The LAB (Lexington Avenue Brewery)

The LAB (Lexington Avenue Brewery)The LAB (Lexington Avenue Brewery)

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

39 N Lexington Ave
Asheville, North Carolina, 28801
United States

(828) 252-0212 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by mikesgroove on 01-11-2010

View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
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Reviews: 44 | Ratings: 116
Photo of Gavage
3.74/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

Easy to find this place on Lexington Avenue at Walnut. Big airy feel as there are garage doors wide open. Some covered outdoor tables. The bar is a weird shape and can seat about 20, and there is rail seating along the windows overlooking the brewing area. Lots of brick and wood for a comfortable feel. The blackboard hanging from the middle of the bar showed eight beers of a different styles. I only had two beers here and they were decent and easy to drink. If visiting town for the first time like I was, it's definitely worthy of a stop.

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Photo of wapcap
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

A pretty good place to check out in Asheville. Their food is good and they source local. The beers were across the board good. Visited twice and it was always packed. Definitely worth some visits!

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Photo of Jackofallbrews
4.04/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

This time we tried out Lexington Avenue Brewery, also called The LAB. We had passed this place several times on our wanders through town, but had saved it for a later evening as it was closer to our hotel. Even on a Tuesday night the place was fairly busy, but we found some seating fronting the sidewalk. The day had been warm and the inside of the brewery was a bit stuffy, but our seat allowed some nice cool evening air to circulate around us, as well as some great people watching as folks walked past. The place is fairly big, with an extensive bar. I liked the feel of it, and can tell there was some good money put into the business.

Our server at LAB was very good and helpful, always a plus in my book. We ordered a sampler so we could try all the beers and some truffled fries that were tasty but difficult to eat as they were shaved so thin. The beers were pretty good overall, with only the cream ale really striking me as not great. My favorites were the light and refreshing Belgian table beer, and the Three Threads Porter, both very respectable beers. This place is worth a visit while you are wandering around Asheville.

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Photo of MOVERTON1284
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

Location and environment was great, beer was average at best. They did have a broader menu than the traditional bar food, I had a steak and it was good. Overall it was a bargain for the price, but flights were more expensive than most others in time. They do trivia on Monday nights which was a lot of fun

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Photo of blbarnett3
2.6/5  rDev -30.3%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3

Sat at the bar on a beautiful early August afternoon. First, the weird lights under the bar (or the general lighting of the place) totally washed out the color on the lighter beers. It's a well designed and slick place, but it felt a little Hollywood for funky Asheville to me. Second, something about the ventilation seemed to suck all the aroma away from the glass before it ever hit your nose. We kept reading about citrus explosions in the beer descriptions and smelling nothing. Third, we ordered a flight, which included only six of the eight beers on tap and were not offered any choice about which six we got. I'm frankly not interested in Cream Ales, but apparently that's what you get in a flight there. When we asked for tastes of the others we barely got enough beer in the bottom of a glass to form any kind of impression. Fourth, the bartender barely gave us the time of day. He was the only one back there on a Sunday afternoon, but he was brusque and certainly gave the impression that he really didn't have time to answer any questions. Granted it was Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp afternoon, and maybe he was pissed off at being left behind to mind an understaffed store, but we would have been happy to commiserate. Fifth, not too impressed with their beer, frankly. The Pale Ale was pretty good, and the Malt-N-Pepper was worth the visit, but the rest left me feeling ambivalent.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.89/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Right in downtown Asheville, LaB should be a bullet point on anyone's visit itinerary to the city. Wide open seating in the front of the establishment that looks out onto Lexington Ave through monster windows is what you walk into, separated by half walls from the rest of the dining space. Large oval-ish shaped bar on the right side of the room, with tons of table seating to the right. Very eclectic decorations, with plenty of their own swag hanging up, as well as some rustic decorations, and some neveau stylings. The staff was friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable. There were 7 beers on-tap while we were there, and it seems like that is +/- 2 or so on any given day. Beers are available to go in growlers, and we were informed that LaB is looking into acquiring the space next door in order to expand, with eyes on distribution eventually. The food was terrific; gastropub fare, with some very unique offerings highlighting the menu. Definitely worth a visit!

