E.J. Phair Alehouse

E.J. Phair AlehouseE.J. Phair Alehouse
E.J. Phair AlehouseE.J. Phair Alehouse
Bar, Eatery

2151 Salvio St
Ste L
Concord, California, 94520-2470
United States

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Rated: 4.7 by Mikey440 from California

Jan 10, 2017
Rated: 4.13 by Cabindan from California

Sep 11, 2016
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Rated by WillDavis707 from California

3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3
Pretty regular all the way around. This is a CAN miss
Oct 28, 2015
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Reviewed by GRG1313 from California

4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
This is just a great place for a meal and beer - period. Very traditional "alehouse" look, not one of the new, hip, modern places going up today. I'm not making a value judgment here - I'm just saying its an old "English/Iris/German" type restaurant/beerhouse looking place. Very nice and very inviting with a good vibe.

The lady behind the counter is just inviting, friendly and knowledgeable. (While I was there she was putting a Prairie Bomb on tap and bringing it through the lines. She gave everyone sitting at the bar about a 2-3 ounce pour "just to taste since I'm bringing it through the lines anyway." Very cool of her and of course the beer is "the Bomb." Yeah...couldn't resist).

Beer selection is excellent although of course the E.J. Phair offerings are the highlight. While these are perhaps not revolutionary beers, they are solid, well made and taste pretty good. The Bellyitchin brown was nice a brown as I've had in a long time.

Food is very good. Nice spot to hit for a beer and a meal. Much more of a restaurant/brewery than a beer bar. I liked it and would return
Aug 08, 2015
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Reviewed by flexabull from California

3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.25
Decent place in downtown Concord.

I liked the vibe, warn look inside with wood floors and brick walls. Also has some pretty nice outdoor seating.

Quality of the two beers I had were decent, but nothing special. The IPA I decided on was a bit one dimensional and overly bitter.

Service was good. Our server was pleasant, and our food and beers were served quickly even though the place was fairly busy.

Selection was varied and pretty extensive. I believe they had 15 or so on tap at the time.

Food was pretty standard pub grub, decent, but nothing special.

Overall? Worth a visit if you are in the area, but I probably won't go out of my way to visit this place again.
Jul 30, 2015
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Reviewed by beernbiology from California

4/5  rDev +3.4%
The food is great. Typical pub menu but the weekly specials can be superb. Always mediocre beer, they've recently seen local competitors (Ale Industries, Hop Grenade, etc.) get an edge with innovation. And they've responded, with a widely increased spectrum of offerings.... session beers, low alcohol IPAs, etc. Give them a try, there's new brew sophistication.
Oct 06, 2014
Rated: 2 by BeerisUber from Washington

Jul 03, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by MrDave from California

Jun 09, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by RBassSFHOPit2ME from California

Jun 04, 2014
Rated: 4 by JHB-510 from California

Apr 22, 2014
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Reviewed by Ilovebeer1549 from California

3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5
A solid neighborhood bar...sitting here with my wife having a "Face Puncher" IPA. After having a "Double Cross" before that...feeling good. Watching the Giants game and listening to a live trio band sing "yellow submarine". About as good as it gets folks. Stop by and have a pint soon.
Apr 28, 2013
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Reviewed by hiku7 from California

4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5
Went for my first time tonight and really was impressed with the draught beer selection. In addition to a couple of E.J. Phair beers, had beer from Russian River (Blind Pig) and Bear Republic on tap, as well as several other respected craft brews (e.g. Green Flash Hop Head Red).

Food was reasonable and fairly priced.

Barmaid was attentive and attractive; what else can you ask for?

Giants game on the TV.

Overall, I'll go back because I was impressed with the tap beer selection. I only tried a few, and will try several more next time around.

Apr 07, 2011
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Reviewed by scottfrie from California

3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
Went here for lunch yesterday with another BA. This place has a nice beer selection covering a lot of new releases (10.10.10, RR's Janet's Brown Ale) and old favorites (Pliny, Racer 5, Black Butte Porter) and has taps ranging across styles. They also have a short bottle list of Belgians available, with a fair amount of glassware to serve each genera.

