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Blackback Pub

Your Rating: None
Blackback PubBlackback Pub
BA SCORE
4.49/5
Outstanding
232 Ratings
Blackback PubBlackback Pub
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

1 Stowe St
Waterbury, Vermont, 05676-1820
United States

(802) 505-5115 | map
theblackbackpub.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by mariano42 on 05-20-2010

PLACE STATS
Reviews:
84
Ratings:
232
pDev:
10.02%
 
HISTOGRAM
 
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Ratings: 232 |  Reviews: 84
Photo of slander
4.45/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Let’s see. Drove a few hundred miles on up, and then started with growler fills and bottles well out, and worked my way back in for necessary Heady procurement. That’ll see you to mid to late afternoon with no foreseeable plan. So then you Waterbury, ‘cause you’re there, and that’s what you do. Start by parking the corner. ‘The’ corner...

I parked just out front, shocker. Step down step down step down! If you didn’t step down, you fell down. If you fell down, then get up; seriously, you’re embarrassing yourself. Small room with a wide plank laminated topped ‘L’ shaped bar with a ‘step on it’ break, dark wide wood plank base, and brass foot rail; seating for a half dozen +. Shiny brass copper bar tower on the bar holds 8 taps (half of them on nondescript handles), a handpump on the end, unused, and a vintage cash register in between.

The outer wall is stone & brick, not surprisingly for this ground floor, and swirly, a shade of green painted pieces in white trim; the sills of which hold empty bottles of beer, bourbon, & wine. More green painted inners with a single flat on the back barback wall, over a shelf of bourbon and sinkage. The décor of plates, trays, fish prints, & mounted pieces. Worn plank floors and creeky rafter ceilings holding a pair of glassware racks full of Hill Farm stemware, and whiskey boxes & tubes, license plates, and keg collars on the beams above. Bottles clustered on both ends of the bar and riddled about. Some track spots, and good light through the panel door & windows over Main Street. Drafts printed on corner black board pieces.

And through to the side room with some more bar space; a ‘U’ seating nearly a dozen, mostly on hightop wooden chairs, but some on squared stools. The bar top here is old bowling lane action, I do dig it. Another tower of 8 back there and a pair of threesies. Plank back wall and blackboard end wall; the taps listed in alt colored chalk with pricing. Coasters plastered to the ceiling back there, and a gaggle of Cantillon bottles (hey, you want to hear a crazy story?) Another flat back here for the looking at, and seating on church pew bench and stadium seating attached.

Looks like space for 22 taps in all, but a few are off, only a dozen and a half up just now; nearly ½ are Vermont offerings (Lost Nation Gose, Hill Farmstead Edward & What Is Enlightenment?, Jacks Abby/Lawson’s Smoked Maple Lager, Lawson’s Spring Fever Session IPA & Paradise Pale Ale, Zero Gravity R. Prime IPA & Conehead), and the remainder a mix of craft beyond borders (Stoudts Kolsch, Jolly Pumpkin Maracaibo Especial, Bear Republic Racer 5, Ten Barrel Apocalypse IPA), imports (Djaevlebryg Gudelos, Mikkeller Black Hole Stout, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Hofbrau Hefe), and a pair of ciders (Citizen Cider Unified Press & Witness). I drank the Lawson’s Spring Fever Session IPA (comes in at 3.8%, was really goddamn nice), Lawson’s Paradise Pale Ale (the goods), and Zero Gravity Conehead (solid wheat IPA). And as Mad Tacos happen here, I went with a pair of the Carnitas (onion, cilantro, dealt with mole sauce sided, tasty, with a bit of heat), they were mad excellent.

Revisited a few months later with Dev & Adisa on the heels of a day like every other one I do in Vermont. Started with the Lawson’s Big Hoppy Black IPA (awesomesauce), and followed up with Hill Farmstead Life Without Principle (a 2 hop blend with hibiscus, Did. Not. Suck). And there will be tacos, yo. I split my pair between the Chile Colorado (avocado, onion, & cilantro in a mole sauce), and the Al Pastor (onion & cilantro in a verdi sauce). Both very good but the latter of the two was champion, true. Adisa disrespected our local Brooklyn taco joint by stating that these were the best tacos he’s ever had. I have suggested doing more tacos here and bagging the work dinner, but there’ll surely be trouble for it.

