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Blackback Pub

Not Rated.
Blackback PubBlackback Pub

73 Reviews
Reviews: 73
Visits: 202
Avg: 4.45
pDev: n/a
Taps: 22
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1 Stowe St
Waterbury, Vermont, 05676-1820
United States
phone: (802) 505-5115

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Place added by: mariano42 on 05-20-2010

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 73 | Visits: 202
Photo of SRBush1974
5/5  rDev +12.4%
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 Pawoto
5/5  rDev +12.4%

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 parris
5/5  rDev +12.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

World class pub serving world class beers. Horrible selection for fly fishing supplies.

But seriously, there's always something from each of the breweries you visited Vermont to drink. Bar tenders are just as fantastic as the beer.

They have a chalkboard where they write the current selection.

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Photo of Macsimus
4.95/5  rDev +11.2%
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 whartontallboy
4.94/5  rDev +11%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Wow, what a selection. Hit all three of the nearby watering holes on the main drag of Waterbury, and I'd give Blackback the beer nod. They had five Hill-Farmstead taps (Abner, Society and Solitude 3, Florence, Edward, and Everett) and four Lawson's taps (including Double Sunshine, Knockout Blonde, Big Hapi, and Permagrin) when I stopped in today, with a bit of something for everyone. The bartender was also incredibly nice and friendly. Very much worth making your first stop if you're in the area, although it's a bummer they don't have more food.

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Photo of Takeanotherswing
4.88/5  rDev +9.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Luckily the guys at the Alchemist sent us here, before we were going to leave town. There are a lot of cool things to do in Waterbury and we thought we were done, but we ended up spending another 2 hrs before our 6-7 hr trip back to NY. Those 2 hrs were spent feasting on HF taps (7 on tap). We had found the spot to get all the HF we wanted even going to the brewery the day before. They had other good locals and a great tap selection otherwise. Seemed like more of a locals hangout and a very friendly bartender. Glad we were pointed in this direction. Reservoir was awesome with a great local selection as well which is what we were looking for, but if you want to have some glasses of HF without the growler nonsense, come here. Only weird thing was a guy with a Bears jersey and Yankees hat on in the middle of New England [who may have been the owner/manager]

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Photo of Double06
4.85/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

In town for work and made it a point to come to Blackback after not being able to make it out to Hill Farmstead. To be completely honest, I LOVE this place.

General: Stopped by on a Monday night and they still had a decent little crowd. Service was friendly and concientious but not overbearing. Don't remember her name, but bartender was great.

Beer: Wow... Just missed the Ephraim but a day but still worth the trip. Five Hill Farmstead on draft - all better than the last. Several Allagash taps and many others including other lesser known Belgians.

Food: Limited menu but what I had was great - Portabella and 3 cheese panini sandwich with fresh marinara. Wish they would have had more options - the only reason they're not getting a 5 here - but otherwise great.

Beers - great.
Service - great.
Prices - reasonable.
Food - quality.

Even the bathrooms reminded me of my dad's old hunting cabin in northern PA - all damp and musty, it smelled EXACTLY the same as I remember my dad's cabin.

Love this place and wished it was in my neighborhood.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.84/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

My favorite bar on my Vermont trip. Just, wow.

The bar is nestled a little bit below street level. Two rooms, with a very long bar. Not much table space. The combination of a fishing/tackle shop along with a premier craft beer bar always makes me smile. They've got all the Vermont goodies you could want on tap- Lawson's, Zero Gravity, and HF abound. They unfortunately had no Lawson's on when I went, seems like the stuff kicks pretty quickly whenever it's tapped. Like flies to a light.

They had some interesting other stuff too that I'd never heard of. About 15 taps, and all interesting. The one bartender deftly served everybody, and was able to talk beer with us at the same time. The beers were a bit expensive, but not unreasonable for the quality. Got some Hill Farmstead James, a S&S #1, and a Zero Gravity Narconaut.

The food is provided by a taco place called Mad Taco- I guess they have a full restaurant elsewhere, but operate out of this bar as well. Seriously killer tacos- they gave me a ton of sauces to put on it, with "heat ratings" on them. The #10 sauce was nuclear. Some of the best bar food I've ever eaten.

