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The Shepherd & The Knucklehead Pub

Not Rated.
The Shepherd & The Knucklehead PubThe Shepherd & The Knucklehead Pub
BA SCORE
99
world-class

57 Ratings
Ratings: 57
Reviews: 44
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: n/a
Taps: 90
Bottles: --
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

529 Belmont Ave
Haledon, New Jersey, 07508-1627
United States
phone: (973) 942-8666

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @theshep_

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Ratings: 57 | Reviews: 44
Reviews by donniecuffs:
Photo of donniecuffs
4.74/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

The vibe, if anything, is eclectic at this little gem. The jukebox has everything from Pink Floyd to the Pixies to the Stooges, while a picture of 'patron saint' Jack Kerouac surveys the floor, which has a dartboard wedged in the back and a bookshelf filled with boardgames. The scene varies from local college kids trying to look smart, to older, more laid-back beer geeks. The bartenders are both knowledgeable and friendly.The biggest knock on the place is that it is the size of a closet, which is fine in the afternoon, but really annoying on crowded nights. The last visit saw Stone Cali-Belgie and Oaked Arrogant Bastard on tap, in addition to a beer selection that featured some Ballast Point, Allagash, some Lambics, and a cider. Pretty impressive, but I was in fact annoyed by the fact that I payed $5 for only an 8oz glass of the Stone offerings, so I'm more than compelled to say that it was a little pricey. I believe there were approximately 20taps, and each one was impressive. They don't have a kitchen, but there was a friendly young owner of a nearby Italian deli/restaurant that was running back/forth delivering take-out, so the access to good food is certainly there.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Will_Rivera
4.98/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

One of the best beer spots around period

Photo of 27Tripping
5/5  rDev +9.9%

If you're anywhere near Haledon NJ I cannot recommend this fine pub enough!
Selection: Overwhelming! Whatta tap list! Mamma Mia!
Food: Veggie Spring Rolls, Mac & Cheese was last night's choice. Outstanding.
Great vibe, great people, extremely good 1st impression.

Photo of DrRambis
3.93/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 2 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Visited for the first time after hearing many good things so expectations were high. Place is definitely inconspicuous and mostly just street parking. By just looking you would never think they have about 90 beers on tap. Upon entering you would also say the same thing until you actually look at the bar taps. Hard to believe they can squeeze so much into a tiny space. There are two bars there...a small bar with a pool table and a little more space and then the bigger bar with much less room and a couple small cafe style tables and two booth style tables. Place is dark and blasts pretty terrible music (imo) so the ambiance is reminiscent of a collage town dive bar. When I went (around 8 thirty) it was busy but not at all packed, basically a butt in very seat. Didn't appear there was anyone to greet you or take you to a table, you just fend for yourself. Had to flag someone down several times just to put in an order, so essentially we didn't have a waiter, which would be fine if it was just a bar but it seems they are trying to cross the line into a gastropub. That being said everyone there was very helpful...The service issues seem to be born more out of form than function. The food came out quickly and mine was delicious (pork pouttine) although my friends chicken fajita wrap was a greasy mess.

OK the beer, duh that's what yall care about and same goes for me. Absolutely no complaints...There were a ton of great beers to be had, they all tasted fresh. Nothing crazy limited but the variery alone was fantastic and i know they do tap rarer kegs w some regularity. But there are no craft imatators or macro crap taking up any tap space so thats a huge plus. Very much liked the number of carton and kane beer on tap...represent NJ! Would certainly come back again...maybe when its not so busy so i can actually get a seat at the bar and not have to deal with the awkward waiter setup. All in all it was a pleasant experience.

Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.58/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Great spot with an incredible selection. And the food is top-notch. The only negative thing I can say about this bar is that I've ordered several beers that kicked in the middle of my pour. On the bright side, I got those half-full beers for free.

Beware of hipsters...

Photo of Cfeezy
4.75/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Great place in the burbs right on Belmont ave, where one may not be expecting to come across such a quality establishment to get a quality beer. Love the selection on tap and the shep has everything else you could need without any additional frills. The food is spot on for bar food. Recommended for sure.

Photo of NYR2
4.61/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

This place can certainly be considered Mecca, Eden, Utopia, Narnia, etc., for this area. They have 70 plus craft beers on tap and a menu to accompany the selection. I had been wanting to visit for some time and finally got there last weekend. I will be going back very soon. The selection is ridiculous, the service was on point, and although I only got a simple snack of chicken fingers, it was tasty and from what I could tell the other people in my party enjoyed their food.

