Canal Street Pub & Restaurant

Canal Street Pub & RestaurantCanal Street Pub & Restaurant
Canal Street Pub & RestaurantCanal Street Pub & Restaurant
Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

535 Canal St
Reading, Pennsylvania, 19602-2675
United States

(610) 376-4009 | map

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Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Ratings by sdaly3:
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Rated by sdaly3 from New Hampshire

4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Jun 09, 2014
More User Ratings:
Rated: 4.95 by IPAchris from Pennsylvania

Sep 12, 2015
Rated: 4.45 by BeerMeMrBartender from Pennsylvania

Apr 26, 2015
Rated: 4.25 by newbeeraday from Pennsylvania

Nov 29, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by BigRizz62 from Maryland

Aug 19, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by jdaddy from Pennsylvania

Jul 25, 2014
Rated: 3 by stakem from Pennsylvania

Jul 11, 2014
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Reviewed by Beastcpa from Pennsylvania

4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75
The selection of beer is awesome for an old factory building with a brewery in the basement. Took a coworker here and introduced them to Founders Raspberry Ale and had a good time. Great food, reasonable prices, and an awesome beer selection. The wings are awesome. The tap takeovers are rather ambitious and really let you try out 2 different breweries at once. This is a great place for any type of meeting.
Jul 09, 2014
Rated: 3.5 by Kegatron from Pennsylvania

Jun 19, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by Barleycorn from Pennsylvania

Jun 12, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by TimoP from Pennsylvania

Jan 10, 2014
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Reviewed by yourefragile from District of Columbia

3.48/5  rDev -15.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3
Reading has always seemed to be good beer's "blindspot" in Eastern PA. To the South you have Sly Foxes, Iron Hills, Craft Ale House, Union Jacks, Teresas, TJs, etc and that's before you get near Philly. To the North the Lehigh Valley has an, well not exactly thriving but adequate scene of bars, brewpubs and breweries (which is partly driven by Stockertown and Shangys wholesale operations being located there). To the West Lancaster County delivers the largest number of breweries/brewpubs in the whole state.

And with that, we stumble upon Canal St Pub. In as few of words as possible, it is "good for the area" (as mentioned by most recent reviews as well).

Sure, they do get their cache of rarities (KBS, Hill Farmstead, Sculpin, etc) but they aren't quite as common as they are in the suburbs to the South. However, they will also last 10x as long on draft here as they do there. And to be fair, their daily taplist IS better than average, when average is anywhere in the US, not the greater Philadelphia area (if they were in MD and DC this would sadly be up for best taplist ever among the hype generators there).

And complaining about service when a bar is full... I mean, yea, nearly everywhere sucks at that. Otherwise, if you do get a chance to talk to the bartenders they generally know what they're talking about and can offer some insights into the their list. Growlers are sketchy, sometimes they fill certain things, sometimes they don't.

Hopefully the recently open Liberty Taproom will drive some competition between these two bars to step up their service in quality for the high-end craft beer niche market in Reading. Unfortunately, if you're from out of the area and looking for good beer I still recommend to keep on driving (to Union Jacks that is).
Jun 19, 2011
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Reviewed by mcslain from Pennsylvania

2.5/5  rDev -39.6%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 2
When you read the reviews for this place from other BAs try to pick up on two things: 1) That you frequently see the service being described as lacking and 2) that you see a lot of comments like 'the best selection in the area.' Well, it is the best selection on tap in the immediate area by far. And that is how this place is getting by.

The reviews here are far too high and based solely on the fact that they have good taps. And I understand that... God knows I keep crawling back whenever I see a coveted beer in their lineup. But every time I go back it is the same thing. Terrible service, especially at the bar. This place has without a doubt, the worst bartenders of any beer bar I have ever been to. Some of them act like they have never tended bar before. Others act like they have been sentenced to do the job as punishment for some crime. None of them seem to have a real love for craft beer. I really have spent a lot of time sitting at the bar here, and I have never witnessed a friendly and interesting conversation between a bartender and a patron about craft beers. It has the feel of a place that serves Bud/Coors/Miller, only the taps are good, very strange. It certainly doesn't have that BA vibe that is so evident at a TJs, Teresas, Bulls Head or Union Jacks.