Simply one of the best.

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Photo of IronCitySteve
4.8/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Thanks to some great BA's, my wife and I stopped in here on our travels through VT. Let me say, I love this place!!

Rick, bartender/owner is absolutely awesome. He enjoys great beer and loves talking about it, which I think is great because I love talking about beer. He was extremely knowledgable about beer and extremely friendly to my wife and I. He was more than willing to supply us with some samples.

Although there is only a small bar with several seats, I thoroughly enjoy this atmosphere. We were 2 of 8 in the place and we were the only tourists. The people inside were extremely friendly and fun to chat with.

The bar had some wonderful beers on tap. There were 3 Hill Farmstand Beers, a Trapp Family Oktoberfest, Spaten Oktoberfest, Stoudts Pils and a very rare Dogfish Sah'tea.

The price is quite reasonable in my opinion seeing how Rick is very willing to pour samples and I do not mean 1 ounce samples, they are 3-4 ounce samples.

Overall, this place is fantastic and a true highlight of our trip!

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Photo of sapvt
4.8/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I heard a lot of positive things about this place and none of them did it justice.

Great beer selection. Rick is a big fan of Hill Farmstead (with very good reason) and it shows. He was pouring Edward, Florence, Earl, and Nelson Sauvin last night and had a couple kegs (including Edith) lined up next. Also a Trapp Dunkel, Cisco Darkwoods, Petrus Pale and one or two more I'm forgetting. Outstanding. There are some great bottles available too (Orval, Westmalle, etc.) but I can't stray from the amazing local taps.

Rick is very accommodating and a great guy to talk to. I could sit for hours at this bar and talk fishing and beer.

We need more places like this, totally intimate settings run by good folks who have a real passion for beer. Thanks Rick!

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.8/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I've been hearing about this place for quite a while, last time I was in town I actually couldn't find it when looking for it. It's literally right across the street and up one or two buildings from The Alchemist.

Came in, this place is very cozy as others have said it's fairly small, maybe 12 seats. But he's got about 10 taps of awesome stuff as well, when I was there on 9/9/10 he had:
Aged Petrus
Cisco Darkwoods
Burton Baton
Youngs Chocolate Stout
Hill farmstead Earl, Edward, Florence, and the Nelson single hop IPA.
Allagash Dubbel

Basically he's got a somewhat small selection but everything he's got is fantastic. He had some sandwiches and knockwust, also a cheese plate. All pretty reasonably priced. His beers were all in the $6-8 range for decent pours in the proper glassware. I think that's a bit pricey however everything is really good so it's worth it.

Next time you're in the area check this place out, the owner is an awesome guy. Very personable and nice and right as I can in he told me about all the beers and gave me a sample before I bought it.

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Photo of Mikeynas
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%
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 HopsHopenstein
4.75/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

took a trip to vt this past week and stopped in the first night to Blackback Pub. Great place, awesome service, really good sushi and calzones, and the beer selection was amazing. My girlfriend and I were in the Stowe and Waterbury area for 4 days, and 3 of the days we spent time at the Blackback. With 5-6 HF beers, Lawsons, Stillwater, Maine Beer Co, and many more this beer selection was perfect. The staff and Locals are all super nice and accomadating. For someone in the area this in my oppinion is a Must stop. You will not be disappointed.

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Photo of Faxmesomehalibut
4.71/5  rDev +5.8%
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 monkeybutler
4.71/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I live about a mile's walk from the Blackback Pub and Flyshop, which - if you don't know - is directly across the street from both The Alchemist (a world-class brewpub, as far as I'm concerned) and the Reservoir (a great sports bar/restaurant with a solid beer selection).

You could spend a week in these three places and never run out of different types of beer to try.

If the Alchemist is the crown of Waterbury, VT (it is) then Blackback is the jewels in that crown.

I'll concern myself chiefly with the selection of beer - because that's the point, isn't it.