The food wasn't bad, and was pretty standard for this type of place. Appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, salads and few fancier specials all looked appealing. The bathrooms were clean, food service was quick, and the bartender was knowledgeable and friendly. Overall, I would definitely go here again. Given the area this place is in, they are probably the best place for beer. But even if this place wasn't merely a default, I would seek it out.
Nov 28, 2010
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Reviewed by belgianbeerlover from California

3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4
This place has been in Concord for a few years now and my family have had lunch a number of times here. Hard to say what the nighttime atmosphere is like, but definitely more of a restaurant vibe than a bar during lunch. The patio area overlooking Todos Santos Plaza is great when the weather is nice.

They are in the midst of relocating their brewery in Pittsburgh, so they only had one in-house beer (Shorty's Revenge) on tap the last time I was there. I believe they should be brewing again come fall of 2010. In event, they have a great selection of other beers to choose from in the mean time. A number of west coast brews on tap (Russian River, Bear Republic, Green Flash, Lagunitas, etc) - probably about 10-12 taps in total. They also had 10-15 Belgians available in bottles (rochefort, duvel, kwak, etc). Hands down one of the best line-ups in the Walnut Creek/Concord area.

The food is largely pub style food (burgers, salads, fish & chips), but is done well and most entrees are under $12. The service isn't the greatest, including their knowledge of the beers. I'm not usually looking for recommendations when I'm there though, so that doesn't really bother me.

I wouldn't make a road trip to eat here, but if you live or work in the area, it's definitely worth checking out.
Sep 08, 2010
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Reviewed by schoolcb from Texas

3.54/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4
Great atmosphere, many beers to select from including the elusive Pliny the Elder (Drakes, Russian River, Lost Coast, etc), although they only had one of their own beers on tap. Great draft selection from other breweries, and an extensive list of Belgian bottled beers to choose from. Our server was attentive, but was not very familiar with the beers and had to come back to our table to tell us they were out of one of the beers we ordered. Lots of TV's around so we could watch college basketball. Just so happens this place is close to the office we held offsites at. The food being delivered to other tables looked good, will have to try it next time I am in town. Parking was a little bit of a challenge. If you are in the area, it's the only brewpub in the area.
Jan 28, 2010
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Reviewed by woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
Located at the corner of Salvio and Grant Streets, the double doorway was aligned to the corner. A fenced-in patio area ran along Salvio, but I opted for the bar. Entering, the m.d.s. was immediately right with the 5/8 of an octagon-shaped, polished light wood on a L-oblique. Standard restaurant tables and chairs ran along the windows overlooking Grant, plus another row of standard tables and chairs between the window and the bar. Along the windows overlooking the patio were a series of high tables and chairs with two picnic tables (!) between them and the bar. Booths ran along the far left wall, fronting exposed, undulating brickwork. The back bar separated the bar area from a semi-private meeting room with standard tables and chairs and a line of upholstered benches fronted by standard tables along the back wall. Lavs in back left corner, past kitchen right. Taps were a series of Belgian-style taps on the bar. Small, colored chalk on black placards hung above the back bar, advising what beers were available. On my visit, only six (6) with eight (8) guests. Hmm. 2 GABF gold medals flanked a hex sign.

Beers: American Wheat; Shorty's Revenge; Marzen; English IPA; Pilsner; Barrel-Aged Shorty's.

Others: Dave's Double Brown; Stouter; Pale Ale; Harvest Ale; Rye Beer; Phat Quail; Alehouse IPA; Blonde Lager; Schwartzbier.

Mom: Yep. Definitely a place to bring even the most casual of beer drinkers.
Dec 25, 2009
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Reviewed by berkey from California

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5
Atmosphere is relaxed, definitely family oriented, a 'bring the kids' type of beer bar. There seem to be a lot of regulars. Several big screen TV's make this a nice place to stop and watch a hockey game after work or for football on Sunday. By no means a beer geek atmosphere and not really a 'hang out' spot if you're single. I guess it all depends on what sort of night you're looking for.

