Tap & Mallet

Tap & MalletTap & Mallet
Tap & MalletTap & Mallet
Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

381 Gregory St
Rochester, New York, 14620-1351
United States

(585) 473-0503 | map

View: Place Reviews | Events
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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 61
Photo of SLeffler27
4.43/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The Tap and Mallet is not much from the outside, but inside is very open, with a bar area and a dining area. The bar is large, with a ton of space to mull around, and some seating, with tables away from the action. The Dining area is also a large volume with ample room between tables. Throughout, there is the early 20th Century look (brick columns, wood plank floors), with a modern art loft aesthetic. There is lots of funky art on the walls, but still, the focus is on the dinning/drinking experience. Their music selection is various styles of avant-garde, similar to a college radio station.

The food was an interesting range of tastes, again just along the edge of the envelope. Something is there for anyone, with interesting stuff, but nothing pretentious. They have a wide selection of taps, bottles, and one cask, which all rotate. All of the food and beers were well worth the detour we took to check it out.

Our server was knowledgeable, attentive, and considerate. She easily gets high marks, and seemed to fit perfectly with the place. Four thumbs WAY up for her!

The only drawback, worth noting, is the neighborhood. While we felt safe, and this neighborhood seems to be recovering from a sad past, there is still some work to be done. There is a parking lot in the back, and I suspect their staple crowd is from the many local Universities and College's nearby.

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Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Being originally from the Rochester area I often go back for holidays and when I do there is no place I look forward to dining out than the Tap & Mallet.

Parking is a bit of an issue sometimes given that the lot is ridiculously small (12-15 spots) but once inside the layout is nice. Decent sized bar (10-14 seats) and small high tables for 2-4 people an the far side with room to move in between. On the other side is the dining area with booths and tables, local art on the walls and a generally dimly lit theme.

In the summer the small back porch is a fantastic place to have a few pints and eats but it seats less than 20 so you may have to get lucky to be seated out there.

The wait staff has been young, friendly and energetic each time I've gone. They know their stuff when it comes to beer and they're not just reading off a script like at some great beer places.

The food is worth going for if you aren't into beer, or even better a DD could be persuaded to go more than once. The portions I would call modern perfect. In most places you order a pasta dish and there are at least 2 meals presented. Chances are you will not be going away with a doggie bag; just a satisfied belly and a delightful craft beer buzz.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

If you are visiting Rochester go here. If you live in Rochester and like good beer...go here.

Thankfully I had the time to grab some dinnner and a few beers while in Rochester for work. Boy am I glad I did, this place is exceptional.

Atmosphere is that of a quality beer bar. Art work adorns the walls, crowd is a mix of late 20s-60s. Everyone is quaffing good beers and its a great sight to behold.

Took a seat at the bar and met a local guy named Joe who knew everyone working there. He told me about the place and the beers they've had over the last few months.

Great selection of drafts. Highlights on 1/23 included:

Ommegang Rouge, Witte & Three Philosophers
Sierra Nevada Weizenbock
Brooklyn Blast Double IPA
Stone Smoked Porter
Long Trail Coffee Stout (say what?)
Arcadia RIS
& Obamagang

They also had a cooler of great bottles and a cask beer that rotates. Man, this place is all about quality and selection and it KICKS ASS.

Staff were great, giving away samples to people left and right. Wow, I wish I lived down the road from this place like the guy Joe I just met, I'd be here all the time.

Another highlight is that they fill bombers of any of their lower gravity beers to go. That is awesome!

Food is excellent pub food. I got a tandori chicken sandwich that went great with frites and the Brooklyn Blast dIPA I got.

Love this place and will be back. I wish I could take the Tap & Mallet home with me!

Check this place out people!

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Photo of oldirtysurfer
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

So, I went back to Rochester after two years to see the sights and visit friends. After a 16 hour drive all I wanted was some good beer and food. My best friend whom I was visiting had never been top the T&M and neither had I. When we walked in, we both remarked about how nice it was inside and the fact that it was packed on a Wed. night. I immediately noticed the "Beer Social" sign which apparently every Wed. at 8:00pm they feature a brewery and the brewers come in and talk about their beer. $12.00 for samples and finger foods is a damn fine deal. We passed on the social and sat down in the back room and were immediately greeted by a waitress. We were given beer lists (5 pages I might add) and menus. The waitress was very well versed in the beers and we got them very quickly. I had the Custom Brewcrafters Double Dark Cask and my buddy settled on the Weyerbacher Double Simcoe which, for him, was a big deal since he mostly drinks bud. He actually liked it alot! We both ordered fish fry's which were so big they were hanging off the plate. These were delicious and we were full to the extreme. I could nit pick about a few things but I won't since this is the type of place Rochester needs. They have done a great job and I look forward to going back next time I'm in town.