I've been to Monk's, and I've been to Toronado, and many places in between, and I have to say that Blackback punches above its weight. I mean, we're at least 200 miles from anything resembling a city, but Blackback manages to draw in some really great stuff, week in and month out.

Vermont itself punches above its weight when it comes to beer, but Rick (the proprietor) gets stuff from all over. I've had some very hard-to-find belgians both in bottle and on tap. I've had some obscure west coast beers. I've had stuff that you wouldn't think would make it to the east coast let alone some ski-resort cross roads in Vermont.

You'll just have to trust me that there's always something special on tap.

But the most surprising part of the Blackback is how small it is. There's room for no more than 10 people sitting, maybe 20 standing. That's it. 20 people packs this place. It's basically a down-under closet with a bar in it.

It's super-cozy by default. You might consider the cramped quarters a downside, but it lets Rick really excel at customer service...

Rick is a great guy - very generous with the sample pours, very beer-knowledgeable, and very engaging as a bartender. He knows how to pour a beer, and he knows what to pour it in, and he knows how to describe it to you.

He's also super-accommodating to women - and if the ladies don't like the beer he has, there's a really stellar wine selection. I could go on about the wine, but suffice to say that it would disappoint no oenophiles.

Full disclosure: I went into the Blackback on my birthday, and - not advertising it or anything, he saw my birthday when he carded me, and before I left he gave me a really nice long-stemmed Petrus glass as a gift (yeah, he had it on tap that day).

Any other downsides?

None that you wouldn't expect. Rick gets some very good beer on tap, so it's a bit pricey. But it's exactly as pricey as you'd expect.

Rick will serve food- I think he has some meat and cheese plates and maybe a panini sandwich press - but it's not a food destination by any means.

It's all about the beer.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention, he does sell fishing tackle there, and he does dispense fishing advice. Still, that's a side-gig from the main attraction.

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Photo of dougfur
4.69/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Nice underground pub. Not huge, but comfortable; definitely more of a bar vibe than a restaurant, but they make outstanding tacos and other Mexican food. The on-tap lineup is world-&^%ing- class! The first thing I noticed when I walked in was 4 Hill Farmstead taps all lined up, next to a Lawsons, next to a Ballast Point, next to a Bear Republic, next to a... While the atmosphere isn't perfect, it's just fine and the food is great, beer is simply spectacular!

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Photo of skivtjerry
4.68/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

A great new addition to Waterbury, and only about 100 yards from the Alchemist, which is why I don't go here as often as I would otherwise. This bar is TINY and can be a bit cramped at times but the small size also means that it's always reasonably quiet. Rick is an entertaining bartender, always ready to BS about beer and a lot of other things. The small tap selection is nothing short of world class, and always includes at least 1 or 2 Hill Farmstead beers. The bottle list could be a little larger but is carefully chosen, nothing but worthy entries. Prices might seem a tad high at first glance, but look what you're getting... you won't find many of these beers cheaper anywhere else, and usually they are more costly elsewhere. Food is limited to picnic style snack plates, given the lack of a kitchen, but is tasty. The one thing I'd like to see is a cooler so the bottle selection could expand but there is no room for that. Some very good scotch here too.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.68/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

This quickly became my favourite beer spot in Waterbury after my first visit. Great low-key atmosphere, which is a big contrast to the other spots in Waterbury. The tap list wasn't huge but was full of great stuff, including a few from HF (Abner, Edward, Everett, George), Sip of Sunshine and Beer Geek Brunch Weasel. Service was excellent as well. Did not have any food here. The perfect place to go for pints after dinner at Pro Pig.

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Photo of bevdaddy
4.66/5  rDev +4.7%
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 Huhzubendah
4.66/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Stopped here on my recent trip to Vermont. I'm so glad I did.

Available on draft were pretty much all the beers on my Vermont beer wish list. Heady Topper, Double Sunshine, and nine Hill Farmstead brews, including Abner, Society and Solitude #3 and #4, Everett, Florence, Edward, What is Enlightenment?, and Harlan. Wow.

Service was excellent, as was the vibe. A small, cozy place with only a few regulars chatting and watching the Red Sox game. The bartender offered half pours, allowing me the opportunity to enjoy a few more rounds.

