Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 28 | Reviews: 23 | Show All Ratings:
4.45/5 rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
According to my notes, 2002 was the last time I logged a beer at Bryant Lake Bowl. I think I've been there since--just no new beers on tap for me. My recollections of BLB walking in the door again was of an adequate tap list, memorable pad thai and a night of fun but frustrating bowling due to some lanes, though pitchers of Summit smoothed out the rough patches. Last night's Friday night gathering of Sibley friends was a revelation.
Finding a truly amazing beer for the first draft helped the night along: Bourbon Barrel Aged Bell's 9000. Boozy bourbon wafts above a dark ale with an original gravity of over 1.100. Big beer with a complex taste of wood, chocolate, vanilla and sweetness that's smooth, elegant and slightly overbalanced from the high alcohol. A real treat by itself, but it also happens to be the "batch" beer that I was missing. Before last night, I've been able to sample, 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000 and 10,000. Better to be lucky than good, I guess, but frequently good bars will tend to make one lucky as well.
The food is also fantastic. My wife had the mock duck rolls, which she reported as very good--good enough that I didn't get a sample. I did the pad thai with mock dock and my recall on this dish was spot on. Dan ordered medium compared to my hot, which Lori compared and said mine was significantly hotter, as expected; my bald head was sweating slightly, but it wasn't stupid spicey--just nicely at the limit. Plus, I had purposely ordered a double IPA, Bell's Hopsolution, to counterpoint with high hop: an excellent combination that I would love to repeat.
My wife was surprised at how loud it was sitting in the restaurant, but, evidently, she's always been there late at night or not on a Friday. With a full house and a waiting list for the bowling lanes, I was hoarse after our three hour dine and drink session with friends. Not an uncomfortable volume for our group of six and everyone could participate in the conversation, but it did take a bit of effort to speak.
For entertainment, in between the other drafts, I had a little beer you may have heard of...Surly Darkness. With a half a dozen additional beers that I would happily drink, Bryant Lake Bowl has seemingly upped its beer game. I saw on an RSS feed that BLB did have a Bell's event tapping earlier in the week, so maybe we picked a good night is all. But, I intend to test the theory in the near future and not wait so long to return to Bryant Lake Bowl.
11-21-2012 18:57:14 | More by FightingEntropy
2.95/5 rDev -28.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
I'll give them yet another shot, but it's happened a couple times that we've had a server who is so distracted and overcommitted that they can't keep our order straight. After getting a glass of wine when I asked for a beer, and didn't get the replacement for another ten minutes, we scratched our dinner this time and put it off til later. Similar things have happened on busy nights before, and a place like this should be pretty sure of when they're getting busy.
Good selection, and the bowling can be part of the mood or a distraction, depending on who you are. I'd like to see an update to the restaurant area sometime.
09-30-2012 04:57:16 | More by DCC
4.08/5 rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
I love this place. I come here all the time for their beer selection and usually always find one or two things on their tap list that make me say, "Alright! I know what I'm getting!".
The food is good too, but I've never paid full price. I usually only order food when they have the happy hour specials. None the less nothing I haven't tried that I was disappointed with.
Great atmosphere too. They have a bowling alley if you want to bowl with some friends or just sit at some candlelit tables for some drinks and apps.
I have to say the waitstaff here isn't the greatest. The bartenders are great, but due to the waitstaff always seeming grumpy or mad for no reason, I've chosen to always just order from the bartender. I really don't understand why they are, and it isn't all the time, but definitely most of the time.
Overall I love this place and always grab a drink here when I can.
02-15-2012 01:16:34 | More by JoRado
3.85/5 rDev -7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Re-review on 2/9/2012
Atmosphere is a crowded little restaurant bar in the front of a divey bowling alley. This is a good thing! It's typically crowded. We stopped in on a Saturday night and were able to snag a little 2 top adjacent to the bar. There's a great uptown vibe at BLB. I like it!
The qaulity of BLB is good. The pints are well poured and the food option are always a-plenty. I would like to see Bryant Lake Bowl supporting more craft breweries. I would say 35-40% of tap offerings are local which isn't bad but I think they could go oven further.
Service can be hit or miss. Our server on our last visit was a space case. It took him a long time to get to us. He was knowledgeable of the beer list and food and got our drinks promptly. It took a while until he returned to take our order. We got the mock duck rolls (excellent) to split. I don't recall what my fiance got for an entree but I had the crab cakes on special. I think it was 12 bucks and was the most fantastic roasted potatoes I've ever had topped with 2 excellently done crab cakes, slaw and some type of spicy remoulade or coulis. What a bargain for an excellent dish! We didn't see or server much during the rest of the visit. Other servers popped in on us and got us waters and more beers. Overall, not a great server but the others servers seeing us in need shows that this isn't how the whole place runs.
Overall value is quite good. The food is great and affordable and the beer isn't expensive either. Definitely check this out if you haven't.
02-09-2012 06:18:12 | More by Greggy
4.23/5 rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I suppose if you're looking for an upscale beer and dining experience, this place might not be for you. However, I just loved the low key, laid back, welcome to the neighborhood vibe at Bryant Lake Bowl, and I'm sure I'd be a regular if I happened to live within 10 miles of the place.
