Ratings: 152 | Reviews: 135 | Display Reviews Only:
2.78/5 rDev -35.5%
Dark and secluded, ...not a lively place... kind of scary, I did not stay just bought a beer to go and got out of there.
I hate to even review a place like that, but it was just the impression I got from it... it was just easier for me to move on to the next independent local brew pub.
04-01-2013 20:38:56 | More by FlatRabbitRed
3.04/5 rDev -29.5%
I hit Popago while visiting my brother in the Phoenix area. He knows I'm a Belgian beer fanatic and introduced me to their big fridge of Belgian goodness. The selection is excellent for an American bar; you find beers here that are virtually impossible to find at other bars (though beer stores do sell them on occasion). One impressive find is that they had Grottenbier on tap which I'd never seen outside of Belgium, and it's indeed better served from the tap than the bottle- a bit more mellowed and creamy.
I'll also give them props for carrying on the dying courtesy of not charging for the beer that blows the tap- my first Grottenbier was the last of the tap, and he handed it over for free. The second tasted far better, but the free one tasted just fine for the price. This part of the experience is why, despite some of the lower scores I've given, I'd recommend this bar.
However, they lose points for service because the new waitress had poured the entire contents of a Trappist Rochefort 8 into the glass, silt and all (a serious no-no). For my second bottled beer (a different dark, silt-laden brand), I asked her not to pour it all in, but as I was watching her at the bar, the owner- a very nice guy who knows his beer and should know better, told her to pour most of it, swirl the bottle, and then pour the rest in as though it were a Hoegaarden (again, serious no-no for dark beers with dregs). I motioned to her (alright- I was flailing around with a look of horror on my face) and asked her if I could just pour it myself, and that solved that.
Quality also gets lower marks, because the Trappist Achel I'd purchased was four months past its due date. I may be partially at fault for getting it out of the fridge and bringing it to them to serve me without checking the date first, but in the ideal setting they shouldn't be available for purchase if they've expired. And unlike some beers that age well, I soon discovered that Achel doesn't. They also don't serve the more exotic beers in their corresponding goblets which is forgivable, but you'd figure if Popago can get the beers to serve, they'd go the extra distance and get all of the proper glassware as well.
But, all of this aside, it's a good place. Not nearly as fancy as the beers in the fridge might suggest. It's a cool, spread-out, above-grade dive bar with laid back clientelle- mostly couples and twenty- to thirty-somethings. Good music, TVs, a couple of video games, and a decent sized bar. The Belgian beer selection is impressive: most Trappists (save Westvleteren which is easily understandable), and some really hard to find ones like Affligem's Noel ale, and others I'm hard-pressed to remember. A fine bar experience, and a much smoother one if you stick with middle of the road beers to avoid complex service issues.
Addendum on 9/07/05: BA member bigbelcher has pointed out that the "owner" I mentioned above would most likely not be the founder/main owner Ron. Though I'm sure the guy that night said he was an owner, from what I've heard about Ron, it wasn't him. And I gotta say it once more- all in all, it's a good place and I'll give it another shot the next time I'm in town- just not the best experience that first time around, and I had to call it as I saw it.
08-13-2005 14:22:55 | More by belgianjunkie
3.13/5 rDev -27.4%
I went there yesterday with a friend and hoping to get that Pilsner Urquell that came in a cast and was unfiltered and unpasteurized but I missed it by 1 1/2 hours. That was a drag! I know that I got there late but I was more upset that more friends wouldn't meet me there. I guess once is enough. I don't know, they have a lot of beers and several on tap but the service was bad. It was poor! I even went to the bar to see is it was self-service and a server said someone would be around. Someone did and five minutes later came back with our beers. She could have made it sooner but 4 1/2 minutes were spent talking at the bar after the beers were poured. She then couldn't remember what beers where which and had her nose practically in all of them and literally in one.
The atmosphere is that of an old bar. It is dark and fairly noisy. There are tales four, six, and more plus sitting at the bar. Several beers on tap. They say there is 30 but I think there were less. There are many bottled beers in there cooler and you could buy them to take home.
We only had beer and then left. The service, being so poor, would have taxed my patience waiting when I knew it was ready and had to wait for the server to deliver. I had been directed to enjoy the beers but to skip the food by some friends who had been there before.
11-10-2013 05:08:08 | More by JohnnyJam
3.2/5 rDev -25.8%
1. best beer draught selection in the Phoenix area. Good tap selection that rotates often, perhaps almost too often. The selection is usually nicely geared for the right seasons as well, though you can get dopplebocks in the warmer months and wheats in the winter!
2. bottle selection is amazing as well. Many hard to find beers are available, and usually in stock when you want them.