As the night went on the crowd changed a bit from a "family like" atmosphere to hipsters, but with William Paterson University up the road I guess that's to be expected. Either way, it didn't take away from the selection of beer. Also, they are constantly changing their taps so I will be back soon to see what is new.

Highly recommended!

Photo of PeterLPeter086
5/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Awesome experience the other night. This is a great place to have a steak and sip on some great craft beers. I saw a decent mix of individuals there that night. Mostly couples and families eating dinner, but as the night grew later the crowd got significantly younger (reminded me of myself in the good old days). I will definitely be back and have already recommended it to several of my co-workers and their wives. Pool table is a plus! If I had to list a negative it would have to be the parking but the good thing is there is plenty of room on the streets parallel to the bar.

Photo of JHS123
4.85/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

Amazing place and great bartenders. Sasha and Joe. Ironically Joe's dad Chris the owner of this amazing bar created the Create your own 6 Pack which makes him a Nobel Laureate plus if you Google him he's got a book the Shepherd and the Knucklehead... Bar was a pre-event stop for a couple of brews and this place does not disappoint. Its 100% Craft Beers of Substance not one of the taps held any poisons like Bud, Coors, etc. Choices included diverse mix of Southern Tier including the Warlock, the last keg of Victory Hop Wallop and their beer of the day was the Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin.

Were I not headed to an event I would have stayed and enjoyed what appeared to be exceptional craft foods in a Gastro pub setting without the pretense.

This is the type of place I might actually make a trip around. They could use a hotel in Haledon within walking distance to make this one of the great craft bars and pubs in the East. I wish them the best as its top tier.

Good luck from a Knucklehead...

Photo of Skibum211
4.21/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

This used to be a hole in the wall, but they have expanded. The beer selection has always been fantastic! I used to meet a lot of friends from town here when I lived back in NJ. This place opened up my world to beer! They are always having beer events with breweries! They support local breweries, and have the best selection of craft beer in the area!

Photo of Brewlvr27
4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This is hands-down my favorite craft bar in North Jersey. I've been here several times and always had great experiences. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and down to earth. This isn't a bar for pretentious posturing, but rather a place for the dedicated beer fan to sample many great beers. I mean, c'mon, 90 taps with nary a macro in sight? Perfect. I've spoken with both the owner and the owner's son, not because I had a complaint, but because they take care of their customers and actually listen to feedback to continue improving their offerings.

Beers are constantly changing so there's always something new to discover here. If you're in need of a growler fill, they got you covered. Sampler flights are also available, which is good for me, since I often want to try 4-8 brews when I visit. The food menu could stand to be a bit bigger, but what they do offer they make well, and certainly helps soak up some of the booze from all the beers you'll want to try there.

The atmosphere is low-key and focused on the beers and the company you're with (if you're not solo). Overall, this is a fantastic establishment.

Photo of abcdefghijkyle
4.8/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

This is easily the best craft brew place I've been to. It was also the place that gave me my introduction to good beers. Some of the usual suspects they have there are Bluepoint, Founder's, Carton, Kane, Allagash, Bear Republic, Rogue, Terrapin, etc.

They recently underwent renovations to make it bigger and they turned the place next door into the kitchen. It's definitely changed the atmosphere to being a bit more impersonal but on nights that you would've been packed like a sardine in the old the Shep, you're thankful that there's a ton more space... not to mention 50-60 beers to choose from.

Photo of PTSacco
5/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Chris, the owner, has recently improved The Shepherd and the Knucklehead by adding a steak house directly adjacent to what already has a near legendary status in the beer pouring world.

Now you can enjoy great food including fare not often found anywhere but among the most high-end eateries alongside their as many as 50 craft brews - many nearly impossible to find.

The impeccably knowledgeable staff has spent the time to learn my tastes to make recommendations on selections that I might enjoy.

S&K is not just an experience not to be missed. Hopefully you are lucky enough like me to experience it over and over again.

