Library Alehouse

Library AlehouseLibrary Alehouse
Library AlehouseLibrary Alehouse
Bar, Eatery

2911 Main St
Santa Monica, California, 90405-5315
United States

(310) 314-4855 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 81 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens from New Mexico

4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

My wife and I stopped in the Library Alehouse on a pleasant Friday afternoon. There's a bar and high tops as you enter, with a covered patio in the back. On our visit the patio was getting most of the business. Definitely a relaxed, low-key vibe.

There were over 20 beers on tap. A very nice selection. I finally got to try a Pliny the Elder.

We stopped at the Library because they had vegan enchiladas on the menu, and they did not disappoint.

Service was the best we've had in some time.

Definitely a place to revisit.

Apr 05, 2017
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hopsputin from New Jersey

4.64/5  rDev +10%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Vibe: Relaxed vibe. You're a block from the beach, and also on Main St. in Santa Monica. One of the bars in LA that is more wood than metal & concrete. It has a very welcoming feel. Noise level is never too loud. Sports are on TV, but the volume is muted - just the way it should be in this kind of bar. Beer is definitely the focus here

Quality: Top notch. Beer selection is excellent, and always rotating. Tap lines are always clean. They have great tap takeover nights, and get a mix of great national distro as well as some great hidden beers

Service: Again, its really good. Bartenders are all very knowledgable, really enjoy beer (which you don't see everywhere), and are always happy to talk to you and make you feel welcomed

Selection: As mentioned above, the selection is quite good. Great bottle list, taps are rotating and get a good mix of nationally/globally distributed beers as well as some nice local options. Tap takeover nights are always fun, and every once in a while they pull some goodies from their cellar

Food: Much better than you'd expect a beer-focused bar to be. I've never had anything bad from there. It goes well beyond your typical bar food, with some really killer dishes. Each dish has a beer to pair with it as well, which is great

Easily my favorite LA bar.

Mar 18, 2017
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nathanmiller from New York

4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Really good spot with a fantastic beer list and incredible specials. Glad I was able to stop by, especially on a Wednesday afternoon when a ton of very good beers for very cheap. Friendly crowd too.

Jul 15, 2015
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colingaiser from Colorado

4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4

A friend and I literally stumbled into the Library to escape a torrential downpour on March 1, and I am so glad we did.

The place immediately overwhelms you with a very particular small-town charm ... the atmosphere is akin to a down-to-earth coffeehouse in my hometown of Bozeman, MT -- the decor is simple and refined, while the lighting is perfectly balanced and inviting.

We sat at the bar and immediately ordered a Smog City coffee porter, an Old Chub Nitro, and the Avery Pump[KY]n imperial porter (6 oz of delicious boozy goodness). If I didn't know any better, I would have thought we were drinking at a brewery taproom ... the beers seemed so fresh, and I didn't detect a single off-flavor (impressive considering two of those were Colorado beers). They were also beautifully poured (particularly the nitro) by our awesome bartender, and I was forced to be THAT insufferable person who takes out his phone to snap a photo of each glass.

(The drinks seem a little overpriced, but you really do get what you pay for.)

Also, props to the bartender. She was everything you want a bartender to be -- she was a generous server (gave me as many tasters as I wanted!) and engaged us in conversation without being intrusive. I hope she's there when I return, which I almost certainly will.

Unfortunately I did not get to try the food ... but sneaking glances at other people's plates, it looked delicious.

Highly recommend this charming little craft-beer pub.

Mar 05, 2015
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tkdchampxi from New Jersey

3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Smallish selection of pretty good beers.

Laid back vibe.

Small menu selection; somewhat overpriced; green and health conscious options available.

Indoor and outdoor seating.

Dec 17, 2014
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Kyle_Darr from California

4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

I think this is the best beer bar in the Venice/South Santa Monica Area.

Awesome portions of food for what youre paying for.

Knowledgeable staff, bartender will chat you up about beer if time allows him to do so.

Only like 18 handles but still all craft and their beer buyer is on point.

Sitting at a table servers can be slow, but on a busy night that is to be expected.