Other observations:
1) The food is very hit or miss. I've had some decent grub here, but also some heat lamp science projects. I've had enough bad food at Canal St that I try not to eat here anymore, as the hassle of getting served bad food is stress I don't need when I just want a good beer.
2) The tap list on the web site is frequently out of date. They refuse to put a last updated note on it. I've asked them to do this a few times and the response is always the same. Nothing. Another example of how this place doesn't get it.
3) I tried to buy a bomber once during their advertised $8 bomber special. They told me they haven't had that special for years. Hmm, they still advertise it though on their website though.
4) Speaking of bombers they store them in what is essentially a janitorial closet.
5) If you have to go, I recommend sitting at a table, the waitress service is better than the bar. (yeah I know, I love sitting at a bar too)
6) This place does fill growlers and at a reasonable price. They are typically less than joyful to oblige however.
7) Seemingly bad taps. Commonly have to shut down a beer for a while due to excessive foaming. Growler fills take a long time.

I strongly urge anyone who is going to review or has reviewed this place to complete a task. Get in your car and do a pub crawl. Head south from Reading to Exton. Go to the Drafting Room, then maybe near by Ron's. Now scoot east to TJs in Paoli. Then if you have a designated driver or a high tolerance, onward to Teresas in Wayne. If your still up for it try to hit Capone's in Norristown after that. Crawl back to Reading on 422. The insane can still hit Craft Ale House and Union Jacks on the way back. Oh my, what a trip. Now... give Canal St your review and tell me it deserves an A. Come on, this place is a C at best. There is no way this place should have the same BA grade as TJs. Ridiculous...

I'm giving it a D+ because I think it is below average. I'll still go from time to time for the beers though...

PS - Apologies for leaving the somewhat local Bulls Head in Lititz off my suggested pub crawl, but it is in the other direction. Stellar place though that really gets it and celebrates good beer.
Apr 08, 2011
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Reviewed by ShanePB from Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
The atmosphere is nice, dimly lit in the pub area, large bar and plenty of tables. There is a pool table in the pub area as well as a jukebox and one MegaTouch machine. Kind of nice, but for me, throws off the type of atmosphere I'm looking for.

The assortment of beer is good, but they seem to only ever have one or two gems on the draft list, which consists of between 10-15 beers. Most of the time, their offerings are just "okay" and they seem to have the same stuff on quite often. Maybe they just don't do enough business to rotate the taps often. Who knows.

Their bottle list is on the smaller side compared to what I'm used too, less than 100 varieties I'd say, and most of the time a bit overpriced. It's probably the best bottle selection in the Reading area, though.

The food is okay. It's typical pub food, and decent. It's not amazing but it's not complete crap. Their prices are okay, but definitely a bit more expensive than elsewhere considering their pub food isn't top-notch. The larger dinner menu has a lot of great meals on there, but again it's on the pricier side $20 plus.

I have to dock some points for the service at the bar which is generally good, but does have its downfalls some nights. If you go there on Tuesday night for $3 drafts (yes, this is a big plus), don't expect stellar service. It does get busy, I will give them that, but most of the time it takes a while to get a drink. I've sat there for a good 5-10 minutes at times without being recognized. The wait staff at the tables in the pub dining area are generally quick and snappy.

Overall, Canal Street Pub is good. It's about the closest thing to a good craft beer bar you'll get in the Reading area, but the service could easily be improved with a bit more attentiveness from the bartenders.
Jan 04, 2011
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Reviewed by heavyonthehops from Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
This is my favorite beer place in Reading, PA. It has a relatively safe location in what was once a heavily industrial part of the city. The pub itself is a converted warehouse/factory building that they had gutted. If anyone is familiar with Legacy beer, I believe it is produced at the same place, but for some reason it is never available at the pub.

The pub area has a casual and cozy atmosphere, while the dining room area in the back of the restaurant is more formal. The draft beer selection (20 or so) rotates rather frequently and leans towards American ales and IPAs. With that being said, there is always a Belgian and German selection. There is also a large selection of bottled beer and a fully stocked bar. Tuesday nights are the best time to go as they offer half-price drafts and appetizers. For food, I recommend the Buffalo wings- the hot variety have a perfect blend of pepper and spice. My only real complaint about this place is the service at the bar. The bartenders are not very friendly and not always focused on the customer. However, when we get a table the service is usually spot on.
Feb 12, 2010
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Reviewed by bbeane from Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
I live about 5 minutes from Canal Street, but would visit it almost as frequently if I lived further. It's located in a decent section of the city ( though you might have to go through some not so great sections depending which route you take ) with plenty of parking. I mostly frequent there on Fridays, so they usually have some live music as well as free finger food for happy hour. I know they also run a good beer special one day a week, but I've never been in for it. Service is usually pretty good sitting at the bar, but I've never sat at a table. The selection there has always been good with plenty of rotating spigots and bottles. The finger food is always tasty (free food is always good for the most part Ha HA), and prices seem reasonable.

