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Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria

Not Rated.
Barley's Taproom & PizzeriaBarley's Taproom & Pizzeria
BA SCORE
88
very good

32 Ratings
Ratings: 32
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 14.29%
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

200 E Jackson Ave
Knoxville, Tennessee, 37915-1005
United States
phone: (865) 521-0092

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @barleystappizza

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 32 | Reviews: 24 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BryanCarey:
Photo of BryanCarey
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%

Barley’s of Knoxville is located in the historic Old City, close to downtown. It is a large establishment with two floors and a bar on each level. The upstairs of Barley’s also features dart boards, pool tables, and a few video games. The downstairs has a few televisions, a larger bar, and a stage where live musical acts play during the evening hours.

Barley’s is known for its great pizzas and also for its good selection of beer. There are other foods besides pizza, but this is generally what the restaurant/tavern is known for as far as food is concerned. When it comes to beer, one can expect to find about forty to fifty beers on tap, with a nice assortment of craft beer to choose from. The upstairs bar has about half as many taps. This isn’t an incredible selection, but it is still pretty good especially when compared to other Knoxville establishments. Prices are reasonable, too, and they are downright cheap if you visit during happy hour. Prices for all pints are cut by $2 each during happy hour, dropping them down to the $1.50 to $3 price level, and making Barley’s one of the best places in Knoxville for bargain brew.

Service at this establishment is generally good and they even offer free samples of beer if you are not sure if you will like a specific product. Don’t be surprised, however, if some of the wait staff has limited beer education. The bartenders seem to know their stuff but the waitresses, as much as they try, often provide misleading information on the beer. They attempt to talk like knowledgeable beer experts, but they don’t always have their facts straight. This is why it is best, anytime you are in doubt about a beer, to just ask for a free sample.

This establishment can get quite noisy and crowded if you visit during the evenings when bands are playing on the main stage. But the trip to Barley’s is worth it no matter when you go, just to sample some of the tasty pizza washed down with a glass or two of your favorite craft brew.

BryanCarey, Aug 16, 2006
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3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

AlexFields, Oct 07, 2014
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4.44/5  rDev +15.3%

chaski101, Sep 23, 2014
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GMan, Aug 25, 2014
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4/5  rDev +3.9%

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4/5  rDev +3.9%

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4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

JIMMER, Jun 30, 2014
Photo of Pabetism
3.34/5  rDev -13.2%

For big groups in Knoxville, this place is much mor amenable than downtown grill and brewery, and of course they have the standard selection of beer and then some, and then even more in the bar upstairs. This is the second bar I went to on my 21st birthday, and I don't regret it.

Unlike some may say, the parking here is not limited. There is a huge parking lot a block away, under the Hall of Fame bridge, impossible to miss, and if that fills up (Friday, Saturday nights after 6 or so) there are gravel lots around the bridge parking. But don't forget, all city-run parking (including metered parking) is free nights and weekends in Knoxville.

I ordered a Hop Project last time I went, and they brought out the wrong beer--either that or there was something wrong with the tap--as the beer they brought me was mild, hardly hoppy, nearly flavorless. I've never had a problem otherwise.

Pabetism, Aug 09, 2013
Photo of mbdaniel
2.6/5  rDev -32.5%

This place is a bit off the beaten path in the Old City. Owned by the Aubrey's people. Dark and dank, with below average service. Few windows. Decent selection of beer-maybe 40 taps including the usual mass production beers-nothing very unusual. When last at Barley's, my tab was $7.50. I gave a $20 and the server asked me if I wanted change!!!
Pizzas and food are ok. Location is not convenient and parking can be limited. Room for improvement here in many respects. Better options abound nearby in downtown Knoxville.

mbdaniel, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of Schwarzwald
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%

Great place to try in Knoxville. A little on the musty side and a little dank at times, but overall a great place to get a beer and have some pizza. The beer selection is excellent and the food is top notch. When I say top notch, I mean, for a beer and pizza place. I have been with some friends and have also taken the family, either is fine with this place. A lot more manageable once they ditched smoking inside. Also, they have some excellent beer brands on tap, they seem to change them out quite a bit.