Few Tv's... i guess hipsters dont like sports :(

Apr 01, 2014
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JohnCassillo from California

4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

There are two different atmospheres at Library, depending on whether you're at the bar or there for dinner. Up front near the bar, things may appear crowded, but you're close to the excellent tap list and the friendly and knowledgeable bartenders. If you can grab a seat at the bar, you're golden. The back area is for diners only, and has a much more open aesthetic. Limited seating but they can accommodate groups of virtually any size. Only drawback is wait staff takes a bit longer to take new beer orders back there.

Selection is among the best on the west side, with a rotating list of drafts from all over the country (though there's typically a California bend). There are flights available, however they're a bit higher-priced than your normal $10-12 range (still largely worth it). Food is excellent pub fare that's filling and delicious, yet still reasonably priced.

Whether you're a Santa Monica resident or not, it's worth a stop. The earlier you can get down to busy Main Street though, the better, in terms of parking.

Feb 05, 2014
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

4.01/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Vibe: This place has a bar and some seats up front and a larger "patio" area in the back that is actually an enclosed room that looks out on tree trunks decorated with lights and a wall with plants climbing up it.

Quality: Beers were served at the proper temperature using a variety of different glasses such as narrow pint glasses and snifters.

Service: Our waiter provided prompt service but didn't seem that knowledgeable about the beers.

Selection: They had 20 different craft beers on-tap, which were listed on three chalkboards around the place. Flights of four were available.

Food: I went in the afternoon so they had a cute menu called "Afternoon Recess" with categories such as "Light Reading", " Short Stories" and "Stacks". I tried the frickles (fried pickles) and the ahi tuna tatare, both of which were pretty good.

Nov 02, 2013
Photo of Resuin
Resuin from Massachusetts

4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

Came here at around 3 pm on a Friday. The place wasn't too crowded inside but was told the patio in the back was full. They had a great variety of beers, most of which were local and there were many I hadn't had which was nice. I had a local pale ale followed by a local double ipa - both were recommended to me by the bartender, and both were tasty.

To eat I had the poutine which is one of my favorite foods - it was decent, but a little on the cold side - piping hot I imagine it would be great.

The service was very friendly and good. I would definitely come back again. Good vibe to the place.

Jun 28, 2013
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PhillyStyle from Georgia

4.01/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

Visited back in September 2012 on a Sunday evening. The place was pretty packed when I walked in...I wanted a seat at the bar since it was just me, but I had to settle for a spot by the window since all of the seats at the bar were taken (due to the football game in progress at the time), which was OK, allowed me to people watch. The atmosphere was good, given the crowd, although not too loud, but a good vibe. Probably a good place to hang out when the place is not as crowded. By the time that I left, I think that they were actually turning people away. The hostess and wait staff were nice enough, I didn't find the wait staff overly knowledgeable about the beers, but the beers on tap were displayed nicely on a chalk board above the bar. I ordered a Firestone Walker Oaktoberfest; given it was a west coast beer. The beer was served in a proper glass with a proper head on it. I also order the fish and chips, which was nice, nothing outstanding, but good fare. Overall, a good place and one that I will certainly go back to if/when I find myself back in the area.

Jan 24, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84 from California

3.89/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I visited today with my wife as we were in the area and I have had my eye on this place for a while. Right off the bat we were told we couldn't sit at a table if we weren't going to eat. We said that's fine and we could order some appetizers and beer together. Again, we were told we couldn't sit there unless we ordered a full dinner. The hostess was a bit rude about this, especially since there were a bunch of tables in the back section of the place that were empty. Oh well, we were able to find a section right near the front window to sit and people watch for a bit. I like how this place is going for a library theme with the decorations and the menu (burgers/sandwiches are called "stacks"). Lots of cool empty bottles line the bar area and whatnot. They have around 30 taps at any given time. Right now they had a hop fest theme so I was able to get a bunch of hoppy beers. I had to order all the beer at the bar and service was not that great. The quality off the taps was very good and fresh. Prices were pretty reasonable and they offered tasters and flights which I took advantage of. Overall, this is a good place to check out if you are in the area and want some good beers.

Feb 20, 2012
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beer2day from North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

What a small beer pub should be. Put it a block from the beach and it becomes excellent.

29 taps, nice rotation. Printed list details the usual selections, with a chalkboard above the tap selection to highlight new offerings. For an out-of-towner, they offer a nice mix of local offerings. For a local, they seem to have a good mix of beers I'd want to drink if I lived here.

