La Taberna Lúpulo

Not Rated.
La Taberna LúpuloLa Taberna Lúpulo
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

32 Ratings
Ratings: 32
Reviews: 22
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: n/a
Taps: 50
Bottles: 120
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

151 Calle de San Sebastian
San Juan, 00901-1115
Puerto Rico
phone: (787) 721-3772

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Notes:
Place added by: chrisrhoppe on 10-05-2010

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Ratings: 32 | Reviews: 22
Reviews by Redrover:
Photo of Redrover
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I visited twice during my recent visit to Puerto Rico and would have gone more if it was closer to where I was staying. Located in a corner building fairly close to the old fort. It is tiny but welcoming. There is a small L shaped bar on your left that seats maybe 10. There are maybe another 5 or 6 small tables to share. They had great tunes on the sound system and a TV by the bar.

I like the décor and really appreciated the friendly service. The bartenders were great and the owners were very glad to talk beer with their customers. They told me they are looking for a bigger space & I hope they get it as they are doing a great job!

Lots of good beer to choose from. Good selections from Belgium & the US. Everything I had was in topnotch shape and served in the correct glassware. All bottles and no taps at the current location.

If you ever find yourself in San Juan, you have to search out and enjoy this gem!

More User Reviews:
Photo of mkt3000
4.75/5  rDev +12%

This is the best craft bar in Puerto Rico by a longshot. It gets crowded on weekend evenings, but it's tolerable with friends. Good selection of US craft beers, Euro imports, and local PR beers which are getting better by the day!

To the person that posted it changed names, what happens is that the building is considered a historic building, and the Cafe San Sebastian sign has been there for decades. They normally cover it up - but the day that he was there was during the weekend of San Sebastian street festival, and they close the bar for that weekend and give the staff the weekend off so they can party as well.

Photo of chopolds
3.78/5  rDev -10.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Just updating BA on the status of this bar. On 1/8/14 went to visit them, on a stop on a cruise ship. Had a hard time getting directions from locals. They have changed their name to Cafe San Sebastion, and unfortunately, they were closed when I was there, due to a blackout. One of the owners was hanging out outside the building to explain and apologize, and sent me on my way to a recommended pizzaria that had a few nice choices of Belgians and craft beers.

Photo of PhilSiewert
4.01/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Beer Advocate reviews steered me here but at first I resisted and went to Old Harbor Brewery. That was mediocre so I came here. I will be back. The atmosphere fits with Old Town very well. They've a great selection! Also like their empanadas. Definitely the place to go in San Juan.

Photo of deanlambrecht
4.45/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

First, note that all scores are relative to what a beer enthusiast might expect to find in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Even then, this is as fine a selection of beers that one may find anywhere on the globe. Truly an amazing selection of mostly California brews and a great deal of German beers that I can't get in Minnesota. A real treat to find in a nation/territory where light beer is otherwise king (Medalla Light is the main beer in PR, and it's not great).

I only had time for a quick one, so I went with the Ballast Point IPA (unavailable in MN, so I was thrilled to try it). More qualified opinions on that particular IPA are widely available, so I'll just say that I thought it was excellent.

Service was fine. The hours were disappointing, however, as they don't open until 6:00 p.m. (at least during weekdays), but that's pretty standard for bars/restaurants in Old San Juan. But they don't post the hours, and when I poked my head in the open door to enquire about hours at approx 5:00 p.m. one afternoon, the response was very rude and unwelcoming. But everyone has a bad day, so I'll just chalk it up.

Bottom line, one will not find a better beer bar in San Juan as of January 2013. I recommend this place very highly.

Photo of EDNOSE
4.45/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

They have moved recently to Calle San Sebastian so don't get confused by an old address.

Fantastic tap selection ... Well over 20 available when we visited. The folks could not have been nicer and displayed good beer knowledge across the board. They even offered suggestions of other places on the Island to check out.

You really can't believe you are not in the contiguous 48 when you see the selection! A must visit.

The menu is limited but contains a good handful of local flavors. During our second visit of the week we had the chicken wrap which was good as well as the burger which was a patty of beef, bacon and chorizo. The burger was awesome!

Photo of brystmar
4.45/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

If you crave craft beer in San Juan, this is where you come. Met the owner Chris, and he couldn't have been a nicer beer geek host.

