Other people claim to chat up the bartender, but this guy wanted you in and out.
S: They have some good offerings, mostly New England based. Usually will find an Oskar Blues beer on tap, along with a good Brewery from California. Some offerings from Cisco and DFH that are normally sold in bombers, but are on tap, pretty cool. Nothing really blew me away.
F: Eat before you come here. There are a couple of bar related snacks: popcorn, chips, and cheese. That's if you can get the bartender to get it for you.
V: I don't know if it's because it's a more present visit, but I don't see what the hype is about, and found it kind of pricey. A cover, along with $5 pints, and $6-7 for 10 ounce pours of other brews doesn't strike me as the cheap rating everyone else gives. Someone has to give an honest review of this place. A cool faux-hipster bar, with good (albeit pricey) beers on tap.
09-14-2011 21:37:05 | More by mostpoetsdo
4.29/5 rDev -5.5%
I lived in providence for a year and a half before I finally went here. Can't believe what I was missing. this is Providence's best beer bar, period. The bottle selection is as good as Wild Colonial down the hill but the taps are more eclectic and frequently rotated. I am definitely getting a summer membership -- even if you visit only once a month and have 3 beers each time, you would break even given the cheap beer prices.
Agree with previous review that the thurs/fri scene can be tedious, the same wannabe hipsters and gelled-up suburbanites you find in any college bar, but the layout of the place is such that you can probably find a corner to hide in.
A must for any beer or bar-lover visiting PVD.
05-12-2011 14:53:13 | More by rinypa
4.58/5 rDev +0.9%
Thanks to Beeradvocate I was able to find this hidden gem (and thanks to ThirstyBird for the spot on directions)
So like the other people have said, if you can find this place it is worth the price of admission (or membership).
Atmosphere - Obviously a Brown Graduate college crowd, felt a little like a hipster bar in Brooklyn, very dark, comics in the bathroom, pool table.
Quality - Everything I had seemed fresh, with proper glassware.
Service - Can't say enough about Bill, great bartender, knew his beers and even though it was our 1st time there he treated us like regulars. Offering samples of any beer we had a question about and even split a bottle with us that the 3 of us hadn't tried before and even threw in a bag of peanuts, I mean c'mon you just don't find service like that anymore.
Selection - Excellent, I always like to see a craft beer bar carrying local flavors which this place had, along with all styles represented.
Food - Nothing fancy or that will fill you, just the basics, chips, popcorn, cheese, small pizzas, apples?, jerky and other small bites. All under $3
Valve - Living in the NYC area getting a beer under $5 is rarity especially a craft beer. With that being said, seeing beers on tap for $4 and under and bottles around the same price if not cheaper I was shocked. (Learning later that the bar is non-profit, hence the lower prices)
Overall such a hidden gem, (I almost don't want to tell people about this place to keep it hidden, but I had to share with my fellow advocates)
11-19-2010 02:41:02 | More by bonbini26
5/5 rDev +10.1%
Hard to find, it's inside the Graduate Center, downstairs, off the street- once you're in, it's an oasis of atmosphere, great, knowledgeable bartenders and the best beer prices for one of the best beer selections you'll find anywhere. 16 on tap, and bottle prices that match the tap prices which are unbelievably low. Talking to the bartender revealed the reason.. it's a non-profit. No less than 60 beers, 45 of which are things you can't just find anywhere. If I lived in Providence, this would be the only place I spent time drinking beer outside the home. I am a die-hard beer snob and this place is the best I've ever been for selection, price and service.
11-15-2010 16:34:28 | More by Sekritz
4.94/5 rDev +8.8%
A true gem. Good beer cheap with some of the best and most knowledgeable barkeeps around. I learned of this place as a grad student making my way up the hill from RISD to blow off some steam and it has become a weekly (or bi-weekly) destination. Darts, pool, board games and a revolving selection of classy beers as well as the old classics. The place has broadened my beer drinking palate and introduced me to many delicious new beers. The prices are truly unbeatable. You would be hard pressed to find a better place to whet the whistle in Providence.
08-04-2010 20:07:47 | More by sbasta05
4.8/5 rDev +5.7%
The GCB is the best beer bar in the city Providence in many ways: for the selection, for the knowledgeable staff, and certainly for the money. Even if you're just visiting and want to try a beer bar, try this one. A membership is required, but I believe occasional visitors can pay a small cover; membership for RISD and Brown graduate students is free, and they can bring any number of guests.
A - Located inconspicuously in Brown's Graduate Center, the GCB has no sign advertising its existence. There are four rooms: the main room has the bar, booths, a couch and many small tables; on the left there's a room with booths and darts; on the right are two rooms, one with pool tables and seating along the walls, the other with three couches, high tables and a wedge-shaped table designed to look like a quarter of a dart board. This is a real community place, where the booths are often crammed with avidly conversing patrons. I've had great discussions about beer with people at the bar, and of course with the bartenders. The one potential knock against its atmosphere is its location in a dark basement: I have known a handful of people for whom this is a bit of a turn-off.
Q - The beer here is cheap. Very cheap. A first-time visitor remarked last night that she was used to her $20 covering the cost of two drinks, and here the same denomination could easily cover five. All beers are served in their proper glassware, and, where appropriate, can be purchased in pitchers.
Serv. - The bartenders at the GCB are knowledgeable and take the time to get inside your preferences. As a frequent Friday customer, I have come to rely on the Friday bartender to point out new and interesting things. That said, I've had great experiences following up the recommendations of everyone who works there. They deserve their tips.
Sel. - About 12 of the 18 taps rotate with great frequency, though turnover is somewhat slower in the summer. I've had there, recently, Dogfish's Imort Ale, the Dupont Foret, Southampton's Double White, and Oskar Blues' Gubna Imperial IPA, all on tap. Pretty Things is rumored to be popping up on the tap list soon-ish. They have a deep selection of bottles. There are about 6 taps dedicated to more common beers (including Guinness, Anchor Steam, and a cider), so you don't have to be a BeerAdvocate member to go. Local favorite Narragansett is dirt cheap on tap or out of the can. This bar has something for everyone.
F - The GCB is somewhat limited in the food that they offer. For a kitchen-less bar, though, they do a good job: cheese platters are a personal favorite, but they also have chips, pizzas, popcorn, nuts, etc. Cheese platters come with two types of cheese (apple wedges can be added, too) and a stack of Stone Wheat Thins. A popcorn purchase gets you two baskets of microwave popcorn. You can also order food to be delivered to the bar, and they have menus on hand for such occasions (I've done this a few times, when 5:00 magically turned into 9:00).
07-24-2010 18:17:44 | More by PlinyMinor
Graduate Center Bar (GCB) in Providence, RI
96 out of 100 based on 13 ratings.