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Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

Not Rated.
Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl BrewpubFish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
BEER AVG
3.66/5
Based on:
40 Beers
2,115 Ratings
Place Score: 89
Ratings: 35
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 12.34%
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask:
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

515 Jefferson St. SE
Olympia, Washington, 98501
United States
phone: (360) 943-3650

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 35 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of canucklehead
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I went to the Fishbowl twice on my vacation; once on the way down to the coast and once on my way up from Portland.

This is a great funky pub that located just off the I-5 in Olympia. Lots of parking and located in a cool neighbourhood. The place is decorated with lots of fish related art and has two levels. The beers are divided into Fish and Leavenworth with the latter only on tap. There is a wide spectrum from the Leavenworth Light to the Old Grumpy barley wine. Almost all first class examples of the styles with the IPA's being a must try. The food is well made and big portions. The nachos are great with the burgers looking very tasty. Good service especially of you sit at the bar.

Photo of jcurtis55
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I recently spent some time in Olympia on business and it didn't take us to long to locate this brew pub. It appears they made have changed the name to the Fish Tale Brew Pub. At least that's what it says on the door. I had dinner here 3 times and lunch once during my four weeks in town. It's a popular place and was generally pretty crowded of an evening, but we found the back area was pretty quiet if that is what you are looking for. We never tried the loft. I did not encounter the snobby attitude some reviewers encountered and the wait staff was quite friendly and willing to give out samples before you decided what to order. We did see a local bring in a small dog and actually set him on the table. Not something you see in a restaurant very often, but it didn't seem to bother anyone.

Food wise, I was especially fond of the Cod fish and chips, the seafood stew and the Summer Breeze sandwich. The reuben was decent as well. The summer breeze is a grilled sandwich with Black Forest ham, melted brie, apple slices and a horseradish sauce that all blends together into a wonderful flavored treat. I forget the name, but I had a chocolate cheesecake one evening that was completely decadent. The only downside to the food is the selection is somewhat limited.

I tried the Pear cider, which was really good. I'm taking a bottle of that home for my wife to try. Beers tried included the Fish Tale Organic Amber Ale, 50 Fathoms ESB, Old Woody ale, and the Leavenworth Whistling Pig Hef. All were very good, but I have to give the 50 Fathoms ESB the nod as my favorite.

Photo of dnichols
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I visited the pub with my son and his friend. I was excited to try and carry out a quantity of Monkfish Ale which is only produced during in limited batches. I arrived after checking to make sure the Ale was "in season" only to be told that they did not have any at the pub for sale (none for carry out, none in bottles for sale at the pub and none on tap)! The wait staff seemed hurried and not very knowledgeable about the brewery products that were available so I ordered dinner and a pint. The food was good but not great and the service was fair but not good. I doubt I will ever try the pub again.

Photo of Slatetank
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I went to Olympia with a friend who was under 21 recently and visited Fish Brewing. Unfortunately he was not allowed in since it was a Sunday and only the bar area was open. I noticed the fish nets and Keg decorations with fish as I walked in. The beer menu was prominently displayed on a chalk board with descriptions. The place has a cafeteria type feel with wooden tables and bar. I took a stroll around a picked up some shwag at first, then settled down to order us some food to go.

I was impressed with the menu - Gyros, Ostrich burgers, falafels, salmon, bratwursts and oyster sandwiches. I got to sample 4 different ales including a cask barlewine and belgian triple before choosing a Mudshark Porter. I ordered an Ostrich burger with mushrooms and blue cheese which was delicious even though the add-ons cost extra. the fries were delicious and the number of Organic ale choices was out of the ordinary. the Leavenworth beers: Pilsener, Ipa, Weizen etc. were a nice alternative.

The place is spacious with beautiful art and signage on the exterior and they offer three types of hard cider also. I found the visit to be enjoyable albeit brief. I picked up a growler of Hodgson's IPA to go and I hope to return since the service was prompt and friendly. The selection will leave you satisfied with the many styles and even a cask and guest tap choice.

Photo of Ruddiger
2.9/5  rDev -25.4%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5

This place was very very loud, hard to have a conversation with the other people at your table as sound seemed to echo off of the walls on the top level we were sitting at. The server was also rude and seemed snooty.
The beers were good though, and the prices reasonable. The barleywine on cask was very delicious. I probably would stop in again, but I didn't really enjoy my visit, and the other people in my party didn't either. I would maybe go back, but I'm probably not enough of a yuppie to fit in here on a regular basis.

