Arrived in town late Saturday morning after stopping by the Farmer's Market earlier in the day. Once we got settled in the hotel, I dedicated myself to some quality record digging at In The Moment and Turn It Up! down the street. Once I was done shopping, it was time for some afternoon beers.
The Flat Street Brewpub has an awesome location at the Latchis Hotel in downtown Brattleboro. The bar has high ceilings with a comfortable bar and some great art work decorating the walls.
I ordered a Smoked Turkey, Roasted Corn & Avacado Wrap for lunch and started with the 'Palette' that offers five 5 oz samples ($6). I love the fact that you can pick your own beer samples.
The Berkshire Brewing Company connection is strong here, expect about 9 of their drafts available with options like Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale, Traditional Pale Ale, Lost Sailor IPA, Coffeehouse Porter, River Ale, Gold Spike Ale, Imperial Stout and Hefeweizen.
They also offer some guest taps with viable beers that include Wolaver's Wildflower Wheat, Guinness, Young's Luxury Double Chocolate Stout, Rogue Brutal IPA, Brooklyn Weisse, DFH 60 Minute IPA, Stone IPA and Maredsous Triple.
This place was really good, definitely a must stop when in the area.
Upstairs at the main entrance it’s a single room, restaurant/bar. The bar itself is smallish but I managed to grab a corner seat. Decor relative to the area is reasonable, simple and passable with brick walls and a single small TV at the bar to view the NBA playoffs. It’s far from anything special but it’s wholly passable. Place was fairly buzzing for a Sunday night. My Reuben sandwich was very good, plus fries, the Switchback Ale was not quite so satisfying but was okay. They had a fair selection based largely on their Berkshire beers as others have pointed out, but I didn't see any wild varieties to excite me there. A few other nice craft brews were on hand so I would recommend a visit if you're in town, but be sure to visit McNeill's before you worry about Flat Street. Probably best to use Flat Street for your eating / beer experience and rely on McNeill's for the pure beer activity. Although the wait staff was friendly enough, the place was busy and fairly crowded, seemed a bit cliquey and hard to fit into as compared to McNeill's.
I've stayed in the Latchis Hotel three times now, and each time has begun with a stop in the Flat Street. There's an unmatched coziness in sitting in the flickering corner upstairs having a BBC pint after a long, winter night drive up, and a warm charm of the downstairs tap room rivaled only by the friendly service of the barkeep. This is by far my favorite bar in Vermont, and one of my favorites in New England, in general. The current relationship with BBC provides a quasi-brewpub vibe, and word is that they will be reviving the long-dormant basement brewery this spring, while maintaining the solid tap lineup and BBC focus. It keeps getting better here.
The Flat Street is divided into a cozy, but airy street-level pub with exposed brick walls, big storefront windows, well-kept couches and tables; and a basement-level tap room with a long tap list, glowing iron beams along the low ceiling, small windows tucked behind the attractive, copper-backed bar, and the only bartender I have ever deemed a barkeep. While the atmospheres are quite different, they are equally relaxed and inviting, and both offer excellent, rotating tap selections.
The tap selection is especially strong on Vermont and New England beers, with all of northern New England and Massachusetts being represented, but they are complemented by a solid lineup of other craft and imported beers. I appreciate the BBC focus, as well as the option of serving styles (something that seems prevalent in the state).
I visited a couple of times during a recent visit to Brattleboro.
The first visit they closed the basement tap room early on a Friday night which bummed me out as they have a much large tap list down there (30 total with 11 of them being BBC brews). We came back the next night and had more success.
We had a nice barman that took good care of us then we moved to a table and had dinner.
Pours were either 10oz. or 16oz pours.
I will plan on visiting the next time I am in town but will show up around 7 or 8PM to make sure that the basement is open. The upstairs was more crowded with less beer options.
A nice little beer bar Brattleboro is lucky to have. In this economy it took alot of guts to add a second tap room in the basement and I admire the owners for pushing the envelope.
The main focus is on beers from the Berkshire Brewing Co, but they have a solid line-up (very good, not great) if BBC is not your thing.
Downstairs is apparently only open on Fri/weekends so plan ahead. It was not open on my visit and I didn't really care.
Upstairs and downstairs can get a little rollicking by New England standards, good for them.
Flat Street can be a bit hard to find, but I love that the Latchis Movie Theater has a direct entrance into the main bar area, it's a great complex overall, something you would expect to see in NYC or Boston. You can even catch the latest anti- USA movie at the Latchis ;) and finish up with a few beers without leaving the premises. The attached hotel seems to be a nice clean bargain.
Being a NJ/NY transplant I love the fact that if you squint a little you can convince yourself that you are in the East Village or Hoboken.
Spent a nice evening at the bar, drinking DFH 60 min IPA, talking to fellow beer/ football fans.
Take a short walk up the hill, stop in Sams for free popcorn first, and go to McNeills. An excellent beer experience in the middle of nowhere.
