Bootleggers Restaurant & Brewery

Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

101 S Madison Ave
Aurora, Missouri, 65605-1426
United States

(417) 678-2888 | map

View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews by Quaffer:
Photo of Quaffer
2.75/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 1 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Aurora, Missouri is not a town that one would expect to find a brewpub in, but sure enough, there it was. It sits right on the main highway running through town, so it can't be missed. It is in an old bank and still retains many of those qualities. The ceiling is tin and at least 15 feet high. The old vault is still used for storage of some type, and the old teller's windows are right up next to the front door. The back room where the bar is at is smaller and more cozy than the rest of the place. Overall, a very different and interesting atmosphere.

I've been into Bootlegger's twice and both times everyone was very friendly. The one negative point about the server that had last time I was there was that she had no knowledge of the beers that they served. She had tried them, but that was as far as it went. I don't think there is any effort applied toward teaching the staff about styles, the beer on-tap, etc. That hurt their service rating quite a bit.

Of my two visits, I ate there once and the food was good. Not outstanding, but definitely good. Both beerlovergirl and I enjoyed our dishes.

Now to the sad, sad part of this review: the beer. On my last visit, there were seven house beers on tap (a decent selection, in my opinion) and I got a sampler platter so I could try each. Up until that day, I have never beer to a brewpub that I flat out didn't like any of the beers. I've been to a few places that have had beers that are only drinkable. I've been to places where the beers were boring and uninspiring. But Bootlegger's was the first place that I can say that I did not, repeat did not, like a single beer. This feeling is strong enough that if I ever make it back there again, I won't even drink another of their beers. I'll probably just get an iced tea or something. I was completely shocked. None of the beers were to style to the point that I couldn't even begin to tell what I was drinking without being told. And they all had a very distinct, unpleasant flavor that I could only attribute to a house yeast that is used across the board. I would not be surprised if these are generic extract brews that one of the cooks whips up when supplies get low. Seriously. Very, very sad.

If you happen to be in Aurora, this is a decent place to stop for a bite to eat, but I cannot recommend any of the beers that they make. I myself will avoid them from now on.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of MTNboy
3.44/5  rDev +17.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3

I was coming back from a run in Carthage and thought this would be a cool little place to make a detour to. It is a little further out than MapQuest may have you believe. The town was a little run down coming from the way we did so I was not sure what to really expect.

The atmosphere to this restaurant was excellent. It was very open with an old time 1920's and 1930's feel. I found this was very warm and inviting. As mentioned before it was a bank and they have done a great job keeping that theme alive. I did some exploring and this place is huge. The bar is sort of tucked away in an oddly cool place in the middle of the establishment. They had shuffle board and I thought I saw a dartboard. The bar is small but quaint and enjoyed it.

I did not try the food due to being in a hurry and my wife wanting to eat somewhere else but it looked really good and smelled great. The beer was not that great. It all really tasted the same, other than the Pilsner and Blueberry Pils. If I would have been blind folded I would have been hard pressed to tell you what was what. Now, in the defense of the beers they all looked excellent. They just lacked taste and were watery.

The service was great! I Tara as my bartender and she knew her stuff as far as the beers. She was also very friendly, energetic and fast.
The selection was alright. They had eight of their beers on tap and from what I gathered they could have nine but the just ran out of Raspberry Wheat right before I walked in. It looked like they had a guest tap or two. There was also a ton of different bottles but nothing out of the norm.

They do sell a wide selection of shirts and glasses too. Overall I would like to go back if I am in the area.

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Photo of Suds
2.58/5  rDev -11.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 2

This brewpub is located in a small town in rural Missouri. It's inside an historic bank building, and the brewing equipment is located inside of what used to be the vault. The atmosphere is local, classy, and very unique. I really like the 'feel' of the place. Unfortunately, both the beer, service, and food were less than remarkable. The restaurant and bar were both quite busy when I visited, which may have been why the service was a little harried. However, they were a little too business like, and stoic to be good. The waitress didn't show much of an interest in promoting the beer either (a strike against a brewpub, in my book). The beer itself was a little below average. Not quite flavorful, and a little cardboard-like oxidation in both the dark bock and the pale ale (I wonder how old the beer was?). The food was priced a little higher than most brewpubs, and the steak was a little tough and burnt on the outside. Really, the food was sub-par. Honestly, I really expected more from this place.

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Photo of KCHopHead
2.95/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 4

I completely agree with Quaffer's review of Bootleggers. I have driven by this place many times on my way to the lake but never stopped in. I finally did last weekend. The building is very cool old style and has a neat atmosphere. The staff when I was there consisted of several young girls and one that might be low 30's. I talked to 3 people before I got someone who knew anything about the beer or understood what I was doing there. The beer was the worst I've ever had. I hate to say this because I am from Missouri, but I just don't want anyone to be driving through and expect much. The worst was a dark wheat, the least worst was the pilsner. I bought a growler of it just because I collect bottles and it was only $10 full of beer. I started to drink some that night and it was 10 x worst than earlier in the day. It'd be a great place to stop by and eat something and enjoy the atmosphere just avoid the beer.

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Bootleggers Restaurant & Brewery in Aurora, MO
Brewery rating: 2.22 out of 5 with 12 ratings