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Horniblow's Tavern

Not Rated.
Horniblow's TavernHorniblow's Tavern
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

27 Ratings
Ratings: 27
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.56%
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask:
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar ]

1249 Wicker Drive
Raleigh, North Carolina, 27604
United States
phone: (919) 834-0045

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: GCBrewingCo)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 27 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Highbury09
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

By looking at this place, one would not guess a brewery and tap room resides inside the nondescript, white metal walls. However, upon entering and ascending the stairs, the beer is revealed.

I must admit that nothing is mind blowing or overwhleming about this place, but it is cozy. Very small bar area with 7 rotating taps and a cask tap. I was unable to partake in the cask but the ALt beer and Imperial Brown were both nice selections. The only food is dried edamame which basically dries the mouth like crackers and urges one to consume more beverages.

Service was okay. The bartender seemed to be all over the place yet lazy and conspicuously absent. I never had a problem getting a refill but something was certainly amiss.

My hotel was right down the stree, the beers were good, and service was serviceable, so I would come back again.

Photo of spenceanderson
3.86/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

i've been going to this place for almost 3 years and i like it better every time. it brews all the beers it serves on premises at the brewery works below this bar (ps- they offer a free brewery tour every month).

they don't allow smoking in most of the rooms. they have a (free) pool table, ping pong, & darts. very low key atmosphere. i see people in flip flops and shorts milling around with the after 5 business types. the people behind the bar are helpful and knowledgeable. there's 3 year-round brews ($3.50)and usually 3-5 interesting seasonal ones ($5) at any given time. they have growlers-to-go and will fill other breweries growlers. no food but they don't care if you bring your own.

there's some picnic tables outside. there's 2 TV's behind the bar and they usually have some good music playing on the satellite radio. i only wish they were open sundays...

Photo of jimmyjames8
2.33/5  rDev -41.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 2

July 2010, cask conditioned High Roller IPA smells and tastes like stale pee. And what is up with the prices changing daily and the flunky bartenders that cannot do math in their head. It's bad enough when you over charge for stale beer and then you short pour because you are either too lazy or drunk or stoned to care. Last few times in this hole, we were the only ones there. BRING BACK BIG STINKY IPA. High Roller IPA is a pale imitation. Still don't like your bottled beer.

Hello Horniblows, we're back for the Big Stinky IPA in late October '09. Nice crisp IPA with lots of hops. For once, the place had the featured beer on tap and pouring by 5pm the day of release. Also, where as when the place first opened many moons ago, it looked like the previous tenant, Edenton Brewing, had smashed up all the furniture and the new tenants had nailed it all back together, the place looks like they spent maybe $50 or so on some new used furniture. Finally took my wife there and she did not run out screaming. She likes their current seasonal pumpkin beer that is not very pumpkiny. Their current Monkey Buisiness 9% beer will put you under in short order if you haven't had anything to eat. Horni's does have pub mix nibbles now but you have to ask.

Back at Horny's on 8/6/09 for their English Strong Ale put up in a Woodford Reserve Whiskey barrel. We got there about 5:15 and the keg was supposed to be tapped at 5 and they were still futzing around with it. I told the bartender who appeared to be drunk or stoned to let me know when they could serve me one. About 15 minutes later one of the hired hands who also appeared to be drunk was wandering around with a beer in his hand and I asked if the Woodford beer was ready and he said yeah and kept walking. I finally got one and it was just OK. Just not enough flavor in BB beers to pay $5 a pull. Newsflash: Horny's now has newer and better furniture, a non smoking area and pub mix nibbles. The place is still a dump and I still do not like their beers except for Mrs. Charlotte's IPA. All their other beers taste burnt.

Been to Hornys several times in the last 3 months. Have not been since they supposedly made some areas non smoking. That would be good but soon to be moot as NC will be no smoking in bars and restaurants in January 2010. This place will have to go private club (sell memberships) to be smoking or send smokers outside.

In a word, this place is a dump! But hey, it's a tasting room/brew pub. They don't serve food, not even popcorn or pretzels. I think there is a bathroom but have never been able to get in it. The decor is early american dungeon/pool room. There is a bar that maybe seats 10 and there are some picnic tables and wobbley chairs strewn about. There is or was a dart room and pool room last time I was there.

They have at least 6 beers on tap. They bottle and distribute at least 3. I have tried all their regular beers and do not care for them at all. They alternate between tasting burnt, flat or skunked, to me. Their one offs, specials and seasonals have been great. The Miss Charlotte's IPA was/is very good but not as good or consistent as the Mash House IPA from just down the road. These beers are spendy too. I think most are $5 a pint in the tasting room and the place is always packed so go figure.