Also worth checking out for "Brewphoria" beer fest that they have there.
Jun 22, 2009
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Reviewed by thain709 from Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
I finally was able to visit the Canal Street Pub. Looks nice from the outside with the bricks and their logo on the side of the's nice on the inside as well.

There are tables for dining and a large rectangular bar with 12 taps. There is a separate room with 6 more taps. The taps were very nice...6 Stones (11th and 12th), Sly Fox, Founders, Great Divide, Chimay, and just name a few. I sampled the Founders Centennial IPA and the Sly Fox Liberty Pale Ale.

Prices were around $4 a pint. It looked like they ran some good specials as well. I did not visit on a "special" night. Not only was their tap list impressive...but their bottle selection was nuts! The bartender seemed to know what he was talking about when I could not decide for me second beer.

The Canal Street Pub is a must visit when in the Reading area. And after visiting...I recommend the 5 minute drive to Beer Yard.
Jun 02, 2009
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Reviewed by PhillyStyle from Georgia

4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
Visited on Tuesday May 5, 2009:

Good crowd for a Tuesday night, bar area full and the restaurant portion was filling up. Nice old warehouse with high ceilings and exposed duct work. Big circular bar that the bartender was working nicely.

Good selection of beer on tap (I didn't count, but it looked like more than a dozen) (The bartender also provided me with a list of beers that they expected to have on tap in the near future, none of which I recall or wrote down), different styles, different breweries and a pretty extensive selection of bottles, so much so that they had their own menu dedicated to it. I tried Southern Tier Unearthly and Kasteel Rouge, both on tap.

Service was good and knowledgably about the beers and served them in appropriate glasses. Prices seemed to be fairly reasonable and in line with what I normally expected.

Food was good and very reasonable priced. I had the meatloaf and macaroni.

Overall, this is a very good place for any BA that finds themselves in the area to go to and honestly, this would be a good beer bar in any town in America.
May 14, 2009
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Reviewed by tokyofatts from Pennsylvania

4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5
Ambiance is nice with the high ceilings and huge wooden structural support in this renovated hardware factory. There are 18 taps: Yuengling Lord Chesterfield Ale, Guinness Stout, Weyerbacher Merry Monks Triple Belgium-style, Founders Double Trouble IPA, Stoudt's Smooth Hoperator American-style Doppelbach, Boak's Monster Mash Imperial Stout, La Chouffe Belgian Pale Ale, Erie's Drake's Crude Oatmeal Stout, Sly Fox Crystal Pale Ale, Weihenstephaner Hefe-weisse, Sly Fox Jake's ESB, Dogfish 90 Minute IPA, Troeg's Nugget Nectar Imperial Amber Ale, Union Barrel Works Dortmunder-style Lager, Victory Old Horizontal Barleywine, Bell's Two-Hearted Ale IPA, Green Flash West Coast IPA.

On Deck: Founders Imperial Stout, Avery Maharaja imperial IPA, Fkying Fish Espresso Porter, Moylan's Hopsickle Tripple-hopped Imperial IPA, St Bernardus 12 Belgian Quad, Humbolt Red Nectar Ale, Southern Tier Unearthly Imperial IPA, Unibroue Trois Pistoles Belgian-style Dark Ale.

As you can see, this is, in my opinion, the best beer bar in the city of Reading, hands down, on tap selection alone. Add to that an impressive bottle selection, my favorite bartender (Dusty), a beer-knowledgeable staff, pretty good food (the Hostile Mussels rock!), beer specials ($2.50 Draughts on Tuesday, $8 Bombers on Wednesday) and, voila, this bar holds its own on a national scale.

