1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

The Birch

Not Rated.
The BirchThe Birch
BA SCORE
100
world-class

34 Ratings
Ratings: 34
Reviews: 23
rAvg: 4.7
pDev: 6.17%
Taps: 22
Bottles: 100
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1231 W Olney Rd
Norfolk, Virginia, 23507-1314
United States
phone: (757) 962-5400

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @thebirchbar

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: DoctorB2B on 01-03-2011)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 34 | Reviews: 23 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ThomWade
4.34/5  rDev -7.7%

Above average atmosphere, product selection, and service make this a Class A establishment. Locating this beer bar in out of the way West Ghent in Norfolk Virginia was a great decision; a unique location for a unique bar. The owners are very knowledgable and ready to share their insights and recommendations about the well rounded selections.

ThomWade, Mar 16, 2013
Photo of abenf
4.31/5  rDev -8.3%

Norfolk doesn't deserve The Birch. It's a bar for the sake of beer and they don't take that lightly. The selection is crazy and the people are super friendly/helpful/attentive. The food is pricey nuts and cheese and not much else, but then you're not going here for the food. Especially great that it's next door to Tortilla West so that after you're done giving your wallet a work out with premium beer you can go and give it a break with some Tecate while eating insane nachos.

abenf, Jan 17, 2013
Photo of porknwhiskey
4.8/5  rDev +2.1%

Had to work in Norfolk for a few days and did a search for "beer bars" in town. I knew when I checked out their list I was going to have to spend some time there. When I arrived the staff / owners were extremely friendly and engaged me to find out my likes. After that it was a non stop string of suggestions (sours mostly because damn I love 'em) that all hit home. Their list is pretty euro-centric but they also had some american craft beers. Lots of Belgian and Italian selections including a number of sours the night I was in. I picked up a few bottles before I left of extremely hard to find beers. Definitely one of my favorite beer bars. They had a light food menu but it appears there's always a food truck right outside, which the night I was there also rocked. I highly recommend making a detour to go here.

porknwhiskey, Oct 08, 2012
Photo of Hanzo
4.84/5  rDev +3%

Visited last night for a taste of Parabola. Atmosphere is excellent, very laid back, relaxed and welcoming vibe. Fantastic selection of beers in both bottle and on tap. Beers are served in proper glassware and the service is top notch with a polite check in every ten min or so as I sipped on my delicious beverage.

The prices were a tad high in my opinion but that will not stop me from coming back. I highly recommend this place if you happen to be in Norfolk and are looking for a fantastic beer bar.

My only suggestion is to expand the food section a bit, would have been nice to have something besides grilled cheese to appease the wife though she did love her "craft" ginger ale she had.

Hanzo, Jun 07, 2012
Photo of FenwaySquid
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Stopped in a few weeks ago but the visit is still etched into my mind. This is easily one of the coolest bars I've ever visited.

The atmosphere was great. No tv's blaring out sporting events (which normally I'd love) or loud music. Overall it was quiet and inviting, the decor inside was perfect. I felt like I'd be comfortable hanging out there for a while.

Service was fantastic. The guy working the bar (I think the owner) was quick and obviously knew his stuff and was ready to offer recommendations.

The selection is world class. I don't know of any other establishment with that many beers available. It's also the first bar I've ever seen without a typical swill tap (pbr, bud light, etc.) to help pay the bills. The only knock I can find is it's lacking a little as far as session beers. Most everything's high ABV, which makes having more than 1 or 2 risky if you've got to drive.

I didn't try any food, but the menu's pretty small. Grilled cheese sandwiches, soft pretzels, or cheese boards. They've got quite the selection of gourmet if you're into that kind o thing.

For value it is a little pricey. I don't think I saw any bottles or drafts for less than $5, and most were more than that. But in the end it's all worth it.

Overall, like I said at the top this is one of the coolest bars I've ever visited, period. I loved the atmosphere and the selection is insane. I do wish they'd get some more low gravity stuff and expand the kitchen. Then again, if it's not broken, don't fix it, right?

Bottom line, if you're in the Hampton Roads area you need to find your way over and check this place out.