Menu is extensive for such a small place. Sandwich offerings are very good and apps are really good, with asparagus and seared ahi my favorites.

Staff was knowledgable and pleasant. Outdoor seating in the back, sheltered from the wind.

2 tv's in the bar area if you want to catch a game.

My first choice if I'm back in the area.

Sep 23, 2011
Photo of ChanChan
ChanChan from California

3.53/5  rDev -16.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

I have been here a few times. Not the greatest place but I will keep coming back for the brews!

The parking to this place is a nightmare but so is the parking to every place in this very busy part of Santa Monica.

The service is so so. When waiting to be seated one could expect to be awkardly standing inside for quite some time.

The atmosphere is very loud inside louder than at other establishments. The patio is less crowded and has a backyard feeling...well its a backyard basically!

The food is mediocre for a restaurant with so many options to chose from. I have had the NY strip steak, the jerk chicken, and a few of their burgers. The burgers were kind of ok.

The selection of beer is pretty good, they have many california favorites from stone, Pizza port, Russian River etc. I enjoy their daily specials.

Overall: Its a nice place with good beer and bland food!

Sep 07, 2011
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gibby from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I was in Cali for a few days and stayed at the viceroy with a buddy of mine. This place came highly recommended by numerous people on this site. Its a nice little bar located amongst many other retail shops. Nice big windows in the front that let in a lot of light. We actually sat at the front window both times we went b/c it was cool to people watch and enjoy the nice weather. The atmosphere was a bit crowded on a fri night but we still managed to sit down in a few mins. We went back again on sat for lunch and it was much less crowded. I would say the service was ok but not great. We never went without anything but we were never sure who are waitress was while eating and drinking. Great beer selection with a lot of local stuff that I was eager to try. Bear republic cafe 15 was the beer we drank the most, it's a delicious, dank dipa. The food was tasty. We had chips with salsa and guac, fish tacos and burgers on our 2 visits. Great burger for sure. I thought the prices were very reasonable and portions were quite large. I would certainly recommend stopping by if in the area.

Jun 18, 2011
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Retsinis from Arizona

3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Been to Library Alehouse on a number of occasions, and for the most part had a good time, with one minor gripe that I will get too. They do some beer events, or rare keg tapping now and then. Sometimes publicized, sometime not. Was there once during a Laker playoff game, that was pretty insane. The beers here are good, and they do rotate, and the beer are listed on a chalk board, as well as the menu, which is a plus. They have a nice patio in the back, but I've not yet been able to get a table back there though to fully enjoy it.

My only minor gripe is the place is not well suited, space wise, for what it is. It is a very popular bar, I get it, but even when it's slow, (which is not that often) it feels crowded, (i.e. bumping into people coming and going, even while seated) it's just a too tight of a space for me personally. Maybe one day the Salon next door will go up for sale, they will buy it out, knock down the wall, and expand the place, or maybe one day move to a larger location, as I like the theme, the ambiance, the beers, all of which are put together well, and executed pretty good too, but again, it's just a bit too small for how busy it gets. Being as popular as it is, maybe they can start saving up to do just that, in the mean time though, I'll still enjoy the beers there when I go.

Apr 22, 2011
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SpdKilz from Illinois

4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet. This is the place I go to more often than FO now. I know a couple people that work there, but I just like the atmosphere here better. Almost always busy, but in a good way. The quality here is nice. Very clean and in style bar with appropriate d├ęcor. The service is always great here - I never have to ask for another beer, the server is always on top of it. The selection is pretty good also. They have their normal staples but they often get some great "special" beers including Jolly Pumpkin's I've never seen on tap around here before, Parabola, Abyss, PtY, Racer X, etc. They essentially get anything special at some point in time. I also really like the food here. Their chicken quesadilla and chicken/steak tacos are legit. In addition, the price is not bad at all. I will continue to come here for years.