3. quality of beer is top notch. With only a few exceptions, all of my beers have been fresh, including the bottles. Kegs don't last long here so you know it's a fresh tap.
4. prices for draught beers are very, very reasonable. No gouging here for more elusive beers, including the belgians on tap. If you want to get gouged for a belgian on tap then go somewhere like Yardhouse.
5. Beer decor is nice. While there is a lot more to what constitutes atmosphere (people, for instance), I like the decor in here. The tap handles and monk statues are great.
1. Atmosphere - rowdy college campus like feel to it. Very, very noisy. If there's a game on TV sometimes you would swear a fight is about to break out. I know this says more about the people that frequent this place than the place itself, but really the two are the same. When you go here this is your "experience" of the place. Maybe I'm getting old and this aspect doesn't bother the typical BA.
2. Service - I've been here many times (the beer selection is great!) but I often manage to get the server who never notices me. I've also encountered a few people who don't know the draugh menu well.
3. Beer Menu - the menu on the web isn't updated often enough. I've made several "special" trips to Papago only to find the beer ran out, even though the web said it was in right before I left. Running such a website is a double edged sword - convenient, yes, but disappointing if you come in for the SamiClaus listed on tap that isn't there anymore.
4. Food - Maybe my palate is off, but the pizza could be better. It has a pre-prepped character too it. I'm not sure why some of the other reviewers compare it to "gourmet" pizza places.
So, for the beer alone, Papago can't be beat. If you're a bit older and the other factors matter then I recommend trying this place during the day, preferably on a weekday. Don't get me wrong - normally it's a clear "5's" place when they have this sort of selection, and I give them credit for that, but there's more to an establishment than the selection alone.
**last review July 06
**update October 07...
Gave them another try to see how things have changed. After the no-smoking law went into effect it is more pleasant as far as atmosphere goes - no smoke and more quiet. Service was bad, again, and I just can't believe I have such bad luck with this place.
07-03-2006 03:23:19 | More by yemenmocha
3.2/5 rDev -25.8%
Good selection. The bottle selection in the coolers in back was impressive. The atmosphere was exactly as expected. A good thing. Good knowledge of what's on tap. Not that busy and service was weak. I don't need attention, but I want service. Maybe if you sit at the Bar they'll remember you're in the building. Pass on the beer bites appetizers.
04-07-2014 02:05:33 | More by MadMaltMike
3.3/5 rDev -23.4%
Edit: Visited again on 3/30. Complete 180 from the first visit, although I've been a couple times in between now and the date of this review. Keep in mind, this is hours after I went, so I've had time to cool off, and I still feel the same way. The service has always been half-ass here, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt. When you go, Nick has to be the bartender, because he's the only one who cares. All 3 of the "bartenders" who were working don't understand social interaction. The two chicks were clueless about everything and didn't belong in the bar, and the guy just went through the motions.
If I didn't have to run to work, I was gonna talk to the owner, but I'm sure that would have taken 30 minutes like our food. It wasn't 30 minutes total either. 15 minutes went by and she said she put the order in. Then she said she put it in 2 more times and it took 30 more minutes. The food was decent, but one of the guys who I was with said it was better last time. The beers were the only bearable part of the visit. Even that was lackluster though, because the draft list was very limited compared to the other times I've been there and wasn't updated at all. I'm not sure they know the names of certain beers either, because the last two they've had on tap from Rogue, the names aren't even close to what they really are and neither are the styles. They serve the beers way too cold as well. Every beer we drank, we had to let them sit at least 15 or 20 minutes before drinking them. That killed the experience.
The atmosphere finally got to me too. You always leave smelling like smoke, and this was at 4 in the afternoon. You'd have to burn your clothes if you stay for 5 minutes on a Friday or Saturday night. Going back to the service, again, unless Nick is working, you might as well go fill your own beer up and get your own food. Not only can you do it better than the employees, but you won't have to deal with attitudes. The last couple times I've been there, the bartenders weren't great either, besides him. I have a feeling the owner knows the bartenders personally, so he gives them some leeway and probably doesn't care how they act towards customers. The selection has always been good. If you don't like what's on tap, there are a bunch of coolers with great beers, which are always clean and organized. But $3.75 for a 12oz. bottle of Deschutes Inversion IPA? Are you serious? I won't be going to Papago for a while. I would love to bring my dad here in late May, but even by then, I would be skeptical about bringing him here. It's a good place, but very inconsistent. That seems to be the trend in the entire Phoenix area.
End of rant/edit. (Had to shorten my original review to fit.)