Now with the Whetstone, Brattleboro is becoming a beer destination. Irene damaged the basement area- sad because the did a nice job on it.
To reiterate the point of an earlier reviewer: THIS IS NOT A BREWPUB. It's a beer bar, with a decent selection. Upstairs, they have about 15 tap lines, mostly focusing on beers from Berkshire Brewing Company (BBC). I think they had about 7 BBC beers on tap upstairs, along with a somewhat pedestrian array of microbrews (Guinness, Harp, Smithwicks, etc.).
If the upstairs looks too crowded (as it often does), don't be afraid to squeeze your way inside and head downstairs to the "Tap Room," where there's more space, and more tap lines (they have about 30 lines downstairs, and the beers are different from those offered upstairs). On our visit, they had an eclectic mix of taps downstairs, including beers from Dogfish Head, Ommegang, Stone, Switchback (Vermont brewer), and Allagash.
If you're upstairs, it's first-come, first-served for tables, so grab whatever's open. Downstairs, I think you can put your name on a list to get a table, but that might not be accurate.
Side note: They also have occasional beer specials (on Mondays, for example, they serve pints of the Imperial Stout for $3.75, which is almost dangerously cheap).
The food was average bar fare. Not bad, but nothing overly special. Service was friendly, but a bit slow. It's a decent destination for beer geeks, but for the true _brewpub_ experience in Brattleboro, you'll need to walk a few blocks over, to McNeill's Brewery on Elliot Street.
This is not a brewpub BUT it used to be and then it was a tap room owned by Berkshire Brewing Company but now it is only a restaurant with a relationship with BBC that has a lot of their beers and other micros on tap.
The downstairs now has 30 taps and they have about 15 upstairs. Lots of BBC as I noted, including the Imperial Stout going for $6 for an 20 ounce imperial pint! How about it!
Bartender was nice enough to talk to us about the remodeling and expansion downstairs. It was a pretty dead Sunday afternoon as it was so things were pretty mellow at Flat Street.
We got some bean dip as the menu was pretty minimal. It was decent, nothing spectacular, the type of food you'd expect from a coffee shop or something.
I can only imagine that downstairs has a lot more going for it, I looked at the beer menu and there were some things that I'd definitely like to get next time I am here.
Worth stopping in for food as McNeill's is lacking in that department, they also have Switchback on tap.
Stopped in here on 5/2/09 with my friend Stan, an aspiring beer advocate and his g/f. It says brewpub in the name but they don't actually brew beer anymore. Lots of BBC beers on tap and a few other recognizable names.
We ate upstairs but should have gone downstairs where they had more taps. That's the only reason why I rated the selection low but I encourage you to go downstairs if you do stop by.
Food was too expensive for my tastes and it didn't seem to line-up well with the pricing. For a $9-something burger, I would expect french fries and not potato chips. The burger was good though, no doubt about that. It's just too much to pay and you can go to the Alchemist (if you don't mind driving about 2 hours north) or Madison Brewing in Bennington and get a much better deal on food and beer(I've heard good things about Madison from a friend that went there).
Overall, it's not a bad little place. Beer pricing actually isn't too bad and it's too bad that I didn't check out the downstairs taps. Would probably stop back in someday but not for the food.
The waitress that we got was very friendly and she took good care of us. I believe that they get a large Deaf clientele due to the Deaf school about 5 minutes away and that's not a bad thing because I felt comfortable there.
Stepped in on a semi-busy night with my girlfriend. Instant impression is that it is set up well, with good atmosphere.
Stood at the front for 5 minutes or so before we were very curtly told that we should have seated ourselves.
Got to the table, ordered two waters, the only reason I know what they had on tap or in bottles was due to the table having a beer menu on it already. Didn't see a single waitstaff for the next 20-25 minutes. So I'm getting pretty pissed off at this point, the waitress comes over and still is not apologetic, she actually seems annoyed that she has to serve us! Believe me it was not that busy in the place, I've worked foodservice before I know how it is. Eventually we got up I told the waitress we wouldn't be staying and we went down to McNeills one street over which is always inviting, cold bartenders that warm up with a little conversation, my kind of place.
Full BBC lineup plus a few other tidbits, honestly nothing that interesting.
This place is right off the main streets of Brattleboro and seemed like an interesting place to check out. It also came recommended by a good friend.
The decor of this brewpub seemed to be a little artsy. Small tables w/ chairs, couches w/ coffee tables, single lit candle at each table, and a small bar at one end of the room. Kind of felt like I was in a coffee house more than a bar. It also has a downstairs that has pool tables and dart boards. This brewpub seems to be aimed more toward the locals than a tourist passing by.
The beer selection is one of the best features of this bar. They have about every Berkshire Brewing Company beer on tap which is definatly a plus. I've only had a few of their beers but so far none of them has let me down. They have a few guest taps as well if BBC isn't what you're craving that night. The beers were at a reasonable price for a typical upper scare brewpub.