From the outside, BLB doesn't look like much, just another funky looking cafe in a diner setting. It's more of the same inside, with a small, informal dining area and 10 seat bar to your left upon entering. In the back there's an actual bowling alley, and I love looking at the happy hour chalk board, which had special pricing for food, beer and bowling lines/games. BLB has the look of a place that has seen a few things in its time, which IMHO only adds to the cool, laid back ambiance to the place. I spent over two hours at the bar, and the time just seem to slip away, while I sat there with my book and kicked back with a beer or four.
As for the beer selection, there was something like 23 or 24 beers on tap (one cider), and the selection was more than a bit impressive. The Surly 5 had just kicked, but otherwise they had the helles and furious from Surly, as well as the oracle, all souls, clutch and Odell's lupulin (among other things). The bartender confirmed that the tap selection turns over and rotates frequently (what a surprise with this line-up).
Service was very good, with my bartender friendly and attentive. He didn't try to BS me with his beer knowledge, noting that he didn't know all that much about the beer on tap (but would be happy to pour me a sampler of anything I was curious about). On the other hand, it was readily apparent that the manager here (Laura) knew quite a bit about the beer selection, and so the bartender could fall back on her for any questions a patron might have (not that I had very many).
Didn't try the food here, but I was more than a bit tempted (but unfortunately, had a number of dining obligations I had to deal with already). Next time for sure...
This is a GREAT place, and is absolutely on my list of places I need to visit whenever I'm back in town.
09-17-2011 03:04:43 | More by johnmichaelsen
4.28/5 rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
I have been here for an acoustic set and recently went for the Goose Island Flight of Four. Convenient location on bus lines and in the general walking areas of uptown. Love the atmosphere, lively without being obnoxious, has an honest-earthy vibe to it. That the bathrooms are easy to spot and access doesn't hurt either! It is an older building with older fixtures and decor, but it works for a crowd who are more interested in their conversations and the company they keep than superficial crap. Very good food-healthy options that are organic, fresh and well prepared, nice menu. Their beer list is a respectable variety of local and sought after distributors, and it is exciting that they host release parties from time to time! Sat next to the reps from Goose Island who also passed out extra free stuff and gave me a few hints about what they are bringing to the Autumn Brew Review--SWEET! I will be watching their calender for upcoming events, cheers BLB!
09-04-2011 14:13:47 | More by Moon2Goddess
4.13/5 rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Finally made it to BLB for the first time during their Bell's Oberon release party. The place is quite small for the bar and seating areas, but spacious enough. The cool thing is that they have several lanes for bowling. Really a cool beer bar atmosphere with pins being cracked in the background. Kind of a 50's look and feel to the place which I dug. Service was friendly and pretty solid even though it was pretty busy. Our server knew her beers quite well in fact. Awesome tap list, with a really nice variety and a nod to many local brews which is great. Nice happy hour special that didn't include every beer, but a few choices. The food was good. Bar food turned up a notch. I would go back again for sure. Maybe even bowl a bit next time.
I have to give this place $$$ for value because of a second visit there. We ordered the nachos and added on some chicken, guac and sour cream. We get the final bill and each of those add ons were $3 each! $20 for a plate of nachos?! Sorry, but chicken for $3, no problem, but a tiny little ketchup cup of sour cream for $3? Uh, I don't think so. The food was good though, just pricey.
03-28-2011 13:14:39 | More by jera1350
4.28/5 rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Timing is everything for me in regards to the Bryant Lake Bowl. I was there yesterday afternoon to try my first KBS, and it was perfect. Good music playing, bustling but not too crowded...I got a spot in their parking lot...just the right amount of sun coming through the windows and people talking quietly and reading in the bar. The bar btw is gorgeous...old, smooth wood. Very warm and inviting.
However, like I said, timing is everything, and I always avoid coming to the BLB on Friday and Saturday nights. It's just too busy and crowded during these times for me. Of course, most of uptown is too much for me to handle on the weekends.
I love that the place has bowling, a good bar, and decent food. Really nice, and really cool. Definitely check it out. Also, they are owned by the company/org that runs Barbette and The Red Stag (also both high quality places) and they participate in the 'cheap date night' activities....really great deals to be had on these nights if you can swing it.
02-04-2011 15:47:47 | More by corcoranjc
3.7/5 rDev -10.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Bowling Alley/theater/bar all wrapped into one! What a cool concept. The are greeted as you walk in by tables and the bar off to your left. Nice open kithen. Further on is the bowling alley with about 6-8 lanes. No electronics here, you better know how to keep score!
Small draft selection but good offerings overall. They typically have several Bell's on and will also have some locals. Nothing too crazy. The bottle list is pretty good too but can be a little pricey.
Food is good but can be a little pricey. Decent breakfast as well. Fun place to go if you are in town and want to bowl and drink some craft beer.
08-24-2010 22:08:07 | More by kbutler1
4.3/5 rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I went to the Bryant Lake Bowl for a couple hours tonight, first time there. What a hoot. I sat at the bar with a fellow whos wife was hosting the "Bowling for Boobs" event to raise money for breast cancer awareness. Very pleasant guy, great cause. Had several great beers on tap; Surly Abrasive Ale, Bells Oberon, Great Divide Hades, and Founder Breakfast Stout. They probably had 12 other raft beers on tap, and lots more in bottles. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the place. Most highly recommended!
04-23-2010 04:28:23 | More by blackdog1101
Bryant-Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, MN
92 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.