Not a place to take your best girl unless she is into dungeon/dive/biker bars. The brewery is in the same building and they do tours and free tastings once a month.

There are lots of good beer bars in Raleigh now serving lots of good NC beers for a lot less than $5 a pint so I only go here now when someone else is paying. Cheers!

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.21/5  rDev -19.3%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3

I stopped here after finding it on beerfly, and expected more from the stop. As mentioned in other reviews, this is part of the Big Boss brewery, and easy to find by address but also easy to miss by looking at the building. It's located in an industrial zoned area and looks like a warehouse of a small manufacturing operation. The bar is upstairs, very smoky (NC loves the cigarette industry), with arcade games and an old ping pong table and pool table. There were 4 Big Boss beers available, <$4 each. Mostly the crowd seemed local, almost all college age males, not the kind of place a discriminating business traveler wants to hang around. If you're in town for only 1-2 nights, choose the Flying Saucer, better atmosphere + better selection.

Photo of CampusCrew
4.46/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

This is a taproom atached to Big Boss brwery. They best micro brew in the area. I would recommend this to any beer lover.

atmosphere- really cool, ping pong tables and arcades.

quality- no food and beer was top notch.

service- well our service was great and the bartender was exteemely knowledgable and recommended places arounf town

selection- all big boss brews, that were awesome

food- not even sure they had food, but this was a beer place only

value - great beer for $3.50. I'll take that all day

Photo of GJ40
3.86/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3

I made a visit to Horniblow's Tavern when I heard that Big Boss was doing an IPA series that they offer only at their tap room.

I liked the atmosphere at Horniblow's from the moment we got there. It's my kind of place. It's comfortable, well worn, authentic and not the least bit trendy. The crowd varied in age and was very down to earth.

There are several rooms in the tavern. The main room has a bar and several tables. It's decorated with beer bottles and Big Boss paraphernalia. There's another room with a pool table, another with a dart board and a third small nook with a sofa.

The service was great. The kid behind the bar was very helpful and seemed to take good care of everyone.

The only thing that didn't impress me was the beer. It's not bad, in fact it's pretty good. But it's a bit tame. They had five on tap including their three regulars (Kolsch, Belgian Blond & Brown) along with an IPA and a Belgian. The prices were very reasonable. The regulars were $3.50 and I think the specials were $5. I had a couple of pints of the IPA. It was good but not hoppy enough. I was given samples of the four I didn't get and they were good too but not something I would seek out.

I hope to get back there soon. I'll keep a close eye on the seasonals in hopes that they'll offer something with a bit more bite to it.

Photo of Kegatron
3.7/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

We recently hit up this "official" tavern of Big Boss Brewing on our way through Raleigh. We were here on a Saturday night around 7pm to find only a fairly moderate sized crowd. How crowded would have gotten later in the night, I've got no idea. It's definitely a pretty interesting place, looking like some of the dives that I used to frequent in college. Lots of tables and chairs and other places to sit or stand everywhere, as well as some video games for entertainment as there are no TVs. I'm assuming from the promos on the walls that a lot of local musicians ply their trade here as well. There is no food available but it looked like they had no problem with you ordering out. Actually, I really dug the atmosphere, as it was the kind of no nonsense drinking vibe that I like. Grab a beer and socialize. It doesn't get any easier than that! I will say that my one big complaint is the smoke. It's just everywhere as the place doesn't seem to be too well ventilated and really hinders your ability to smell or taste your beer. What are you going to do though, when you're on "Tobacco Road"?!

The bar along the far back right wall was where the action was happening, as they were pouring 5 Big Boss house beers. This included their Hells Belle Belgian Blonde, a Kolsh, Coffee Stout, Bad Penny Brown Ale, and a Tavern Ale. We tried a pint of the Bad Penny, which wasn't half bad, and a glass of the Coffee Stout, which was pretty darn solid. They also do growler fills, of which they appeared to be doing a pretty brisk business. Pint prices weren't too bad with most being in the $4-5. They also sell a full range of Big Boss Merch at the bar as well, also priced pretty reasonably. Our bartender appeared to be the only employee in the place but did a bang up job taking care of everyone's needs. All in all, we enjoyed our limited visit here. If you can get by the college bar vibe and smoke, it's a pretty good place to socialize and try some of Big Boss Brewing offerings.

