Taps: 20 / Bottles: 32
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 52 | Reviews: 42 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by augustgarage:
3.83/5 rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Nestled among the countless yoga clubs, salons, overpriced coffee shops, and affluent organic knick-knack emporiums on Main Street, heading into Venice you'll find this posh yet cozy neighborhood bar. Large windows along the front make for great people watching if you can snag one of the few stools lined up there - otherwise you can either sit at the bar, one of the small tables running parallel to the bar, or one of the large tables out in the heated patio in back. Tea-candles add a nice touch to every table - and everything is kept quite clean (well, except for the restrooms which are average). In the front, the narrow orientation of the bar and tables makes for a tight fit, and the volume both here and especially on the patio can be overwhelming even before the crowds descend.
Though the focus is ostensibly on the beer, I think of this as a restaurant first. Entrees and appetizers are mostly pretty healthy, ingredients are pretty fresh, and portions are generous. Lots of seafood, salads, burgers, tacos, etc. On the other hand, the quality of preparation is lacking and the overall eating experience is mediocre. They do many dishes adequately, but none of them well. That said, it is kind of cool to be able to order a side of grilled asparagus or soup of the day rather than poppers or your standard bar fare...
Most beers seem to be selected for how well they will pair with a meal, and they tend to over-emphasize lighter brews - none the less, the tap selection, while it doesn't rotate too frequently, is pretty good. The focus tends to be towards Northern California brewers rather than those from SoCal: Mad River, Bear Republic, North Coast, Lost Coast, Anderson Valley, Sierra Nevada, etc. - though currently they have Alpine Nelson and Stone Pale Ale as well. They have a few Belgian beers on tap (Chimay White, Leffe, Hoegarden), usually one or two Hefeweizens, and a small bottle list. Prices are OK on bottles, but not great considering the selection is nothing you can't pick up at most Whole Foods locations for considerably less money (e.g. Lindemans, Duvel, Orval, Rochefort 8 and 10, etc). Their domestic bottle list seems to be growing though...
Service is usually friendly but always slow - beer knowledge is variable. After coming here several times alone or as part of a group, my general memory of server's attitudes is rushed and/or "apologetic." I'm frequently asked "how you doing?" before I've gotten half way through my beer, and then ignored for 20 minutes after I've drained my glass. I would suggest avoiding this place if you have less than an hour to spare.
Happy hour prices are great ($3.50 for most pints, plus tax, though be sure to ask as they don't print prices on their tap menu for some reason), especially for the area. A decent place, but one I usually only go to if I have an errand to run in the immediate vicinity and need to kill some time before-hand.
EDIT: The selection seems to be improving as they regularly have at least one interesting beer on their special taps menu (yesterday they had The Abyss and Blind Pig on at once).
11-18-2009 18:28:56 | More by augustgarage
More User Reviews:
4.46/5 rDev +8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75 | $$
I think this is the best beer bar in the Venice/South Santa Monica Area.
Awesome portions of food for what youre paying for.
Knowledgeable staff, bartender will chat you up about beer if time allows him to do so.
Only like 18 handles but still all craft and their beer buyer is on point.
Sitting at a table servers can be slow, but on a busy night that is to be expected.
Few Tv's... i guess hipsters dont like sports :(
04-01-2014 18:30:46 | More by Kyle_Darr
Library Alehouse in Santa Monica, CA
92 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.