Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery
Active Beers: 39
Beer Ratings: 194
Beer Avg: 3.92
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 30
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 42 | Reviews: 18 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by nickhiller:
4.83/5 rDev +15.3%
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
More User Reviews:
4.38/5 rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25 | $$
Came with the wife a couple weeks ago, and we had a great time here. The house beers were better than expected, and I enjoyed every one of them that I had on the sampler. Everything was clean, fresh and very drinkable and they have a very nice list of guest beers on tap as well.
My wife ordered the grilled cheese sandwich made with fresh baked bread from Easy Tiger bakery in town and served with homemade fries which were awesome! Overall, a cool and inviting environment with a smallish menu with well prepared food and great beers. Definitely worth a visit!
06-12-2014 17:54:45 | More by JDV
3.88/5 rDev -7.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $
I like the vibe of Black Star. I used to ride the commuter rail and would pop in for a pint between trains.
The beer is great. I love Vulcan IPA and several others. Growler fills are available too.
The atmosphere is Austin-industrial. The staff and vibe remind me of a communist commune a little; the staff doesn't accept tips and the place is closed on May 1, International Labor Day. The food is decent, but the last time I had a burger it was really overcooked and dry. The service is a bit slow, but what do you expect from employees who don't care about tips.
06-08-2014 16:03:16 | More by utfiero
Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery in Austin, TX
93 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.