Photo of wingedeel
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Had a really nice time at the Fishbowl Brewpub.

The place is bright and open, newly remodled I am told. The crowd was modest on a Sunday afternoon. The atmosphere was pretty laid back and casual.

The food menu was interesting, and the food was very good, and reasonably priced. My wife had the oyster burger, and I had the ostrich burger. The seafood stew was also good.

I was driving, so I only could try two beers, a dubbel, and an oak aged Barlywine. Both were quite good. My wife had a Hefe, and while it was odd for the style, it was actually very good in its own right.

We sat at a table, and our server, a young man, was quite friendly and helpful,and was well versed on the beers I asked about. Service was just fine.

Cant wait to return to the Fishbowl, next time with a designated driver, or a motel room/cab as they had many more beers I was eager to sample.

Photo of udubdawg
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

After renovation this place is much improved. A little better service, especially in regards to educating their servers about their beers, and they'd be great.

Fish Tale makes many quality beers, and a few truly great ones. Three of their beers (and some items on the menu too) are even certified organic. Unfortunately they don't bottle everything, so some of my favorites like the Mudshark Porter can only be enjoyed on draft. Note that the beers on tap are even better than bottled, but I'd still like to have them more widely available.
Unfortunately they no longer barrel-age their Poseidon Imperial Stout. (They used to have a red-wine barrel aged 10% beer bottled, and a lighter 8% unaged beer on tap...now they just bottle the 8%)
A highlight is that they've always got one of their beers available on cask. Delicious!

Quesadillas are good, and the fish and chips (especially the salmon) grilled oysters, and smoked salmon sandwich even better.

(Note that if you're looking for more upscale food and don't mind it a bit more pricey, I highly recommend Sorrentos, which is the corner of the the same building. Trule awesome Italian cuisine! )

Photo of idResponse
2.48/5  rDev -36.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3

The Fishbowl Brewpub is the place to pick up anything Fishtale Ale related. They always have something on tap you can't find in bottles, and you can always buy a growler there. I really enjoy many of the Fishtale Ale products, however, I have been put off by the pub.

The place is a haunt for the local yuppie crowds and the place fills up rather quickly at night, especially on the weekends. The people there are rather snobbish and don't seem to enjoy new faces showing up in their territory. The staff there tend to be about the same way and really don't understand the products they are serving or care to talk much about them.

Once during an early day when there wasn't a crowd there, a friend and I went for lunch. We had a plate of nachos and a couple pints. We stepped outside for a quick (horrible!) cigarette and upon opening the door to finish half a pint and some more nachos, the bar had already been cleared.

Thanks for throwing away some perfectly good beer and losing a future customer, Fishbowl.

Photo of carln26
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The Fishbowl is the favorite brewpub of a good friend of mine who lives in the Seattle area. I’ve been fortunate to visit this place 3 -4 times when in town to see my friend. They’ve recently remodeled and vastly expanded the pub, so I thought I would take the opportunity to write a review.

The Fishbowl is located in a light industrial area on the southwest side of downtown Olympia. The pub itself is across the street from Fish Tail’s brewing operation. Inside the newly restored pub is open, airy and bright. The bar is now a U shape, and is rather small, but there is decent seating for 30-40 people at tables surrounding the bar. There is now an upstairs area for dining, but this was closed for a private party on this visit.

The staff is very friendly and helpful. We couldn’t find a place to sit, and the waiter quickly spotted that a table was opening and ushered us over to get a seat before anyone else grabbed the chairs. They know their beers, and are quick to help out.

The beers I’ve had on site are great. I’ve had Poseidon, Leviathan, Winterfish, Organic IPA, and a couple of the beers brewed under the Leavenworth brand. All are quite good. In fact, the beers fresh from the tap are unbelievably good, much better than the same beers from the bottle. Specifically the IPA and Winterfish. It’s almost 2 different beers. The bottled versions of both are good. The tap versions are mind blowing.

The food is simple and focused on local ingredients. Smoked and fresh salmon, locally raised mushrooms, and even Ostrich can be found on the menu. Prepared simply, delivered hot, I’m always satisfied with my meals.

