Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery
Active Beers: 27
Beer Ratings: 155
Beer Avg: 3.91
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 30
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 28 | Reviews: 16 | Show All Ratings:
3.84/5 rDev -7.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3 | $$
I really want this place to succeed. I love the concept behind the place. However, every time I go I am continually disappointed. The atmosphere and service are always good. The beer selection can be hit or miss. It depends largely on how many local brews they are selling. We have a booming beer scene in Austin, unfortunately, not all of our breweries make great beer. I've tried most of their house beers and nothing has been special, so far. The biggest problem I have with this place is the food. Everything I/my wife/my friends have tried has been below average.
Overall, I will still keep trying this place because I want the concept to work. However, for someone visiting Austin, if you are in the area, stop in for a beer, but eat some where else.
10-08-2013 16:22:26 | More by JamLand
4.06/5 rDev -2.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25 | $$
Other than there being nowhere to sit, this place was great. I had the Narcissus, Waterloo, & one of their wild sours, and, wow, they were amazing! The beers were great, the food was great, and I liked the overall atmosphere. Will visit again and recommend to my friends.
08-24-2013 16:46:08 | More by mwgroove23
4.38/5 rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75 | $$
Great place and concept. It's a Coop with a great following due to great beer in a newer developed part of Austin. If I lived in Austin this is where I would like to live. it's in the outskirt of Austin and is the future area to be. Service is great even on a busy day, food is cutting edge with the feel of great pub fare. Over all a great place. One on my favorite in Austin Texas second to Jester King.
08-06-2013 19:40:01 | More by Beertroop
3.83/5 rDev -7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5 | $$
A: Went on a mid-Saturday afternoon (7/27/13) with family, baby included. Nice mix of people; wasn't loud, but wasn't dead either. Good, mid-level din and exactly what you would expect for the time we visited. Decor was very modern brewpub-y, if that's a word. Clean look with good foot traffic flow.
Q: I had two draft beers and both were served at a what I guessed was upper 30's temp. Perfect. Food was freshly prepared and not frozen. Seating was comfortable.
Serv: This would be one of the few times I didn't chat up the "beer dudes" like a big nerd, but they were friendly taking orders and our food came out quickly. Usually, one line is for food and drink and the other is for beer only, which is clearly indicated by multiple signs. But, since there wasn't much of a line forming, the guys in either line would take a complete order of food and beer.
Sel: I'm guessing around 30 taps were available. They had about 6 or so house offerings, one of which is always a rotating cask selection. They also have a great mix of locals and other U.S. offerings. Didn't notice any macro or international offerings on draught. Growlers and bottles of house beers are available to go. Not sure if other beers are growler-filled.
F: We originally ordered the fried jalapenos, and our tongues like to have fell off. Seeds poured out of it, which I guess would be the culprit. However, the breading was great and they weren't greasy, just too much heat (which was on par with what an Indian restaurant would put 4 peppers next to on their menu). We then decided to get the mixed nuts and caramel bacon popcorn, both of which were much more palate friendly and $5 each. The others in our party ordered a cheese plate and were very impressed.
V: On par with what you would expect from the area and a brewpub. Most draught beers are $5-$6 and the food is reasonable.
Overall: Will be going again during non-peak hours, as it is family friendly and a mellow, but lively atmosphere. Prices are reasonable and selection is of great quality. Clean glassware and speedy service make this place another great brewpub in Austin. Didn't try any house beers this time, but look forward to doing so in the future.
07-29-2013 14:12:38 | More by videofrog
4.08/5 rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $
West Coast/Colorado tasting room atmosphere with decent tap selection and simple but good pub food.
Visited on a Friday for lunch. The crowds had not yet arrived, so it was easy to find a table. Very open industrial feel. Lots of glass and steel. Reminded me of some of the places I've been to in Colorado and So. Cal. Counter service only. I had a (house made) veggie burger with fries, both of which were much better than average. I am reluctant to rate the food higher, since what they offer is very simple pub fare. Same goes with the service, which was quick, friendly, and knowledgeable, but counter service nonetheless. Prices were very reasonable.