Servers were quite knowledgeable when questioned; amazing beer selection (considering the alternatives); and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere mean I'll be back multiple times this trip. I'll be shocked if I find a better place for beer on the island.

Enjoyed a Rochefort 10, North Coast Old Stock, Ballast Point smoked Helles lager, and a Lindemans sour that was about as expected for Lindemans. Highly recommended!

Photo of crusian
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Bottom line on this place... if you want a good beer, this is the place. If you can find it. Scary looking hole in the wall, but knowing it has good beer makes it easier to to in. Guys that work there like good beer and like to talk about it... and movies. Bring some good stuff for them, and they will hook you up. They get a lot of stuff, but not a lot of great stuff.
Food was really good and cheap too. I got 2 bottles of beer, a pesto chicken wrap, and an order of beer fries. $17 can't beat that.
Place is very dark at night, but the guys have flashlights, lol. Great guys, great food... great prices.

Photo of msnow34
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Visited here on saturday early evening 10/1. It was there first anniversary and a ballast point tap takeover.
The place is a hole in the wall, the name is scribbled on the door with a sharpie(owner explained they would have to get an expensive permit for a sign) We almost walked right by even knowing where we were going. GF actually did!

Very small place maybe four or five small tables and a small L shaped bar with four taps. We were greated by a young ex-pat who would later turn out to be the owner. We originally thought he was just a regular.

Food was good although they were out of the empanadillias(SP) that i initially ordered. GF had the burger which she was estatic to have after eating all the "wierd" puerto rician food i "forced' her to eat. Our server wasn't well versed as to what they had as he stated he didnt work there very often.
The owner however really knew his stuff. There was a line on the beer list about not serving beer cold. It was classic.

We were very impressed by the place and it got the GF seal of approval which is big considering all the breweries, beer bars and bottle shops I've dragged her into the years and a nice break from drinking Medella Light.
My only dissapointment was it wasn't closer to where we were staying and I could only have two beers, due to have to going back out to try to brave the Puerto Rican traffic.
Did i mention their beer prices on bottles were mostly five dollars including tax!!
Worth seeking out, just make sure you have the address and the name as you will walk right by if not prepared.

Photo of MrSoto
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Now Taberna Lupulo is the place to drink beers at Old San Juan. No better place to truly enjoy beer. Great selection, ok pricing. At least the service is really good, even when the place is packed. And it gets packed often. The staff knows beer and will help you if needed. They use proper glassware and respect the beer and the customer. The food is awesome, props to the chef. Nice mix of bar food, beer inspired food and overall what puertorican drunks like to eat. The only downside is that the place is small, gets crowdy and hot.

Photo of mtstatebeer
3.86/5  rDev -9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Visited twice on my latest trip to PR. A definite recommend to anyone visiting the island, or Old San Juan.

Small bar, with a nice (local) vibe. Not a tourist trap like many places in OSJ. Bartenders are extremely helpful with selections. It is nice to see beer advocacy in PR. Old Harbor was the only place, until now, to get decent beer on the island.

Good selection. They have a wide range of styles. Nice IPA/DIPA selection, mainly Cali beers. They do their best on glassware, but have limited space (hence the beer in coolers). I saw Bells, Bear Republic, Moylans, Caldera, Abita, Ommegang, a decent German and Belgian selection, and many more on the menu.

Had fried potatoes, just for a snack. They were good, but I'll refrain from rating food because I (nor anyone else in my group) had any of the sandwiches or other treats.

Good value compared to any other place in OSJ. Most beers (12 oz.) were between $4-5. Anywhere else, you would pay $4-5 for a Medalla...

Visit this place if you are in Puerto Rico and you want to drink good beer.

Photo of vikinggod
4.58/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I recently visited San Juan and this was one of my stop's. A very small place, many of the beers are stored in small ice chest's. They have a extensive beer list that mainly consist's of American craft beer's, along with Belgium and German beer's. They had a pale ale and a stout on tap from a nearby brewpub, Old Harbor Brewery, I believe these were the only local beer's they had.

The food here is pretty good, they were out of the chicken sandwich I wanted, despite they had just opened but the hamburger I ordered was very good. A very friendly staff with quick service. It has a cool vibe and is a place I will visit again should I ever be in San Juan.