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Photo of Lordhelmit
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 5 | selection: 3 | food: 5

Went here yesterday in the middle of a roadtrip. Strolled in about 4:40PM (they only serve part of the menu after 5) and I ordered their 1st gear ale and a Mongolian Taco cause it sounded fire as fuck. Dude at the bar says man we can't do that til 5 but if you wanna hang's almost 5. I did, and I guess he put the order in for me cause it got to me about 5. And it was delicious food omg that Mongo Taco man. Atmosphere was great. Downtown Asheville brewery with wide open doors and a nifty looking dining area/bar. The selection was where I was a bit disappointed, seems if you like stouts or porters or brown ales you are out of luck.

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Photo of bigkingken
2.93/5  rDev -21.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 3.75

The third stop on our short July 4th brewpub tour of downtown Asheville was the LAB. It was the spot I was most looking forward to that day, mainly because the food sounded delicious and the reviews made it sound like it had the best beer downtown. This is by far the trendiest brewpub we came across during our time in the former Beer City USA. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant or unwelcome. While the place is lit up with colorful lights and everything looks brand new and a bit on the posh side, it still managed to seem inviting.

Not a complete dousch-hole is what I’m getting at here.

We bellied up to the bar after setting our soaked umbrellas on the floor and ordered the usual flight with some waters. The samples came back with a varying array of brews, including a pilsner, brown porter, IPA, pale, ESB, and blonde. Right off the bat I wasn’t impressed. The flight comes with tiny little glasses of beer, each barely enough for two people to get a tiny mouthful each. There’s nowhere near enough to get a proper smelling or tasting of the wares.

After trying a couple of the lighter options, I continued to be unimpressed but felt like the menu might make up for it. Plus I was getting pretty damn hungry. The menu is quite gastropubby and reads like mana from heaven. Truffle fries, Cuban pulled pork nachos, blue cheese burgers, lobster ravioli. The list goes on of mouthwatering options.

Eventually my fiancé and I settled on the drunken chicken sandwich – a grilled free-range chicken with whisky glazed bacon, arugula, carmelized peppers and onions, all sitting on a house-made hoagie. I mean, who wouldn’t want that? The sandwich that came back was a bit of a disappointment.

The hoagie roll was tiny, making it nigh impossible to actually get any of the ingredients between two pieces of bread to eat it like an actual sandwich. While my fiancé knife and forked her half, I basically ate mine like a messy flatbread sandwich. There was no other option. None of this would really be a problem if the taste delivered, but the chicken was rather dry, the bacon didn’t really have much flavor, and every now and then one of my bites would be extremely spicy and hot. I’m not sure if something made it on there that shouldn’t have, but I didn’t love it by any means.

After that heat that shouldn’t have been there, my taste buds were sort of shot for a while. So the remaining few tiny flight glasses we got to might have been better than I could detect, but in my state they all tasted flat and bland. I know that’s probably my own fault, but you’d think a good IPA could still cut through some of that.

And theirs didn’t.

Before leaving, we decided to give the nitro raspberry stout a go, since I’d read about how good it was and the assholes in the place don’t include it on their samplers. (What a dick move.) And either my taste buds had recovered by that time or this beer is the only one worth drinking here, but either way, it was absolutely fantastic and lived up to any and all of the hype.

If it wasn’t the best single beer I had my entire stay in Asheville, it was damn close.

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Photo of claspada
3.23/5  rDev -13.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Nice round bar setup in the middle of a large dining room area with open windows/doors up front when weather permits.

The food is quite impressive for a brewpub but the beers really are all lackluster. I tried them all and I really didn’t find one I wanted to have a full pint of. They had about 6-7 beers on draft and if I had to pick one that was decent I would have had the Roggenbier.