What I liked the most:
*Nice selection of on-site brews plus guest taps. Maybe twenty-five to thirty taps in all with 1/3 devoted to house beers.
*The atmosphere was inviting. When I lived in Longmont, I would regularly go to the Lefthand tasting room. This place gave me the same vibe (and has much better food).
*The coop business model.
What I liked the least:
*Parking was surprisingly hard to find for a Friday lunch. It's located in a mixed use development with most of the parking garage dedicated to residents. On while there were only about a dozen people at the Coop, and fewer people walking around the retail shops, I wound up on the third floor of the garage.
*The location. I live in South Austin.
What would get me to return?:
I'd love to return, but I'd have to do so at a time of day where it wouldn't take me an hour to get there. If it was in my neighborhood, I'd be there often.
07-20-2013 21:08:37 | More by LittleDon
4.6/5 rDev +10.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75 | $$
We have shot a few episode of Locapour at Black Star. If you would like to see what it is like to get your beer on there you can check out http://locapour.tv/austin/blackstarcoopvulcan or http://locapour.tv/austin/blackstarcoopelba
Black Star Co-op is a leader in the Austin craft beer scene. The cooperative ownership means that the members and patrons really care a lot about the quality of the beer brewed at "their pub."
I love the fact that the people who work at Black Star are so passionate about the beer and being a part of something special to the Austin beer community. It really comes across in their service.
Workers are paid well and there is NO TIPPING so reviewers should consider that when evaluating the price/value score.
There's no table service, you order at the counter. When you get there it might be best to order a pitcher or two beers to make sure you minimize time spent standing in line.
07-05-2013 21:50:27 | More by Locapour
3.49/5 rDev -15.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75 | $$
Went to Black Star on a beautiful spring-like day in January. As soon as you walk in you notice that this place is pretty unique - emphasized by the fact that it is the only brewery co-op in America. There are two lines when you walk in - the line to the left is for food; the line to the right is for beer.
We ordered a burger/fries and a cheese/snack plate. Both were very good. Bread was slightly stale on the snack plate but the burger was cooked and prepared nicely and the large fries were great. There are no waiters which is actually kind of nice b/c no one bothers you for anything. When you want another beer you walk back to the line at the front and order it.
A very nice beer choice with a lot of very good imports. I enjoyed a SixPoint Diesel stout and a Live Oaks Hefe; both were very enjoyable. I did not see a consolidated beer menu anywhere. It would have been helpful to see the menu. But, the beers were listed on chalkboards at the front in an easy-to-read format. They have a number of house brews but I didn't get a chance to try them.
This place has a outdoor picnic table area which is nice to drink/eat on. Only down side - it's next to a fairly busy street. There are two dart-boards inside which made the place pretty fun.
I definitely recommend this place. It is north of Austin so you don't have to deal with the crowds that are normally down on 6th street. Enjoy it!
01-26-2013 17:44:02 | More by AAG
4/5 rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Overall I really liked this place, I visited it for the first time while here in Austin, TX on business as a chance to socialize with my co-workers. The place had a cool vibe and there was music playing but not so loud as to effect conversation.
I found the staff/servers to be knowledgeable about the different beer offerings they had and helpful with a suggestion to some of my co-workers that are not as into craft beers. I like the process of going up to the counter to order and get beers whenever you are ready and not having to wait for a server to come by. I also can appreciate the no tipping policy.
I think the prices were pretty reasonable, we had a round of 5 beers for about $22.
We only tried a bit of the food but what we sampled was really good.
02-15-2012 03:10:06 | More by dbrauneis
4.7/5 rDev +13.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $
I’ve managed to visit Black Star almost every time I’ve been to Austin in the past year. Which is: not often, but enough times to get a good feel for the place. On my first time I was one of just a handful of folks in the place on a mid-week evening. The last visit happened to coincide (happy coincidence!) with their one-year anniversary and the place was completely packed.
Across the board this place is great. They have a no-tipping policy only because, as they are eager to inform, they are paid a living wage and benefits. How many places can boast of that? I’m not sure if this explains why all the worker-owners are amazingly friendly but I’ve yet to visit where I’ve had anything but incredible, welcoming service.
