The Davis Graduate

Bar, Eatery

805 Russell Blvd.
Davis, California
United States

(530) 758-GRAD | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews by ttttrrrrtttt:
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ttttrrrrtttt from California

4.68/5  rDev +38.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I love this place. It has wall to wall televisions to watch your favorite sport. To listen to any tv just ask for an audio box and tune into the channel of the tv you are looking at.

They have a huge selection on tap ranging from big brewers' beer to select craft brews. The bar tenders can point you to a beer if you simply describe the flavor your looking for. On some Friday nights there are tastings from craft breweries. Beeradvocate types populate the place on these nights!

The friendly staff serves up decent bar food for a good price.

Mar 03, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of MLucky
MLucky from California

3.33/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

If you're a BA and happen to be in Davis, you should know about this place (along with the Davis Beer Shoppe). The Graduate has Pliny on tap more consistently than just about any other bar in the area, and it's common for them to have quite a few other relatively hard to find and/or high quality American crafts: on a recent stop there they had Abyss, Prima Pils, Pliny, Ruination, AB, Lil Sumpin Wild, and a number of other interesting beers. Prices are not bad.

But be warned: this is basically a frat boy-type college bar at night, with the sort of staff you'd expect. Be prepared to have your Pliny served in a Coors Light pint glass, and don't expect them to know anything about any of the beers. It's the kind of place with dozens of TVs hanging from every available surface, video games and pool tables. If you go during the day or early evening to sit at the bar or one of the big picnic tables, watch a game and have a pint, you'll be fine. You can even eat: there's pizza and burgers and they don't do anything special with it but they don't muck it up, either. But don't go there at night. Just don't.

Oct 12, 2012
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colonelforbin from California

3.43/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

Been going here since I was in college, though I don't live in Davis anymore so I don't get here as much anymore.

Service is pretty spotty and not all that great. Bartenders are decently knowledgeable, not that I need them to know anything, more for people that might have more questions than some of us beer geeks re: certain beers.

Selection is alright and they seem to try to have some special beer events on occasion. Random selection of good to very good beers mixed in with some more mediocre selections. It has gotten a bit better in the years since I went there regularly. Good to see.

Atmosphere is strange, no windows, but very spacious, lots of tables. Definitely a sports bar with TVs everywhere and a bar in the back. Pool tables, video games, air hockey as well. There is also a patio. I give the atmosphere a higher score because of how much room there is, though the lack of natural light is not so great. They can have live music, show lots of sports, host parties and various other events, so that versatility is nice.

Oct 12, 2011
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Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

2.93/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2

Been going to the Davis Grad before it was legal for me. Kind of a meathead bar trying to include craft beer and appeal to the bike granola types at the same time. Hey, inclusive is good I guess.

Packed on evenings, quiter during the day, service is pretty much nonexistant if they don't know you. You are an outsider, even though you have been to the bar back when the bartender was probably playing tball.

Decent selection of stouts, Abyss at the top of the list. A few geographical stretches (allagash). Shitty burger for the price.

Apr 06, 2011
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wertperch from California

3.58/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

As an Englishman, I'm tending to look for something that looks and feels like an English pub. The "Grad" is nothing close to that, but it does have a lot that the average pub doesn't.

I'm going to ignore the food, TVs, noise and whatnot and focus on the thing that impresses me most of all - the selection. They generally have around thirty beers on tap, ranging from the everyday to the superlative. Today I found Deschutes Black Butte XXI, and even better, found a member of staff to talk to about it.

I agree withother reviewers that not all of the staff are highly knowledgeable about all the beers, but I wouldn't expect them to be.

Any of them will offer you a sample glass if you ask for one, and most will try their best to answer your questions. There are many who do know their trade, and if they aren't pressed for time, will chat with you about their respect for beer.

Despite the many reservations other have had about the place, I'd encourage anyone to go there to try out their range. In all of Davis, it's the only place I go out to with any regularity, to just have a beer. If the noise gets to me, I know I can always nip outside to their patio area, where it's usually quieter.

I tend to try and get there in their quieter hours - late afternoon seems to be better than evenings, when it can start to heave with bodies.

Sep 09, 2009
Photo of washburnkid
washburnkid from New York

3.13/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2

I've spent a lot of time at this place, though mostly during the day when I can avoid the evening crowd. The brews are pretty impressive for an 18+ bar/dancing establishment. I've enjoyed a number of great beers here, including Allagash White and Napa Smith Porter. I want to note that the place is pretty dark, so as to not throw a glare on any of their million or so TVs. Not the best environment to see your beer's true colors.

