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Cloverleaf Tavern


50 Reviews
Place Score:
Cloverleaf TavernCloverleaf Tavern

Type: Bar, Eatery

395 Bloomfield Ave
Caldwell, New Jersey, 07006-4908
United States

(973) 226-9812 | map

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Added by Dantes

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 50 | Ratings: 89
Reviews by donniecuffs:
Photo of donniecuffs
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Atmosphere: A second-generation family-owned pub-style restaurant that's been around since the Great Depression, the Cloverleaf (or the 'Leaf as some of the locals refer to it), is a great old-school place, but the problem is that it is too popular, as the bar is consistently jammed, elbow to elbow. Furthermore, the local college kids and middle-age fratboys who show up in droves all too frequently get really annoying when you overhear them bragging incessantly about how they consider themselves "beer connoisseurs", just because they've tried not only Dogfish Head 60min, but also 90min and 120min. Wow. Oh, and another thing...sometimes it gets so loud that you can't hear yourself think.

Quality: The management does a great job of rotating in new micro taps, so freshness is not a concern. My only criticism is that they devote too more tap space to the macros, both domestic and foreign.

Service: The amazing thing about this place...and I stress amazing...is that no matter how crowded it gets, I never feel as if a bartender/server is inaccessible. Furthermore, they are always friendly, and are fans of good beer, if not exceedingly knowledgeable.

Selection: The selection is very good, but I have two criticisms. First, as I had mentioned earlier, way too much tap space is devoted to the macros. Second, while their clever good beer appreciation campaign (e.g. the M.B.A., masters of beer appreciation, and P.h.D., professor of hops and drafts) does get more people to try microbrewed beer, they have an inordinate focus on a handful of the 'large micros', like Dogfish Head and Brooklyn. Both of the aforementioned breweries are fantastic, but this place needs more of the 'micro micros', as diversity is key. That being said, selection diversity appears to be improving, as a recent visit yielded pints of Anderson Valley and Ommegang.

Food: The food offerings resemble a cross between that of an old-school Irish pub, and a standout chain restaurant. In short, it is a decent complement to a night of drinking some good beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Guppy314
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

For its wide variety of beers, the Cloverleaf Tavern is pretty much be best in the area. It is always busy. Attracts families, couples, singles, and hosts groups. We've gone for years. One fun thing they offer is the opportunity to earn your MBA degree (Master of Beer Appreciation). As you drink your way through the syllabus, you'll learn about all varieties of beer from around the world. OK, it's really just a "loyalty program", but a lot of my buddies love to talk about their MBAs and PhDs from the place ... it's fun.

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Photo of Jsonta
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5

Photo of Mikexw
4.21/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of BanditoJunkie
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Service was outstanding, our waitress was very helpful in reference to our choices. Food was good, all of the staff were very courteous. Had a great night. Will definitely return...

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Photo of Rifugium
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Attended the Kane tap takeover. Basic old-school Irish pub vibe, very small bar area, with seats for maybe 10-12 people. Plenty of tables. I'm not sure what they normally keep on tap, but they seem to have a good capacity...there were 25 Kane taps for the event, and also fridges full of bottles. Service was good, especially considering how busy the event was. I managed to belly up to a bar seat, so I have no complaints. The food was good too. I had the Granny turkey sandwich, and everything else that I saw people getting looked really good. Prices were reasonable.

Really cool place overall. Way out of the way for me, so I wouldn't normally go there, but it was worth it for all the great stuff they had on for the Kane takeover.

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Photo of kristan831
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Photo of mikeburd1128
3.54/5  rDev -15.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Ok. Let's get the restaurant portion of the review out of the way first. They recently revamped their food menu, and the food seems good, but prices are a little out of whack. It's good food though. Service ranges from alright to pretty good. The vibe is alright - it's a pretty old bar so it has some character. However, it's such a mainstay in the town that it gets VERY busy at times. And the bar area is full of tables so it's not too much of a "bar" if you know what I mean - and they like it this way.

