The Black Sparrow
Taps: 8 / Bottles: 50
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 17 | Reviews: 14 | Display Reviews Only:
4.25/5 rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Black Sparrow is a cool joint. It would fit right in if it were in Chicago, but it's in downtown Lafayette, which makes it even coolerer. Atmosphere on early Sunday evening was laid-back, not too crowded, though there were a few smoking at the bar. Lighting was dim with eclectic art on the walls, and show posters advertising live music. The walls were exposed brick and cutaway plaster, which lent a bohemian sort of vibe. Lighting was sort of minimal and industrial (vertical metal lightbulb cages). There were a few tables opposite the bar, and larger ones in a second room off to the left, which also housed the kitchen in the rear.
8 taps had some good stuff flowing, I opted for a People's Maltser, which was solid. They had a firkin of 2 Hearted on the bar also, but sadly it was long in the tooth. From Sun King they had a Doppelbock. Bottle list had many quality options like Aventinus, FFF Dreadnaught, Ommegang, etc., around 40 total.
There was no one behind the bar when we arrived, and I waited awhile for anyone to show up and serve up a beer (with cash in hand). After a "got ID bro?" I finally got a damn beer... Our server was much better and really on the ball, and he chatted beer with us for awhile.
Food was tasty, creative and homemade, the BLT&E was excellent with a side of sweet potato/corn/crab soup. Margherita pizza was good too, almost tasted wood-fired.
All in all, worth a detour off I-65, or if you're headed to Purdue.
04-05-2010 16:45:10 | More by emerge077
4.36/5 rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I stopped by the Black Sparrow to meet a friend while I was in town overnight. Because this place did not exist the last time I visited Lafayette, I had no idea what to expect. To my pleasant surprise this is a serious beer lover's pub.
Upon entering, you quickly realize that this pub is broken up into several small spaces, as an old pub would be. The bar is on the right and to the left are a few tables and a doorway into another room where the live music/DJ operate.
The bottle selection is really great (50 beers!) and the night I was there the draft selection was great too. It was a solid mix of regional craft brews as well as imports (hefes, hoppy stuff, strong Belgians, etc).
Prices were very reasonable/fair. The only real downside we found with the place was that it became VERY crowded, very quickly on a Saturday night and the cigarette smoke was a bit overwhelming. All in all a great pub though, and one I will surely visit again.
09-01-2008 00:42:28 | More by spointon
4.85/5 rDev +15.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
The Sparrow is a quality bar located in Lafayette, across the street from the restaurant Red 7 and around the street from beer bar Chumleys. It features a different atmosphere than any of the other bars that Purdue students may venture to, especially across the bridge. The room with the bar features a weathered brick wall and they feature the beers they have on tap on a chalkboard. They generally have excellent beer on tap. They have six taps but regularly feature Three Floyd's specialty beers as well as Dogfish Head's specialty beers and various beers by Founder's. The best selection I've ever seen there at once included Bell's Hopslam, Three Floyd's Dreadnaught, Founder's Double Trouble, and Crazy Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA. They also have high quality craft brews in bottles such as Founder's Breakfast Stout and Chimay. The atmosphere is more mature than anyone from Purdue is used to. Some say it's a "hipster" bar but that doesn't bother me. The one downside is that you can smoke in Lafayette but that's about it. Their beer selection is excellent and the bar gives off a great vibe. Some of the more experienced bartenders really know their stuff and are fun to talk to. If you like good beer and are stopping by The Black Sparrow, definitely stop in to see what craft beers they've got on tap.
06-30-2010 04:40:31 | More by aasher
3.93/5 rDev -6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
So I found out about this place late in my career at Purdue too, which is too bad because it probably would have become my favorite spot. During my senior year I got tired of going out and getting drunk with my roommates, but I still wanted to go out. This would have been my place. It kind of has the hipster vibe if you will, but it is certainly more laid back then a campus bar. I had a pizza when I went there and it was some of the better food I had while at Purdue, since they actually use fresh ingredients. They don't have a huge tap selection or bottle selection, but its solid. During the summer the tapped a fresh keg of Devil Dancer, to give you an idea of the quality they could get. The bartender was nice when I was there and let me sample beers until I decided on what I liked. Every now and then they had a live band play. I think because it was a bit pricy (for a college student) and because of the laid back vibe, most of the younger crowd stayed away.
