Bare Bones Grill & Brewery

Your Rating: None
Bare Bones Grill & BreweryBare Bones Grill & Brewery
25 Ratings
Bare Bones Grill & BreweryBare Bones Grill & Brewery

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

9150 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, Maryland, 21042-2614
United States

(410) 461-0770 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by Jason

BA Score:
View: Beers | Place Reviews
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 16 |  Reviews: 10
Photo of Brewery_Hoppin
3.01/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2.75 | food: 3.25

Bare Bones is somewhat average - average beer, average food and average service. It's located in a strip mall, right off of Rt 40 where there are a million other restaurants to choose from. Yes, they brew their own beer, but it's nothing to be excited about. My suggestion is to skip this place because there are so many other better options in the area.

 357 characters

Photo of Klebe
3/5  rDev -5.7%

Go for the ribs!

18 characters

Photo of kevintaraross
2.75/5  rDev -13.5%

Photo of JakeDebus
3.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of bcgeiman
3.75/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of HarryPotHead
3.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Boone757
3.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of USCTrojanBrian
3.08/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

This isn't a place craft beer nuts will like. The main draw is the restaurant, with a BBQ themed selection of ribs, pulled pork etc. which aren't bad and quite reasonably priced if you hit them on the days they offer specials.

The bar area itself is spacious with tons of seats, surrounding tables and seating areas and TV's, but with a low ceiling, not much natural light, and calcified regulars.

The service is usually either kids or people who have been there forever, and both are nice enough but nothing special either.

They have about house 6-8 beers on tap, from a hef to an IPA to a red, the usual catch-all craft offerings. The hef isn't bad, but the others are mundane. No craft offerings in bottles or anything like that.

I go here for a cheap hef and free snacks during happy hour on occasion (most states I've lived in, the establishments universally don't offer that free food happy hour with cheese, wings, etc., I'm still getting used to that here in Maryland), but otherwise have been left wanting when considering repeat visits.

There's no need to trash Bare Bones, but it's just not a craft beer fiend's favorite place by any stretch although in a pinch the beers will suffice.

 1,201 characters

Photo of John_M
2.75/5  rDev -13.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 4 | selection: 2 | food: 3.5

To be perfectly honest, I'm not really sure why this is a brewpub. The beers are mediocre at best, and the staff do nothing to push the on site beers. For that matter, the impression I have is that the staff know very little (if anything) about the on site brewed beers. The time I was last there for an office luncheon, several folks ordered coors lite. There was no mention by the staff that they brewed their own beers on site, or any push to see if any of us would possibly be interested in trying a house beer sample before getting the coors lite. Consequently, I always think of this as a restaurant that just happens to have beer available that they just happen to brew on site.

The quality of the beers across the board is flat out mediocre, with all of them tasting like something someone got out of recipe book that they followed to the letter. The beers are made more in a style that won't offend anyone as opposed to making something that you might find really exciting. Service here is fine for what it is, just don't ask any of the staff anything about the on site beers. The food is also fine for what it is, which is your standard TGIF's/Applebees/Chili's fare, but with an emphasis on barbeque ribs and the like. It's nothing I'd go out of my way for, but it's fine.

Like the beers themselves, the atmosphere here is nothing special with little ambience or much decor. There is a bar/tap room to your left as you walk in, and that actually looks like a comfortable place to sit and hang out, with a few TV's to stare at while you try to choke down the beer here.

The West side of Baltimore is perceived as something of a cultural wasteland and this place does nothing to help that image. A much better choice if you're in search of decent beer in West Baltimore is Ellicott Mills brewpub, though even there I wouldn't get my hopes up too high. It's better then Bare Bones, but as I hope this review makes clear, that's not exactly a high bar.

 1,965 characters

Photo of gixxerman
2.9/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 2 | food: 4

I stopped in for lunch, and was only able to try one beer. It was the Old Ellicott City Ale. It had a bit of a 'grassy' taste to it. It was drinkable, but nothing special.

I sat at the bar, and the bartender was very attentive and helpful. I ordered a daily special which was the braised tips and shrimp over bruscetta. It was very good, and a very generous portion for a lunch special.

They clearly focus on the food here. Either the brewmaster isn't very creative, or they have him on a very short leash.They only have 3 house beers available, and the one I had was pretty boring.

The food on the other hand was great, and I was impressed by the other dishes which were being served around me.

Stop in here for the food. Make a dinner or lunch out of it, and don't have high expectations regarding the beer.

 814 characters

Photo of tgbljb
3.95/5  rDev +24.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Visited the brewpub on the way back from a day of touring in Washington DC.
Easy to find, located in a strip mall.
We were greated at the door and promptly seated.
A waiter soon arrived to take our drink order, whicjh was served in an appropriate time frame.
Our food order was taken and it too arrived promptly and at the correct temperature.
Our food was typical brewpub grub, oggos but nothing spectactular.
The protion sizes were good to be filling without feeling stuffed.
A nice enough place to stop if you are in the area, but nothing to go out of your way for.