The beers I’ve had have all been interesting. Some worked, some didn’t, and a few really knocked it out of the park in my opinion. I’m glad to see them try some interesting and different things with their brews—like a hoppy dark ryePA or a California common (in Texas!).
Finally, while I tend to be critical of pub grub and brewery food for a number of reasons it’s primarily because if I’m drinking world-class beer I want food to match, especially for the (oftentimes) inflated prices I’m being charged. I’ve had dishes at beer destinations that were fantastic, and I’ve had meals that would have been sent back at the greasiest of greasy spoons. Black Star Co-Op falls firmly into the former, not the latter. On my last visit I had a grilled vegetable sandwich that has, upon reflection and about a month’s passage of time, entered the Parthenon of good food experiences. The bread was grilled and charred with just the right balance between toasty crunch and smoky burn, topped with a series of veggies equally flavorful and filling. I have been to few vegetarian-friendly places that get their grilled veggies this good, and the last time I was at a burger joint/bbq place that had something comparable was almost a decade ago. So my praise is not given lightly.
Thank you, Black Star. Here’s to many more years of welcoming service, fantastic food, and great beer!
12-28-2011 04:54:13 | More by elNopalero
4.83/5 rDev +16.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
These guys are awesome, my girlfriend and I absolutely love this place. After having some bad experiences at Draught House (they have good beer sometimes but their staff are very unpleasant) we have decided to make Black Star our new go-to bar.
The location is not the best, but the building is new and the atmosphere is clean and roomy. They seem to have gotten some flak in the past for their decor, but I think it's perfectly fine and the layout is really well thought out--I like the end-to-end bar, the dart board area, the outdoor tables, the comfy chairs in the corner.
The beers they brew are decent. I must admit that I'm not a fan of a lot of them, but I think the brewer might still be learning and figuring out where he wants to go with their offerings. I've ordered their most recent beer, Epsilon which is a Scottish Red aged in peat barrels, a couple of times now, it's a great beer and I think it marks a turning point for their beers. I'm excited to see where they go next.
The service is just awesome. I think they have one of the best wait staffs out there and they don't accept tips. On the surface this may seem peculiar and downright insulting to their employees, but they say that it is because all employees are paid a "living wage." I'm not sure what this entails but I do know that every person who works there is incredibly friendly and helpful and they all seem to enjoy their jobs.
As a consumer I couldn't be happier about this arrangement, it's genius. One of the biggest drawbacks for me with bars is that you have to tip after every beer served, regardless of the friendliness of the bartender or the amount of effort it took (objectively it's just not that hard to pour a beer, certainly not as hard as carrying plates of food to and from people in a busy restaurant). Since they have done away with this, I am more than happy to pay more, but from what I can tell it seems that this hasn't really impacted price. Not sure how they do this magic but I love it. If I ran a bar, I would steal this idea, it's just such a good policy.
The non-Black Star beer selection is pretty good, I can usually count on them to get what little rare stuff there is in TX and because this place is less popular than Draught House or Whip-In, they almost always have the special on for more than a day. I sampled Pumpkinator on three different days before they ran out of it, so great.
Then there's the food. The food is some of the best in town. I've never had a bad meal there--ever. I've tried pretty much everything on their menu and everything, from appetizers and snacks to main course and dessert are fantastic. They have a very talented chef back there and it's always exciting to see what their special is. I almost never order off the menu anymore, the specials are that good. And they make some of the best ice cream in Austin, often out of the beers they have on tap (like a New Belgium Kick sorbet, awesome). The best flavor I've had by them was a honey ice cream with Stilton cheese chunks, so f-ing good.
Anyway you just can't beat the value of this place, great beer, great food, great service and I've never walked out of there having spent more than $40 for dinner for two, multiple beers and dessert. That it's a bargain is just an added bonus though, because everything about the experience is great, we've started going here once a week, we're hoping we get on a first name basis with everyone there, it could become our Cheers!
11-11-2011 15:45:00 | More by nickhiller
Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery in Austin, TX
92 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.