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Photo of Tut
4.83/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I've been enjoying the Tap & Mallet since it opened a year ago. Many others below have described it's layout and other details so this review will be in more general terms and I won't be telling you what beers I had last time I was there(12/13), because, frankly, who cares?

When Joe McBane opened the Tap & Mallet in Nov. '07 he instantly set a new standard for good beer bars in the Rochester region. The place has a somewhat upscale look but the feel is casual and relaxed. The draught beer selection isn't the largest in the area but is definitely the most interesting and varied. Joe seeks out many uncommon and different beers that you won't find at other beer pubs. The bottle selection is the best I've seen anywhere in central and western NY. I've found the bartenders to be very knowledgable and friendly.

The food is several notches above typical pub fare and reasonably priced, with several entrees in the $12-$14 range. The menu is eclectic and continues to evolve. The sausages in the Sausage and Mash are from Joe's special recipe and are as good as any I've had in the UK.

The Tap's atmosphere is conducive to conversation. There are no TV's and the always interesting music is kept at a level that doesn't interfere with talking. The fact that they only serve quality beer and wine ensures that most of the patrons come specifically for that(and the food) and are not doing the club scene.

A previous reviewer referred to an "in crowd" and getting "looks" from the other patrons and the place being "stuffy". I honestly can't understand what he means. I often go to the Tap by myself and don't usually know the other patrons. I've never experienced anything like that. On the contrary, I find it very easy to strike up conversations with those near me and enjoy meeting new people that way.

The bottom line is that the Tap & Mallet is easily the best beer bar not only in Rochester but in the entire region. It could hold it's own in Toronto and Boston as well.

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Photo of blitz134
4.14/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Stopped by last weekend with a group of folks. For a Saturday night this place surprised me with how dead it seemed. No problem getting a seat. Definately more of a laid back crowd.

Setup as two rooms, one with a long bar and some seating, and the other with a row of booths and some tables on the other wall. Featured some scary artwork from a local artist, I'm sure. Threw some darts while there (free!).

They had a pretty impressive beer list, both tap and bottle. A good showing of regional beers and some local ones as well. Plenty from across the US as well. I had a Great Lakes Fitzgerald Porter and then a barleywine from a local micro (Rohrbach). Prices seemed decent and we had good service. Our waitress was knowledgeable enough to help the newbies out (I'm glad to pass that one off when I can.).

Good spot to check out for a quieter evening since it seems to be away from the other bar scenes.

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Photo of adamette
3.78/5  rDev -14.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Love the architecture/layout. Great, large windows both at the bar and on one wall of the dining area. Lighting was soft with modern styling, small lights hanging from ceiling. Each table had a glass with some organic figs or some such "sticks" in them...very modern. Bar had light wood colored stools and an array of tables but tonight most of the bar area was "reserved" for a group. Not because of that but because of the looks that my wife and I received from many of the patrons we found Tap & Mallet to be very "hoity toity." There just seemed to be many people there who were too good for us. It was not anything that I could define or describe accurately, just a subjective feeling that my wife later confirmed during our subsequent conversation.

Atmoshphere See description above. Very smartly decorated with a great space but subjectively a bit stuffy.

Quality. Good

Service. There were long periods of time (about 15 minutes) when we did not see our waitress but she was very pleasant and even funny when she did appear. Others were willing and able to help.

Selection. Really quite good. 30 taps and about 100 bottled beers of good quality.

Food. Looked just fine but we just got some nachos (they were quite good, served hot with melted cheese on them) and decided to get dinner elsewhere.

Value 2 beers and nachos were about $20 before tip. I think that it is reasonable.

Notes: I remarked to my wife that I would be glad to have this place in my town (we are not from Rochester) but that it is not any place that I would encourage anyone to travel to go to. They seem to do a fine job and if you are part of the "in crowd" then you would especially like this place.

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Photo of Sammy
4.04/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

A very good beer bar with lots of tap selection, an great service and environment. about 30 taps, 100 bottles, with a few great national choices and mostly New York local fare. Good glass selection that's hand washed. niro taps, mostly good carbonation input. Gorgeous and new wood and artwork, the altter based on Van Gogh. A few patio tables. Reviving area geographically. Improvement wishlist: a bit more variety in cask, 2 or more would be, again a wish. Up to date tap list on the web is spot on. Very motivated and friendly staff. This is an up and coming place.

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Photo of slander
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Rochester's starting to happen. And I'm going to be here for some time apparently. Been to the places to be the year before last when I was up here, and will surely visit them again, but what else is going on, I wonder. Remember that bar where they bring English University kids over here to work through an indentured servitude program? Well, one of them escaped and got his own place, pretty good from what I'd heard as John gone and recommended it. I suppose that's as good a place to start as any...