We didn't eat at out that night but we did look at the menu. Although the food did seem very appetizing, it also seemed slightly expensive. The bartenders were fairly quick w/ getting our beers. But on the other hand after we had sat down the waitress was fairly slow and did mess up more than one of our beer orders. Giving her the benefit of the doubt I know that everyone is human and makes a mistake once in a while.
If you find yourself in Brattleboro, Vermont and are in need a good brew then give this place a try. Just remember that this place does fill up quickly after 10pm so I'd recommend showing up earlier (unless you like the packed bar crowd).
The have an extensive selection of BBC products, which is great if you like BBC. Last time I was in there, they had Anchor Steam, Celebration ale, and Hennepin on tap along with the usuals. It may have the most taps in that I have seen in Brattleboro.
It's definitely one of the trendy bars in town. The food is okay. They actually prep it over at 39 Main which is a restaurant around the corner and across the street. I wouldn't recommend getting anything more then an appetizer there.
The seating is nice, lighting is okay. A cool place if you want to take a date. It is close to the parking garage, right next to the movie theater, and right smack dab in downtown Bratt.
When this place first came out I was totally blown away, as time as gone on the place has aged quiet a bit. The selection of beer is great. They offer the whole line of year round offerings from BBC, and then some. Several other taps from around New England.
Service was decent, partially because it was early in the day and there weren't that many people there. This changed as the night went on though. This place is hurt in the food department. Very limited menu, and preparation was relatively poor. I had the vegetarian chili and split the Ploughmans platter, decent...at best.
this place needed a reasonable review. so, i took one for the team. i suffered my way up to brattleboro and reluctantly sauntered into flat street brewpub, prepared to choke down some of that local swill otherwise known as bbc.. eh, im kidding. this has been a hopeful destination for me for some time. i was so psyched to finally see that wall of berkshire brewing company taps.
first off, if you've never been to b-boro, it's a really nice, picturesque new england destination situated right on the ct river. fsb's location is central (it's on main street for fuck's sakes!) and sits sandwiched between boutiques and other such quaint shops. mcneill's is walkable, not so much in the cold.. but if you find the parking lot for the co-op, you could stealthily stay there and walk to flat street. over a nice foot bridge and past some historic buildings, nonetheless!
a vertical banner reminiscent of a college bookstore marks the building's side entrance to the brewpub. despite the address of the hotel being on main, the brewpub entrance is on flat st. opens at 4pm daily, and has a real 4pm vibe. immediate dim faux-candlelit vibe inside relaxes the body instantaneously. bistro-meets-cafe-meets-beer bar in a small, yet spacious room. 8-long marble and wood bar has a homey feel to it. out-of-place tv and backlit sparkling mug club vessels hang behind the bar. oh shit, check out that impressively repetitive line of bbc taps. wipe that drool from your chin, boy! looked like about 12 but my mind was spinning too fast to count. pretty much every available bbc beer plus unavailable ones. and cabin fever on handpump?! faint. guest taps, all solid.. allagash white, anchor osa & steam, dogfish head 60, hennepin, gritty's xmas and sn celebration. talk about something for everyone. and every drop of beer was fresh, and the cask was pristine. pints were 4ish and half pints were 2ish.
servers were helpful and the manager/owner (british dude) seemed to know alot about beer and truly love the bbc stuff. explained all about his working relationship with the beeb guys, which allows him to pour specialties like the bbc brown ale, esb and pilsner. my wild-haired bartenderess was attentive, filled me a snack bowl, and made good conversation. granted, the place was dead, but i felt so welcome and comfortable in this place.
overall atmosphere is super-chill. classy interior, but no pressure to be classy yourself to hang here. walls were photo galleries and random beer decor subtly scattered about.. is that lamp really a carboy? yep. is that table really an old wooden keg? you bet. nice plants too. and the music was spot-on as well. not too loud to facilitate conversation, but noticeable enough to get my foot tapping to a sleepy mix of adult alternative stuff and worldy trance. lately, ive been digging places like this, and its good to see a mix of people on dates, people reading the paper, friends gathering, locals moving in and out to say 'hi,' etc.
small food menu, organic fresh feel to it. kitchen prep is behind the bar, and some good smells were coming from that area. i stuck to the pretzels as my time here was short.
if you are a fan of bbc beers, this place is a beer mecca... at the very least an advocate's orgasm for the rarely spotted bbc big beer casks and definitely for the brewpub-only offerings. so glad i stopped here, and will probably never pass by the brat exit on 91 without stopping in here to relive a bit of that goodness. honestly, i have trouble finding anything wrong with this establishment.
edit #1 (visit 9/1/07): new ownership, less bbc involvement. this time and last had no special kegs except the bp-only blended stout which you could make at home. no cask. beers still tasted good, but i am lowering my selection score. still highly recommended for the bbc experience.