Photo of CWiggins
3.54/5  rDev -11.1%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

I've been trying to get to this place for the past year or so. I did visit the brewery for its monthly tour back in September; it was well worth the trip from Durham. After spending a full day in Raleigh visiting the science & history museums I treated myself to a visit to the tavern. Upon arrival, the place was pretty full. I ordered the brown ale and seated myself in a quiet, unoccupied room to contemplate the brew and work a Sudoku. Within a few minutes, five college-age males entered and began smoking, playing ping-pong, and getting a little tipsy. One dropped and broke his pint glass, and merely informed the bartender he had done so, without any apology or assistance in cleaning up the mess. Everyone else in the joint seemed well-behaved.

Only four beers were on tap tonight: brown ale, kolsch, Belgian blonde, and IPA. They were very good, and, at $3 a pint, seemed like a good deal. I must admit, this is not a place I'll come back to hang out alone. Since no food is available and there are minimal amenities, it seems this would be an okay place to sit and chat for awhile, but not much else.

Photo of CharlieMopps
4.14/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

This place came highly recommended by NCBeerNut, who was kind enough to take me to Big Boss Brewing's pub to sample their wares. Having never heard of the place, I had no idea what to expect really... just getting the gist that it was a solid local brewery.

And solid it was. I tried the Kolsch style beer that was available on tap, and it was pretty damn good. I picked this style because I wanted to see how well they could do a subtle, balanced beer that left little room for error. Definitely not bad at all. My tour guide ordered the pumpkin ale, which I tried a bit of and rather enjoyed for the spice and balance. Good stuff, and an array of their styles from which to choose.

With hop plants growing up the front side of the building, and that cozy, dim-lit tavern environment on the inside, I'd say this is a great place to kick back and grab some locally crafted brew.

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

This is pretty much my favorite place to go in Raleigh (I'm living a 1/2 hr away in Durham). Big Boss (x-Edenton) always gives a good/fun brewery tour when it comes around, even if there is too much drinking for the crowd to stay quiet. The guys here clearly enjoy what their doing which is always key to good beer making.

The tavern has that dark tavern feel with a happy-to-be-drinking atmosphere. Ping pong, pool and darts to help you enjoy your beer are all free of charge. A couch here and there and some expected tables. Not too long ago some tables appeared outside as well. On tap there is always good variety. It makes sense. If you're going to make beer, why not style variety. I haven't come across anything on tap that I dislike either though I do like many beer styles already. I wanted to get a growler of something that ran out midway and because they were out, they poured it for me in two glasses and then proceeded to give me a free growler refill of my second option. Nice. That's good friendly customer service right there. (And that's not the only time I've had good service here).

Good beer and good people = good people and good beer.

Photo of wagenvolks
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5

Simply put, Horniblow's Tavern is amazing. As my newly acquired friend (met at beer bar) Andrew put it, it's like hanging out at your rich friend's parents' house. Plus there's a beer bar. They have pool and ping-pong tables, free darts, couches, and a few choice arcade games. The Tavern itself is housed in a sheet-metal warehouse, but the inside is all rustic oaken wood floors, walls, tables, and bar. Bottles from around the world line the tavern's walls.

The beer is from Big Boss Brewing, and for the most part, is delicoius and cheap (usually $3 a pint), and they have rotating seasonals and specialties, as well as drink specials. The servers are friendly and prompt, and, most importantly, they know their beer. They're also quick to give you a free taste of any beer you desire. The only downside is the selection, which is limited to about eight taps of Big Boss brew. Everything else is money. Do not come to Raleigh and miss visiting this place.

Photo of mgobrew
4.64/5  rDev +16.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

This place is not easy to locate in the dark and my navigator was still hesitant to enter even though I assured him we had the right place. It lies in the middle of an industrial park and there were no signs to verify that the doors we were opening would lead to a brewery tavern. The address was visible and a neon OPEN sign were all I needed to continue on my quest for a beer. The door leading to the place is adorned with two sledge hammers for handles and upon entering the walls are sheet metal and there is a stairway going up to the tavern. I went on a Tuesday, and it looked as though it was an open acoustic night with a few locals engaged in some bluegrass on a variety of stringed instruments. It had the feel of a college co-op with many rooms to play games or sit and talk while enjoying beer. The beer selection was good with a wide range of styles to choose from. The bartender was helpful in giving details on the beers. I had the bock and found it to be very good and close to style. I was sad to limit my sampling to one but will definitely return for more the next time I am in town. They also had T-shirts, pint glasses, stickers and openers for sale as well for the collectors out there.