They always have about 20 taps and a cask to choose from, which you can tell they rotate all of them normally because there are tap handles all around the bar in the wooden beams and they're always busy, especially on weekends. The crowd on these nights is fairly young, from lower 20's to mid 30's. We were there at 2pm on Friday, right when it opened, which was great because we had great service and the locals were there and it made a good atmosphere, other than the smoke.
The beer is amazing. About 1/3 of the draft list is their own beer. I had their Little Brother (Abbey Dubbel), Hopfather (IIPA), El Robusto (Baltic Porter), the Procrastinator Doppelbock, and a taste of the Hop Knot, which was a nice change from the typical IPA. It was very citrusy, mainly grapefruit and very hoppy, but something about it was different. All of the beers were unbelievable. I also had the Avery/Russian River Collaboration Ale, which was crazy good.
Not only do they have incredible draft beers, but 8 coolers of great beers, which were extremely clean and organized. The left 3 coolers are all European while the right 5 were all American craft. They had some stuff I had never seen before. They concentrate on 15 or 20 breweries, but the great thing is, almost all of the great beers from each brewer are there. When I say that, I mean almost everything. Close to 10 beers from Avery, New Belgium, Left Hand, Sierra Nevada, and a bunch more. They also let you drink what you buy in the bar and supply you with the proper glasses. It was cool to see people buy a bottle, sit down, and enjoy it right there.
You can also buy growlers for $7 and then a $10 fill-up on most beers. They use a fresh hose every time, which I appreciate. They don't let you fill growlers with high ABV beers, naturally. I bought a growler tonight and I plan on filling up on a lot of their beer since you can't buy it in stores. Every time I go in to fill a growler, I always leave w/ either a mixed 6-pack or a couple bombers because their coolers have such an incredible selection.
I have all my friends going to this place now and they come back telling me how great it is. Good food, beer, bottles, & conversation. Name it and you have it at Papago.
02-24-2007 23:12:49 | More by Gatch
3.3/5 rDev -23.4%
I tried this place because of the recent visit of Port/Lost Abbey brewer and they had many on tap items.
I was dissapointed to find out that they listed them all on the website, but when I got there they only had 2 of them left. A little notice on the site would have been nice or taking them off in advance would have helped too. Not only that but my friend ordered 3 different drinks that were out which were normal on tap item there--there menu didnt reflect that nor did they tell us what they didnt have until we decided thats what we wanted.
The service was very slow--the first appetizer was pretty quick to come out but when we ordered a couple more it seemed to take a long time. The waitress seemed very preoccupied
They have a pretty good bottle selection there--I did grab another bottle of Stone Cali-Belique. I talked to one person there about there bottle selection and if they ever post online (I live in the west valley and it is a far drive) but they have no way of telling selection--i would basically just have to go and find out.
Overall it was an ok experience--They have many games there to play (Scrabble and others) as well as darts. Maybe it was just an odd time for me to go and other times would have been better. I will not make an effort to make it out that way again though.
01-11-2009 03:45:10 | More by westernseraph
3.49/5 rDev -19%
On our recent beer trip to Arizona we made a point to book a room at the Best Western located next to the strip mall housing Papago Brewing.
You forget you are in a strip mall upon entering Papago, as the interior is combination frat house, beer sign decor and the beer fridge you always have in your dreams. This is the kind of place I would rather drink my beer in than an "upscale" place.
The selection consisted of about 30 taps, and I promptly ordered the Aromatherapy, a fresh hopped IPA brewed by Papago. My girlfriend wanted the Four Peaks Hop Knot but the keg had just kicked, and I guess they had no backup keg. She went with the Hop Dog IPA instead. Both beers left us wondering where the hops were...true we had a keg of Bridgeport for our New Year's party, but jeez, it was only Bridgeport! We should be able to find some trace of hops there! The Hopfather Imperial IPA was a bit better, but still lacking the punch I desired.
The prices were great, since I found a 2 for 1 draft coupon in the Scottsdale phone book.
The only real downfall came in the service. There were two bartenders, both working a fairly busy crowd when we first got there. The guy bartender helped us promptly and with a smile during the busy time and later when it had slowed down. Also though, in the slow time, I asked the female bartender for a taste of the Mandarin Hefeweizen. No problem. She looks at me and says, "Sooo?" I replied, "I don't think that one's for me, could I try the Port Brewing Sharkbite?" She doesn't say a word, just ROLLS HER EYES and gets me the sample! Maybe she was having a bad night, I don't know, but I was kind of taken aback.
Despite this, we left satisfied overall with Papago, and the selection would draw me back for a return visit.
01-08-2007 05:27:13 | More by pjeagles
Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ
95 out of 100 based on 152 ratings.