My friend local to the area is concerned that the new expanded pub has lost some of it’s charm, and is drawing a more upscale crowd. If it helps this brewery to succeed and grow, I’m all for it.

Photo of lostbearbrew
4.28/5  rDev +10%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

As we were arriving at night, it was hard to scope just what neighborhood the brewery and pub were in - seemed blue-collar to me. Street parking no problem. Brewery is on one side - pub on the other.

At the bar area are maybe 8-9 tables and although there was more seating outside, it was raining so no one was out there. The lighting was not anything to write home about and there was an industrial twinge about it - but I like that side of life, and although the atmosphere wasn't what many would call "great" I thought they pulled off the idea of being an "industrial pub" really well.

We sat at the bar. They had about 10-12 beers on "normal" tap, two ciders and a cask had pull. Bartender was a really nice guy, although he was not real knowledgable about the brews, or maybe he was shy to offer opinions...who knows?. Had whole place to himself with one other helper.

Between my wife and I, we sampled the Mudshark Porter, Hodgson's IPA, Cask Organic IPA, Winterfish and the Dantes Infernal. We started off with the hummus - quite tasty, and the pita was warm upon arrival in front of us - bonus points! Also, I had the seafood chowder and the oyster sandwich, which were both awesome. Lisa had the falafel wrap which was good as well.

Had some great talks with those around us, all of whom called this place their local - love seeing people who stop in to have growler's filled and stay for a pint or two in the meantime. Learned a lot about the upcoming two days in Olympic Natl Park, and got some valuable advice as well. Always a good thing.

Was the perfect lil stopover on the way from SEATAC to Aberdeen. Would go back tomorrow if this were my local - really enjoyed the beers, the atmosphere, the patrons and the food.

Cheers!

Photo of beerceller99
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Located in the business / industrial part of town , the brewery bar is in a small building. Parking is pretty easy here. The interior is on the small side with lots of fishy decor. The atmosphere has a small town bar feel to it, very casual. Seafood and sandwichs highlight the food menu here, which isn't too bad. Service is friendly enough, but like most brewpubs I've been to the staff is not very beer savvy. Lots of Fish Tale and Leavenworth brews on tap highlight the beer selection, with some 750's of their big beers available to go. They'll fill your growler or container with any of their on tap brews. Last time I visited I got a gallon of the Poseidon stout to go... for $9.95,a pretty reasonable price by any standard.
Worth a visit if only for the great growler prices.

Photo of woemad
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is my second attempt to post a review of this place. The first time, my computer locked up when I hit review, and it never showed up on the site. That was a number of months ago. For one reason or another, I never got around to trying again until now.

I stopped by here last August on my way to meet my brother at his about-to-become-in-law's place, which was the staging area for his bachelor party. I got into town around 10AM, spent a good hour trying to find the place (I'd forgotten to print out info from Beerfly). I finally had to buy a 6-pk of Fish's IPA just to use the map on the bottom!

The Fishbowl is in a somewhat industrial part of town. When I entered, I was greeted by lots of aquatic-themed artwork, a large fishtank featuring some exotic (to me) looking fish, and a friendly barmaid. Being still somewhat early, there was only one guy in the place when I arrived. While I was there, the lunch crowd began to filter in.

I had three beers, a bowl of their seafood stew (which was rather tasty), and a competently made yet unmemorable sandwich. The beers I sampled were the mudshark porter, the amber ale, and the Leavenworth blind pig. The amber was average - I was mainly trying it because my brother had told me they were going to have a keg of it at his wedding - but I really liked the other two. I asked the woman behind the counter why the Mudshark was no longer bottled. She said, 'Yeah, we don't like to bottle it anymore," then left for the kitchen! While she didn't leave me hanging for any length of time, the service was rather perfunctory, and she seemed uninterested in talking about the beers, which kind of put me off.

I was pressed for time, so I didn't attempt to try any other beers. I hoped to get back to the place again while I was in the area, but my time wound up being monopolized by pre- and post- wedding tasks. Not a bad place, the beers are mostly outstanding, but the service needs to be improved a notch if my time there was any judge.

Photo of weefisheads
3.93/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

Had to make a trip to Fishbowl as an homage to the maker of some of the finest PacNW beers - Leviathan, 10squared, and the highly coveted Poseidon. Needless to say, my hopes were rather high.