FenwaySquid, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of Anyportinastorm
4.9/5  rDev +4.3%

I've recently moved away from the Hampton Roads area and I would like to say that the Birch was somewhat of a light in the darkness for me.

Living in a predominantly military area it can be excruciatingly difficult to find a watering hole that's as comfortable and pleasant. The ambiance truly is one of a kind of the Norfolk area and the eclectic music selection is always interesting at the worst. It's always nice to get away from the Navy or ODU bars for a change.

Ben and Malia do a wonderful job of keeping their patrons satisfied with their wealth of knowledge of what they're selling. The rest of the staff is surprisingly knowledgeable about the selection and if they can't answer a question they tend to find the answer quickly.

The selection is impeccable. There isn't really anything else to be said.

As far as I know the food is very good. I've only ever had the grilled cheese sandwich, cheese boards and some mixed nuts. It's not often that you find such a small a place on the East Coast that serves sandwiches on sourdough, so that is a major plus in my book. They also serve soft pretzels and popcorn that always smell great.

All in all, at the Birch you get what you pay for. If I ever return to Norfolk I'll be sure to be a regular customer again. Especially if they keep that Faro.

Anyportinastorm, Sep 30, 2011
Photo of KalH
4.63/5  rDev -1.5%

Can't tell you how exciting it was to finally get a craft beer bar in the Norfolk area of Virginia. Its something that has been long overdue, and in January, our patience was rewarded with The Birch.

Having frequented The Birch since its opening day, all I have to say are good things about this place. Its an inviting environment with an incredible selection of craft beer on tap and best of all - great owners. The duo who run The Birch are some of the best people I've ever met and have continually been nothing but great to the guests who have come in. Its refreshing to see owners that take pride in their establishment and you can tell that they really put their heart and soul into being the best.

Their knowledge, along with their staffs, is exceptional and you'll find an ever growing variety of new selections both on-tap and in the bottle. You'll find that rare beers make there way on-tap pretty often and a cask of something worth trying. There is really something for everyone here whether your a craft beer enthusiast or new to the world of beer. The prices are a bit high though.

Highly recommend this place if you are ever in the Norfolk area and make sure you get a growler filled while you're there!

KalH, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of kindacold
4.9/5  rDev +4.3%

I started going here about 6 weeks ago, and I have consistently been impressed. Every week, they have a fresh beer menu that is just phenomenal. As some people have stated, the beers here are not cheap...but you don't come to this place to get plastered, you come to enjoy beer.

That's what is so unique about this place...it's a beer bar. They have a bit of food they serve...amazing grilled cheese, some bar food, pb&j...but their cheese plates are outstanding.

Some of the beers you get here just cannot be found anywhere else in VA, and that includes near DC.

The owners are very friendly and knowledgeable, as well as the wait staff. If you don't know what to order (and with so many uncommon and rare beers, this is a common occurrence), the staff there will be able to help you along.

If you haven't tried this place, I highly recommend it. You won't regret it.

kindacold, Jul 07, 2011
Photo of abrahm
4.8/5  rDev +2.1%

After chasing beers for years in Hampton Roads, I was lucky to stumble upon this place. On Jan 3 2011, I wandered next door from my favorite watering hole to discover The Birch, and I have been a regular ever since. The atmosphere is wonderful. There is no shortage of chairs. There are no TVs. The background music is great. The lighting is almost perfect - I only wish I could turn up the lighting for a moment to take a better look at some beers before I drank them. The beer selection is daunting, fresh, and never the same. Virginia's distributors are the only thing holding this place back. The proprietors genuinely love beer. The beer is served in appropriate glassware. The atmosphere is friendly and inclusive. And to top it all off, you can buy beer to go before midnight.