I enjoy Barley's a lot! Give it a try.

Schwarzwald, May 25, 2010
Photo of bushwhacker
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

I thought the selection was respectable and pricing on par with others in the area. Seemed to rotate the kegs out regularly. The selection included a favorite of mine (my limited dark beer experiences)that I thought had died out "Shakespeare Stout", but they had it on tap; good job. Some other national and regional micros on tap with a comparable bottle selection. The food menu seemed ok but I think their pizza menu is notable. Biker bar atmosphere in a good old worn 100 year old building and bar of equal age.

bushwhacker, Jul 14, 2009
Photo of Photekut
2.42/5  rDev -37.1%

Stopped by for the first time with some friends on Friday and had some mixed feelings about the place. Not sure I am going back with some of the other options in the area.

The atmosphere itself was nice, wasnt loud, comfortable, etc.

The quality was OK ( mislabeled beers etc )

Service sucked. Charged for a beer that was mislabeled ( Locker Stock is NOT a stout and def. not an imperial stout ).
OR they labeled the tap wrong and continued to rip people off.

As our group arrived, we moved from the bar to sit at a table and had to continually go to the bar to get refills even though we were told a server was going to take over. I sever saw him or her. Not sure why I tipped now that I think about it.

Good thing that we were having a good time catching up with friends and were not there for a meal.

Selection is decent for TN, but the Cigar bar right around the corner had a better selection hands down.

Photekut, Apr 05, 2009
Photo of baos
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%

My friend Pard and I went here with Mr and Mrs Brett Mohr. We had pizza and I opted for the Dogfishhead. This place was very nice. I watched people play pool as I got warmer and warmer with my buzz. Pard and i watched trendy yummyones play pool. The atmosphere and service here were really good and the food was pretty good compared to some of the food I have had at many of them. I would recommend here if you are in the area. Knoxville is pretty cool in this area. Lots of bars to hop to and places to eat. You should check it out.

baos, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of Likeburning
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%

Barley's taproom and pizzareia really does have one of Knoxville's best beer selections and as far as taps go it's probably the best. The selection changes with the seasons but still keeps the standards. This place also isn't afraid to give the new beer in town a shot. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't, but I do appreciate their effort in trying. The sandwiches are pretty good and the pizza is damn good. I would say it's the best in town, but I prefer deep dish over hand tossed. It's the best hand tossed in town. The service can vary from server to server, but is generally good. Fantastic if my favorite girl is working. Any pizza place with 6 pool tables, and Dogfish Head's 90 minute IPA is a winner in my book.

Likeburning, Oct 21, 2008
Photo of smrrson
3.85/5  rDev 0%

From my experiences of Knoxville, this is the place to get great beers at a reasonable price. Decked out in hardwood from floor to ceiling, Barley's easily has the largest beer selection in the city - and it's not your usual piss beers either. On draught, Barley's boasts probably 40+ beers - most notably Rogue, Sweetwater and Samuel Smith's. Granted, other places have the flagship brews of these breweries on tap as well, but Barley's has lesser known brews as well. IMO, the best part is Rogue John's Locker Stock which gets changed nearly once a month. My last visit introduced me to Yellow Snow (downstairs) and Love & Hoppiness (upstairs).

Both upstairs and downstairs have full bars: the lower featuring TVs above the bar and great local music and the upper having slightly fewer taps but nearly a dozen pool tabs and a slightly more relaxed atmosphere. Head down on Sunday nights to hear Robinella - great bluegrass with an incredibly soulful singer.