Upcoming events: April 2nd is a Firkin of Sly Fox 113 IPA, meet the brewer; April 25th Brewphoria with multiple Brewers bringing product to sample, live music, and food for one ticket price; May 7th is Stone event with 6 kegs of Stone Products going on tap.
Mar 11, 2009
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Reviewed by VegasBill from Nevada

4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
I was on my way back to Philly and the end of my 08 trip East and decided to take a side trip to Reading and Canal Street Pub. I wanted to try the Legacy beers that I had been hearing about. To my surprise and despite the claim on their website no Legacy here, not one. They do have an impressive tap lineup and another brewer that I had not tried before, Founders Brewery. So I tried the Founder's IPA and Backwood Bastard, both very good.
The food was good,mussels and a Greek salad but expensive in my opinion.
The building seemed like an old restored warehouse, and had a good feel to it. Service was good at the bar, it was full, so I did not have a chance to talk to the bartender about the lack of Legacy beers.
Jan 25, 2009
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Reviewed by thartman from Pennsylvania

4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5
I recently stopped in the Canal Street Pub, home of Legacy Brewing Company. It has been about nine years since my last visit, and it was back in the days when Canal Street was Neversink Brewing Company. Neversink Brewing later changed to Fancy Pants Brewing. Back then, the only offerings on tap were Neversink and Fancy Pants, which were marginal at best.

I have tried Legacy beers locally, and was expecting their full line up on tap. Not the case.... in fact, there was not one Legacy on tap. I was greeted with a line up of Hoppin frog B.O.R.I.S., Mad River Jamaica Red Ale, Chimay Tripel, Founders Breakfast Stout, Great Divide Titan, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Sly Fox Black Raspberry Reserve, Speakeasy Big Daddy, Green Flash Hop Head Rye, Heavy Seas Peg Leg Stout, Troeg's Mad Elf, Union Barrel Works Kolsch, Founder's Backwood Bastard, Ayinger Celebrator, Great Divide Hercules, Guinness Stout, Yuengling Porter, and Yuengling Chesterfield Ale... WOW!

The Bartender gave me a list of what was coming soon on tap, and the list was impressive. I was informed that the selections change frequently, with the exception of the Yuengling Chesterfield Ale. I was told that some Legacy brews will be tapping in the near future, since alot of the walk-ins come in Canal Street after seeing the PBS special on TV about the Legacy Brewing Company.

The place is kind of cool in that you can either dine in the Pub area, or retreat to the back of the building for fine dining. I was in the Pub area, which had a projection screen with sports playing, and a pool table. I sampled the mussels and the wings, which were good. I was told that the Sandwiches are very good, and the fine dining menu looked a little more upscale, as usual.

Overall, I would have to say based on the 18 drafts, that the 2009 Canal Street has the best selection, including bottled beer in the city of Reading, PA. If you love beer, this is the place to be.

Jan 08, 2009
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Reviewed by grees20 from Pennsylvania

4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4
I grew up in the Reading area, but have since moved away. Had a chance to go back and I checked out Canal Street for the first time in about 10 years. Back then they brewed their own beer there. Now it's a beer bar.

Went on a Tuesday night and I was impressed with the bottle selection. Draft selection was good. On this night they had Troegenator, Troegs Amber Ale, Anderson Valley Hop Ottin, DFH 60, two Sly Fox offerings, Rogue Dead Guy and a couple others.

Bottle selection is really good and it currently includes Bell's Hopslam for $5.50.

On Tuesday's drafts, with the exception of one or two are $2.50. Can't beat getting a Dead Guy for $2.50.

Food was pretty good. Tuesday's is half-price appetizers.

Overall, I was impressed with Canal Street. Service was good and the bartended was quite knowlegable.

If you are in the Reading area check it out.
Mar 23, 2008
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Reviewed by Matteox3 from Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
As a local, Canal Street has become my go to bar for beer. In the last year or two, I can say it has become a beer lover's bar. The selection is pretty good. It has about 12 taps, that rotate. This is good, because I never know what they will have, always a surprise. Plus their beer list shows the next 4 or 5 beers they have on deck. The bottle selection is great with several 22-25 oz choices available, and this list has always been up to date. The taps seem to favor the IPA fan more than other types, but the quality is decent. They had Three Philosophers on tap over christmas season.

Food is a bit pricey, but stick with the pub menu an you should be just fine. Place is never overly packed, which is good, but also concerns me for the future.

I say check this place out, as its noticeable the owners care quite a bit about beer.
Feb 25, 2008
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Reviewed by kittyplop from Pennsylvania

4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5
If you're looking for a great selection of craft beer, Canal Street is the place to go.

The bartender, Dusty, knows his brew and is always ready to suggest one for your particular palate.

The tap selection is revolving, so there's always something good to imbibe. You won't find any light beers on tap, which is a positive. If you REALLY want one, there are a ton of bottle choices.

Tuesday is $2.50 for all tap beers except the pricey ones.