My biggest critique: I'm convinced guys have a lot more trouble being treated with respect at this place. This changes with each bartender. Some of the meathead bros behind the bar can be pretty dismissive to men (what some call "machismo"), though I'm sure they have to deal with a lot of screaming drunk boys on most crowded nights. This is just a theory, but it should mean something coming from an observant woman.

The food isn't great, but there's worse. The fries are the only thing on the menu I'll touch. I'd recommend going on a Sunday around noon or so.

Feb 26, 2009
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ThirdLap from California

2.48/5  rDev -26.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

I've been eager to review The Grad for some time now, as it's now the closest thing to a beer bar within thirty miles of Fairfield. On the weekends it has more of a college bar/club vibe going on, but they seem to be trying to cater to the craft beer crown on on off-days. Their selection of fifty taps has grown to include a number of world-class beers.

Which brings me to the reason I am writing this review. I've been a huge supporter of this place in recent months, going so far as to promote them on BA and even posting upcoming events on the BA calendar. Several of their bartenders seem to be genuinely interested in craft beers, with one going so far as to remember me and hook me up with a free beer at a recent Stone tasting. I've been telling everyone I know about this place, and have gone several times a week lately, despite it being quite a ways from Fairfield.

Tonight's experience has put a very sour taste in my mouth, to the point that I will likely not return.

After driving a good twenty-five miles, paying the five dollar cover, and waiting in line for at least ten minutes, I order an '07 Stone Imperial Russian Stout. Now keep in mind, this is exactly how the beer is listed on the tap, and exactly how it was printed on their paper menu at the Stone tasting.

The bartender then sets out a mixed drink glass filled with ice (?), walks over to get my Stone IRS, and tells me it will be $12 and change. I quickly question why one beer is $12, to which the gentleman ringing me up tells the bartender that he 'doesn't think that's what I want'. The bartender then asks me what I ordered, to which I reply 'a glass of your '07 Stone Imperial Russian Stout', which still confuses him.

After clarification the bartender then proceeds to lecture me on how I should have ordered the beer, and then openly tells the cashier guy that I was "just trying to be cool" (?!) by ordering that way.

Biting our tongues, my friend and I tried to explain that simply ordering 'an imperial stout' (as he suggested) would not have provided sufficient information, as they had three other imperial stouts on tap (Abyss, Stone 12th, and Stone IRS). The bartender again tries to correct me, condescendingly telling me that Stone 12th is a 'chocolate stout'. I gave up at that point, as I was certain that trying to explain that Stone 12th was an imperial stout would be a lost cause. He just couldn't get that the name of a beer was not the same as a style, and that my decision to order a beer BY ITS FRIGGIN' NAME was the best solution. Any efforts toward beer advocacy then fell on deaf ears. It was as though he was deliberately trying to make us angry.

The attitude continued when my friend placed his order, with the bartender conveying that we should just pay for our beers and move on.

Making things worse is the fact that they've recently stopped using pint glasses for their craft beers, instead charging six dollars for 10oz pours regardless of style. Combine this with the piss-poor service and club-like atmosphere and the Davis Grad loses most of its appeal.

Jan 24, 2009
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aforbes10 from Iowa

3.53/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Found this place because of the sign outside: "50 beers on tap!" We went here on a Tuesday night with our young son, and during a U.Cal break period, so there weren't any students around. The inside is an expansive beer hall type atmosphere, with long community tables at which to sit. Pool tables, arcade machines and air hockey in the back area. Two counters, one for food, one for beer. We ordered some sandwiches (expensive!) and then some beer (reasonable). I got The Abyss, which was exciting, and my wife got a Hoegaarden, which was a bit flat. Bartender questioned my choice of beer, saying that is was a "weird beer", and asked if i wanted something different instead. Clientele that evening were primarily the afterwork blue collar crowd, but i assume when school is in session the kids show up. Lots of posters and signs indicating that this place gets a bit crowded and drunkenness reigns on the weekends. Eh, its ok...certainly a lot of nice taps, maybe the best in town, but not the best place for beer advocacy.

Edit: second time in, a different bartender, and she knew a lot more about her wares. Recommended beer i might like, etc. That bumps the place up a bit in my book.

Dec 18, 2008
The Davis Graduate in Davis, CA
Place rating: 3.39 out of 5 with 8 ratings