They do have a small bottle list, notables including Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze Golden Blend, Rodenbach Vintage Oak Aged Ale 2009, Mikkeller It’s Alive). Tunes have been excellent (Stones, Pink Floyd, Kinks, Pearl Jam, Santana, Van Morrison, Talking Heads, Beatles); soundtrack of my life. Servicewise, both times out the Mattender started on and passed things off to Lauren, all good. A fine group of locals, here. We’re talking mead and Weihenstephaner, and all sorts of stuff. Great rotating tap list Vermont local goods heavy and mad, mad tacos.

 4,458 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Place is tiny, in a BA quality beer rich little town. Fishing stuff all over the ceiling and scattered around the place. When you go to the Alchemist, this spot is just about a block away and well worth stopping in for a visit.

We were treated to several quality tap selections from places like Trapp, Hill Farmstead, DFH and high quality others. Quality is the operative word here. Boutigue beers in a tiny bar setting. Toss in an outgoing and entertaining, bartender/owner and you have a highly enjoyable and worthy place for a beer or two, either before or after the Alchemist.

 581 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.24/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Exceptional place to have a beer. Smallish in size, but big in quality, with top notch HF and Lawson Liquid offerings. People were friendly and relaxed, its a go-to place for knowledgeable beer drinkers from the region and from Montreal. Knowledgeable includes staff. Monday nights are the new arrivals. Prices reasonable, but not cheap for HF. Only high quality offerings here.Worth going out of your way for, i.e. if you re only planning to visit Burlington.Up there as a destination, so don't miss it.

 504 characters

Photo of InspectorBob
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of Rifugium
4.08/5  rDev -9.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

Great bar in Waterbury, and part of an easy 3-part pub-crawl, also including the Reservoir and Prohibition Pig. The Blackback is in the basement of a building, rafters in plain sight, and gives off the vibe of, well, pretty much drinking in your best friend's basement, assuming your best friend keeps a bunch of great local VT beers on tap. The bar is on the smaller side, and split between two small rooms, with seats for about 15 people or so, and tables lining the walls. Not a lot of room, but that just means more intimacy. Decor includes breweriana, lots of beer trays, with somewhat of a hunter-fisher lodge feel going on.

Again, 9 beers on tap (this has increased lately), mostly good local selections (including Lawson's and Hill Farmstead), with a small but decent bottle selection as well, and you might find a viciously priced HF bottle on the list at any given time. The bartenders are typically friendly, attentive and knowledgeable; 3 for 3 there. Prices were quite reasonable...if you consider a 10-12oz. HF pour for $7-8 reasonable.

There is now a small food menu, with south-of-the-border type offerings supplied by Mad Taco. I've had three different things from them at this point, and so far...they've all been pretty lousy. Like really bad. Like Taco Bell is much better.

Definitely worth a stop-in if you find yourself in town. And if you're staying in Burlington or any nearby area, you should eventually make the 30-45 minute trip to Waterbury, for this little cluster of pubs. Highly recommended for the taplist, not so much for the food.

 1,569 characters

Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Alas, this was our final dining stop during our (the wife and I) recent visit to the Waterbury/Stowe area. This, along with the Reservoir, were our too favorite spots. The one thing that surprised me a bit, was how small this place seemed to be. We sat in the fairly sizeable bar area to the right as you come in, but otherwise, the place seemed a bit cramped and small. The place has a very comfortable informal vibe other wise, and the bartender was quite nice and friendly. So this was yet another excellent place to hang out with a beer or three. The taplist seemed to number around 25 or 30 selections, with a decent can and bottle selection to boot. As this was to be our last stop before heading out of town, I figured I'd order a can of Heady Topper (very fresh and delicious), along with a couple tap items. As with pretty much every place in the area, the focus was largely on local and regional beers (the usual nice selection of stuff from HF, Lawson's, etc.). Service was good. There wasn't a huge crowd at the bar, and so service was quick. The bartender was quite friendly and engaging, making for an enjoyable stay in the bar area. Food was also quite good. I got the Caesar salad and the garden pasta, while my wife got the curry butternut squash. Everything was prepared well and was quite tasty

We would come back here in a heartbeat. This place is terrific.

 1,396 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of sholland119
4.36/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Visited on 1/20/11.

9 bar stools, 9 beer taps. What could be more perfect?

We stopped in here for a couple of beers after dinner and beers across the street at the Alchemist. Blackback is located in the basement of the building at the corner of Stowe and Main. Bright paint (green!) and lots of flyfishing paraphernalia (and taxidermied fish) give the place a unique look among bars I have been to.

