My group had lemonade, burgers, pulled pork sliders, fries and a salad. The high points were the fries and salad. The rest we didn't finish. Yuck...
The beer selection was great but Clown Lounge #009 was served in a tiny little fluted 4-5 oz. glass that hides the aroma instead of a snifter. And, it was served at the perfect temperature so I could enjoy it right away.
I've been to BRC 5-6 times now and I have nothing but good things to say.
Parking is a little tight, but I've always managed. The atmosphere is cozy and comfortable. The walls have exposed brick giving it an industrial look.
The service has been outstanding, and that alone can atone for numerous other sins, but there aren't any to atone for. The servers have always made excellent suggestions, the managers have been fantastic. Top to bottom, I love this place.
The beer style selection is well rounded, with more quality choices than I can sample in a single visit. The tap list has many local breweries and limited release beers. The bottle list is also really high quality. I like a wide variety of beers, so I can find something I like almost anywhere. This place has something for even the pickiest beer guys I know. Sours...check, pales, IPS DIPS, TIPA....check, imperial stouts, porters, barrel aged stuff....check, check, check. Trippels and quads? you know where this is going. They got you covered.
The food covers a wide range also from stellar biscuits with bacon jam to grilled hangar steak with bacon oyster butter. Everything I've had was fantastic.
I worked my way through college in the restaurant business, and I have pretty high standards. This place is one of just a handful, that has consistently delivered an exceptional experience. I'm not a local, but I rarely pass through Houston without paying this place a visit.
As for the price, it usually falls around $40 a person when I go. You'll have to decide if that's a good value for you.
BRC is a nice little gastropub located on Shepherd just north of Washington.
The main parking lot has 8 spots (no joke), but there is another gravel lot behind the building with a dozen spaces or so. If both those small lots are full, street parking (not convenient in this location) is the only other option. In other words, don't go during the busiest times. (When is that, exactly?)
Inside BRC feels new, clean, welcoming. Industrial / rustic interior design leaning more towards the industrial feel. The light fixtures and the hardwood paneling add a nice touch. It's a small place, which I appreciate in a pub, but it's too small to adequately accommodate the throngs of people that come through the door. The bar is also too small -- seats 10 which means it gets three to four people deep attempting to order. Also, there is no separation between bar and dining area making for awkward standing-over-someone-else's-food moments.
Beer-wise they have a more than adequate, mainly American craft beer selection. Almost 30 taps. A few good locals available. Not as handpicked as some places that have less taps (Anvil, The Queen Vic, Petrol Station [now expanded], even Liberty Station). Big ding on quality for serving in frozen glasses. Really makes me question if they are actually into craft or are just jumping on the "good beer is good" bandwagon. There is not a single beer drinker I know that wants a beer, any type of beer, served in a ginormous frozen schooner margarita glass.
Hit or miss on service. On my most recent visit, I ordered a beer at the bar, took a look around, waited for my beer, then noticed the bartender was gone. After a few minutes, I realized she had swapped places with the hostess. No big deal except my order never transferred to the next bartender. So it took quite a while to get another order in and finally get my beer (definitely helped kill some of that 45 minute wait for a table). Also, a couple that came in at least 20 minutes after my wife and I were seated well before us (they didn't have reservations). Complained, but at that point it was too little, too late. Once we were finally seated the waiter was fantastic -- well-spoken, showed interest in the beer, worked fast, etc.
Interesting Southern food with a twist. Boneless short ribs, meatloaf sliders, oysters, open-faced brisket sandwich, mash potatoes and fries out the ears. Comfort food menu through and through. The house-made pickle jar is excellent. You will leave feeling stuffed.
Overall, BRC is ok, but I just don't see myself coming here often. Other gastropubs like Beaver's and, more specifically, The Queen Vic are better. Worlds behind places like The Meddlesome Moth in Dallas. Great idea, unimpressive execution.
EDIT: 9/15/11 After subsequent multiple visits, I've raised my scores across the board just about. Service has been great, haven't seen any frozen glasses anymore, uncommon drafts, generous happy hour prices, etc.
This is a really good spot to grab a beer and a meal. There is a smallish granite top bar. As you sit at the bar, the dinning area is behind you. I came for lunch, and a lot of people were already eating and drinking by about 11:30. Though it was not over crowded, just busy. The feel is a bit more upscale, but not pretentious at all. Very nice decor, and relaxed.
The service was really good. I sat at the bar, and the bartender was friendly, quick, and knowledgeable. You can't ask for much more than that. My lunch was excellent. I had a pulled short-rib sandwich that I loved. Lots of other stuff on the menu. Burgers, brisket, steaks, brunch, and several lunch specials.
On to the beer. Plenty of high quality taps. I did not count, but well over 20. A good selection in bottles as well. Except for a few European macros, everything is a US micro. Nothing from BMC, or any of their pseudo craft options. A handful of Texas micros from Saint Arnold and Real Ale. Several options from North Coast, Stone, Victory, and Anchor among several others. They had a tap of Bear Republic Apex which is something you won't find many places. The quality of everything seemed fresh and clean.
Overall, this place is not trying to get the most taps, or the rarest beers available. They just have a bunch of high quality beers, great food, and a relaxed atmosphere. That is hard to beat.
Atmosphere - As you walk in the front door the bar area is just to your left and the dining area to your right. Neither section is huge the bar looks like it sits about 15 with some standing room behind the the stools. It feels like a cross between a dark wooded English pub and an American farm house which somehow works out.
Quality/Selection - Just about every beer on tap is American craft beer except for a few imports (Guinness, Youngs, and Belhaven) with some local beers from Saint Arnold and Real Ale. You won't be seeing any macro taps at this place. Some other breweries that were on tap include Stone, Ommegang, Victory, Bear Republic, and Oskar Blues. Plus they have a good list of bottles on their menu as well.
Service - I was sitting at the bar the night I visited and it was pretty full but that didn't seem to slow down the bartender or make him less attentive. He was quick with getting beers and knew the beer and food menu which is always nice when you have a question.
Food - They have soft pretzels hanging on little stands on the bar for $2 that they'll heat up for you that are pretty damn good. For my dinner I was looking to eat healthy that night so I ordered a salad. The BRC Pub Burger Bowl which is the bacon cheddar burger sliced up on top of a salad with avocado and ranch. Quite possibly one of the best salads I've ever had.
Value - Their beer prices are fairly average for Houston. The food prices seem a little high but the portions and quality make up for it.