Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Star Co-op Pub & BreweryBlack Star Co-op Pub & Brewery
BEER AVG
3.72/5
Based on:
41 Beers
263 Ratings
Place Score: 93
Ratings: 57
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: n/a
Taps: 26
Bottles: 30
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

7020 Easy Wind Drive, Suite 100
Austin, Texas, 78752
United States
phone: (512) 452-2337

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @blackstarcoop

Notes:
Place added by: MEsquandoles on 12-09-2010

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 57 | Reviews: 20
Reviews by wagenvolks:
Photo of wagenvolks
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Black Star Co-op was in the planning stages for what seemed like forever. And, needless to say, it has been worth the wait.

The pub itself opens up with a modern/industrial look, high-ceilings and clean lines around the bar area. Great lighting, too, and while the voices can get loud when the Co-op is packed, it never reaches an intolerable level. Quality is top-notch, and I have a feeling the kegs and tap-lines are regularly monitored for freshness.

The service is a tricky category to rate, as Black Star has its ordering procedure set up similar to the Draught House in which you wait in a (often long) line, order, then take a seat with a number. If you want another beer while you're eating, you usually have to get back in line while your food gets cold. Plus, the cooked-to-order food comes out at different times which can make things awkward for larger parties. Still, I tend to prefer my food that way--piping hot and served when it's ready. And the food at Black Star is nothing short of spectacular for 'pub grub' (if you can call it that). Great variety of high quality snacks (cheese/meat plates, beer-nut toffee, etc.) and the food I've had has been excellent (try the fish and chips!).

Selection is a well thought-out lineup of mostly Texas taps, and Black Star currently is rotating through their house-made beers (only had the Vulcan at this point, which was pretty good). They also have several bottles you can buy.

The prices are somewhat steep for food, and beer is more expensive than other places, but for good reason: the workers are paid well enough that Black Star does not accept tips. So if you factor in ~$1 tip for beer, it all works out.

Bottom line: one of my favorite new places to get a pint in Austin. Kind of wish I had become a member earlier on in the founding of this place...

More User Reviews:
Photo of mschantz
4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Yes Black Star is a coop in a sometime tragically hip town - but it is a very welcoming stop for a decidedly middle aged beer geek. 8 solid in-house beers and 18 quality guest taps means anyone can find a worthwhile beer on draft. In addition the kitchen cranks out high value high quality food. The only non-positive thing I can come up with is that the servers have a decent amount of beer knowledge but may not stand up to the geekiest BA folks and frankly I am not sure if that is on BS or the BA folks. There is an outdoor patio for nice days and a decent amount of indoor seating for hot Austin nights. Craziest thing - as a coop they won't take tips. A definite must have stop of beer lovers while in Austin.

Photo of Realbeerguy
2/5  rDev -52.2%

Before I start let me say this is place was high on my list and I have been here several time and loved it however the last 3 times I have been here I have notice a decline in customer service, food quality, and beer selection. I live by the 3 strike rule and that is why I will not be coming back to Blackstar.

I went on a date recently and we decided to stop in and eat and it was a Thursday night not very crowed and the first thing I noticed was a limited beer selection alomst half of the taps were empty and when I asked about it the cashier replied with a rude "this is all we have" so I had a beer that was clearly marked as a full pour but only received a half pour so again I questioned the cashier and she replied "the sign is wrong". Then we get our cold food and my chicken tasted burnt or like they don't clean their grill very often it was so bad I could not finish nor could I have had something else because it ruined my appetite and when I finally found someone to complain to the guy said "nobody else is complaining" and that pretty much did it for me with this place

I really hoped they could turn it around but I think their pay scale living wage thing is starting to wear on the employees because they don't get tips which they probably make less money working here because of that and it seems like nobody gives a shit anymore.

Photo of JDV
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
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!

Photo of utfiero
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

Photo of JamLand
3.84/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

Photo of mwgroove23
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Photo of Beertroop
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of videofrog
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Photo of LittleDon
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of Locapour
4.6/5  rDev +10%
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.

Pro Tip:

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.

Photo of AAG
3.49/5  rDev -16.5%
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!

Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Photo of elNopalero
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
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!

Photo of nickhiller
4.83/5  rDev +15.6%
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!

Photo of jhimstedt
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

I have to say first off that I haven't been since their beers have been available, but visited multiple times over the first 4 months it was open.

Nice and clean layout, slightly modern but not pretentious. Location isn't the most awesome but the inside seating is wide open with tall ceilings...alot of wood and steel and great outdoor seating as well.