Located just a few blocks away from the main street in Olympia, it's but a short walk to the State Capitol building. From the outside, Fishbowl looks much like many other small brewpubs replete with it's own back loading dock. Nothing very memorable.

Inside, the decor obviously was themed to match the Fish theme as there were a number of fish-like pictures and a fair sized tank with a few fishes in it. The room we were in was pretty small sized - large only to accommodate 5-8 people at the bar and only a few tables aound the room - but there appeared to be another room next door that was undergoing to work. Expanding, maybe?

The food, too, was fish themed, though there were also a few items for the non-seafood fan. Alas, the pretzel I had was...pretty poor (soggy and no flavor) and the food me wife had was described as bland. Quite a shame.

In addition, while the bird behind the bar was pleasant when we asked questioned and fairly knowledgable of the beers, she didn't really do anything to make me happy to be there besides bring me what I ordered.

But there is the silver lining to a visit to the Fishbowl - their oh-so impressive beer! I had few of their beers that are not bottled - Dunkleweizen and Harvest Ale - and thought they were lovely. I wish they had more of their beers on sale at reasonable prices (their Old Woody and Monkfish were all they had and each was $5 MORE than I can get 'em in Portland!), but what they had to drink were very, very good.

All in all, I don't think I'd detour very far to go back for another visit. While I LOVE their beer, the Fishbowl is pretty average.

Sorry, Red...

Photo of RedDiamond
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

UPDATED 2008: When I first began drinking at the Fishbowl Brewpub in the mid 1990's, the bar was a cramped, single room with the brewery beneath the same roof. The brew house has since expanded and moved across the street. The pub grew to include a second room, and then a third room with a loft. And the original roster of Fish Tale Ales has joined forces with Leavenworth Beers and Spire Mountain Ciders.

Most of these changes have been for the best. Fish now brews at least three organic ales, and the expanded seating capacity at the Fishbowl is put to good use by a hearty crew of regulars who keep the place festive seven nights a week. And while the giant wooden carp still arches above the bar as it did a decade ago, I do miss the live fish tank. I miss the gourmet pizzas and the tangy salmon mousse from the old days, too. But the new menu is, if anything, improved. Organic ingredients abound, with food specialties ranging from soft baked pretzels and seafood stew, to oyster shooters and free-range emu burger. And prices still respect the Olympian working class.

Beer quality remains good, though I'm not convinced that quality standards have completely survived the numerous transitions and expansions, and production of Fish's showcase ales (known as "Reel Ales") has been scaled back appreciably. Big beers such as Leviathan barleywine and the exquisite Poseidon Imperial Stout have taken a back seat to their line of organic standard bearers such as Wild Salmon Pale Ale and the Organic Amber. It's understandable that Fish would seek to emphasize production of its best sellers. But with Old Woody Strong Old Ale winning a recent GABF Gold Medal, it would seem the time is right to grant their specialty beers the greater exposure they deserve.

When Fish merged with Leavenworth late in the last century, the idea was to compliment Fish's Anglo/American beers with Leavenworth's traditional German varieties. As its name implies, Leavenworth Beers originated in Leavenworth, Washington - a Bavarian-themed tourist destination in the heart of the Cascade Mountains. Leavenworth beers are now brewed in Olympia. They are not bottled and receive only modest distribution. But the brewpub regularly keeps three on tap. The Fishbowl also maintains a lineup of three Spire Mountain Ciders (including their perry), two guest taps, a cask, a non-alcoholic ginger beer, and a host of seasonals and specialties. Cheap beer pours Mon-Thurs from 9-11PM.

Photo of zacharius
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Atmosphere: This place has a good atmosphere, it has a big fish tank with live tropical fish. The walls have salmon and other ocean related artwork on a rotating basis, most of it is local artwork for sale. This also is a nonsmoking pub which is hard to find. Lots of locals hang out or eat lunch here.

Quality: The quality of their beers is great. Fresh and tasty.

Service: Service was quick. Bartender was knowledgeable about the beers.

Selection: They have about 10 different beers on tap plus the cask of the day. They have both the Fish Tale Brewing Company beers and the Leavenworth Company beers here.

Food: The food is high quality but it is a very ecletic menu of appetizers, soups, salads and sandwiches--lots of seafood. Vegetarians and health food people won't have any problem finding food but burger and fries guys may have to settle for the chicken nachos.

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Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub in Olympia, WA
89 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.