Overall, this was a fabulous little place. I will absolutely return here first on my next trip to the lovely state of Vermont.

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Photo of FrankLloydMike
4.66/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

My friend and I stopped in here after having dinner and a couple beers at the Prohibition Pig this past weekend. It's a place I've been meaning to visit for a long time.

Years ago when I was living on Mission Hill in Boston and doing my laundry in the creaky basement laundromat of a nearby triple-decker, I had a dream of a laid-back, basement bar. It was a literal dream I had in my sleep, but the idea of a hidden, dark, but welcoming bar in the basement of one of the sleepy buildings in the neighborhood was very appealing. I'm not sure what they had on-tap in the bar of that dream, but since I was 19 or so, it was probably Pilsner Urquell or something of considerably lesser quality.

Well, the Blackback seems to have been that dream come true, except that instead of pouring yellow beer, the Blackback offered six Hill Farmstead taps, a couple (I believe) Lawson's and a handful of other wonderful beers.

The prices were reasonable, the service friendly and attentive, the beers fresh and delicious, and the atmosphere was, dare I say it, dreamlike.

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Photo of jhavs
4.66/5  rDev +4.7%
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 sirsteve42
4.65/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Another one of the must do's when in the waterbury area. I've been to blackback a dozen times or so and the draft selection never lets you down. All the best Vt craft at this small watering hole. I went with an hf abner followed by a lawsons chinookered and double dose....need I say more!
Its a small bar and tough to get a spot at the bar on a weekend but worth the wait once you do. Once you do get that spot you can order some mad taco which is simply awesome stuff.
Blackback is an absolute must when in the area. Cheers

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Photo of orangesol
4.65/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Stopped in here after my dinner at the Pig. Atmosphere was nice, it is not the biggest place in the world but I easily got a seat at the bar and was greeted by a very nice bartender. She ran me through the tap list and offered a few thoughts on some of the ones I had not tried yet which was awesome. They had a bunch of Hill Farmsteads on as well as a few Lawson's so I stuck with those. I went with the HF Simcoe single hop and the Lawson's Hunger Mountain 40th and they were both excellent and sever in the correct glasses.

My food score is not indicative of how it tasted, rather how much they offer. Food was sparse upon my visit but I hear they are upgrading the kitchen very soon so I look forward to seeing what they come up with in the future. I got the cheese plate and it was very good and totally worth the money. Overall a really awesome beer bar that I will definitely return to when I am in the area.

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Photo of cbeer88
4.64/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I love this little bar. It's a little out of the way for non-locals, particularly with the Alchemist no longer in town. But, the drive to Waterbury is still well worth it to drown yourself in Hill Farmstead taps.

The beer: Like I said, you go here for HF beers if you are an out of towner. He tries to keep 6 on tap. The selection closely mirrors what they have on for growlers at the brewery, but not precisely the same. He aso has a couple of other high-end/rare locals like Lawson's Double Sunshine and Lawson's Maple Imperial Stout. A few non-local but interesting taps round out the list (Dogfish Head Jiahu, Life and Limb, Starrapoman, Leipzeiger Gose, etc)

Atmosphere: The place is small and the bar takes up the majority of it. There are probably 20 bar seats, and then another 8-10 against the wall. That's about it. Very little standing room. Nice wooden look, breweriana and fishing "stuff" dot the walls. Very earth smelling bathroom, which I liked.

Service: Owner/bartender is very friendly, welcoming, and chatty. Happy to throw samples at you and very attentive to an empty glass.

Food: Didn't try anything - had dinner across the street, as the menu here is very minimal.

Value: Coming from Boston I didn't really blink at the prices, but it was a smidge on the high side for the area. Beers were a bit cheaper elsewhere, and the food looked pricey.

It's definitely a locals pub, but the bartender and a few of the patrons that were there did their best to make us feel welcome. If you're in Waterbury picking up some Heady Topper, stop by here for a beer.

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Blackback Pub in Waterbury, VT
98 out of 100 based on 73 ratings.