Photo of NickSpringDale
5/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This has been my favorite bar for about a decade. Top notch beer and food selection. My buddy and I have been coming for the beer for years and now we can bring our wives for the dinner. This place has something for everyone on tap and the menu was unbelievably eclectic and outstanding. If you go in make sure you say hi to the owner, Chris... although he'll probably find you first because he's always talking to all of his patrons...very well spoken guy. Had the Delirium Tremens, Spaten Optimator, Tommyknocker Saison and the Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar. Beer was fresh and bartenders were great. Always a great time

Photo of rkcrozier
5/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

What a great place! Went there with the wife and some friends this past weekend and experienced the newly opened restaurant - great menu and reasonably priced. This was my third time at The Shep, once before the renovation, once during and this last time and the difference is really amazing. The staff is so friendly and got to meet Chris the owner and his son Joe who tends bar; both were very nice and was great to be able to tell them about our awesome experience that night. They have 60 beers on tap and I am happy so say that NJ was well represented with taps of Carton, Kane, Cricket Hill (oddly no Flying Fish or Ramstein). I can't wait to go back as this is my favorite bar in the area.

Photo of ms3945
4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Read about this place in the Ale Street News and I must say this place is awesome...60 taps loaded with breweries scattered about the United States and around the world. They really have a beer for everyone, even my girlfriend who is not a beer drinker at all. She loved the Founders Cerise and the Bluepoint Blueberry. The Shep is nice inside, its walls are all brick with cool framed newspapers dating back all the way to the 60s. They also have a sick Great Divide Yeti wooden poster with actual fur coming out. The restaurant next door is beautiful and the bathrooms are a HUGE step above the ones in the bar. As far as the taps go... they're breath taking, I took several pictures with my phone. I wouldn't call myself a craft beer nerd but I was really impressed with the layout and the selection on tap. No bottles though... but I guess you don't need any when you have so much good beer on draft. Def one of the best bars in NJ

Photo of PJackson559
5/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I don't know how I haven't reviewed this place already---right away when I walked in I couldn't believe at how much this place has changed. years ago i would come in to this "whole in the wall" and now it's turned into a beautiful, brick-walled craft beer utopia. At first I was a little sad to see my old hang out had changed, but that feeling went away after sitting down and seeing that this place now has 60 taps. The bartender was very friendly and gave me a tap list menu with all the beer and it also had a food menu. The Shep now has food! (who would've thought?) Let me tell you---I've been to many bars in my day and The Shep has the best selection on tap I think I've ever seen. All sixty of the taps were beers that in my opinion were very solid! Not only was the beer spectacular, but so was the food. The pulled pork poutine and the chorizo street tacos hit the spot to go along with my Rogue Shakespeare Stout (on nitro!) and North Coast Old Rasputin on nitro. Finished my night off with a Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti and left knowing that my old place is gonna be just fine! If you're a craft beer nut, YOU MUST GO TO THIS PLACE!!! best selection in the state, may even go toe to toe with the NYC bars, it's that great

Photo of shueyy
4.36/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I stopped by the place as I was in the area for business and found out that they had an Ithaca Brewery event which peaked my interest in the place. I found a spot at the bar and ordered a Ithaca Cascazilla. Talking with a regular I found out that they just had finish remodeling the place a few days earlier. It looked great not having been in the place before its hard to judge but I got the impression it was much smaller. They had a great tap list I think I counted 56 taps I noticed a few were still empty so there was room for 60. They don't have a bottle list at this time I don't know if they will so whats on tap is what you have for beer. After having a few Ithaca beers I couldn't help but have an Oskar Blue deviant dale which was a great beer. They had a great beer selection from Founders, Green Flash, DF, Troegs,etc. I didn't try any food but heard they have a new menu with a lot of tapas dishes. If your in the area it's worth stopping by they have a lot of great beers that rotate with whats in season. If you are interested in watching sports then this bar isn't for you as they had only one TV. Overall a great bar worth trying I would recommend it to anyone who reads BA looking for something new. One other thing it's a pretty chill place with no attitude just great beer.

Photo of Demer
5/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Simply put The Shepherd and Knucklehead is an awesome spot. The selection is great with 26 lines so there is always something you want to try. The atmosphere is always really chill with a bunch of people just hanging out and enjoying the good brews and good company. The lines are always clean and the jukebox is always playing something awesome. I have met a ton of cool people here and you always feel welcome. Everyone I have ever taken here has enjoyed it as much as I do. Definitely one of the best beer bars in NJ.

Photo of buyBinboaVodka
4.88/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

In a land where the Jersey Shore atmosphere is present at every street corner it is nice to find a place like this. Now granted, I myself do not fit in here with my guido looks, but hey, I love great beer and this place is about a mile from my house.

