Empire Brewing Company - Brewpub

Empire Brewing Company - BrewpubEmpire Brewing Company - Brewpub
Empire Brewing Company - BrewpubEmpire Brewing Company - Brewpub
Brewery, Bar, Eatery

120 Walton St
Syracuse, New York, 13036
United States

(315) 475-2337 | map

Notes: Re-opening as of June 5th, 2007.

EMPIRE BREWING COMPANY, est. 1994, is an award-winning brewer of handcrafted ales and lagers in the heart of downtown Syracuse. We aspire to provide customers with the finest all-natural ingredients available by utilizing fresh locally sourced products from over sixty Central New York farmers. EMPIRE FARMSTEAD BREWERY, est.2016, is the largest Farm Brewery on the East Coast. Over 22 acres were developed for educational and beer production purposes. Boasting a new 60 bbl automated brewhouse, the Empire Farmstead Brewery is producing kegs and bottles for regional, national and international distribution. Bottled lineup includes 3 time consecutive Great American Beer Fest gold medal winner; Skinny Atlas Light, White Aphro, Slo Mo’ IPA, East Coast Amber Ale, and World Beer Cup gold medal winner; Black Magic Stout. Located in Cazenovia, NY, the property also grows hops, lavender, vegetables, herbs, and fruits for use in the brewing process and to support the needs of Empire’s downtown brewpub.
View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 62 | Ratings: 107 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by neliam24:
Photo of neliam24
neliam24 from New York

3/5  rDev -25.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Jul 26, 2018
More User Reviews:
Photo of cratez
cratez from Canada

4.1/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

What I had: Hop Harvest and India Pale Ale on tap, two orders of Sweet Fire Fajitas (featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives), Chocolate Lava Cake to split, a couple of white wines for my partner.
What I liked: Attractive interior, plenty of space between tables, efficient and welcoming service, delicious food, both beers impressed (esp. the Harvest), fair prices, our server gave us the addresses of nearby craft beer stores when I asked where I could get a good haul.
What I disliked: Nothing.
Would I go back? For sure. Empire is an ideal spot for dinner and drinks if you happen to be in Syracuse.
Overall Rating: 82

Jan 29, 2020
Photo of VoxRationis
VoxRationis from New York

3.08/5  rDev -23.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4

I was driving cross country from Canada and decided to stay in Syracuse, NY, overnight because I had seen Empire Brewing highlighted on Brewed in NY and really wanted to try it out. It turned out to be quite a disappointment. My wife and I stopped in at 5:30 pm on a Tuesday and found the place nearly empty (Downtown Syracuse was surprisingly deserted on a work day). This is in spite of the fact that school is starting this week.

We explained to the hostess that we were interested in drinks and dessert and were informed that we could not be seated in the dining area, because we were not ordering full meals, so would need to sit at the bar. The place was basically empty. I ordered the Black Magic Stout, which I gather is one of the signature brews, and found it below average. The bar tender was satisfactory, but just -- the truth is he was remarkably aloof.

That said, EBC is nicely appointed, there are 16 taps at two different stations, there are a variety of seating arrangement and ample seating, and they serve a range of beers leaving room for a cider guest tap (which was far superior to my beer). Given the vibe, the service, and the beer, we never felt we were made particularly welcome and left after one drink (forget about dessert). I cannot imagine any reason to contemplate going back. Thankfully, we found someplace fun and welcoming a few blocks away and went there.

Aug 28, 2019
Photo of brentblack1
brentblack1 from New York

1/5  rDev -75.1%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 1

What an awful place. Service absolutely terrible. Bartender the worst. Nothing like being ignored sitting in an empty bar. I guess there is a reason why it’s empty. Beers bleh at best.

Jun 22, 2019
Photo of Griffith
Griffith from Connecticut

4.06/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Mar 18, 2019
Photo of clippers74
clippers74 from New York

3.25/5  rDev -19.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Jan 27, 2018
Photo of socon67
socon67 from New York

3.81/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

Jan 03, 2018
Photo of Carron76
Carron76 from Michigan

4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

Dec 28, 2017
Photo of The_Beer_Guru
The_Beer_Guru from New York

3.81/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

I’ll start out by saying that the food was fucking great! I had an elk burger with fried egg and bacon which was delicious. They had a decent selection of different beers but as far as quality goes...nothing really impressed me. The beer was okay with a nice vibe and a friendly staff.