Service was nice but slow as the day is long. Staff has no knowledge of the product unfortunately.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.84/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

I liked the place - modern and industrial with both indoor and outdoor seating areas which was great considering how nice a day it was. I visited in the early afternoon and while it was not too busy it had a pleasant buzz/energy about the place.

The beers were all served at the proper temperature but it seems like they only serve in pint glasses. The pours were generally pretty good leaving the proper amount of room for a nice head to form on the beers.

The bartender we dealt with was knowledgeable about the beers (and the Asheville area in general) and helpful in making suggestions on different beers the people in my party might enjoy. Friendly and attentive without being overbearing.

All of the beers available on draft are the beers for this brewery and they cover a range of styles, so everyone that I was with could find something they enjoy.

The food was hit and miss at this place, some was excellent and some was not too great. On the positive side, we had the seared watermelon salad that was excellent. While the pork bbq nachos were not something that I would order again - did not taste like it was made with fresh bbq but rather something that came out of a can. Presentation on both dishes was clean and nice.

Prices were reasonable and in line with what other breweries in Asheville are charging.

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Photo of TheDeuce
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Huge place in Downtown Asheville, large cavernous room with two full bars and lots of seats.

Seven selections on tap, I had the Amber, the IPA and the Pale. All were basic, but very good. There was a nitro berry stout that didn't look appetizing at all, I'd avoid that.

We split some nachos, huge portion and very good. There is a backstage area for comedy shows and the like that is very popular. This place gets packed early and often.

Service was good and quick, very friendly.

Overall, a little touristy but worth a stop, come see a show too.

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Photo of awr84
4.91/5  rDev +31.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

If you are in or near Asheville NC do yourself a favor and stop by LaB.
Great food and great service, But both pale in comparison to the quality of the beer we had.

ESB was fantastic crisp and smooth drinking . Light bodied, low hop bitterness, medium alcohol, with malt and caramel flavors.

Brown porter, Creamy caramel flavors with a subtle hoppiness in the bitterness and aroma. Medium in body and alcohol, smooth and delicious.

Overall great experience.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
2.79/5  rDev -25.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 2 | food: 3

LAB is easily within walking distance to most places downtown, which adds to its charm, but in comparison to Asheville's other options, it falls short. Food is decent but more or less mediocre, beer is even moreso. I had a Raspberry Nitro porter which was warm enough to be on cask, under carbonated and desperately thin. Their Roggenbier was much better, but did little to salvage the establishment. The venue is wide open and has plenty of room, although its penchant for resembling a tourist trap means seats are hard to come by. The decor is nice enough and the staff is like any other restaurant: just pleasant enough to meet their job criteria. I didn't hate my visit, but the blasé cuisine and subpar beer selection makes it obvious that their primary motivation is to cater to tourists and not necessarily beer enthusiasts. If you just need to a place to visit, check out LAB. If you want a good beer and even better experience, look elsewhere.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.27/5  rDev -12.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3

LAB was in walking distance of a couple of our other Asheville destinations, so we decided to poke our heads in. Atmosphere...really wasn't my thing here. There's a nice large bar, and plenty of seating room, but the place looks like it was converted from an old grungy strip club, and the colorfully-lit bar could easily be the stage/walkway for the girls. Maybe my mind was just in the gutter, but that's the first thing I thought of. But hey, maybe they have something planned for the future!

The beer wasn't that great, and there wasn't much to choose from. Selections were: cream ale, amber, rye pale ale, hefe, IPA, porter. Nothing shocking, and nothing better than average as far as quality goes, and everything seemed to have a honey-like house flavor.

Service was fine. The bartender was a bit distant, but he served our beer quickly and with an explanation of the styles--not that we needed it, but it's good to know that they know about their own beer.

The food menu didn't look too interesting, so we decided to eat at a different venue. Prices seemed reasonable.

