Venti's Cafe + Taphouse

Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

2840 Commercial Street SE
Salem, Oregon, 97302
United States

(503) 391-5100 | map

View: Place Reviews
Photo of jdense
3.76/5  rDev -14.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

On Salem's main commercial thoroughfare, obviously a former coffee shop of some sort, vibe not very beer like. Two dozen drafts, including a number of local brews and some special taps, last visit La Folie and the Widmer/Deschutes collaboration were on. Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Limited food options, a bit Greek inspired. Avoid Monday nights, trivia, questions were too easy. Best happy hour in town, 4-6 and 9-close, two dollars off every beer. Worth a visit for out-of-towners, but if I was a local i would hangout at B2 or Westside Tap House.

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Photo of guajolote
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Edit - March 31, 2014:

Prices have gone up, and beers are now more in-line with what they should be. No more 12oz. tulips from a $200 keg for $5. Oh well. Selection is still among the best in town, but it's certainly not my go-to beer spot anymore.
Original Review:

I'm amazed I haven't reviewed this place yet. Anyway...

Venti's Taphouse has taken the distinction of "Salem's Best Beer Bar" from its (older, original) sister establishment downtown. With 24 constantly-rotating taps & a large, well-priced bottle selection, beer geeks won't find a better watering hole between Portland & Eugene. There are five digital beer boards situated throughout the place listing the offerings, with nary a BMC to be found. Prices are very reasonable for draught beer, with imperial pints going for $4.75 and 12 oz. tulip pours for $5. Those prices don't vary based on the beer, so you'll occasionally get a VERY good bargain on something that would cost you way more in Portland or Eugene (ie: Firestone Walker XV and HotD/Struise Fred Flanders for $5/tulip when they were around). Also, in addition to growler fills, Venti's now offers bottled beer for carry-out. Considering their bottle prices rival those at a beer or grocery store, it's a welcome addition.

The food is generally very good. It has a middle-eastern/mediterranean flare and is always fresh & tasty. Service is also good, though I normally sit at the bar, so I can't comment on table service as much.

My only gripes (albeit small) would be the lack of separation between the bar & dining areas, and the fact that it's easier to order your beer by number than by name. I feel like that gives it a Chinese restaurant menu vibe when ordering beer. More of a pet peeve than an actual complaint. And once I get a couple of sips of beer in, I'm pretty much over that anyway.

In summation, if you're a beer geek in Salem (whether a resident or passing through), do yourself a favor and stop in for a pint or three. You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Livid
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

First the good news: The food is excellent. Rice bowls make up a good portion of the menu, but they also offer flat bread pizzas, burgers, salads, pasta, pub-grub appetizers, and other chef's specialties. The food is delicious, and the quality superb. There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. The service is excellent - the wait staff and bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable about the food and the beer. Speaking of beer, the selection is unmatched in area. 24 rotating taps, include 2 nitro taps and two cask engines. 100+ bottles. Superb variety there. They'll fill growlers from most taps, too.

The bad news: The atmosphere isn't as cozy as it should be. The bar runs along the dining area, and the whole place so loud when it fills up that it can be hard to carry on a conversation.

Overall, the food and drink selection is good enough and varied enough that my wife and I can have lunch or dinner once or twice per week without getting tired of either.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Ok visited last week on a Thursday night.
Was very busy mostly with dinner time folks.
I sat at the bar and was impressed as usual( per the downtown location) by the amount of well chosen beers..this time on a video type screen above the bar area.
The beers I had were good..the service very nice and the food great..with this i agree with all others.
Now here's the downer..i did not like the atmosphere at all. Wide open and too much huge windows for my tastes..i felt like some freak sitting at the bar while loads of happy middle class families had dinner..most with wine.
I wish they had a semi-seperate bar/lounge area were guys like me only wanting a few beers could be.