Corner stand alone structure with stupid easy always available parking out front. Enter through an angled corner vestibule and you're staring down the laminated wood topped and lipped, long bending "J" shaped, wrap-around-the-corner bar. Seating for upwards of a dozen and a half all the way around. Boxed wall pieces on the barback wall holding glassware and protruding bottles, shelved good glassware down on the end, and a cooler of bottles on the inside of the hook and with some beer books, candles, and steins & mugs shelved above. Did I mention the drop dangling balls of cord and bramble and other running spaced above the bar? At different sizes, distances and hanging lengths, it's planetary. Wood plank floorings, sunken spots, a little bit of brick here and there, some center pillars, wood framing, and beige painted walls over wood slat lowers. Big front windows with bench seating below, and 6 raised bar tables on the far wall with framed black & white prints above. Belgian coasters, postcards and pics displayed in a framed piece in the front corner, and near there and to the rear, someone did some paintings in the vein of Monet "Water Lilies", and that one there's definitely "House of Parliament, effects of fog" -esque. Entrances to the side room forward and aft. 7 tables on the far wall sharing common benchage, 4 angled tables in a row down the center, and 5 booths on the inside wall. Large, kind of eerie paintings of faces on the far wall (Paul Dodd "Crime Faces"), and more black & white prints on the inside wall. To the back, a benched alcove with a molteny metal piece near the doorway to the rear seasonal patio.

Roughly 30 taps on a triptych stainless steel panel along the corner of the bar; 18 down the center in a row, and about a half dozen off to each side, plus a handpump below on the end. Taps change up regularly, like hourly. Anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 of them American micros on different visits. They play a good focus on the New York State beers. Ommegang, Ithaca, Brooklyn (Brooklynator Dopplebock), Southern Tier, Blue Point, High Falls (JW Dundee's Pale Bock, Dopple & Pale Ale, but never the Brown Ale), Roosterfish, Ellicottville, and McBane's Best Bitter, a house beer from local brewpub Rhorbach. And micros beyond. Rogue, Sierra Nevada (I've seen the Stout, IPA & Schwarz beer but never the Pale Ale), Lost Coast, Wachusett, North Coast (La Merle), DogFishHead, Stone, Anchor (Bock), Sly Fox, Magic Hat (#376 Schwarzbier), Weyerbacher, Long Trail, Wolavers, Sprecher, Boulder. The rest of the lot are imports, some of them the usual suspect imports. Beers are always clean and fresh, no issues there.

On the handpump, I've seen Flying Bison Skye Pilot Scotch Ale, Middle Ages Wailing Wench, Ithaca Flower Power (which was just amazing), and the Dark Star Best Bitter on different visits.

And a crazy bottle collection, at least 120 offerings. At least 1/3 of them American micros, many of them New York State breweries, plus nearly 2 dozen Belgians, 3 dozen UK & German, and a dozen and a half beers of the world. Plus, sodas and ciders, a dozen wines, port & mead. Prices seem reasonable except for that 750 of Quelque Chose going for $20.

Missed lunch again so, dinner. 10 wings with country sweet (sauce), and the honey glazed salmon over greens, with, no, scratch that, "The kitchen has just informed me that...", hmmn, I'll have the grilled tuna steak then (with sesame ginger sauce, grilled red pepper and parmesan polenta). I wonder what polenta is. Maybe it's something with, no, it's probably not, forget it. The wings were of great crispiness and had a bit of heat, and the tuna was excellent. Served with polanta, which is actually a cornmeal something or other (my 142nd guess), and unexpected green beans dealt amongst an explosion of finely diced red, yellow, green and orange peppers, which made dinner wonderfully festive.

Staff is friendly and knowledgeable. They will let you try, actually, encourage you, to taste a little of this or that. Good tunes piped in from a mix somewhere (I'm sorry, is this Syd Barrett "Octopus"?) Nice, comfortable place and great beer.

Oh, and last Wednesday's (of the month) beer socials. Tastings (I caught the porter and stout event, thanx, John), a good smattering of beers sampled, and some meat & cheeses served. Go.

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Photo of iceball585
3.66/5  rDev -17.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5

This bar had opened in the place of another historic bar that had closed a few years ago so I was definatly familiar with the location. I had heard many things about this place so my friends and I decided to give it a try.

The location of this bar is not exactly the best part of town but they seem to be cleaning up this area of the city. This bar seems to be going for the upper class beer drinkers. There is one room with a nice bar setup and high tables with stools. The other room has lower tables that appears to be more for just eating. There is also art work on all the walls so it gives it a slightly yuppie feeling.

The bartenders weren't too quick and were not very knowledgeable when it came to asking for advise on the beers that they had on tap or in bottle. In fact, the answer I usually got from multiple bartenders was "I haven't had that beer before". You would think that they would spend more time educating the bartenders on the beers they offer so they could give decent advise to patrons that aren't very educated on beer yet.