Most people rave about Barley's pizza (which is fantastic), but who really reads a bar review on a beer website for food?

smrrson, Jun 09, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%

So I finally make it to the Barleys in Knoxville. Now being a very frequent resident of both Greenville and Asheville, I naturally had high hops for the place, but these hopes were dashed unfortunately. The place itself is great looking, a large open bar which is always nice, with a stage and ample room for a large number of people. The food was decent, however the selection, or lack there of was pitiful when compared to the other locations. It was barely a step above some of the Ruby Tuesdays I have been into. It was loaded down with Macros, and what they did offer on the menu from Highland, and Terrapin, and DFH, just had a weird taste to it. Overall they need to put a little more focus on the selections here and I think they will be ok, otherwise this place can actually be skipped, and that pains me calling it a Barleys.

mikesgroove, Nov 13, 2007
Photo of BeardedSquash
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%

A: I love this building. A big open-air factory-style building with exposed timber rafters and brick walls. Plenty of full-size pool tables upstairs and tons of outdoor seating. Unfortunately, this place can fill up with douche bags at night.

Also, one word of advice for the guys, if you even suspect that you might need to drop a deuce at any point in the evening, do it before coming here. The upstairs bathroom is a glorified 1800's outhouse and you're never guaranteed a door for the stalls downstairs.

Q: The quality of the food is great, and they also stock several good micros. I'll get more specific with those later though.

S: I used to be a line cook, and I know what causes most hang-ups in a restaurant, so my sympathies always lean toward the wait staff for slow food. At Barley's, however, slow food is not the problem, but uneducated wait staff. For the most part, the bartenders are knowledgeable and friendly, and they usually remember and respond to good tippers. But, for a "Taproom", the waiters here are not nearly prepped well enough.

One brief story; my buddy ordered a Dogfish Head Immort Ale, which of course, they didn't have. The waitress brought him a 90 Minute and told him that she knew it wasn't what he ordered, but if he had a problem with it, he could take it up with the bartender. What the fuck?!

S: The beer selection is constantly shrinking, yet the menu stays the same, except the ever-growing number of Sharpie marks. Still, the best selection in town for taps – for now. But seriously, how hard is it to print some new damn beer menus?

F: Love the food. The pizza and calzones are great because they come on home-made sour dough crust. Plus, they have a decent vegetarian selection that includes some rockin' blackbean hummus.

V: Beer and food are reasonably priced, especially on Monday when all pints are $2.

BeardedSquash, Oct 29, 2007
Photo of wcdoyle
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%

If you look at published local *best of* polls (which tend to link brewpub and beer bars together) there are other places that rank higher, but Barley's is my favorite Knoxville beer-food spot.

Yes, it's true that Barley's isn't a brewpub or a dispensing microbrewery, but I don't hold that against them. Barley's makes up for this by offering beer by local (like the on-again, off-again New Knoxville Brewing Company) and regional (like stellar Duck Rabbit and solid Highland) breweries. They also offer a solid selection of some of may favorite nationally known beers (by Rogue and Left Hand). Those looking for PBR or beer from the *big three* macros, will find them on draft at Barley's.

Barley's also has music every night of the week, including who of the local scene's best, RobinElla. They also host a monthly live version of local radio show, The Funhouse which features great, great local bands as well as awesome tracks from indie/alternative greats. In the past there have also been weekly movie nights.

What really makes Barley's for me is the total package. The atmosphere--an old hardware store with original wood floors and warehouse-loft feel--makes it a great comfortable space. And in warm months, there's a huge patio.

The last part of the trifecta for me is the food. Some other locals might squeal at this (sorry Tomato Head Fans), but Barley's has the best pizza in town, offering a choice of regular or whole wheat crust and a solid selection of toppings.

I give the lowest marks for service, b/c it can be uneven. Sometimes, for example, the wait and bar staff are inattentive; however, other times they are awesome. We once had a server give us a discount *and* a free pizza b/c our pizza took longer than usual to arrive (and when it did come, had a huge hole b/c of problems with the crust). Even so, the service is usually solid, even when busy.

wcdoyle, May 22, 2007
Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%

Stopped by here on a Tuesday afternoon around 3pm or so. Six or seven people at the bar smoking like chimneys, so I sat in the back area where the smoke was less noticeable, but still noticeable. Lots of wood all around and the typical squeeks in the floor add that "old world" feel to the place and contribtes a bit of ambience and relaxed feel to the place.