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Photo of beerdedpunk
4.9/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I've been a couple times now and have been very pleased all times. It has a very nice atmosphere even though it can get a bit loud in there when busy, and it seems to be busy regularly. However, even when busy the service has been top notch. Secondly the food, very good. They don't have a huge menu. Burgers, wraps and plates but not conventional ones, as well as apetizers. Teriyaki, greek, cajun rockfish; I found it nice cause it is different. The spicy mac and cheese was great. Most importantly the beer. They have about 100 different beers in bottles, both 12oz and bombers. The bottle beer menu breaks them down by style, size, and price. On tap they have 24 different beers. I believe it's Ninkasi's tricerohops on permanent as well as two casks and two nitros. They also have started having brewery parties occasionally as well as beer geek classes every other weekend. Overall, I would recomend anyone in Salem or visiting to try them out.

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Photo of timmick
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Had a great experience here. Large beer selection kept me busy. Both taps and a bottle list so the selection was great for the Salem area. Local brews, beers from around the US, and imports. A screen hung from the ceiling flashed the tap list and was updated as new offerings were switched in. They have a Facebook page and they update the tap list regularly on the page.

The food was really good and the menu had a great selection. Chicken teriyaki with veggies and rice was really good! Kid friendly before 9:00(If I remember correctly), with a childrens menu.

The service was a little slow, but it was really busy around 6:30pm on a Saturday (we had to wait around 15 minutes to be seated), but our waitress was friendly and seemed to be very knowledgeable about the beer list... at least what was available. Nice open atmosphere with outdoor seating available.

Can't wait to go back and try some more of the beer offerings!

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Photo of velosuds
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

"Second Venti’s location will feature same menu and a lot more beer." - announcement from their website.

Saturday night was loud just from the banter of patrons. Atmosphere is a bit sterile compared to the downtown basement bar which is cozy since it is much smaller. Focus is on craft beer, but I noted a very definite Oregon bias among the 24 on tap beers last night, and not all the best. Just 2 from Deschutes (Green Lakes and Black Butte XXIII) and some specialty beers from Full Sail were the highlights, also a couple Ninkasi. I think there was a cider or two among the 24 on tap, but I could be mistaken.

In all, I was a little disappointed in that I was hoping to be able to try something extraordinary that has been heretofore unobtainable to me. No such luck and this new location has been open less than three weeks. I settled on a tulip of Lagunitas Undercover Cask Ale which was okay.

I can't speak to the food choices, but I am disappointed in their use of soy oils and other soybean products. I have an allergy to soy, and more progressive cafe's (which I would have thought included Venti's) offer organic and other more wholesome food choices.

Definitely Salem's best beer bar, but the local scene is still very parochial and too enamored of itself. Hopefully, Venti's will get Pliny the Elder and other great beers from time to time. Hopefully too, they will improve their website to show what is available 24/7/365 without having to be on twitter.

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Photo of olmatty
4.63/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

A well appointed and classy interior which purposely lacks televisions, trade puffery and lottery machines, Venti's Taphouse is a scaled up and grander version of the well established Venti's Cafe of downtown. Great craft beer is the focus here and thethe decor at the taphouse echoes this purpose with three huge flatscreens dedicated to dispaying the ever changing draft selections. Also, take note of the custom tap handles fashioned by a local artist into a managerie if intetesting pastoral themes reflecting Oregon. Open mere days, in the future one may expect tasteful lighting to accompany more local artwork in the near future.

Venti's staff are knowlegable and friendly. Menu ranges from burgers and pasta to a heavy Asian influence and even North African inspired dishes. All look well presented and those I had were fresh and tasty. Try the Boulder bowl.

Selection with regards to beer, the selection is unmatched within the city and fifty miles any direction for that matter. The focus is craft and import beer with an emphasis on a wide varity of rotating draft beers and over 100 bottled and canned beers to satisfy any beer snob's palate.

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Venti's Cafe + Taphouse in Salem, OR
Place rating: 4.42 out of 5 with 8 ratings