All taps were high quality stuff, with about 6 Hill Farmstead beers, Hoptimum and 2 old ales (Old Stock and Bigfoot, which were also being presented side by side in a mini-flight; nice touch). The bartender/owner was companionable and easy to hang out with. Like you were in a friend's basement, shooting the breeze and drinking good beer.

We did not eat, though there was a rumor that paninis were available. Loved this place.

HV

 834 characters

Photo of Texasfan549
4.54/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Dicers
4/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Knapp85
4.21/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Nice little spot in Waterbury, Always has a killer tap list. The food is decent too. The vibe is pretty chill, low key and usually not super packed with people. This is a great place to check out anytime you're in the area especially if Pro Pig is packed or something.

 268 characters

Photo of costanzo_mike
4.61/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Photo of orangesol
4.65/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Stopped in here after my dinner at the Pig. Atmosphere was nice, it is not the biggest place in the world but I easily got a seat at the bar and was greeted by a very nice bartender. She ran me through the tap list and offered a few thoughts on some of the ones I had not tried yet which was awesome. They had a bunch of Hill Farmsteads on as well as a few Lawson's so I stuck with those. I went with the HF Simcoe single hop and the Lawson's Hunger Mountain 40th and they were both excellent and sever in the correct glasses.

My food score is not indicative of how it tasted, rather how much they offer. Food was sparse upon my visit but I hear they are upgrading the kitchen very soon so I look forward to seeing what they come up with in the future. I got the cheese plate and it was very good and totally worth the money. Overall a really awesome beer bar that I will definitely return to when I am in the area.

 916 characters

Photo of jjboesen
4.44/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

As previous reviews have indicated, this place is WAY into flyfishing; however, it is also into providing patrons with a hearty supply of Vermont craft beer.

The Blackback Pub and Flyshop is one of several excellent venues along the Main Street of Waterbury – see my review for Prohibition Pig, which is across the street. The décor is that your grandfather’s country lodge: heather green walls and vey heavy on the fishing paraphernalia, which is scattered throughout this small bar. What I liked was the availability of several Farmstead beers; this in itself makes for a worthy trip. The service was friendly and efficient. No food is served, but then you’ll probably pig out at the aforementioned Prohibition Pig prior to your visit here.

A leisurely quaff at the Blackback Pub brings to mind an old, and appropriate, adage:

“Give a Man a fish and he’ll eat for the day; teach him to fish and he’ll sit in a boat and drink beer all day.” Wise.

 966 characters

Photo of acurtis
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.68/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

This quickly became my favourite beer spot in Waterbury after my first visit. Great low-key atmosphere, which is a big contrast to the other spots in Waterbury. The tap list wasn't huge but was full of great stuff, including a few from HF (Abner, Edward, Everett, George), Sip of Sunshine and Beer Geek Brunch Weasel. Service was excellent as well. Did not have any food here. The perfect place to go for pints after dinner at Pro Pig.

 435 characters

Photo of mynie
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%

My favorite places are the ones where when I first go in it seems like the people don't like me but then after a few minutes they figure out I'm cool and treat me real good. This was one of those places, but my enjoyment of it was very particular to me. If you are a not an abrasive, "love him or hate him"-style weirdo like myself, then this joint might not work for you. If you are, well, welcome to a real nice joint, friend.

The tap selection was limited, but everything was Capital-G good, and frankly I'd prefer that to 25 taps where everything is just lower-g good.

The vibe was an entrancing mix of the vibrant and the dingy. The walls were green. Lots of bottles and piping and old plastic buckets all covered in dust with basement cobwebs clumped in the uppermost corners of walls. The dude behind the bar had a conversation with us about god remembers what. It was a very nice place and I hope someday to go back there again.

 939 characters

Photo of Resuin
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of Slatetank
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

I came to Vermont to attend the Siptemberfest in Mad River Glen ski resort and visited Blackback the night before. The place is comfortable and has a cozy feel to it with a great variety of beers to choose from on tap. The food and service are exceptional -I enjoyed the calamari special. They are friendly and will make you feel welcome as well as satisfy the Vermont beer cravings for Hill Farmstead, Alchemist and Lost Nation to name a few locals they carry.

 461 characters

Photo of ZEB89
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of mattmarka1
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of tobelerone
4.39/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of mklisz
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of Kegatron
4.29/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Photo of markgugs
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%

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Blackback Pub in Waterbury, VT
Place rating: 4.49 out of 5 with 232 ratings
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