07-25-2011 19:38:31 | More by jamescain
4.78/5 rDev +14.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Let's start with the beer. There are 8 rotating taps, and the motto is "No crap on tap". They're not kidding. They typically have the current Goose Island special release (e.g. Matilda, Pepe Nero, etc), something from Founders, other IN breweries like the new Sun King in Indy and the local People's Brewing. There is also often something Belgian, or something hoppy, or Rye, or ... oh you get the point. Prices range from about $4 a pint for the regular ABV local stuff to about $6 -$7 for the rare high ABV stuff. I think the most I've paid is $8 for a 12oz Kentucky Breakfast Stout. There is also a nice bottle selection which you can read on their website, but that's not why I go there. One of the reasons I started going there was because they had a IIPA week last fall where all 8 taps were IIPAs, which I thought was the coolest thing ever.
The bartenders and waiters are fairly knowledgeable. The seem to have a general idea of what they are serving, and if it's something a little odd they'll go find out more and typically offer to let you sample some.
I think they play music, maybe not. They do have bands some evenings, but there aren't any TVs. The place actually takes up two narrow building with one side being the bar area and the other side the The inside is usually pretty dark, and it gets smokey at night, which is why I deducted a half point there.
The menu is simple, but the food is quite good so no complaints. It's mostly sandwiches and pizza, but it's fresh, almost gourmet, and not that reheated Sysco crap I see so often.They will typically have a couple of more complete dinner specials (i.e. meat and potato type plates).
There is a place around the corner with like 50 taps, and a lot of them are good beers, but I gravitate towards The Black Sparrow. I guess it's not how big your draft system is, but how you use it.
04-29-2010 17:53:54 | More by HappyHourHero
4.2/5 rDev +0.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
This place is a little niche in downtown Lafayette and I had heard about their selection of draft beer and their strict following of "No crap on tap!" I had to check it out. Very comfortable place with awesome beer. They only have a few taps but each one is quality craft beer. Very impressed. Although the prices are high, it is to be expected with the caliber of beer served. A pint of World Wide Stout was still cheaper than just buying a bottle... Great place to check out and to check out often becasue the drafts are constantly rotating.
03-09-2010 15:12:46 | More by manahansf
3.59/5 rDev -14.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.25 | food: 4 | $$
It could have been the timing of the visit (just after Beers Across The Wabash Festival ended), but our first experience with The Black Sparrow didn't exactly live up to expectations.
That's not to say that I disliked the place. The atmosphere is clean and spacious and very craft beer friendly. This just happened to be at a time when it was so loud you could barely hear yourself speak, and it was so crammed that the service was bogged down a bit.
The selection of beers on the tap list left a little something to be desired. There were only a few beers to choose from and nothing too exciting. I had just sampled over 50 beers at the festival so I wasn't too concerned with enjoying a pint at the bar, but if I was I would have been disappointed at their selection at the time.
The food, on the other hand, was pretty terrific. I had a pizza for myself and it was marvelous. All of the other people in my group seemed to be happy with the food as well.
Based on my initial visit to BS, I'd say the place is a bit over-hyped, but I will definitely give it another shot the next time I am around.
09-19-2013 17:01:45 | More by neckbracesub
4.26/5 rDev +1.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
best tap list in town in my opinion. they don't have the most, but they definitively have the quality. "no crap on tap" written in caulk above the ever changing tap list. they often rotate and keep a lot of quality local beers going. got a great cream dream double ipa from sun king that was awesome the other night. they got a keg of KBS that i heard was gone in about four hours. plenty of bottle from FFF and founders which is perfect for me. the bartenders are great and very knowledgeable about beer. the place does occasionally get really busy, so the service can suffer to a degree. i've never had a chance to try the food here, but i've only heard great things about it. there is smoking but it doesn't get out of control unless they are super busy. a must stop if you are in the area.
03-25-2010 19:03:53 | More by backfat
4.28/5 rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Excellent hipster bar with daily specials. They go out of their way to get rare/interesting beers, and buy local, seasonal, and organic products. Beer selection changes often and they get the best stuff from around the region and the country. Servers are often very knowledgeable, and if not will find someone (usually the bartender) who is. Also an excellent selection of craft spirits and creative cocktails mixed expertly. Local and touring bands welcome and invited -- there's a link to schedule your band/artist on the website.
I bring visiting friends and family all the time and eat twice or three times a month here myself. Beers seem to stay on the blackboard list only as long as their one or two keg supplies last, and I often call to find out what's new on tap. One of few places where I will follow the bartender's recommendation, and trust their taste.
This spring, the special was asparagus with poached egg, which doesn't seem like a big deal until you taste it. Last week I had a garden salad that had local beets, roast green onions and garlic, butter lettuce, and goat cheese and I think about it every lunchtime. Pizza special this week was locally cured salami. All excellent.
06-16-2010 18:23:04 | More by salvo
The Black Sparrow in Lafayette, IN
92 out of 100 based on 17 ratings.