Small tap list but always something there I wanted to drink. Small bottle selection...nothing too crazy but solid.

The staff are great. Good happy people serving up good beers. Overall quite informed and helpful if you need it and very pleasant and relaxed feel largely due to the service folk.

The food puts most brewpubs to shame. Great menu of locally sourced stuff and even some pickled items made in house. Good meat and cheese plates, and the bacon toffee is a must to finish the night out. Prob the first brewpub i've been to that seems to have put as much attention in the food as the beers.

Definite place to hit if you're in austin or passing thru.

Photo of Dster
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

We went there last night and were very impressed. The beers were good; I think the Vulcan was the best. They also had a seasonal brown named after proposition 660 to allow brewpubs to distribute and breweries to sell beer on premise. If you live in Texas you should get behind this one.

The food was all locally sourced. I mean if you were going to order lamb, for instance, you would know the ranch they sourced it from.

If you have not been to pubs in Europe, the set up could seem wierd at first. You know, there is no table service and no tipping. But the workers were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
But on the other hand, I enjoy not having to wait on a waitress to come back. If you want water, get up and get it.

Photo of champ103
3.18/5  rDev -23.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I love the idea of a Co-op brewpub, but the execution needs some work. As I walk in there is a line out the door, and every table was full. No big deal, it is a Friday night. The building has that sterile, or industrial kind of feel to it. I think it is intentional, kind of a hip thing I guess. All the tables, chairs, and stools look like they were bought at Pier One though. There is a concrete patio outside as well. I was lucky to find a seat at the bar. Though it was right by the cash register, and I had to share elbow space with everyone else trying to order.

There is no table service, just get in line and order. They do not wait, so you better know what beers you want and what you want to eat the moment your turn comes. It seems like they try to shuffle as many people in and out as quick as possible. Which is annoying to me.

I had a pulled pork sandwich. I enjoyed it. Nothing special, but filling and good.

The beers are mostly standard. A pale ale (that was out), amber, IPA, and stout. After trying the house beers, I think I would be happier with the other local options they have instead. I do like that they have a bunch of other local Texas beers as well. I was just unimpressed with their beers. Nothing bad, just bland. The quality was not very good for me. They need to get some of the yeast out of the beer. Literally, I could of scooped the chunky yeast out of some of the beers with a spoon. The one other non house beer I had (the new Circle Brewery) just tasted off as well.

I get that a Co-op is going to be run a little different. Though this place was just to much of a hassle for me to go back.

Photo of tdawgydog
4/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Last night in Austin this was one of the last places we wanted to visit. It was a little difficult to find but once there everything else was great.

It's a co-op so it's run a litlte different than your typical resto. When you walk in, you have to find a seat for yourself. It was pretty full on the night we were there so we ended up sitting at the bar which was just fine with us. There is no table service so you place your order at the bar and they bring your food out to you. Food was excellent, my buddy had the chili burger which looked great, I went with the bar steak which was a little undercooked (asked for it medium - well, I explained I'm from the North and don't like my meat still moo-ing) but the fries were awesome and they more than made up for the slightly pink steak.

As for the beer, this was a mixed bag. I'll cut them some slack since they just opened. I had 3 of their home brewed offerings, one of them (the High-Esteem) was quite a bit off. The bar tender explained to us that the PH was a little off in the initial brew so they tried to compensate after the fact. Not sure I would serve this stuff to customers but the honesty was more than welcome. They did provide a sample of the Double Dee to compensate and the other home brews that we had were very well done. To complement their own brew offerings they have a well versed tap list (at least 20 micro's) with plenty of great brews to be had.

At the end of the night we got our check and there was no place for us to leave a tip. The waitress informed us that since they are a co-op they don't accept tips. Their loss I guess. I would def frequent a place like this if I lived in the area.

Photo of UTCengOwl
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

My first brewpub review. Huzzah!

Black Star is a wonderful place. They have a great selection of local and interesting national brews on tap. They had some Ranger Creek, (512) and Jester King on tap when I've been there... which is amazing. They also had a cask of Independence Convict Hill tonight with some extra coffee beans and coconut. Who's gonna complain about that? They also keep a nice national selection of IPAs, RIS and the occasional sour on tap.

The house beers are just coming out, but they're still impressive. I had a sample of the Low Esteem and it was interesting and well balanced. I'll be looking forward to their more experimental brews.

The food selections are good and reasonably priced. Vie had the pulled pork sandwich and a cheese plate there and both were quite tasty nd impressively laid out.

All being said, I've been really impressed by Black Star and I think I'm going to be there a lot next semester.

Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery in Austin, TX
93 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.