I'm not going to say this place changed my life, but this place is certainly responsible for launching me on a journey to discover beer and what beer can be.

abrahm, May 27, 2011
Photo of clayrock81
4.36/5  rDev -7.2%

I'm trying to temper my review so I don't make this sound like beer-ven on earth, but damn what a cool spot. I'll start w/ the cons - can get crowded quickly due to rising popularity and smallness, and a few beers are gonna set you back. However, those are trivial complaints. If you're from out of town and visiting hit this spot for the basics, they gave a large selection of taps and bottles and there will be diamonds in the rough for most BA'ers. Now what seperates this beer bars from others in the area that make it a must-go for locals and tourists alike? First the serivce - the servers walk around the place rather than maintain a few table so I had 3 servers BS w/ me (knowledgeable and friendly) and never was left w/ an empty glass. Second, the vibe - no TVs or shitty music here; they have laid back music in the background w/ soft lighting and everyone is close so it's a communal, tightknit effect that doesn't create a zombie atmosphere (just go to a beer bar where everyone watches sports or can't hear b/c of music). Also, unlike other beer bars around here, this place has two things going for it that make it top notch to me. They keep their selection up-to-date as possible so much that I saw a server erase the draft list (on chalk board) and write a new one - that never happens at the Tap Houses or Bier Garden. And unlike those places that will serve wine or crap beer to cater to all comers (and the BG seems to get a lot of people who order generic German beer (at least what I've seen)), this was truly a beer community. Men, women, young, old - were all trying really good and diverse beers from approriate glassware (another +). Never seen that in other beer bars around here. In conclusion, check this place out (and next time I go I'll try a cheese board).

clayrock81, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of Geuzedad
4.86/5  rDev +3.4%

Just got introduced to this place by my son. To say I was totally blown away would be an understatement. The atmosphere was perfect, great music, no rowdy crowds, well lit, and great patrons enjoying great beer. Next were the owners Ben and Malia. Two wonderful people who's knowledge of beer is amazing. They are both very friendly and inviting and make sure your experience is superb. Next were the beers. What an amazing assortment. Something for every taste and a selection like none I have seen anywhere else in the Tidewater area. If your looking for a great experience and the opportunity to sample some of the best hard to find beers then the Birch is for you!

Geuzedad, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of DoctorB2B
5/5  rDev +6.4%

The best place to go in Hampton Roads for craft beer on tap. The taps rotate on a near-nightly basis from one outstanding beer to the next. Opening day they showed what was to come when they had Firestone Walker 14 on tap ... I mean who else around here can say that? As far as I know, no one.

The bottle selection is just as nice. A couple of weeks ago, I split a bottle of Ola Dubh Reserve 30. Again, who else around here can say that? No one.

The rare beers are here to stay (relatively speaking anyway, because they sell out quickly).

I haven't had the food so I can't speak to it, but they offer different cheese to pair with many of the beers as well as an adult grilled cheese that I've been told is AMAZING!

I've been there since day one, and I'll be there until I leave this place.

DoctorB2B, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of galengueuze
4.63/5  rDev -1.5%

The Birch just opened up the first of this year and it's been having a great run so far. I really like the whole atmosphere from the music to the lighting. The draft list is impressive for a bar in Norfolk, usually always 21 beers on tap, and their planning on always having a beer on cask. The bottle list is nice as well, not sure how many are stocked but looks like a great selection. Everyone there is friendly and even under pressure they still take care of you. I would recommend to anyone looking for an alternative to Cogan's or Taphouse. I went almost everyday last week and each time was worth it! The Birch is a welcome addition to the area and promises to be the new craft beer spot for Hampton Roads.

galengueuze, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of electricbrewer
4.6/5  rDev -2.1%

Just opened in the Norfolk/Ghent area. I walked by this place a many of times wondering...what is it? Now I know, this place is the best beer bar in Norfolk... and they have only been open a short time. Other places in the Hampton Roads area struggle to have a beer list so diverse as this one.

I was very impressed by the assortment of styles. This place has a beer for every style, and not just any beer, but exceptional examples of the style. I mean Mikkellar on tap!?!?!? I don't think the other places in town even know who Mikkellar is and the fine beers they make.

Look out for this place, it's going to be the beer place to be in Hampton Roads.

I can't wait to go back... and it's adjacent to tortilla west. 0.75 cent tacos monday and teusday nights.... awesome beer selection next door! Oh man, I'm getting thirsty....

electricbrewer, Jan 05, 2011
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
The Birch in Norfolk, VA
100 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.