Service is this places strong point. The staff is friendly, attentive, and quick to right any concern you might have. Don't expect high amounts of beer knowledge beyond hoppy or sweet, light or dark though. Selection leans heavily toward the hoppy ales with several local IPA's and DIPA's always on tap. Russian River, Drake's, Stone, and Bear Republic make up the usual lineup of guest beers. Their own house beers aren't bad either but there are rarely more than a few available, it's clear the guest beers are the big sellers. They also have a small selection of Belgian beers in bottles. Nothing you can't find at Bevmo but they serve in proper glasswear and it's a welcome change of pace from the hop bombs that make up the tap list.

The only real gripe against this place is the food. It's standard pub fair and I don't expect anything world class but it's well below other brew pubs in the area and fairly pricey for what you get. Something about the flavors and textures just doesn't work. I've had nearly everything on the menu by now and the only thing I've finished was breakfast. I keep ordering there because it's convenient but I'm always disappointed. It's unfortunate because I'd be there several times a week if I could get a decent meal. In any case, I still come here fairly often for a pint because of the convenient location and decent selection. At least the fries are good.
Dec 06, 2009
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Reviewed by mckeehn from California

3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5
E.J. Phair is a brewpub in Concord California. This is the closest place for "good" beer I have found. So I do frequent it.

The atmosphere drives an American Brewpub theme, which it hits square in the heart. The the Alehouse is kept immaculate. The atmosphere is very open and compartmentalized however more like a restaurant, and not cozy and driven toward socializing with the other clientele. So bring a friend to talk to, they can be the DD after all.

Quality here has always been excellent. They I have not drank a poorly kept or poured beer here. Nor have I been challenged with dead taps.

Selection. Unlike many brewpubs. Phair not only features their own brews, they also feature a large number of other micro/craft brews. So many that the number of "Guest" taps outnumber house brews. One of my personal rarities "Pliny the Elder" has been featured for a while.

Food is generally typical Pub fair, but the quality is well above average, and a few top shelf selections bring the menu to the point that you may seek out the Alehouse for lunch even if you had no intention of drinking. They also offer breakfast menu's for Saturday and Sunday; and as a place to eat out for dinner, you will see quality that well exceeds chain family restaurants but not special night out quality. (Unless your SO is a beer fan)

Value overall prices are a tad high, but when you factor the clearly above average quality of all of the establishments offerings, the E.J. Phair remains a good value.

Overall impression. E.J. Phair remains one of my favorite places to drink beer.
Oct 07, 2009
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Reviewed by mjl21 from California

3.83/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
Stopped in here last night for dinner and thought this place was due for a Beerfly Review.

EJ Phair is located right off the Todos Santos Square in downtown Concord. There is plenty of street parking nearby as well as a parking garage. It is a fairly decent sized place. When you walk in the bar is immediately to your left and there is plenty of seating at the bar. They have tons of large tables and booths as well as a room behind the bar and a nice outdoor patio. We sat in the room behind the bar and felt that it was way too hot. Outside or the main room is the way to go when you come here.

They list all of their beers on a beer menu. We went when there was a concert in the park and EJ Phair only had their English IPA listed as their only house beer. We were told that it was out due to the concert. Fortunately they have a very good lineup of guest beers. They offer Schhoners IPA (ran out) and Oatmeal Stout; RR PTE and Janet's Brown Ale; GF WC IPA, Hop Head Red, and Imperial IPA; BR Racer 5 and Hop Rod; Trumer; and a few others. Beers are served in 12 oz and 16 oz glasses. While I felt the selection was good on the menu, I was irked that they were out of so many beers. I ended up getting a PTE ($5 for a 12oz or $7 for a 16oz) and an Oatmeal stout. They also have a cooler with some varied Belgian beers and a glass case with some nice Belgian glasses.

The food is standard brewpub food. Lots of appetizers, burgers, sandos, and salads. I went with the buffalo chicken sandwich and salad and my wife had a burger with fries. Both were above average for pub food.

The service was quick and very good considering how slammed they were with little kids and folks attending the concert.