Lots of friendly people gather here, especially at night, and a lot of them are very knowledgeable about good beer.

Oh, and the food is great, too.

Feb 21, 2008
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Reviewed by DIM from Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5
This place has the feel of a converted warehouse. Lots of wood and brick with very high ceilings, which do alot to dissipate the smoke. The tap selection was great, Bigfoot, Nugget Nectar, Green Flash IPA, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin (in Feb?), plus maybe eight others. Quite the bottle list as well. I met barleywinebrewer here for dinner and a couple of pints on a slow monday. I had a great time meeting Bill, he is a hell of a guy. Our potatoe skins and my crab cake were both a bit over done, probably because they were so slow. They did have an ambitious sounding menu. The waitress and bartender were both friendly enough. I'll give this place another shot. The beer selection alone makes it worth the trip.

Edit- I recently made a return visit on a busy saturday night. The service was great and the food was much improved. The beer selections were still great. I'm adjusting my scores accordingly.
Feb 15, 2008
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Reviewed by ffejherb from Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4
I've known about Canal Street ever since I lived in the Reading area between 1996 and 2000, but I never had the opportunity to visit. However, I recently found out that they only recently beefed up their beer selection to include quite a fine selection of craft offerings from around the country.

Canal Street boasts quite an open floor plan with a huge, wrap-around wooden bar that seats about 30 people. There's also plenty of seating throughout the establishment, with lots of tables. The decor is primarily wood and brick, with high ceilings, wood beams and hardwood floors. There is also a nice stage area for live entertainment, as well as a pool table in the back. The have an ATM on premesis.

The bartender on duty was extremely knowledgeable about beer in general, and he was very friendly and seemed to enjoy talking about beer to the patrons. Service in general was fine.

While we didn't have lunch or dinner, we did order their hummus platter, which was tasty. As for the beer selection, they have a nice variety of taps, including Reading Premium, Nugget Nectar, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin, Two-Hearted, Jever Pils, Stoudt's Old Abominable, Hercules IPA, Yard's Tavern Porter, Harpoon IPA, St. Bernardus, Young's Oatmeal Stout, Ithaca Cascazilla, Troegenator, and more. They also offer about 50 or so bottles and bombers, including many craft selections, Belgians, imports and domestics.

Overall, this is a really comfortable place to kick back and enjoy a few beers. Music wasn't too loud, and, while there is smoking allowed, it wasn't too smokey during our visit. It is also important to note that they have a nice, big private parking lot, with plenty of parking for patrons. I would definitely come back again when I'm in the area.
Feb 10, 2008
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Reviewed by sholland119 from Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5
An unexpected find that redeemed a so so day of beer touring! After a disappointing visit to Lancaster Brewing, an ok trip to Union Barrel Works and the discovery that Stoudt's brew pub does not open until 4:30 on weekdays, we discovered this place.

Located in a converted warehouse space in the industrial part of Reading, the pub sits one floor above the Legacy Brewing operation. There are about a dozen taps with some nice surprises. Avery Old Jubilation, Weyerbacher Double Simcoe, Blue Point Toasted Lager, which I've never seen on tap around here. Nice bottle list too. Stone Russian Imperial Stout, Moylander Double IPA, Lagunitas Cappucino Stout, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (sadly out of stock) and more.

Food was pretty good. Meat loaf was just ok but we got it for the mac and cheese side dish and that was tasty! Burgers, chicken sandwiches, fried apps and some pizzas are also on the menu.

Very reasonable prices. We took home a bottle of the Stone Russian Imperial for $9. I would have expected to pay $4 or $5 more in the Philly area where we live.

Friendly and knowledgeable service, not always an easy combination to find.

Such a good beer bar it's hard to believe there is only 1 beerfly review (until now)! Well worth the trip!
Dec 28, 2007
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Reviewed by tgbljb from Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
Stopped here on a Friday with my wife for lunch. the establishment was virtually empty and we were promptly seated.
The tap selection was great (10-12 nice micros), and my first selection was taken and served in a reasonable time frame. OPur food selection was taken and served in an appropriate time frame at the proper temperature. It is an old brewery and shares the space with Legacy brewing company in the basement. You can watch the brewery workers in action while you eat. It is a neat old building. Everything was a very positive experience. It is most definitely worth a stop if you in the area (at the outlets in Reading shopping)
Dec 09, 2007
Canal Street Pub & Restaurant in Reading, PA
Place rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 28 ratings