The one thing this bar does have going for them is that they do have a very good selection of beers on tap and in bottles. On the other hand the prices of the beers was definatly above average. I guess they figure that the average person who would go to this bar would be willing to pay a little more than other local bars that offer the same beers. I didn't get a chance to eat any food that night but I did look at the menu. Many items sounded very appetizing, but once again the food seemed over priced for what it offered.

I was not displeased with my experience here and I would definatly love to give their food a chance. I just don't have the money to eat and/or drink here very often.

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Photo of dem
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

When I found out that The Tap was under construction I was overjoyed. I was a regular at the MacGreggor's that occupied the building in the past. I considered it "my bar". When the old joint closed down, I thought "that's it, nothing will ever replace it." OMG I was soooo wrong.

I give the owners a lot of credit for taking the time (and $$$) to redo the entire place. Any other bar in Rochester would slap up a new sign and call it a grand opening.

The way Tap and Mallet handles beer selection has made me see the light. Stop in twice in one week and you'll see that at least a third of the beers have been swapped out. I always thought 100 beers on tap was the best thing EVER. Now that I've had a chance to compare 30 taps vs 100 I absolutely choose fast turnover and fresh product over the same stale beers every time I go out. I also know for a fact that they are maniacs about keeping the lines clean. I have tasted the difference first hand. Great work!

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Photo of jkdrummer
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

I lived in Rochester for 28 years before moving to the Beer Mecca of Seattle. But while living in Rochester I was always impressed by the people there and their quest for having a great place for great beers. So visiting the T&M I was happy to see that they still are trying to keep craft beers alive. Around 30 taps and one cask pump. Glasses for most beers and even 1/4 yard glasses are used to serve - always a proper pour. Got the fish fry and it was so-so, not very crispy - average fries. Service was good. Kinda dark in there and broken into rooms. No Seattle beers on tap that night -- extensive bottled beer list though.

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Photo of boulevard2
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

So happy to finaly see an addition to the beer seen in Rochester. This place was remodeled over this past summer and resurected just in time for those bored cold winter days and night. The atmosphere is warm and inviting . The bar hosts around 20 to 30 taps including a rotating cask beer. There also is a see through glass cooler with 50 different bottle selections. The menu changes from time to time and always features something to pair nicely with one of their many beer selections. The staff is friendly and Joe the owner is always happy to help you if you're not sure what to have . I'll be back many more times and recommend you visit whenever in the area.

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Photo of wailingwench
4.85/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Cheers: Impeccable selection of brews on tap and bottle service with ny and regionals well represented. Extremely attentive server, very professional. Made some excellent recomendations to my friend who is in love with blue moon. Wonderful black bean burger, served perfectly, which is anything more than a pile of black mush on a bun. Huge fish fry done right, light and flaky. Great place for convo and discussion of the sub prime housing market. Subdued lighting to hide the fact that you look like you have been on a ten day bender. All in all, outstanding. Classy addition to the neighborhood. Hope this place sticks around. Park just down the street to crash just in case the need arises.

Jeers: Would love to see classic pints used instead of the typical barware pint glass. Soda is served in what I believe would be called a thimble in victorian London. Bathrooms are a hold over form the MacG's days and certainly clash with the aura of the joint. Tap list was not updated. Rumor circulating that the tp in the ladies bathroom was in short supply.

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Photo of dick783
4.7/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This place is fantastic. You can always find something interesting on tap, and since they change the beers so frequently you wont get bored after a few weeks of visiting. McBanes bitter, the house beer, is fantastic also.

The atmosphere is similar to the Old toad. Its a great place to have a beer and socialize. There are no TV's so you might get bored if you go with people who don't talk.

I've eaten here three times and the food was top notch. I'd even make it a destination for food. Fish fry was excellent also. Being that this is Rochester, that's an important thing.

All in all I highly recommend checking this place out.

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Photo of Rudgers73
4.68/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Dark and mellow paint scheme. The lighting is also dim which keeps it looking warm and cozy. Funky artwork on the walls, mostly portraits. The portraits are actually all of criminals. Kinda creepy huh? The food is interesting. A lot of style goes into the dishes they offer, although the portions aren't very big and sometimes it comes out less than hot. I'll just chalk it up to them not quite having their bearings about them yet. The bar has 30 taps, and 28 of the beers rotate as kegs are finished. There is also a decent selection of Belgian bottles, local beers, and imports from the UK, Germany, etc. Dozens of different beer styles, pretty much anything you could come up with asking them for. The servers are doing well also. Some of the bartenders don't know tons about proper serving temps, beer styles, and the like, but they are all open to learning from you and welcome most suggestions. Overall I think this bar will accomplish two things: It will educate people about beer, and it will keep a refined crowd. (at least, I hope)

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Tap & Mallet in Rochester, NY
Place rating: 4.43 out of 5 with 61 ratings