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Blackback Pub

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
98
world-class

77 Reviews
PLACE STATS
Place Score:
98
Reviews:
77
Ratings:
217
Avg:
4.48
pDev:
6.7%
 
 
Taps:
22
Bottles/Cans:
0
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
N
Blackback PubBlackback Pub
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

1 Stowe St
Waterbury, Vermont, 05676-1820
United States

(802) 505-5115 | map
www.theblackbackpub.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by mariano42 on 05-20-2010

Grab a complimentary copy of BeerAdvocate magazine here while supplies last.
View: Place Ratings | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 77 | Ratings: 217
Photo of PHBoiler
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Well located property with a old world feel in downtown Waterbury. The taplist was impressive and diverse from difficult to find Vermont beers to Rodenbach Alexander on draft. The staff was very personable and knowledgeable. Relatively busy bar but conversation was available without screaming. Vibe was heavy with craft beer drinkers and tourists during June. Locals added to the vibe with warm conversation. Definitely a must stop.

 439 characters

Photo of reds2harleys
4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Excellent place in every way. A must stop if your in VT for a Beercation. Superb beer list. Friendly staff. Tasty food. I go on one or two beer runs to VT a year and this ( along with the Pro Pig ) are must stop.

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Photo of SpoiledInVT
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This place has really turned itself around from the olden days of "drink whiskey, watch Yankees, and shut up". Beer selection features many local and delicious offerings (Hill, Lawsons, blah blah blah) as well as some great out-of-state goodies such as Almanac, Base Camp, Rodenbach, etc. Vibe is fun, tunes are great, and the décor is just wonderful. Great place to kick back and enjoy a few pints and make new friends.

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Photo of Rubin90
4.98/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Great atmosphere! Small but cozy and comfortable. The bartenders were awesome, very attentive and knowledgeable about the beer they serve. They were very generous with allowing samples. Their beer list is amazing! The best I have ever seen! I highly recommend this place to anyone visiting Waterbury.

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Photo of BranfordBound
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25

Went here on Saturday night, 9/26 after having dinner at Proh Pig. Just stopped by for drinks so no food rating there. Bartender and patrons were super friendly and everyone was having a good time. Beer list was solid, not as many as Proh Pig, but I think greater diversity than them when it comes to the local stuff. Had Hill Farmstead Mutual Admiration on tap since they kicked the Focal cans. Overall a cool place to stop for a drink, makes me think every place in VT serves top level beer!

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Photo of LostHighway
4.15/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Small but nice place! Please note that I'm apparently an atypically hard grader, most of my scores for both beers and places skew negative, but this is a very good pub and I'd happily return.
The tap list isn't exceptionally long but they did have more than half-a-dozen Hill Farmstead & Grassroots offerings along with a good selection of other beers. My only criticism, and this is far from unique to the Blackback, is that the tap list was too IPA and DIPA heavy. As much as I like these styles IMO they aren't great food beers and the Blackback has a very good kitchen. There were no saisons on the tap list when I was there and few lagers and true pale ales. Weihenstephaner Vitus was as close as they came to a hefeweizen. I know the public clamors for IPA, DIPAs and Imperial Stouts but great tap list diversity is good thing as far as I'm concerned.
The food I tasted was considerably above average for pub fare.
As noted Blackback is small so it can get both crowded and noisy but it has a good convivial feel.
I've had excellent service there - knowledgeable, attentive without being obtrusive and friendly without being smarmy or overly familiar.

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Photo of SRBush1974
5/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Had a great lunch here this weekend. With 4 kids, it was no problem to sit at the bar area. Owner was our waitress/bartender. Great beer list, great food and very friendly. Would go back here in a second. Need to with the great VT beers offered.

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Photo of Mikeynas
4.75/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Really cool spot in downtown Waterbury. Draft list is second to none and staff was friendly, attentive, and knowledgable. Nice spot to sit back relax and enjoy some world class beer with friends. Highly recommend!

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Photo of jhavs
4.66/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Great place. The bar staff is always happy, helpful, and able to share their knowledge about their beer and the VT area.

Beer selection is top notch, vibe is easy going and relaxing.

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Photo of Faxmesomehalibut
4.71/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

By far my favorite bar in Waterbury. Always putting on the best of the best as far as VT beers and the staff is always a joy to hang out with. Everyone in this place is super friendly and they know what they are talking about. Love this place.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.61/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Awesome service. Had some 8 or so Hill Farrmstead beers on tap, as well as Lawsons and other local stuff. Neat small little place. Definitely worth a stop in. Had the maple bacon cheesecake and it was delish.