I wasn't too impressed by this place at all, and I'd have no problem passing it over on any future visits to Asheville.

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Photo of hannahleedavis_k9SAR
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

The atmosphere of the LAB is constantly bustling, even at lunch when we usually get to make our way over while in Asheville. Their food menu selection is terrific (Kobe Beef sliders and their Turkey Sandwich are always a good choice). Their beer selection is also not lacking. Take advantage of their home-brew beer flights!

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Photo of metter98
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Vibe: This is an industrial-looking place featuring a curvy bar and curvy walls. There's a large curved window towards the back that lets you look into the brewery's tanks. The front doesn't have any outdoor seating, but there are large garage door-like windows that open up and provide plenty of fresh air and breezes. I came by here early in an afternoon so it wasn't too crowded but when I passed by the place the evening before, it was packed and looked like a popular space to hang out.

Quality: Beers were served in the proper temperature in the proper glassware.

Service: I sat at the bar so service was rather prompt.

Selection: A total of seven of their beers were available on tap so there was a nice range of different styles.

Food: I tried the cheese plate and sliders as appetizers, which had a very nice presentation and were also quite tasty.

Overall: All pints were $3 when I came as part of a beer week special, so I couldn't complain much about the value of what I got.

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Photo of NastyNate11
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4.25

This is a really cool place in Asheville. The beer quality isn't high, the beer is average. Selection is what you'd expect as they only carry their own. I love the food here, not fine dining but very good. Make sure you get an order of pretzels. Large soft pretzels are my favorite thing to get while sitting back and enjoying the scene!

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Photo of NoCurse2012
3.22/5  rDev -13.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 2 | selection: 3

I had the IPA, cream ale and rye ale. Wife had a bloody mary. Atmosphere was great with seating right along the sidewalk for people watching. Service was a bit to be desired as I sat and watched the bar tender check her text messages for several minutes prior to finally coming over to take our drink order. We decided to move out to the side walk seating where the service was much better. I would go back again.

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Photo of MarcatGSB
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Interesting lay out, and overall appearance of the bar. It looks very "club" like, with lights lining the underneath of the bar, and strobe light like fixtures all over the place. They have numerous TV's, including one really big like 10 foot projection screen. Once again, definitely has a rather club feel to it, even during the afternoon when we stopped in.
The bartender was nice enough, albeit not really a beer geek. We talked sports more than we talked beer (which is fine with me).
We sampled their sliders, and they were very good. I was actually impressed with the quality and taste of the beef. I appreciate that. It's a nice stop, again easy access right in the middle of downtown, but not a destination by any means. The Imperial Stout I had was enjoyable, and worth trying again.

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Photo of Lukafer
4.16/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped in for a quick beer on my honeymoon, ended up getting their flight and stciking around for 2 more pints.

The layout of this place is fantastic, you walk in through a covered patio/breezeway of sorts, and into the bar which also has open, garage style windows. There's a huge bar which wraps around and goes over to huge windows that show the fermentors. There's also a back room that has a stage and had someone plying accordian, and I saw some people dressed in leiderhosen, so it was probably and Oktoberfest celebration (I hope). The special of the night was $3 Nitro Raspberry Stouts. Really? Okay, we'll have them all, thanks! Great place and the beer ws fantastic, recommended.

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Photo of jfindley
3.46/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3

We went here on a Thursday night specifically to see a band after we had gone out to dinner.

A - Nice open bar with seating open to the sidewalk and street and a really cool wooden bar. It's all lit and done in a really hip club style. But also fairly comfortable and warm for basically a really big concrete room. People at tables, people at the bar, people standing, and busy but still usable.

Q - The LAB beers are just average brewpub fare. Decent at best and totally boring at worst. Meh, on average. We tasted a couple and the only saving grace was Deviant Dales on tap. I always feel bad for a place when the best beer and only thing I want to drink is not theirs.

S - Service was good overall. It had been a fairly busy crowd that was calming down before the night so it wasn't overly busy. But we got good service and prompt attention.