Its hard just to find parking, but when you do this place is nestled on an odd street corner in between some houses. When you first walk in the bar is to the right and they have a couple benches and tables on the left. It is a very small dimly lit place.

The quality, service, and selection is the best your going to find for the immediate area and the prices are more than reasonable. The staff kows the beer and they know it well. They always know what type of glass to pour it in and they are very helpful when asking what type of beer you shoudl try based on your specific tastes. And with over 20 beers on tap and a rotating selection, there is always something good to try. I have had everything from Sierra Nevada, Abita, Victory, Otter Creek, Lagunitas, Founders, Allagash, Brooklyn, DFH, Flying Fish, Flying Dog, Smuttynose, Keegan, and list goes on.

I say the prices are inexpensive because if you head out to most places in the area a bottle of bud light can run you about $6 without a tip.

If your in the area..stop by. It is worth it.

Photo of harryzwd
4/5  rDev -12.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

If you're looking for a small, relaxed, cozy place to have a good beer than you should definitely give this place a try.

The place is somewhat dimly lit, wooden bar to your right with only a few tables to your left when entering. The crowd is not too loud, not too quiet and the jukebox seems to have a selection that suits me - or at least what was playing did at the time. You definitely get the feel of being somewhere where everyone is having a good time.

The selection was impressive and diverse and included some offerings by Abita, Harpoon, Rogue, Sixpoint, Riverhorse and Allagash just to name a few. You will find something here to like and the prices will see to it that you'll have enough for more than a couple.

A good place to have some good beer.

Photo of pzrhsau
4.8/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

This place was a great find in North Jersey. Fantastic selection of premium craft beer that isn't overly expensive They have over 20 beers on tap and really encourage people to take some home in growlers and/or to have "session" beers. Any place that identifies a session beer is thinking about this in the right way.

It really isn't a big place. It's on a street corner and it is pretty small by comparison to most bars. It has a couple tables with some board games and it has some sparse pictures that all have mustaches (AWESOME) on them. Dark classic hole in the wall atmosphere with fantastic beer. Very warm and inviting. I don't know if they have food because I seem to only go there for the beer but the service is always great. The bartenders will go as far as to re-pour something for you if you don't like it (though they offer you tasters).

Photo of dakota3301
4.28/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

I've been coming to this bar for a few years now and it never occurred to me to review it here on BA.

Good rotating tap, bartenders seem to know their beers. Good service, especially from Allison. Actually she's one of the reasons I frequent this bar as much as I do, she usually knows what I'll like to try, makes good suggestions and most importantly never leaves my glass empty for too long. All the bartenders there are really good.

Only draw back is that its a bit tiny and gets pretty crowed. I'd also like to see more beers on cask, they seem to feature a beer on cask during the promo nights they host sometimes but a little bit more often would be better. Other than that, its a great watering hole.

Photo of joebeer
4.58/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Attended the Erie Brewing promo night here on December 1st. Just microbrews and craft beers on tap here, including a beer engine which was hooked up to a cask-conditioned Railbender (hence the 27 above 26 + 1.)

A bit small but very cozy and inviting atmosphere. There were 2 or 3 long, bar-height tables along the backwall with a bookshelf stocked with books. People were doing sketching at on table so the place totally gives off ther vibe that one should come to read or do art while sipping a nice brew. There are also board games available.

One small TV in the corner that was playing TV classics. There is also a jukebox. You are able to sample before buying and the owners seem quite generous ;-). Do not think they serve bottles as I did not see one the whole night. I definitely would go back again.

Photo of Teleweizen2
4.34/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

so i went to the shepherd last night for the 3rd time i guess and i feel like i know it well enough now to give it a really fair shake.

the first time i went there i think it was the stone promo night or not to far after it because just about all of the taps where stone, which is alright i really dug their smoked porter but i'm not big on hop bombs so they don't really do it for me. as i kept going back i truly realized just how good their selection is and last night was no exception. i was able to drink great beers for prices that would be charged for lesser faire.

my only issue with the place is that it is very small and it can get very crowded. there isn't much seating so its first come first serve and if you get up do not expect to get your chair back.

but these minor issues aren't a problem once you get a look at that tap and start trying those beers.

they had some great stuff, from allagash white, to otter creek copper ale, captain lawrence pale ale and founders breakfast stout and lots more.

overall it is a great place to sample some awesome craft beer and have a good time. definatly one of my favorites.

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The Shepherd & The Knucklehead Pub in Haledon, NJ
99 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.