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Photo of byronic
4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Having returned for a second visit a few months later my original rating is confirmed. This cozy pub has a fantastic draft list but that isn't even the best part. The service is spectacular. The place is often crowded and very busy yet the bartender still manages to be very courteous, professional and takes the time to engage the customer in conversation. Our beer and water glasses did not go empty. The selection is top notch.

Food is great as well, often the chef will come out and deliver meals himself. On our first visit the charcuterie plate came with a full explanation from the chef, a fantastic touch.

Go for the beer, stay for the food, staff and ambiance!

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Photo of bevdaddy
4.66/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

First time being back since the new ownership took over in May 2014.

Great draft list - as good as the other two in the "Big 3 of Waterbury". Like any of them - it all depends on your timing. Plenty of Heady cans, HFB and Lawsons on tap as well as other VT and global beers.

The new crew has expanded the kitchen, now there is a menu full of nachos and chili, etc. They are not trying to be the places across the street and the vibe/menu go well together.

A "must hit" when in town. But you already knew that.

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Photo of Macsimus
4.95/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Loved this place. Went several times while enjoying a two night stay in town.

GREAT draft selection and loved the atmosphere : ) Great patrons too!!

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Photo of woodchip
4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Killer small place with an awesome vibe. I didn't eat any of the food because I already ate at the Reservoir. The taplist is not huge but the beers are! Dig this place, and is another must if in the area.

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Photo of mynie
4.35/5  rDev -2.9%

My favorite places are the ones where when I first go in it seems like the people don't like me but then after a few minutes they figure out I'm cool and treat me real good. This was one of those places, but my enjoyment of it was very particular to me. If you are a not an abrasive, "love him or hate him"-style weirdo like myself, then this joint might not work for you. If you are, well, welcome to a real nice joint, friend.

The tap selection was limited, but everything was Capital-G good, and frankly I'd prefer that to 25 taps where everything is just lower-g good.

The vibe was an entrancing mix of the vibrant and the dingy. The walls were green. Lots of bottles and piping and old plastic buckets all covered in dust with basement cobwebs clumped in the uppermost corners of walls. The dude behind the bar had a conversation with us about god remembers what. It was a very nice place and I hope someday to go back there again.

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Photo of Pawoto
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Blackback Pub is my favorite place on earth. I live in Southern, NH and a few times a year make the drive to Waterbury to spend the night drinking amazing craft beer at Blackback Pub. I was a little worried about the new owners - they cleaned the place up, added tvs, and added their own kitchen (instead of mad taco) - but its still a little slice of heaven.

Check their facebook page for updates on the draftlist - usually you'll find a couple of Hill Farmstead offerings, cans of Heady Topper, and a Lawson's beer. They also have cantillon on tap more than any bar in the area.

The perfect VT trip...arrive at HF right as they open, fill growlers and then head up to Parker Pie for lunch. From Parker Pie head down to Waterbury, stop to try to buy Heady Topper at CBC and the little gas station just near the highway, then check in at The Old Stagecoach Inn. Spend a couple of hours at Blackback and then head over to Prohibition Pig for delicious BBQ. Check out Reservoir and then immediately leave because it sucks. Hang with Lauren at Blackback until they kick you out! Get up in the morning and scarf down the breakfast at The Old Stagecoach Inn. On the way home stop at The Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier to spend any money you have leftover on underpriced Bruery offerings...

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Visiting Blackback was a great way to try a few different offerings from Hill Farmstead without driving all the way to the brewery and waiting in a ridiculous line. Very good service and tasty food. The selection of brews on tap was heavily geared toward local, which was nice to see. A must visit when in Waterbury.

 317 characters

Photo of jvodom
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Great small bar in downtown Waterbury. The draft selection was great. They will do 1/2 pours if you ask. My brother and I went there after dinner at The Reservoir. It was game 6 of the World Series and the bartender, Eric I think, had his SF jersey on. I was rooting for KC. We had fun drinking the great VT beers and watching the game.
The place is small, but we got a seat at the bar on the right side of the building. It was a little weird looking since they expanded into the place next door. You almost feel like it is separate bars.
Definitely worth stopping here. All the people we met were very friendly.

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Photo of hudsonheat
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Finally got into this place on my recent trip to Waterbury. Great beer selection, cool vibe. Want to check this place out on a cold winters night in February.