S - The selection is okay. Their beers covered a good variety and then the added Oskar Blues. But I rated selection down due to the quality. It doesn't matter how many you have if none are memorable.

F - Had to give an N/A as we didn't have any food. They do have a diverse and large menu. We had walked by a couple times prior to visiting and the food all looked good for what that's worth.

Overall we got the impression that this place is living on a past reputation that it no longer lives up to. It's likely one of the more popular and established places in Asheville but it just isn't all that. There are better bars, better breweries, and certainly better beer to be had.

*non beer related content follows*
Lastly, they have a really nice music venue in the back with its own bar. And we had a great time seeing a couple bands. But they have exactly zero promotion or information in the front bar and restaurant about who or what is going on in the back. Not even a tent card on a table. If we hadn't looked it up online prior to going we wouldn't have even known there was a venue in back.

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Photo of smac1094
1.95/5  rDev -47.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 1.5 | service: 3 | selection: 1 | food: 1

My wife and I went to LAB on a Sunday night. They only had four beers on tap, two of theirs, Blond Ale and something light, and two from Sierra Nevada, Kellerweis and Stout. We got a pitcher of Blond Ale, and it wasn't good. It tasted old, or maybe the lines needed to be cleaned. Not only didn't we finish the pitcher, we both left beer in our glasses. We ordered two appitizers. The fried chicken appitizer was one small drum leg, some OK cornbread, and greens. The cheese plate was supposed to be a selection of local cheeses. There were about six to eight small slices of cheese with half a dozen crackers. Neither seemed to be a good value. The bar tender, who seemed nice enough, said, "Yeah, that's the way it is." It's too bad. It is a nice space, just bad beer and small over-priced appitizers.

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Photo of MattN373
4.88/5  rDev +30.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This place was AMAZING!!! My girlfriend and I went here for the first time in July 2011. The Atmosphere is incredible, the staff was awesome, the food was high quality and priced just right, and the BEER was Bodacious. The reason we didn’t give the selection a 5 is only because they didn’t have any beers other than their own. (which we tasted all of them and loved the tastes) We highly recommend to add the LAB as you first and last stop when visiting Ashville, and maybe throw it in as a mid vacation stop as well. We skipped out on staying at the Sweet Pea above the LAB, but will be staying there this coming September when we go back again.

Honorable Mention... Don’t miss out on the Thirsty Monk, also a great bar. Read my review.

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Photo of adam42381
3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

The wife and I were in Asheville a couple weeks ago and decided to check out BeerAdvocate to see where we should visit and we decided to check out Lexington Avenue Brewery since we were close by. The layout of the place was very cool. I ordered a French Dip sandwich which was very good (I can't remember what the wife ordered). To be honest, their beer was pretty good, but nothing special. They didn't seem to have anything available besides their brews which is cool (if not disappointing because their beer wasn't that great). It's a place that would be worth checking out, but I think it's probably more of a nightlife spot than a place that true beer lovers would frequent.

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Photo of akorsak
3.43/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

Located, appropriately enough, on Lexington Avenue. With our unofficial tourguide, our first destination.

Atmosphere: I love the patio area - a breezeway between Lex Ave. and the dining area that has a few tables and seats right along Lex. Perfect place for people watching. Inside, past the bar, seating and brewing areas is a dance hall that I'm sure gets out of hand later at night. We spent an inordinate amount to time watching the people though. There are also some stray boulders that you can sit on.

Quality/Service: We were greeted and seated and then visited often - no complaints on that front. It was also too early for the lunch rush. The neon in the brewing area is a nice touch.

Selection: A little disappointing - only 4 beers on tap: A white, an IPA, a black IPA and a stout. None were stand outs unfortunately.

Food: There is a full menu, both lunch and dinner, but we didn't eat.

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The LAB (Lexington Avenue Brewery) in Asheville, NC
3.55 out of 5 based on 401 ratings.
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