Photo of PRpitmaster
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A great light that has been turned on at the end of the Beer tunnel in Puerto Rico. These guys have a great selection of american brews and a few european staples. There are no traditional imports on the menu, no Heineken, Bud, Corona, Coors, or even the local Medalla Light on the menu. If you are in Old San Juan you definitely need to stop and have a brew.
The space is small but inviting with great decorations. There are a few tables and plenty of space at the bar. The staff is very knowledgable about their selections and are very helpful in recommending a beer.
There is a small menu available, they make a great burger and a few other items, including mozzarella sticks, fried cheese, fries and croquettes.

Photo of MacPhisto
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I just moved to the Island in January - I reluctantly prepared myself to live full-time in the beer wastleland that is Puerto Rico. Then I got word of this place - what a godsend! Very good selection of brews from across the US and EU, and very reasonably priced! The place is pretty popular with the locals too, so it tends to get crowded but nothing that isn't manageable. Two American guys own the place, and after talking with one of them, Preston, it sounds like they're looking to expand to another (larger) location in San Juan. This is basically THE beer bar at the moment in San Juan and on the entire Island for that matter!

Photo of weedkiller80
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Visited twice while in San Juan for a conference the week of Jan. 23. The first night we went the taxi driver took us to the intersection and we looked around and did not see it so he drove around, called someone, talked to people on the street and eventually figured out we were right the first time; we just couldn't see the name on the window. Small, unassuming place but it is there.

My colleague and I were looking to have a few beers and a bite to eat. Unfortunately we caught them on a night when the cook didn't show up so we were limited to fried queso. And the large cooler had just broken so they were trying to put everything in coolers. A bit chaotic for them but it didn't affect the staff's attitude. They were super helpful and we enjoyed several good beers including Ballast Point Sculpin, Racer 5, and Moylan's IPA and DIPA. I was impressed with the selection and the prices were fair as well. They had a full menu the second night we stopped by and I enjoyed the burger made with chorizo- very tasty!

What a gem in Old San Juan. These guys are passionate about craft beer and the locals seem to be very interested in trying new things. It's great watching people experience a Belgian ale for the first time. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.

Photo of Gmann
4/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I too ran into this little establishment during the San Sebastion festival, aka crazy ass street party. I wasn't there long and didn't soak everything in but I felt I needed to give props to a place dedicated to good beer that is surrounded by nothing but coors light and medalla. The thing that caught my eye was a Maui Brewing Co poster in the window so I checked it out. To my surprise this place had a bunch of other good beer as well. I spoke to one of the folks working there, who was clearly into good beer, and he told me they have upwards of 136 different beers. However, because of the festival they were limited in what they had. I wish I could remember what they had but it was kind of nuts in old San Juan that day. I had the Maui Bikini Blonde Lagar. The place didn't seem all the big, more of a small corner bar, but the atmosphere was great at the time due to the festival. If I am ever in old San Juan again, I will definitely be returning to this place.

Photo of sairbaysah
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Visited Taberna Lupulo during the San Sebastian festival on 1/15/2011.

I love drinking Medalla Light on the beach but after a week I was happy to find a place with a solid selection of craft beers. I was surprised by the variety this place has - everything from quality pale lagers to good stouts. Taberna Lupulo's bottle selection is par with any beer bar back home.

One thing that was really cool about this place was how the staff was so excited to educate (and give samples to) patrons who only knew Medalla or Coors Light. It was really fun to drink a few different IPAs with a couple Puerto Ricans who had never tried them before. I think they'll be back for more.

Overall a great place. Enjoy your Medallas but when you are ready for some good ol craft beers and a cool bar staff to chat with head to TL.

Photo of jfortin
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

My boyfriend and I came here because we are true beer geeks. The selection is absolutely fantastic!!! There were beers on their list that I know most distributors in our area have difficulty obtaining. The atmosphere was cozy and slightly seedy (the way we like it ). The owners were a bit slow and disorganized and it was clear they had enjoyed a beer or two themselves. However, they were very excited to talk about craft beer with us and were wildly entertaining! Would not recommend this establishment to those who are not patient or like to spend their dollars on swanky decor. Definitely a place for fine craft beer lovers!

Photo of spointon
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

My wife and I took a cruise out of San Juan, and we stopped in here on our way back to check the place out.