Overall I thought it was a good place to have some food and a pint. I was surprised that they had none of their beers available and it would have been nice if they had more of the guest beers available. I really can't complain too bad because I did drink Pliny and Schooner's excellent oatmeal stout.
Sep 13, 2009
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Reviewed by macktbone from California

3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
Great place to stop in after going to monument. Good food for a reasonable price and good atmosphere. The staff may not be the most knowledgeable but they do like beer and are willing to work for their money. Live music on weekends make it even more fun.
I love a place that is not too proud to have some great beers on tap competing with thier own. Only 50 cents or so more for a well known bre is really good!
Lots of tasting available, I've never been looked at sideways for asking for multiple tastings...especially after they know that chances are they will get a better tip for it!
Aug 23, 2009
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Reviewed by jeffjeff1 from California

3.83/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
I went here a while ago with my girlfriend at the time. Atmosphere is really nice. Have good beers on tap and always a good selection. The garlic fries are awesome. Definitely gonna take my new girlfriend here. I believe I had the Marzen when I was there and I believe I had 2 other beers and they were good. I really enjoyed the place. There was pretty good service when I was there. I haven't been there in a while and have really been wanting to go back for a while now. My new girlfriend will love the place. They have plenty of beers for her.
Jun 24, 2009
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Reviewed by aforbes10 from Iowa

4/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
This place is in what I assume is downtown Concord, next to a park, with lots of free parking around. Open, Ameri-pub atmosphere inside. Medieval-like table in center, surrounded by tall pub tables, normal tables, and booths, as well as bar seating. Outdoor seating too. 3 in house brews on tap, as well as ~15 guest brews that are all middle to top of the line. I went with Drake's Rye after getting a couple of tasters and I liked that you could do the tasters. Nice, open feeling to the place, probably due to the large windows on two sides of the building. Food a bit pricey, but manageable and very tasty. I went with the buffalo wings (I got the "hot", not the in-house super crazy hot ones, and the hot were hot enough, so that's good). Staff friendly and knowledgeable. Crowd ranged from dads with their baseball uniform-clad children to dedicated drunks at the bar who had likely been there since open. That's a nice group, imo. I enjoyed myself, and I'd come back.
Apr 26, 2009
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Reviewed by ThirdLap from California

3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5
Been to EJ Phair three or four times now, so I figured I'd crank out a review.

Decent place, with a good rotation of local guest taps. Think RR (Elder, Damnation, etc), BR (Racer X!), and the like. Service has always been outstanding, with friendly and courteous waitstaff and bartenders. Selection is so-so, but what they lack in quantity is more than made up for in quality. Food is above-average pub grub, and I've never been disappointed. Prices are very fair.

Definitely worth a stop if you find yourself in the area.
Mar 04, 2009
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Reviewed by Talisker from California

3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3
Just a bit too far to merit a special trip from San Francisco, and a notch below similar places in SF, Marin, Sonoma, and Hayward, but absolutely worth a visit if you're in the area. EJ Phair's Alehouse would be downright awesome compared to any area except probably Northern California or Portland OR.

Inside is typical sports bar. Nicely situated on a town square, easy parking. Menu is typical bar food - wings, nachos, burgers - slightly pricey and of middling quality.

But the beer selection is excellent. About 12 taps, split evenly between EJ Phair's own brews and excellent guest beers. EJ Phair brews mostly German and English styles, occasionally throwing in an (excellent) American-style IPA. Unfortunately - and this is a big issue for me - they don't have a formal sampler on the menu, so you can't easily try the whole lineup in a single sitting.

The guest beers are *very* well-selected. Almost always an IPA from Russian River, other hard-to-find beers from Drake's, Green Flash - lots of California breweries. Prices a little iffy - $5-6 a pint.

Not the perfect brewpub, but excellent on the dimension that counts the most - beer selection.
Jun 21, 2008
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Reviewed by TheEremite from California

3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3
The best thing about this place is the staff. They're very helpful and mellow. No beer snobbery here. They could be a little more knowledgeable about the beers they're pouring, but they're more than happy to help when they can.

The food is fairly standard pub fare. They have good burgers and a few interesting Bavarian dishes (schnitzel is pretty good). Garlic fries are always a winner.