Waitress/bartender was a cute gal and did her job well. Service was great. She was the only one in the whole bar area and she did a terrific job with the food and the drinks even though she had to walk all the way around the bar and then to the back of the establishment.

Food was delicious as usual. Had a feta chesse and pineapple calzone. Yummm.

My only gripe was the outdatedness of the beer menu. I asked on three seperate occasions and the beers of my choosing were no longer available, and one had been unavailable for nearly four months but was still on the menu. That needs some work. Beers tasted fresh and were served in room temp glasses which is always a plus in my book.

A nice rest. in Knox-vegas and worthy of another trip in the future. On a final note, I had two beers and a calzone and the total was around 12 bucks: thats hard to beat no matter where you go!

SaCkErZ9, Feb 27, 2007
Photo of slander
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%

I'm setting out with local map in hand. There's that fat line highway and what looks like train tracks, but I think I can dodge 'em both if the bridge is open. I saw construction, so I don't know, don't care, I'll just get out going and see what happens. Found the brewpub pretty easily but it's just for knowin's sake right now; as I'm going to swing by there later; let me start with the bar farther out and work my way back. Nearly ran into an older couple stopped suddenly standing in the middle of the sidewalk, admiring the large Xmas tree on South Gay Street. "Oh, it's beautiful, look how big it is, this one". Pa-lease. We've got a tree at Rock Center that craps acorns bigger than your tree and ours is twice as cool and gets 36,281 times more love anyway. Bah!! See how ornery I become when pent up in the car for many hours on the road and my beer tank is below the fill line...

Did dodge the highway and train tracks and found Barley's down the way. Hey, this place is huge. Where does that staircase go? Note to self: Find out where that staircase goes. Large, open, industrial space, old brick and wood pillars, wood rafters above, pipe & duct work, ceiling fans. A dozen booths & tables up front and beyond a separating stage area and backdrop midway, the rear room holding a long straight wood bar seating less than it looks like on one wall, and some 2 dozen well worn booths & tables of various sizes, shapes & heights throughout the room. Taps run a good stretch of the wall on the barback below mirrors and stained glass paneled arches over blackboards listing tap selections. Random tap handles and the current bottle selections line the area above and a half dozen mounted TV's all down the line facing this way and that. Large framed brewery prints & giant tin signs, plus macro mirrorage & signs adorn.

Seemingly, upwards of 4 dozen taps and a cask selection. Local & regionals (Carolina Blonde, Highland Gaelic Ale, St. Terese's Pale Ale & Oatmeal Porter, Depot Street Express Rails Pale Ale, Catawba Valley Firewater IPA, New Knoxville Pale Ale & IPA, Cottonwood Endo IPA, Duck Rabbit Amber), micros beyond (Anchor Steam, Rogue Dead Guy, Hazelnut Brown, Shakespeare Stout & one of the John Lockers, Bridgeport IPA, Blue Moon, Avery IPA, Left Hand Blackjack Porter, Milk Stout & Sawtooth Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Widmer Hefe, Red Hook somethingorother, and a pair of Abitas), and a few so so imports. Also some 40 bottles & cans (Anchor Porter, 5 Rogues, 4 Sam Smiths, 6 DogFishHeads, a pair each from Stone, Corsendonk & Delirium, and old welcome friend Aventinus).

Was moving well through the Highland Oatmeal Porter, and decided a second beer'd be in order. Seeing the large "New Knoxville" signs on the wall made me think to ask server guy about them.

"What do you mean?"
"I mean, what are they about?
"They're about nothing".
"What do you mean?"
"They not anything anymore. They used to be something but now they're gone" (I'm now not sure this information is actually correct).
"Yeah, but on this beer list, you show 2 of their beers and the cask beer is from them too".
"New Knoxville is long gone and we haven't had anything on cask in 2 years".