Now, onto the beer. First and foremost, the Leaf has these beer drinking programs where you get your MBA (Master of Beer Apprectiation) and your PHD (Professor of Hops and Drafts) by drinking off of a predetermined list for MBA and a seasonal list for the PHD. Why is this important to mention in a review, you might ask? Because these PHD beers clog up draft lines. The leaf has about 25 taps. 10 of these 25 NEVER change. Allagash White, 90 Minute, Guiness, Yuengling, Coors Lite, Boston Lager, Carton's 077-07006, Kane's Head High... Now I'm not complaining about always being able to drink these last two beers, but come on guys. 3 more taps are devoted to their PHD list which changes every 3 months. So 12 of the 25 taps are ALWAYS the same. Leaving 13 truly rotating taps. Ehhh. Average.

Now believe me, the Leaf gets every damn keg they want because they seem to dance whatever dance the distributor wants. They also have some pretty insane events, but on your average day, the Leaf is easily one of the most overrated beer bars on the planet. They could do sooo much better. And quite frankly, I think they're quickly getting passed by other bars in the North Jersey beer scene. They seem to survive primarily off of their reputation in the area as a restaurant.

Edit: Oh, and they use those thick bottomed faux pint glasses.

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Photo of markgugs
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of inkman15
4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

My favorite beer bar. I'm here at least once a week because of their consistently excellent beer selection. The owner, Ryan, is genuinely passionate about beer and knows his patrons very well. Taps rotate daily and they are always getting the rarest beers in the area. If there's a weird release/variant that distributes to NJ, you can pretty much count on Cloverleaf having it.

Additionally, their MBA/PHD beer programs are an awesome way for people to get started with craft beer as you have to try 45 and 60 different beers, respectively, to graduate.

Food is always high quality - especially their weekly burger specials. Don't go in expecting gourmet - this is a pub - but you will always get fresh, homemade food and they have recently started introducing more eclectic menu items too.

If you're in the area, you can't go wrong here.

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Photo of MattDiGug
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Photo of jgido759
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

First time there and enjoyed it very much. Wait staff and manager on duty were friendly and knowledgeable.

106 characters

Photo of blassor
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Photo of reds2harleys
4.81/5  rDev +14.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Excellent Tavern. Huge selection of craft beers that is always changing. Great food at fair prices. Fun crowd, good bartenders. Highly recommend.

148 characters

Photo of chupacabrablanco
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of J-Rye
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Great place. They always have some incredible beers on tap that you wouldn't expect to find. Some examples have included Clown Shoes' Ride the Lion, Firestone Walker's Opal, Brooklyn Brewery's Collaboration beer Wild Horse Porter, etc. The burger of the week is always exceptional, and I mean exceptional. The atmosphere is a little bland, generally, but they've had a cigar roller come in and do his thing at the outdoor patio. I mean, really, how much more can you ask for. I recommend this place, even if you need to make a day trip.

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Photo of madmick104
4.76/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of stepherrs09
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Photo of starshockey9
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Sad_Larry
4.93/5  rDev +17.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Excellent beer selection, great service, and pretty darn good food, too. One of my favorite spots!

98 characters

Photo of johnpalisi
4.73/5  rDev +12.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Photo of dank203
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

have been here a few times recently and can't wait to go back. great selection and service and good food. the only issue is having to wait to be seated, but the bar area is pretty efficient even at the busiest hours.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Went to Cloverleaf Tavern on a Thursday night with coworkers. It was my second time here, the first being about 5 years before. I found street parking right across the street (metered parking which runs til 6pm). We snagged a high-top table near the bar just before it started getting crowded. While not the largest you will ever see, the beer list is well curated and up to date, which I appreciate much more than having a copious amount of taps. Between 20-25 taps total, almost all American craft. They even have preset flights that rotate daily. I went with a Carton Orange Swisher first, followed by the "new beer" flight which consisted of a Founders Red's Rye IPA, Ramstein Imperial Pilsner, Stone Old Guardian Extra Hoppy, and Flying Fish Exit 3 Blueberry Braggot. Awesome! Our waitress was excellent, offering small tastes of any beer we wanted to try and even offered to replace one of the beers in any of preset flights if I didn't want one of them, which was very nice. The food was great as well. Betweent three of us, we ordered monterrey sticks, sliders, a black bean burger, and a salad. Everyone enjoyed what they had. Overall, this is one of, if not the best, beer bars in the area. They always get great stuff on tap and you're likely to find something there that you're not going to find anywhere else. Highly recommended!