Beer selection is above average for sure. You're almost always going to find something great here, but it's usually no more than 1 or 2 fantastic selections and the rest of the board is your standard IPA, red, blond stout selection. Their guest beers are heavy on the smaller local California Bay Area breweries, but they branch out every once in a while. I've seen Pliny on tap here several times. Also, Schooners beers are very common here (schooners is a local brewery whose beers are way underrated IMO).

Nothing to blow your socks off here, but it's my new local watering hole. Good beer, decent food and great people.
Apr 08, 2008
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Reviewed by Bubba83 from California

3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
Visited Saturday, March 22nd, after going to Monument on my way to Brentwood to visit my sister. Concord was actually having an easter egg hunt in the park downtown near the Alehouse that was just finishing up as we arrived for lunch.

It's in a really great location downtown, perfect atmosphere and has a nice patio for some nice spring weather. We sat inside despite the nice weather. The place is very nice inside, has a nice clean wooden feel to it, pretty upscale while still remaining casual. Great atmosphere as you get the feeling the staff is easy going and relaxed.

I ordered the Salmon Fish and Chips, which is surprisingly the same price as the Cod version. It was quite good, very thin shoestring french fries that were very tasty and crisp. The batter on the thin salmon filets was crispy and light, highly enjoyable.

They have about 6-7 house beers on tap, and about 8-9 guest beers as well. Unfortunately the Bear Republic Black Mamba had just kicked when I got there, and they replaced it with Pete's Brown Tribute from Bear Republic, which I've already had. I started off with E.J. Phair's Marzen, which was good, but a little light in flavor despite the dark brown color. I followed that up with an E.J. Phair Stouter, which was absolutely excellent.

Service was a bit scattered since we had the bartender as our server, but it was no big deal to just go up to the bar when I needed something.

Highly recommended when in the area.
Mar 24, 2008
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Reviewed by bradford from California

4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5
E.J.'s is a fun spot to hit for lunch, dinner, or just drinking. They have big plasma TVs playing local sports teams, have a 13 tower tap lineup I believe, and always offer some very good guest beers. They occasionaly carry Pliny The Elder and Moonlight, almost always have 2 or 3 Bear Republic offerings, and have about 8 taps for their own brews which are pretty good, especially their American IPA. They have a rye beer that is pretty damn tasty too. The food is excellent and the staff is usaully very friendly and attentive. Last time I was in the bartender overheard my conversation about good beer and called me over. He pulled a beer from a tap at the very end. What was it? Moonlight's Bombay by Boat. Awesome. Highly recommended
Aug 12, 2007
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Reviewed by Mark from California

4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
I've had a soft spot for these guys for quite some time, and even though I don't buy their beers as regularly as I would like, I feel they make a good solid product. Their small brew house is a stone's throw from my place and I have bought bottled beer direct from them in the past, today I finally made it to the ale house. Nice airy place is just the right size. Bar sits in the middle and is also quite big. They had about 6 of their own beers on tap plus 5 or so guest beers. These included Bear Republic and Moonlight Breweries. Home brews were a pils and lager, English IPA, pale, stout, and a wheat. J.J. Phair is a nice friendly guy and very hospitable. We had a brief conversation and he let me have a taste of another beer I had asked about. Happy hours are 2-5pm on weekdays and we will be going back. Nice pub and worth going to. Only thing that bothered me and surprised me as well was that they serve your beer in a chilled glass routinely. I asked for a room temp glass for my second pint and J.J. didn't bat an eye.
Apr 23, 2007
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Reviewed by Troyone from California

3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3
Located in what appeared to be like a town square this is a good place for a brew. The bar was close to being a complete square with a view of the grassy field in the middle of this shopping area. The beers are not brewed here, rather at the brewing facility on the other side of Concord.

Stainless Steel tap nozzles, wood bar and stools, nice picnic tables (inside) etc... Did not see the kitchen and the restroom was clean.

Service was great at the start but after a while declined.

Their beers are not too bad, no cask, and some good guest beers. Possible notables being their IPA, Wheat, and Marzen. Definite notables were some of the guest beers including Racer 5.

The food was alright.

Jul 28, 2005
E.J. Phair Alehouse in Concord, CA
Place rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 29 ratings