Feb 12, 2011
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keithmurray from Connecticut

4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Went yesterday on a pub crawl with friends in Santa Monica. Library alehouse has narrow passage ways in the front of the place and a bunch of tables in the back.
Their Beer menu is quite phenomenal, they have everything from Bitburger to Yella Pils on Tap, Palo Santo Marron on Tap, Unibroue Terrible, Ommegang Belgian IPA as well as a littany of American, German and Belgian craft and import brews. Staff was decent and let you try a small sample of beer before you purchase something. Nice mixed, unpretentious crowd at this place and reasonable pricing makes this place one that I will re-visit. My Only issue is that the glassware they use might be gipping the consumer out of a few ounces of liquid, the glasses they used seemed kinda small

Feb 06, 2011
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Hojaminbag from Colorado

4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

The library ale house is in the trendy main street area of Santa Monica. I visited here twice during my stay in SoCal.

Both the outside and inside have a neat appearance to them, with exposed beam that only serves the purpose of decoration, as it is not load bearing.

The bar is on the left, and a bunch of tall tables are on the left. The back room has tables.

The beer selection is pretty good, with taps from a handful of local places that I have never seen before. There is also Parrot in a Palm Tree, Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig.

The bartenders are pretty friendly and do know their beer. The manager, Tom, was more than happy to talk beer, and was very friendly. I ran into him the day after my visit and he approached me to say hello and talk for a bit. Very nice.

Overall I got a great vibe from this place. Friendly beer people mixed with the typical Santa Monica vibe.

Feb 06, 2011
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beerbtl from California

4.78/5  rDev +13.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Lots of places have lots of beers but it is rare to fine one with the best beers around. Great selection of beers on tap and in bottles. They have a back patio that is covered but still has an open air feel. The food was delicious. The fish and chips were very crispy and the curly fries that came with it were some of the best I have ever had. There is a salmon fish and chips option, but since I don't eat salmon I didn't try it although I was tempted because it looked very good. This place has one of the best selections of the best beers the world has to offer. I can't say enough good things.

Sep 07, 2010
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jjayjaye from New York

4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Went to the Library Ale House in Santa Monica for lunch last Monday. Small establishment on Main Street with no dedicated parking...good luck finding metered parking. Artsy vaulted ceilings with interesting wooden beam accents and a small window sill seating in the front. A small 12 seat bar and a handful of small tables in the front room bar area. I didn't venture into the patio. Quite vibe, excellent service. I had the Ahi Burger that's served with wasabi coleslaw and daikon sprouts, garlic mashed and baby greens with balsamic vinaigrette...very tasty! I started out with Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast draft and New Belgium's new Ranger IPA. Not a bad stop.

Apr 03, 2010
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flannelman808 from California

3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Having been here several times i was recently very impressed with this place. I had heard that they were soon tapping the dogfish head sierra nevada Life and Limb collaborative beer (uber rare). I called them to ask if in fact that were the case and found that it was yet to be tapped, but would be as soon as there keg of New Belgium's "fall wild ale" was kicked (another uber rare one). So I figured it was worth going to have me some of dat! They also had double bastard tapped; along with delirium noel, St Bernardus christmas, fall wild ale, weihenstephaner Vitus, and other hard to find beers. Not to mention a growing list of relatively rare bottles. Very impressed with the selection, but you have to know what it is your looking for (didn't get the impression that there were any beer geeks working there). Food is ok, go for the beer.

Nov 25, 2009
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augustgarage from California

3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Nestled among the countless yoga clubs, salons, overpriced coffee shops, and affluent organic knick-knack emporiums on Main Street, heading into Venice you'll find this posh yet cozy neighborhood bar. Large windows along the front make for great people watching if you can snag one of the few stools lined up there - otherwise you can either sit at the bar, one of the small tables running parallel to the bar, or one of the large tables out in the heated patio in back. Tea-candles add a nice touch to every table - and everything is kept quite clean (well, except for the restrooms which are average). In the front, the narrow orientation of the bar and tables makes for a tight fit, and the volume both here and especially on the patio can be overwhelming even before the crowds descend.

Though the focus is ostensibly on the beer, I think of this as a restaurant first. Entrees and appetizers are mostly pretty healthy, ingredients are pretty fresh, and portions are generous. Lots of seafood, salads, burgers, tacos, etc. On the other hand, the quality of preparation is lacking and the overall eating experience is mediocre. They do many dishes adequately, but none of them well. That said, it is kind of cool to be able to order a side of grilled asparagus or soup of the day rather than poppers or your standard bar fare...