Nov 29, 2017
Photo of Ekish58
Ekish58 from New York

3.45/5  rDev -14.2%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.25 | food: 4

Nov 27, 2017
Photo of Suds
Suds from Missouri

4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

My wife and I visited this brewery many years ago, back in the mid 1990's. We remember it being at street level, although now it is located in a sunken level of the same building. We enjoyed flights that included mostly ales, all of which were excellent. Most notable was a white beer that was exceptional. The food was eclectic. I had an elk burger that was solid, and the service was respectable. Worth a stop if you are in the area.

Jul 30, 2017
Photo of jacknyr08
jacknyr08 from New York

4.46/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Mar 13, 2017
Photo of Dantitus
Dantitus from New York

4.66/5  rDev +15.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Jan 25, 2017
Photo of mynie
mynie from Maryland

3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Stopped by around 4 PM on a cold and dark Wednesday. The pub is right in the middle of downtown Syracuse, a city where the architecture is pretty so as to deflect attention away from its horrific climate. You descend some steep metal stairs and then step into a large, cavernous basement bar that is bricky and woody and very warmly lit.

The bar has the feel of most other, nice brewpubs that opened between the early 90's and the early aughts, falling somewhere between a sports bar and a middlebrow restaurant. Large metal brewing kettles sit behind a glass partition, in full view of the bar. The bar itself is long and polished, and there's a chalkboard listing all the tap options. It feels nice: clean, but lived-in, very homey.

The staff was friendly and the bartender knew a fair amount about each beer. The tap selection was broad (about 15 house beers), with a good combination of older school brewpub flagships (stout, IPA, etc) and more adventurous new styles (beer with tea in it, beer brewed with asiatic hops that taste like mud, etc).

As to the beers... they were all solid, but all forgettable.

So, I dunno. If you find yourself in Syracuse, I'm sure there are more options. The place right across the street, for example, seemed to have a taplist of non-house beers that was much more impressive. But Empire was still worth visiting, I feel, as it's a warm and welcoming example of an older school brewpub, free from garish trappings of most of the places that have opened more recently.

Jan 06, 2017
Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
TheBeerdedCharmer from Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Nov 18, 2016
Photo of entenduintransit
entenduintransit from Tennessee

3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Sep 10, 2016
Photo of Gawz
Gawz from New York

4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Aug 28, 2016
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
GratefulBeerGuy from New Hampshire

3.81/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Located in a very spacious, old building in the heart of Syracuse. Large bar area with two more large eatery area's.
The place to go before a show, stopped in for the second time during Phish's summer tour stop at the Lakeview Ampitheatre. Place was booming, good vibe and the service was able to keep up.

Food is good and beer quality about the same.

Jul 20, 2016
Photo of Mdf12180

4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Jun 12, 2016
Photo of WillieThreebiers
WillieThreebiers from Connecticut

4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Large basement partitioned with brick archways separating dining and bar areas, giving the place a somewhat intimate feel. Huge C-shaped bar. Over a dozen beers on tap - wide and varied selection. Friendly, efficient bar staff.

May 17, 2016
Photo of RancidAggro
RancidAggro from New York

4.58/5  rDev +13.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Mar 25, 2016
Photo of Dingbat1477
Dingbat1477 from New York

4.58/5  rDev +13.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Love this place. Beer keeps getting better and better.

Feb 11, 2016
Photo of brewaddict
brewaddict from California

4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Been to Empire Brewing a number of times throughout the years when traveling "upstate" to visit family. It's in a cool basement location with a modern style decor. A glass window behind the bar looks in on a number of fermentation tanks. Never seen anyone actually working back there, but it's a nice touch. Service has always been friendly and prompt. The food, while a little upscale, has always been good. I'm particularly fond of the Gumbo and Jambalaya. Beer selections are good combination of in house and local offerings.

Jan 29, 2016
Photo of RUN-4-B33R
RUN-4-B33R from North Carolina

4.88/5  rDev +21.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Dec 16, 2015
Photo of Sabtos
Sabtos from Ohio

3.25/5  rDev -19.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

From the outside it is effectively a scaled up dive bar, but upon entering, it's a large restaurant with brewing production on display from behind large windows. As we perused the menu, we watched a brewer scooping spent grain out of a tank.

Service is attentive and knowledgeable and the selection is moderately large and varied with some classic takes and new twists. The beer didn't blow me away, but it wasn't bad either.

Food is all right, with a nice selection, although a couple of side dishes had me wondering if they were pre-processed frozen foods.

Dec 15, 2015
Empire Brewing Company - Brewpub in Syracuse, NY
Brewery rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 1096 ratings