 576 characters

Photo of GrandpaGeorg
2.75/5  rDev -13.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2 | food: 3

I was not impressed. Don't get me wrong. Bare Bones is a great place to eat and socialize. But their beer offerings leave a bit to be desired. Since they have begun contract brewing with Clipper City, their quality is a bit more consistent. But what few beers they offer are light in mouthfeel and not very complicated. But maybe that's the intent. Regardless, the menu is slightly overpriced and lacks the "zip" of a real BBQ place like Famous Daves. The trade-off is that there is something for everyone. I've been to Bare Bones with family, small groups of friends, and with a group of adults. The bill always seemed a bit higher than expected and the beer never quite lived-up to the billing.

 696 characters

Photo of ScarletLady
2.63/5  rDev -17.3%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 2.5

A very smoky bar with little atmosphere. The bar is an old big square style so that you are staring across at your neighbor. yikes. The bartenders are attentive. The beers are unexciting and named after local places. You can see inches of dust on the brewing equipment. Rumor is Clipper City does their brewing, but don't hold it against Clipper City - they're just following the recipe given to them. They are unexciting, bland and flat. I didn't get to try the seaonal but I do remember that last years was pretty good. I'd give that a try.

All was not lost. There was free food for happy hour and Clipper City's BaltoMarzHon on tap.

 638 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.25/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4

The Bare Bones in Ellicottville is not much different than the one in Cockeysville, but it is nicer. (This is basically the same review). It's still a bit cheesy, and it looks somewhat 70's-ish with it's drop ceilings, gold trim, wood panelling, and elevated seating alongside the island bar; but it's much cleaner, newer looking, and the lit umbrellas in the cocktail area at the front are nice. (The coat hooks beneath the bar rail are also a nice subtlety that often goes ignored). The small brewery is exposed at the back but there's no glass in the windows (makes cleaning a snap!). The dining room itself is also much nicer, but stil follows the same basic restaurant look as a Denny's or Applebee's. The beers are just as good as they are at Cockneysville, but the porter is not served under nitrogen dispense and I think it hurts the beer. The food, however, seems to be slightly better although the menu remains basically the same. And there seems to be more of an emphasis on the specials at this location, so maybe the chef is making more of an effort. The service is about as adequate as you might expect, and it can occassionaly be quite friendly. Snacks and Starters include Nachos or a half an Onion Loaf for $3.99, Potato Skins or Cheese Sticks for $5.50, a Crab Pretzel (don't ask) or Baby Back Ribs for $6.99 or their very good Crab Dip for $7.99. A simple Garden or Caesar salad is only $3.50-3.75, but their more extravagant works (Taco Salad, Cajun Caesar, Shrimp Salad) will run you between $7.25 and $8.95. Soups include their delicious Cajun Gumbo($4.99 small/6.99 large... and worth it), Cream of Crab $3.50/4.50, and Bones' White Chili made with chicken, navy beans and herbs and spices for $3.50/4.99. Burgers are $6.50 to $6.75 and sandwiches are in the $6.50 to $8.95 range. The BBQ Beef or Pork stand out, as does their Louisiana Chicken! Entrees start at $12.99 for their chicken dishes, and run up to $21.99 for their awesome Maryland Crab Cakes (very good!). Grilled Salmon, BBQ Shrimp, Rib Eye, Prime Rib and BBQ Baby Backs are in the $15 to 19 range. A few combinations are available as well, and the Crab Cakes and Ribs are a stand out for the hungry man at $19.99! There are 5 regular beers and a seasonal on tap (and a small selection of macros and imports in bottles). The regulars are Hunt Valley Light, Tiber River Red, Old Ellicott Ale (English-style pale), Patapsco Gold and the tasty Savage Mill Porter. They're far from being knock-your-socks-off beers but they're clean and enjoyable alongside a rack of ribs. They offer live music on Saturday nights from 9 until 1 am and the crowd seems to be fairly local and friendly.

 2,667 characters

Photo of ecoboy
4.05/5  rDev +27.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I have had three fine experiences at Bare Bones, and while I still may have to admit that its proximity to BWI (15 minutes, the first beer off a plane is always wonderful) ups its marks in my book, my skepticism about the place is gone.

Why skepticism? I came from a place with very few brewpubs in strip malls. My favorite brewpubs have a neighborhood, or meeting-place feel, and this place doesn't really have either of those. But the big central wooden bar at Bare Bones feels good, the shades shut out the parking lot, the tanks are visible, the bathroom's clean: good enough!

Six on tap at last noting. The beers are fine on the darker end, and their amber was nicely hoppy. It is another place that serves a light and a gold... wouldn't those drinkers just order a bud for the most part?

The food experience has been a great part of my enjoyment of Bare Bones. Great pilled pork, butterbeans, chicken white chili, crab dip all outstanding. Everything served with some style and the servers have always hopped-to when I've been there.

I was also pleased with the band on one trip; they covered Gillian Welch, Tom Waits and T-Bone Burnett, real quality drinking music all.

Flying into BWI for Baltimore or DC? Grab lunch at this place before moving on.

 1,271 characters

Photo of foamee
3.28/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Bare Bones ceased making their own beers several years ago and the brewing equipment has been removed. Several of their draft beers are made for them under contract, others are "guest" beers. They have a wonderful happy hour with lots of free eats and reduced prices on their drafts. The restaurant has a good selection of meat dishes that, for the most part, are well prepared. The various beers are true to style and most are brewed in the region. It's a restaurant that has very good beer.

 492 characters

Bare Bones Grill & Brewery in Ellicott City, MD
Brewery rating: 3.38 out of 5 with 25 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.