The Blue Tusk


63 Reviews
The Blue TuskThe Blue Tusk

Type: Bar, Eatery

165 Walton St
Syracuse, New York, 13202-1224
United States

(315) 472-1934 | map

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Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 90
Reviews by 49degrees:
Photo of 49degrees
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 2.5

It is a beer bar after all, and as a source for suds, its a great one at that. One is not here to sample the food and while they serve nice sandwiches and soups, that's about the extent of what you'll find for eats. (If you want great food, head down the brick walkway outside that separates two buildings. At the end of the way there's a great Mediterranean restaurant (whose name escapes me at the moment) that offers awesome food and a nice selection of bottled Belgian beer to go with ones meal)

Anyways, back to the Blue Tusk. I've had the chance to visit Blue Tusk four times now and loved each stop. With roughly 70 changing taps, they stock a great variety of true oddball, off the wall, and rarely seen craft beers from throughout the Northeast, plus a staggering selection of Belgian brews too -- all at excellent prices. (Most Belgian beers are priced at about 50% less than what they cost on the Westcoast.)

Although the bar is extremely small and nearly impossible to find a seat at (on one trip all the stools has been moved to the outer perimiter of the room - not sure if that was a permanent move or just a temporary measure), the guys who work behind it are quite knowledgeable, friendly, and will help you sort out the selections.

It's got an interesting funky ambience to it that just manages to work, but it lacks a certain comfort point that would serious increase their atmosphere points above the 3.5.

Definitely a mandatory stop whenever one finds themself in the region.

 1,509 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of frykid
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

I was here on a Tuesday night - there was a good sized crowd for middle of the week
excellent beer selection
service was very good
food was ok - nice variety of sandwiches to choose from

 187 characters

Photo of DoubleMalt
4.93/5  rDev +16%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of -MK-
3.21/5  rDev -24.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3

Not much of a fan of this place. The service kinda sucks (bit of a snooty vibe), and on a Friday or Saturday night there are way too many people to battle through. Most importantly, the beers are WAAAAAAY over priced. You could easily avoid this place and have a much better time (at half the cost) at J Ryans.

 310 characters

Photo of steveheady
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of BvilleBrewGuy
3.85/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Photo of Martelljw2
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of Cooker_stp
4.56/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Soloveitchik
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of OGShotzy
4.56/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of Brenden
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%

This is one of the larger bars I've been to. It's not an especially private place (not that a lot of people go to bars for private time all that much), and it gets crowded pretty early in the day. There are plenty of places to sit in several different areas/sections of the bar (restaurant?). There are open tables, booths, tables at the glass walls facing the sidewalk, bar stools, and private areas, too. There are sheltered booths where noise can be heard but it's not so obtrusive; these booths are nearly enclosed. Surprisingly, even when it's busy (always?) these booths are a good place to study. The patio has dozens of tables, in lines rather than bunched up against each other, down the long stretch of sidewalk closed in by a wrought-iron fence. There's also a back room with a large enclosed single table that looks to fit 10 or so in a room of its own past a room with a few booths and higher standalone tables. The decor is mostly a lot of decorative wrought-iron fixtures, lots of wood, and black marble tabletops. The beer menu is digital, updated almost to the minute, separated by categories. This bar is for people who know their beer, but those not so familiar with all there is to offer can get some old favorites like SNPA or SABL. Local are also a good portion of what's available, but the taps still branch out all over the US. There are 66 taps, so there's always something to pick, and they throw a few nice ciders and meads on as well. There's a separate counter for food orders and pickups. The staff is polite and fast; while extraordinarily busy, they take note of who needs to be helped and work as quickly and skillfully as they can. I didn't pay more than $7 for a pint. Between the feel, the decor, the selection, and the service, this place is pretty amazing.

 1,811 characters

Photo of Stignacious
4.95/5  rDev +16.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This is my go-to place in Syracuse. Absolutely fantastic selection of hard to get craft on tap, with knowledgeable, friendly staff. My favorite aspect of this bar is that drafts are poured into 20oz glasses standard, great value for money.

 239 characters

Photo of Kmichaud
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of ClavisAurea
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Best beer bar in Syracuse hands down. outside seating is wonderful when the upstate NY weather is nice (see the picture). dozens of taps and bottles available for anyone's tastes. Last time I was there they had a limited edition collection of craft brewery's collaborations. I had an english bitter that was a damn fine example of the style. super refreshing.

 359 characters

Photo of K_Diggity
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Mikus
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Eweimer1
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Roguer
4.01/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Bar decor is fine, but there's a preppy, want-to-be upscale vibe to the place that is a bit off-putting. The occasional live band is nice, and the booths are excellently appointed. The bathroom is a near disaster area.

Beer quality is certainly exceptional. Most of the selections are American craft, but there are a number of excellent import taps, as well. The is guaranteed to be a beer here on tap that you like, and quite possibly something you cannot easily get elsewhere.

Service has been really hit or miss. Some of the bartenders have been friendly, while others have been detached. Bartenders always seem busy, even with a small crowd.

Selection follows quality: 69 taps. A very small handful are domestic AALs, but the vast, vast majority are craft from around the US and the world.

Food is really tasty, although they focus on deli-style food for the most part, so the selection is not huge.

Beer and food prices get a little pricey pretty quick, but there are reasonable choices available, as well.

 1,016 characters

Photo of Jaybirdbrew
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of irishpride
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of barbaraeliza
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of voxhumana
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of AMCimpi
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of MadScientist
4/5  rDev -5.9%

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The Blue Tusk in Syracuse, NY
4.25 out of 5 based on 90 ratings.
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