Taberna Lupulo (Hop Tavern) is located at the intersection of two narrow streets that look more like alleys - it IS in Old San Juan after all. In fact if I didn't know the exact address I would have walked right past the place. Once inside, things got better fast.

Its only a small place, but it has a cozy atmosphere well suited to drinking craft beers. Because it was night time and all of the window shades were closed, at one point I joked to my wife that it looked like a party in the basement of some coll craft beer dude's house. There was a small bar and an even smaller kitchen behind a curtain next to the bar.

The guys running the place are true beer geeks and know their stuff. Whatever points I should deduct for their disorganization (it takes them a while to find the beers that you order as there seems to be no logic to how the coolers are loaded) they more than make up for in craft beer wisdom and helpful friendly conversation. The beer list is extensive, covering a good 3-4 pages and most every major beer style around. Most of the stuff was from the US, but I noted some quality British and Belgian beers on there too. I even got to try a beer new to me called "Grey Lady".

Prices were very fair for both beer and food. Speaking of food we had the pub fries and they were excellent.

All in all this is a great place. Granted its a craft beer oasis in the desert, but I would go here even if it was down the block from my house. Highly recommended!

Photo of mgoblue5743
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3

This place is great if you are in Puerto Rico and craving some great beer. They were out of a number of choices from their menu and served me a stout ice cold (literally ice chips in the beer), but this is the place to go if you are in town.

I am very glad I found this place. It's not like you'll find rarities or very special kegs, but a great place to find some staple craft beers in a location without many others.

The prices were very reasonable and the bartenders friendly.

The atmosphere was great too; filled with tourists and local lovers of beer. English music playing is a plus; overall had a great time.

Photo of ahalloin
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

This place is truly an oasis in a city swamped with Medalla light and other macro light beers. Found in beautiful Old San Juan on the SE corner of Calle del Sol and Calle del Cruz, this little place packs a ton of great beers. They claim to have about 130 beers, all in bottles. A nice touch is the have proper labeled glassware for a lot of things.

The atmosphere is very vibrant. When we walked in on a Friday at 8:30pm, the tables weren't quite full. In the next hour, though, the place was about as packed as it could be with standing room only.

The quality of the beers I sampled were quite good, although I didn't have any IPAs which is, for me, the tell tail sign as to whether a bar is getting fresh beer distributed to them. Proper labeled glassware for Piraat and Lindeman's Framboise was great to see.

The service was for the most part good. The guys that run the place know their beer and are happy to engage in some conversation about it unless they are busy serving others. Since the place is rather small, it isn't too difficult to go up to the bar and get what you want rather quickly. Just don't expect regular table service.

The selection was outstanding, even for a place in the states. No draught kind of stinks, but the bottle list was extensive and grouped by style of beer. They carried Bells, Rogue, Goose Island, Ballast Point, and a few others for US craft. From Belgium they had Chimay, Westmalle, Koningshoeven, Orval, Van Steenberge, and others.

I can't speak for the food since I didn't have any, but they seem to have a very small menu of available items.

The price was actually quite incredibly low considering everything had to come from sea or air. A typical bottle of domestic craft ran for less than $5, sometimes less than $4.

I highly recommend giving this place a try if you are in Puerto Rico. The owners are bringing craft beer to the Caribbean!

Photo of benzalman
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Great new beer bar in Old San Juan! There's fun artwork painted on the walls and origami hanging from the ceilings. The owners of the bar are always there and have been friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.

Their bottle selection has been very good so far with a mix of imported and american beer, probably close to 100 to choose from. They have a huge binder of beers that they are planning on getting for the bar when available from their distributor.

There also seems to be a significant effort to educate people who come into the bar. If you've never been to Puerto Rico, I can't emphasize enough that it's in essence a one beer culture: Medalla. Most people here aren't aware of craft beer. In my three visits to the bar so far, locals really seem interested in trying something different - including one patron enjoying his first Gulden Draak a bit too much. It was pretty cool to see.

It's a new bar, so I'm under the impression their selection will grow more over time. If you're looking for a craft beer bar in PR, this is it. Aside from being the only one on the island, it's all in all a fun, lively bar in the heart of Old San Juan.

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La Taberna Lúpulo in San Juan, Puerto Rico
93 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.