Most beers seem to be selected for how well they will pair with a meal, and they tend to over-emphasize lighter brews - none the less, the tap selection, while it doesn't rotate too frequently, is pretty good. The focus tends to be towards Northern California brewers rather than those from SoCal: Mad River, Bear Republic, North Coast, Lost Coast, Anderson Valley, Sierra Nevada, etc. - though currently they have Alpine Nelson and Stone Pale Ale as well. They have a few Belgian beers on tap (Chimay White, Leffe, Hoegarden), usually one or two Hefeweizens, and a small bottle list. Prices are OK on bottles, but not great considering the selection is nothing you can't pick up at most Whole Foods locations for considerably less money (e.g. Lindemans, Duvel, Orval, Rochefort 8 and 10, etc). Their domestic bottle list seems to be growing though...

Service is usually friendly but always slow - beer knowledge is variable. After coming here several times alone or as part of a group, my general memory of server's attitudes is rushed and/or "apologetic." I'm frequently asked "how you doing?" before I've gotten half way through my beer, and then ignored for 20 minutes after I've drained my glass. I would suggest avoiding this place if you have less than an hour to spare.

Happy hour prices are great ($3.50 for most pints, plus tax, though be sure to ask as they don't print prices on their tap menu for some reason), especially for the area. A decent place, but one I usually only go to if I have an errand to run in the immediate vicinity and need to kill some time before-hand.

EDIT: The selection seems to be improving as they regularly have at least one interesting beer on their special taps menu (yesterday they had The Abyss and Blind Pig on at once).

Nov 18, 2009
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microbrew52 from California

4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This joint is close quartered up front with a few high boys with chairs for two. It opens up in the back to a full restaurant, but up front is where the buzz is. Its a lively atmosphere with a great beer selection. The list does rotate, a bit, and offers the best from california to belgium, although its close competitor Fathers Office has them beat on quantity. Most of their stuff is on the hoppy side though so be prepared. The bar tender seemed knowledgeable but their too busy to chit chat. Overall, this is a great place to meet with friends and have a good brew. Cheers!

Oct 19, 2009
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gabeerfan from Georgia

3.36/5  rDev -20.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

This was my 2nd stop after getting off the plane at LAX. The first was In-N-Out.
I was a little surprised at the size of the place. Only a few tables along the wall and an average-sized L-shaped bar.
Extensive draft list, for someone living in GA, the selection is pretty good. Bear Republic, Russian River, Stone, Mad River, Anderson Valley, etc. But, the only thing I hadn't had was Russian River, so I got a Blind Pig.
Service was just OK. Admittedly it was just about closing time when we showed up, but we had to tear her away from some regulars she had been chatting with for a while to get our check.
We'd only stopped in for a beer, so we didn't try the food. Prices seemed OK, but I've seen cheaper.
If I was in the area, I may stop in again, but I wouldn't make it a must stop place.

Sep 14, 2009
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Floydster from California

3.56/5  rDev -15.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

My girlfriend and I were walking up and down Main Street looking for a place to eat and stumbled upon this place, heard how great it is from several different people but had no idea where it was, had a beer before eating at the Mexican restaraunt across the street, atmosphere was pretty cool with a typical Santa Monica crowd, not exactly flowing with beer geeks, place was clean and smaller than expected, bar was long and had several chairs open, sat down and had an Anchor Christmas Ale 2008 on tap, selection was not that impressive after the hype I heard about it, Daily Pint in the same city has a much better draft and bottle lineup, on draft they have a few different Stone brews, as well as Ballast Point, Alesmith, North Coast, Bear Republic, Anchor, and Green Flash, they have some fairly common European and Canadian beers in bottles including Lindemans Framboise, La Fin Du Monde, Piraat, , Maudite, Chimay, Duvel, and a few St. Sebastian brews, service was not bad and the bartender was fairly knowledgable, food looked good but was not in the mood for burgers or sandwiches really, place is not badly priced, around five dollars a pint, a few of the 750 mls might have reached twenty dollars, would go back if I were in the area and in the mood for an Arrogant Bastard or something, probably would not make a special trip to go but worth going to at least once

Jan 07, 2009
Library Alehouse in Santa Monica, CA
Place rating: 4.22 out of 5 with 81 ratings