Bill Pickle's Tap Room

Your Rating: None
15 Ratings

Type: Bar, Eatery

106 S Allen St
State College, Pennsylvania, 16801-4736
United States

(814) 231-4745 | map

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Added by ski271 on 09-05-2005

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 15 |  Reviews: 10
Reviews by ffejherb:
Photo of ffejherb
2.8/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5

Stopped in for a beer during our jaunt to Happy Valley on a Friday night. This place has your typial meat market appeal. Taps are pretty much your standard fare, with lots of macros and a few imports with one or two craft brews. Didn't check their bottle selection... perhaps I should have, but I just ended up getting a Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat.

Place was kind of a sausage fest, with tons of frat boys sprinkled with some sorority-type girls. Also, they were charging a $1 cover at the door, and the guy at the door didn't even know why they were charging a cover. Apparently, there was a DJ spinning some classic rock in an elevated DJ booth way up in the corner. At least the music was decent. But this place could have been worse. The music wasn't too loud and most people were just drinking instead of dancing. Would I stop in again? Not with places like Zeno's in town.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.43/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.25

Bill Pickle's Tap Room is a college bar, and thus you have to accept that it has service issues and will be full of young people during the school year, but it's also a bit of an institution behind Zeno's and The Rathskeller, and it's actually pretty nice inside. It has a sort of a German pub feel with lots of dark wood, exposed timbers, a chandelier over the bar, and a small-tile terracotta floor. The bar is copper topped, and they offer 12 beers on tap but only 4 or maybe 5 are actually craft amidst the likes of Bud, Miller Lite, and Yuengling. They do serve the local Otto's beers though, although they're not that far away and offer better food so why not just go there?

The food is basic bar food with items like Hot Wings and burgers, and the quality is what you'd expect of a standard family-style restaurant chain.

The service is generally poor, but you might get lucky, especially if it's not busy.

I certainly wouldn't visit when it's busy, and to be honest, I wouldn't even go during the school year, and most importantly I wouldn't go for the beer as there are a lot of better choices within walking distance but that's up to you.

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Photo of Possum77
2.96/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4.25 | selection: 1.5 | food: 3.25

Photo of pep
3.75/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of Barnsley
3.25/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of tdm168
3.5/5  rDev +8%

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of viker
3.88/5  rDev +19.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Went there on a weekday night, had an excellent experience (read other reviews if you want to know about variability of service when things get busy, I can't speak to that).

What I can speak to is an excellent atmosphere: the building is very nice, everyone was quite friendly and they had no problem with us moving some chairs around. Their selection is smaller than Zeno's (as many have noted already) but they still offer a nice selection of the big names as well as a fairly long list of bottles smaller brewers. Service was great: we were checked on multiple times by our server and everything came promptly. Food was solid — standard bar fare and prices with a good serving size.

If you come in expecting to be dazzled by an infinite selection of brews, you'll be disappointed. But if you want a good list of beer and to have a nice, relaxed time sitting down and enjoying the atmosphere and chatting with your friends — make it to Pickle's.

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Photo of Buggies
2/5  rDev -38.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 2 | food: 1

A horrible experience...

Problem 1...
The menu found online IS NOT the same menu at the bar. The actual bar menu has about 8 items on it. Nothing even worth eating. I'm not sure what happened to the online menu, but don't go here for the food.

Problem 2...
Service was extremely bad. The majority of the help is all college kids. That's understandable being in a college town. But when the help spends more time hugging and sayin hello to their friends rather than serving me what I came for, they're terrible.

Problem 3...
Beer selection is just pathetic.

Food = crap
Beer = crap
Service = crap

Skip this place and go straight to Zeno's or the Corner Room. Bill Pickles wasn't worth the trip at all.

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Photo of bosco7
2.7/5  rDev -16.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2 | food: 3.5

Went here a couple weeks ago for a pint and some food. This was tough for me because Zeno's is right there and well Zeno's is awesome.

The room itself is nice but what character it has is lost amongst the numerous TVs and the moronic undergraduates and their silly bar tour antics.

There were two craft drafts and the rest macros and imported macros. I had the the Brooklyn East India Pale Ale. Didn't taste right to me.

The food was okay. Pub food stuff. I had a burger and onion rings. My friend had some wings that I tried and were pretty decent.

Overall I wouldn't come here if I wanted a pint of good beer, especially with Zeno's downstairs. If you want to watch a game and have some pub food then this might be an okay place to do that.

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Photo of akorsak
3/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3

Visited while in town for commencement. A $1 cover charge (yes it was not much, but there was nothing that deserved such a charge) set things off on a less-than-great note.

Atmosphere: A large bar with seating/standing room all around. A small DJ booth above the bar may have been the reason for the cover. Well-lit with large windows that I've seen open during nicer weather.

Quality: A college-town bar, perhaps a little more upscale than, say, the Brewery or Dark Horse.

Service: Service was nonexistent. A busser removed glasses and pitchers but one had to order on one's own.

Selection: The tap selection was underwhelming with Mad Elf being the best offering.

Food: Didn't eat.

Why go here when Zeno's is approximately 15 paces away?

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Photo of treyrab
3.65/5  rDev +12.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

One of my favorite bars in State College...not because of the selection, but because of the atmosphere...

A: Very friendly, fun place especially for a college town. In the summer, their bar wall opens to make a fun, airy atmosphere. It is very clean with a large bar and many small tables and stools...not much in terms of sit down for dining.

S: The service is as good as it can get for a bar in a college town. The bar can get packed at times, leaving the services to be slow as expected, but comparatively, the service is very good.

Selection: Nothing impressive here. They have the regulars and every so often a rotating beer, but nothing great.

