The Judge's Bench
Taps: 17 / Bottles:
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 24 | Reviews: 17 | Display Reviews Only:
4.71/5 rDev +10.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
:) This is one of my favorite places. The taps rotate frequently and there is always something that I LOVE (Heavy Seas, Southern Tier) or something that I've been wanting to try. I advise to try a Sun or Mon night with reduced prices and not a huge crowd so you can take your time and explore what all the taps have to offer. There's also a nice bottle selection but I get so happily distracted by what's on tap i've never paid that close attention to the cooler.
Bartenders know their beers and are willing to pour you a taste if you are afraid of committment. The owner is usually around and is also a homebrewer so he knows what he's putting on tap.
Haven't tried much of the food due to lack of veggie love on the menu, but everything looks good.
05-12-2009 18:54:12 | More by ScarletLady
4.68/5 rDev +10.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Moved to Ellicott City last year and was lucky enough to find this place early on. It is now my "go to" bar.
The beer is always exceptional and the taps are constantly on rotation. This place introduced me to Nugget Nectar, Oaked Yeti, World Wide Stout, Maharaja, and countless other amazing beers. I go there almost weekly and never have a clue what I will find on tap.
Mike, the owner, can talk your ear off about anything, but has a passion for good beer. He homebrewed for years and sometimes brings in his own for us to try. He is also incredibly generous with sampling any beers. One time we were talking about strong beers and he mentioned world wide stout and i said i knew it was strong, but had never tried it. He immediately left and came back 2 minutes later for a bottle for us to try.
When I first went there they had maybe 10 taps, half were standard crap, but Mike has almost erased the light beers from the bar, besides a few bottles here and there.
The food is pretty tasty, especially the Reuben.
If you're anywhere near Baltimore, make a detour to the Judge's Bench.
03-17-2009 00:00:20 | More by aladnamedwill
4.64/5 rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
This is a gem. The Judge's Bench is cozy, approachable, unassuming. Mike, the owner, is generous and passionate about beer and local history. The bar and some tables are downstairs. On nights they have music it is loud due to the small space. Upstairs you will find a few more tables, over sized arm chairs and a large screen TV. Sit back with your beer on the side table, remote in hand and tell me you don't feel like you're at home. A couple of dart boards provide battery free entertainment. While I have not eaten here, Mike proudly describes his pizza.
A solid selection of tap craft beer minus the crowds. Gather your own jury of beer's and decide for yourself, but my verdict is let this bar live a long prosperous life.
I discovered the Bench a few months before moving from Baltimore to Asheville...oh well, better to have drank and lost than never to have never drank at all.
12-01-2008 19:05:49 | More by goRideYourBike
4.63/5 rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
I've been to the Judges bench several times now. They get some very good beers on tap here such as North coast old stock, Allagash Interlude or many others on there twenty or so rotating taps. There staff is very knowledgeable and it's very comfortable inside. The food is average bar food but still quite tasty. It's a very old beautiful building with alot of character. As previously mentioned the upstairs here as really cool. Very cozy chairs, Great Beer and a large tv all to yourself most nights. Can life get any better? I submit that it cannot!
03-10-2009 03:38:25 | More by Bethel1
4.55/5 rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
This is definitely my favorite place to grab a brew in the area. I cannot praise this place enough.... Kegs are rotated on 17 taps, and the selection is superior to most/ if not all in the area. Every time I return I get excited over trying something knew. The bartenders are also very willing to help you select a beer, even when they are busy. I must have tried 4 or 5 samples before I chose my first beer. The selection of bottles is also something to drool over. One of my favorite things about this bar is private room upstairs, which is equipped with a big screen TV, a few leather chairs to sit, and a foosball table. The atmosphere, along with an incredible selection of beer, brings me back every chance I get.
And if you get a chance to talk to the owner, I highly suggest it. Definitely a cool dude, who's very knowledgeable and passionate about his beer business.
01-28-2010 00:49:09 | More by Jrut224
4.44/5 rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Visited the Judge's Bench on a Sunday night for preseason football and a few beers. It is a relatively small, but cozy bar with two large flat panel TVs. Could get quite crowded on a more popular evening. More importantly, there are 16 craft beers on tap. There was ample diversity in styles and brewers including Weyerbacher Insanity, Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout, Drakes Hopocalypse, Clipper City Heavy Seas Big DIPA, and North Coast Brother Thelonious to name a few. Mike, the owner, had an excellent knowledge of his offerings and gladly provided samples of each beer to aid in our choices. Beers were then served in the proper glassware and seemed quite fresh. I was told that they purchase their beer in small quantities than some other bars (half kegs), which increases their turnover and may help maintain quality. Pints were in the area of 5 dollars and there was a dollar off all drafts, so pricing was quite reasonable. There is also a nice selection of bottles available including some of the highest rated beers that can be found in Maryland, such as Rochfort 10. Food is served, but not after 10 PM on Sunday so I was not able to evaluate the menu. Overall, a very enjoyable experience at a reasonable cost.
08-11-2009 17:49:21 | More by slk22
4.43/5 rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
A mistaken exit of 95, a bisection of downtown Balti. and finally I find myself at JB. Its 3:30P -- I missed lunch -- and then find out JB opens at 4PM. D'oh! No prob. Mike the owner was opening and welcomed me anyway. I spent the next couple of hours+ sampling the 16 (I counted them 3 times) taps. Hmmm..What to drink when I still got 200 miles to go? I prioritized, got the last glass of a kicked keg (Weyerbacher SlamDunkel) and was introduced to the SouthernT Unearthly IPA (I'm more of a Malthead). Whoa! Anybody that can turn my "head" like that deserves high accolades.
Final note? Married? SigO doesn't groove on suds? Tell them you'll be at the bar -- let them go shopping -- Ellicott City is a very attractive, easily walkable historic area. Use the JB as a base of ops...
04-05-2009 02:56:08 | More by rokosz
The Judge's Bench in Ellicott City, MD
93 out of 100 based on 24 ratings.