You know how easily annoyed I am. I've got to get back up to the bar and have a look at the boards because I think the beer list is junk, outdated or both. Bellied up and ordered one of the worst Scotch Ales of ever. I see there's a note from me to me about that front staircase so I made the climb to see what's to be seen there. Large open room space, like downstairs except upstairs, more brick & wood, with high ceilings and big windows looking out on 2 sides. A dozen booths & tables up front, 6 pool tables just past there, and a 10 seat straight bar to the rear with 20 taps or so on the bar back, all of which appear to be dupes from downstairs. 3 pinball machines and a pair of bowling games as bookends sitting adjacent.

Old building nicely done up but the crowd was youngish and fratpack. Most annoying is that it was somewhat difficult to tell what they've actually got for beer here, and that Scotch Ale, eeesh!!

slander, Jan 22, 2007
Photo of BrewnZ
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%

As a visitor to Knoxville I was tipped off by all you great BA reviewers of where I could drag my not so beer geeky host. Thank you for pointing me to Barley's Tap House.

This is a huge 2 storey building of raw brick and exposed wood. A former Spaghetti Establishment, so if you've ever been to one of those you'll get the same feeling, but with great beer and no model train running around the ceiling.

The waitress informed me there were 41 beers on tap, and she was very knowledgeable about which ones were local, and which ones were good! She also suggested the broccoli cheese soup - it was great. Place was full when we got there around 8pm, UT football game the next day, and it filled up as later the band finally got around to playing. Definitely too smokey for me at this point, or I just was not drunk enough, so we left.

Overall a great place to get some regional beers and hand out with friends, even large groups could fit in easily on slower nights. If they got some decent ventilation or went non-smoking this place would really kick ass.

BrewnZ, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of mgshearin
2.88/5  rDev -25.2%

We just recently moved to Knoxville, so I had high hopes for this bar after reading the Beerfly reviews. Unfortunately, they didn't have 100 beers on tap and 30-40 in bottles, at least not on the night I was there. I am slowly realizing that we are now in beer hell in Eastern Tennessee, heck Kentucky has a much better selection than what I've found here.

Basically, you can get Lefthand from Colorado, Rogue ales, and North Carolina beers for the American craft drafts. The imports were pretty typical Harp/Bass/Stella/Pilsner Urquell save for Weihenstephaner Hefe Weiss. Just a run of the mill bar for what I'm used to. Our waiter was great and very willing to talk about what the local offerings, the nachos were $8 and not much different than ballpark nachos. We went on a Monday, which is $2 pint night, so it was nice that our tab was so low.

I'm sure I'll go back as there's not any place better in town, but I probably won't frequent it much as I only like about 6 beers on the menu, and 3 of those I've drank the hell out of in the last few years. For the true craft-brew entrepeneur, this place is not what others have made it out to be. It is worth a stop if you haven't had many North Carolina beers, but otherwise you won't find anything here that can't be found in most other markets. That said, if you are looking for a place that will carry more than Bud/Coors/Heineken in Knoxville, this place will have something you can drink.

mgshearin, Aug 15, 2006
Photo of CaskofFlyingDog
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%

Went here for a night of drunken stupidity. We bought a pizza which was excellent. There were two beers I bought: Rogue Shakespeare Stout and Weihenstephaner Hefe Weiss. The had like 100 things on tap and something like 30 or 40 things in bottle. Most people drank Miller Lite of Pabst. Lots of people came just to see the band a drink a cold one. I personally can't stand the kind of music they play at all: crappy funk and Jam Bands. I'd rather get kicked in the testicles than listen to some idiot with a horn. It is kinda a cozy and ill lighted dive. I don't know about any happy hours but i'm sure there is some. We definitley didn't hit it.

CaskofFlyingDog, Jul 22, 2006
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Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria in Knoxville, TN
88 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.