Overall, I would go there for a great time, but not for good beer. Go to Zeno's for that

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Photo of jsbrendle
3.43/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

New spot for the Hotel partnership. Nicely redone space, but feels a bit like it isn't all cut from the same cloth. It tries to look like it's been around for a long time, but not everything "clicks" for me. Good high ceiling helps it feel larger than it is, as does the open air option in season. Tables are well spaced until things get busy, then it is a mess. Nice solid bar to belly-up to. Service variable especially when it gets busy (and it gets busy). Plenty of TVs scattered around to distract. Darts. Tap and bottle selection is decent. Not as good as it could be, but better than many other similar places in town. Large college crowd is a turn-off (popularity can be a negative). Much more attractive as a lunchtime destination I'd think. Food is Corner Room level stuff, so nothing special, but decent for the price. Do rather wish some of the other notions about what Pickles could be had been pursued, but it is hard to argue with it succeeding in drawing a crowd the way it was done (I would've preferred a more Euro 'cafe' feel with a unique set of drinks, and its own menu).

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Photo of joeskirkie
3.38/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

This is a real nice looking place. They have this vibe like they've been around for a while but this place wasn't even here last time I was at State College. Theres a good amount of flat screen TV's including some in the men's room, quite nice. An attractive copper-topped bar takes up about 30% of the left side when you walk in and the rest of the place has tables, but not too congested.

The service was good but slow. There was only one waitress serving the five or six tables. The food was alright, I got my burger the way I wanted it, no complaints.

The draft selection seemed standard for this town; mostly macros with an occasional Sam Adams seasonal or Magic Hat. The thing I liked the most was the bottle selection. Anchor, Sam Smith, Troegs, Penn, Brooklyn, Magic Hat, etc. It was real nice. When I asked for a glass they gave me the choice of frosted or not, another plus.

Other parts of my weekend were spent at old standards like the Rathskeller, Saloon, and the Sports Cafe. I'd have to say that my session here was the most relaxed and enjoyable.

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Photo of ski271
3.93/5  rDev +21.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is a new pub and restaurant that just opened its doors over the summer. First thing I wondered was how they possibly got the borough to allow another liquor license into this college town…. but they didn’t have to. It’s attached to and owned by the Hotel State College Company, which also owns the Allen Street Grill, The Corner Room, Zeno’s (a bar with a FABULOUS beer selection), Players Night Club, Take Six (6-pack shop) and Chumley’s. Located just off the corner of College Avenue and Allen Street, this place has a prime location in the center of the downtown business district. And if you talk to any Penn State student, this corner (which is right down the hill from PSU’s Old Main) is often thought of as the center of the universe.

I hadn’t been downtown in a while and first spotted the new watering hole during State College’s infamous Arts Fest. The appearance from the street attracted me to it right away, and I had to stop in and check it out. It has a cozy euro-style atmosphere while staying very open. Dark wood lower walls and off-white upper walls with exposed wooden cross-beams lead up to a very high ceiling with visible ductwork and several ceiling fans. That coupled with the fact that a large portion of the front opens to the street gives this place wonderful ventilation, something that is hard to come by in this college town. Tables aren’t packed together too close, chairs are fairly comfortable, and all the servers I have seen and talked to have been above average as far as friendliness and knowledge go. The food is very good, nothing gourmet, but the price is right. This was no shock to me since this place shares a kitchen with the next door Corner Room, which always has good quality sandwiches that won’t break the bank. I had an excellent Reuben. Onto what we all REALLY care about, the bar and the beer.

On another trip to Bill Pickle’s I just bellied up to the bar for a draft or two. Comfortable bar stools, and a beautiful bar! Dark cherry wood U-shaped bar with a nice cool copper top, and plenty of seating. Two stations of taps at either end of the rectangle, each with around a dozen taps. Most taps were disappointingly domestics, your typical BMC suspects, the obligatory Yeungling, a couple Canadian macros,… etc. Biggest highlights were Guinness, Bass, Hoegaarden, and Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse, which is better than most bars in this town but nothing to write home about. The bottle selection, on the other hand, is quite impressive. No surprise, being that I’m sure they can pull from the same cooler Zeno’s uses. Quite an impressive number of micros and imports that I could see in the coolers behind the bar. Large selections of beers from Victory, Brooklyn, Dogfish Head, and Ommegang caught my eye. I had a Guinness draught, and do have to give the bartender credit for properly pouring it. Otherwise, the bartenders were no real prize.

Other notes about the atmosphere. There are several HDTVs up high around the place and even two small TVs above the 2 urinals in the men’s room. I love when bars have those, especially during big games. There are two dart boards in the corner. And by the entrance to the restrooms, there’s a very large picture of Bill Pickle.

History time. The pub is named after William Gilliland, AKA Bill Pickle who arrived in State College in the 20’s and lived the rest of his life right downtown on Beaver Avenue with his wife and 12 kids (yikes!). He was a carpenter by trade, but became most well known as one of the area’s largest moonshiners and bootleggers.

I really enjoyed this place and I’m sure I’ll be back there soon. However this is a college town, and things don’t tend to stay that nice for very long. I’m interested to see what shape the place is in after a couple years of being torn apart by students. But for the meantime, I think this bar and Zeno’s are two of the very few bars listed here in the Beerfly that make a real effort to offer craft beer. I think Zeno’s is still your best shot, as it offers a marvelous selection of craft beer on tap rivaled by nobody in town. But with a very good bottle selection upstairs at Bill Pickles, you now have the opinion of escaping the often smokey, stuffy, overcrowded basement bar while still being able to enjoy some quality suds.

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Bill Pickle's Tap Room in State College, PA
Place rating: 3.24 out of 5 with 15 ratings
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