Photo of atsprings
4.1/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This place is almost literally a hole in the wall. Just a couple of rooms upstairs from the Edenton/Big Boss brewery with a short bar in front of a small line of taps. On a weekend night, expect it to be rather croweded and loud. Other times, such as a weeknight around 7pm or so, the place is very chill. Service is just what you'd expect from a place like this, if it's busy, expect the understandable few minute wait. If it's not busy, service is great and the bartender is always willing to talk about their brew. Prices are great at 3$ a pint and $7 for a growler refill. My only problem is they rarely use a fill hose and never use CO2 while refilling growlers. Not a problem if I'm taking it home to drink that night, but is if I want to save it for about a week. Overall a pretty cool place, but I usually just stop in for a quick pint and/or refill and then I'm on my way.

Photo of mcjeff
4.3/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I've been frequenting Horniblows for a couple of months now. As noted by the other reviewers it is a very casual atmosphere with free pool, ping pong (bringing a ball is always appreciated), darts etc. It's almost a clubhouse feel to it.

Monday nights are/were an acoustic jam. Don't know the status now that MNF is in season. 2nd & 4th Tuesdays are a Bluegrass jam night.

No food but Capitol Creations (pizza) and a few others will deliver. They have menus at the bar.

They are eliminating a few of their brews from the line up as part of a new branding facelift. They will be keeping the Tavern Ale, IPA, Nut Brown and Helles. Additionally they are introducing some new seasonals. The Fat Friar Belguim Wheat is almost gone. But the Surrender Monkey Farmhouse Ale is now available as well as the Pumpkin Ale. The Pumpkin is a bit over the top but when it's cut with a Nut Brown, forming a Pumpkin Nut, it is much more palatable. The Farmhouse used the same yeast as the Fat Friar and has a very noticeable peppery bite to it that comes from, no surprise, black pepper.

Overall, there is enough variety in the beers to fit most moods. They are full flavored with generous portions of hops and malt. The bar itself is truly a casual friendly place that makes it easy to enjoy a beer and find a conversation.

Photo of rtratzlaff
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Tried this place after reading about it. I also had not tried an edenton beer yet, so what better way than to have one right from the source. We stopped by earlier (9 pm) on a sat night. There was about four people there and about 8 when we left. The small size and comfortable feel leads to great service. I did have trouble finding the place, but it was worth heading out there for those $3 pints. Their beers were served a bit warmer than most bars, but I have a feeling that it was exactly the temp they wanted it. The hop flavors of their beers were pretty tasty. There are two tvs at the bars and free pool and ping pong. Head to this place when you want a good beer at a great price.

Photo of blackie
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I consider Horniblow's to be the "brewpub" of the Edenton Brewery.

atmosphere: The building is located in the industrial section of Raleigh, amongst warehouses and such. A small stairway in the lobby area leads upstairs to the bar. As was mentioned before, there is a bar room, pool room, darts room, cards room, and a small lobby. Inside the bar room, a window offers a view of the brewing operation below, which is now kept lit during bar hours. The place can get pretty smoky when crowded, like eye burning smoky. Ventilation has been improved somewhat, but it is not sufficient. This is the only thing I do not like about Horniblow's, and I took a full point off of the atmosphere (pun intened) score because of it. I do give them credit, however, for making the bar area non-smoking, though smoke from the other areas easily drifts in. The crowd is usually mid-twenties to mid-thirties, and diverse. Pretty laid back. I like this kind of place. Recently, some work has been done to improve the physical and aesthetic conditions of the establishment, while keeping its "small bar" charm.

quality: Most of the beers are from Edenton, with maybe two or three taps devoted to some other micro. All of the beers I've ever had here have been of at least good quality. Tasty and fresh.

service: Never had a problem with service. I always get my beer pretty fast and the bartenders are friendly and willing to help. They chill their glasses and I have never had and mean or off looks when asking for a "regular" glass, and the one time I had a problem with a bill it was remedied quickly. Impromptu tours with the owner are never bad, either.

selection: Good selection. Not that I ever try them, but I suppose it can be a plus that they carry a couple other micros not brewed by Edenton. There are usually 7 or so Edenton beers on tap, which is a nice number, with usually at least one to fit my mood.

value: The prices are very reasonable. Monday night is pint night, when all pints are $2.50. All other days, pints are $3.00, which is a good price in my book.

Photo of buckiflyer
4.22/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3

After mapping directions online I was surprised to find that Horiblow's is only 10 minutes from my house, so I decided to give it a shot for Monday night football. I wasn't let down.