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Photo of crenegar
3.63/5  rDev -13.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I've been visiting this place for about 15 years, well before it became a "good beer bar". Was in yesterday for a couple beers and a light bite. As is common these days, even in the supposed good beer bars it seems too often the selection is dictated by the distributors and so you see a lot of the same beers at many different establishments. Cloverleaf has a decent selection that is heavy on the craft beers with a couple imports sprinkled in (nothing from Germany though, which always boggles my mind). Also a little heavy on the IPAs and high gravity stuff which really limits my choices since I don't like IPAs and had to drive. 20 taps is plenty of selection I just wish they were better thought out and a little more diversified. With all the beers around the $6-$7 mark prices are a little on the high side, food was pretty good as usual. The place is definitely worth a stop if you're in the area but it doesn't crack the list of NJ's top beer bars.

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

We had the opportunity to visit Cloverleaf Tavern twice in the recent past, both of which while visiting some good friends who reside in Montclair, New Jersey. Said friends, who are well aware of our penchant for good brews, had suggested this bar as a meeting place for us all to catch up at, while enjoying some new craft offerings. After researching Cloverleaf, we were excited to learn they had been rated the Northeast’s #1 beer bar the last two years in a row!!

After finding a parking space (parking is either on the street or in public lots), we approached Cloverleaf. The outside sports shaker shingles and a large green and white striped awning. A green and yellow sign uses old-timey font to clearly inform visitors that they are in the right place. Upon entering the establishment, we turned right, and were immediately greeted by a warm and welcoming bar area. The interior has an older tavern feel and is decorated almost entirely in a warm dark wood. Stained-glass chandeliers and recessed lighting create a cozy and glowing atmosphere. A large walnut bar sits against the right wall, and contains beautifully carved shelves filled with many top-shelf liquors. The seating space against the bar itself is large enough to accommodate at least twenty bar seats. The rest of the bar area is filled with a mixture of high top and regular tables, packed relatively close together. It’s a cozy atmosphere, which at times does feel a bit difficult to navigate because of the close proximity of the tables, but there is plenty of seating. We found seating during both visits without a wait; once at the bar and once at a table. On both occasions we stayed primarily in the bar area, however, there is a larger, more formal dining area wrapping towards the back of the restaurant.

The beer menu was perhaps on the smaller side when comparing to other beer bars we have been to. They had roughly twenty taps, and forty to fifty bottles and cans. This is to no detriment, however, as nearly every single tap is of immense quality and rarity. Offerings do vary in origin and style, but during both visits we were able to find something excellent, exciting, and new to us. In addition to supplying a terrific selection, it is a requirement that all members of the wait staff be certified cicerones, making nearly everyone you encounter knowledgeable and interesting to chat with. They are serious about customer “beerducation” as well, and offer a “beer MBA program”. The program is a free card on which approximately forty-five beers are listed. As you sample various selections from the card you earn “credits” toward your MBA. Forty-five credits earns your name on a plaque, free t-shirt, and a 20oz. pour for the price of 16oz. There are varying levels of degrees, ranging up to PhD. Once completed, they ring a large bell in the bar area, announcing your graduation loudly for all to admire. If you find yourself “studying” up an appetite, fairly standard bar food is available. We ordered the Monterey jack fried cheese sticks, sliders, and a chipotle black bean burger, and were satisfied with our selections.

Overall, this was a great find on a great recommendation!! We were able to relax and have some great beers in a warm, relatively quiet, and homey atmosphere, chat with knowledgeable staff, and enjoy some delicious bar food. I believe it is safe to say that this will become a regular meeting place for future trips to visit friends in New Jersey.

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Cloverleaf Tavern in Caldwell, NJ
93 out of 100 based on 50 ratings.