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Photo of beerbully
3.61/5  rDev -19.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.25

A-Visited on a Sunday afternoon for beers and a sandwich...place was fairly dead with a few people at the bar.

Q-beers were served in proper glassware

S-took a while to pour the beers as it seemed the bartender didn't have the taps set right. One beer that was served took at least 5 minutes to arrive from the time it was ordered. Beer was foaming into glass and bartender poured into another glass and finally serve an $8 dollar beer that was half beer and half foam. As she served it she said, "that's the best I could do"...she still charged full price despite recognizing the inferior pour. This was the first beer ordered and set the tone for the visit.

S-Beer selection was clearly written on a big chalkboard on the wall. Great selection of beers including Lawsons, Heady, and Hillstead.

F-ordered the Cuban sandwich tasted good but a bit slim. Not much meat in the sammy ...one slice of pork and one slice of ham

V-considering the service, the poor pours, and the size of the sandwich, there are better places nearby...that offer the same beers

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Photo of amano_h
4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

It's always a good sign when you drink at a bar where locals come to drink. It's even better when that bar carries some of Vermont's best, and through that proxy, some of the world's best beers on a regular basis.

The only minus that I arguably see going against Blackback is their pub fare -- they recently changed from Mad Taco to Maggie's Kitchen, and no offense to Maggie because her food is absolutely delightful and delectable, they don't quite have the kinks all resolved yet. The first time I went in, I ordered her sliders which took over half an hour to arrive in front me; the second time I ordered their poblano chili and the Green Mountain Salad, which took slightly less time, but still took a lot longer for what should be relatively simple pub food. (I wasn't the only person that night that noticed this the nights I went -- there was a local group of five people that decided to have conversations about how long they'd been waiting from around minute 27 of not having food in front of them at the bar)

That being said, the food itself was great -- every bit of the slider was like a perfectly crafted masterpiece, the fluffy french brioche-esque buns mixes splendidly with the veggie/meat/chili patty, and the serving size was just enough to leave me full for the rest of the day's activities. The Poblano chili came highly recommended by the new owner of the pub and for good reason; every hearty bite was as satisfying as the next; there wasn't that much of heat to the dish, but all the ingredients tasted fresh and well-blended together. The Green Mountain salad was as fresh and delicious as you would expect out of any restaurant serving food prepared with fresh, local ingredients.

Overall, great draft/bottle selections, great food and prices, but they could probably benefit greatly from working out some glaring logistics issues in the kitchen.

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Love the Black Back for food from the Mad Taco and local brews from Hill Farmstead, Lawson's and Alchemist.
Ambiance is a touch small and low ceiling make it feel a bit cramped, but I sit at the bar usually so that makes it feel a bit more open. Service is great, attentive servers. Selection of beer is nice, not as expansive as The Res. but still great. Food is wonderful and relatively cheap for how delicious it is.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

I came to Vermont to attend the Siptemberfest in Mad River Glen ski resort and visited Blackback the night before. The place is comfortable and has a cozy feel to it with a great variety of beers to choose from on tap. The food and service are exceptional -I enjoyed the calamari special. They are friendly and will make you feel welcome as well as satisfy the Vermont beer cravings for Hill Farmstead, Alchemist and Lost Nation to name a few locals they carry.

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Photo of Mikeluzzjr
2.78/5  rDev -37.9%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 3.25 | service: 2 | selection: 3

First time visiting during the HF anniversary. Chose this place over the other 2 bars because their website and numerous other places said they open at 11am, and the other 2 bars were opening at 11:30. Turns out, they decided to open at 11:30 also. Off to a bad start. Wait in line about 2 hours, and I'm not very far back so I know I'll get a seat at the bar. Finally the doors open (last of the 3 bars to actually open the doors) and as we start moving in, they decide to throw open another door behind me so that a bunch of people I was in front of get in first. Needless to say, I did not get a seat at the bar. We are told they have 22 lines pouring, and I see 22 beers listed on the board. Can i have an Abner? Not on yet. Damon? Nope. Edward cask? Not yet. So of course, after hanging out and drinking everything else, I still never got these beers. The other really awesome thing was that none of the prices on the board were correct. I order 2 beers that should be $13... they charge me $18. 2 that should have been $15, they charge me $17. Or I was getting half pours for 50 cents less than the full pour that the menu said I would get. Overall just really unhappy with the experience at this place.

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Blackback Pub in Waterbury, VT
98 out of 100 based on 77 ratings.