The bar sits atop the brewery in an industrial area. Upon entering I knew I wasn't in an ordinary bar. This place is like an apartment converted into a beer club. There are 3 seperate rooms and the bar area, one room, the smoking room with couches. No smoking in the bar, I love it. Then 2 other rooms with ping pong pool etc.

I spent all my time at the bar. Lynn the bartender was very friendly and knew all about the beers on tap, later I found out she is the brewers wife. The beer was great and the patrons super friendly, not annoying. Monday's are $2.50 a pint! I enjoyed the Tavern, IPA and Helles. The only knock I have is the only other beer offering beyond Edenton is a Ottercreek Stout and no food.

I see myself becoming a regular. Next Monday, I am heading back and bringing some fellow BA's

Photo of tchaike
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Horniblow's is a bit like visitng your Uncle Ted's basement, if your Uncle Ted had a microbrewery in the garage. Everything in the place is worn in, in that comfortable way that shows its age. The ping-pong, pool, and darts are free, there's a room for checkers or backgammon, a bunch of decks of cards, oh, and a bar.

Beer's always $3 a pint, except for the rotating daily special, or on monday, when the pint's $2.50. So, yeah, a good value for a quality beer in a comfortable, basement rec-room like joint.

Photo of mortarit
3.86/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I have been here a couple of times to refill my growler. Everytime that I have been there they wasn't any customers. The service was nice and let me in without paying the cover charge. I like the set up but they could still do some remodeling. It would be an excellent place for real beer lovers to converse and discuss beers. I haven't been when the crowds are there but I am trying to make it one night. I really don't understand why tap beer is more than bottle beer. Someone mention because its fresh. Maybe I am confused by brinking the big and getting there taps at cheaper rates. Overall, I like it and it has potential.

Photo of silver0rlead
4.22/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

A very good beer bar, even though it's obviously biased towards beers brewed on the site (Edenton Brewery). The people are all very nice and for the most part fairly knowledgeable about beer. They have specials every night and the prices are pretty fair. The whole lineup of Edenton Brews are really solid (the brewmaster formerly worked at Victory Brewery) with some exceptional ones in the lineup such as Winter Cheer, Horniblow's Tavern Ale. Big Boss IPA and King David's Red. They also have a huge bottle collection and a pool table, ping pong table and darts. Really a great bar.

Photo of Ninjaworm
4/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Visited for the Pop The Cap fundraiser on 3/27/04.

The tavern is broken up into multiple small rooms that seem very intimate. As established from other reviews, this tavern is part of the Edenton Brewing Co. building. When I was there they were sampling specialty beers but from the board with the prices posted this is a very fair establishment.

I enjoyed the decore of the tavern. A great place to join friends and have a pint with. As previously stated a membership is required because of NC's laws. The owner that I met was very friendly.

At the time of visting they offered a variety of a few differnt companies beers and some of their beers.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.94/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

The location of the Pop The Cap fundraiser on 3/27/04.

Definitely one of the stranger locations I've visited lately, Horniblow's tavern is located above the Edenton Brewing Co. in an "industrial park" area. Perhaps "off the beaten path" is more appropriate.

This tavern appears to be an office converted into a bar, as there are several small rooms here that are all part of the bar proper. 3 different rooms aside from the bar itself, one with a pool table and the requisite "Golden Tee" game, another with darts, and a third room with nothing in it save for a few chairs. The bar area itself has a few tables and about 10 stools at the bar. Around a dozen taps, though when I was there we were only sampling the special bottled beers for the event. Service was quick and efficient. Judging from previous reviews, prices are very fair.

Worth stopping by if you are in the area.

Photo of Stoo333
4.14/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

It's very cozy here. A warm, small place that was pretty quiet the night I dropped by. They have a couple different rooms. There is the main bar area with 10 stools or so and a few TVs hanging up, and there are a couple of 4-6 seater tables. In another room you'll find a dart board and some tables, and in another a pool table and a little more seating.

I tried 2 of their beers they had on tap -- the Uncle Nut's Nut Brown Ale and King David's Red Ale. The brown went down easy with a good toasty roastedness that really wasn't too sweet--a good drink. The red ale had a light to medium caramelized maltiness up front and quickly transitioned to some fairly hoppy characteristics that I couldn't really identify. It was very pleasant; not a sharp bite at all, but a lot was going on.

The lady working the bar was fun--she was more than excited to get us to try what they had to offer, and all requests were prompt. I'm looking forward to dropping back by here with my next trip east.

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Horniblow's Tavern in Raleigh, NC
90 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.