Dempsey's Restaurant And Brewery

Dempsey's Restaurant And BreweryDempsey's Restaurant And Brewery
Dempsey's Restaurant And BreweryDempsey's Restaurant And Brewery
Brewery, Eatery

50 East Washington St.
Petaluma, California, 94952
United States

(707) 765-9694 | map

View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 10 | Ratings: 16 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.44/5  rDev +18.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

After stops at both Marin & then Moylan’s, I continued my drive on to Santa Rosa. But with a recommendation from BA Rapapoda about 11 miles north of Moylan’s I took a small deviation, diving off the 101-N onto the 116-E exit & then quickly onto Lakeville St. Once at Washington St, take a left & about 0.2 miles on your left is a small Shopping Mall area with a Parking Lot that is slightly raised up from the road.

It had been raining extremely hard for some time during my drive, but whilst the precipitation was holding off as I got here. Once I got to the far corner of the L-shaped Mall/Parking Lot, it wasn’t hard to see the effects of the earlier rain. The Petaluma River looked like a vibrant rushing milk-chocolate brown River from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, & it was right at the brim, in places lapping over the walled edges.

Dempsey’s sits in the far corner of the Shopping Mall & faces onto the Petaluma River, probably a far more attractive setting in the drier times, but due to the inclement weather the outside eating area was completely empty. The entrance way that you see from the Parking Lot is not used, so you need to follow the arrow under the Dempsey’s sign & walk round to the entrance that faces the Petaluma River.

As I walked into this entrance, I had to fight my way through some heavy drawn curtains that protected the punters seated near the doorway every time some one came or went. A reasonably sized L-shaped affair, to your left runs the long leg of the L & houses an area that has several tables & booths; this also has a window to view the Brewery. Directly in front of me the short leg of the L runs up to a back wall. The lovely bar sits on your left hand side, a smallish affair that seats about 8 people at any one time, but it never feels cramped. To the right, opposite the bar, more tables & chairs fill the floor space, opposite the bar a large roof to floor window lets in plenty of light & in fact houses the “locked unused entrance” visible from the Parking Lot, that didn’t stop the couple sat at the table in front of it looking scared every time a newbie tried it though!! Interior has a basic feel, mustard & rusty red pastel colored walls intermingle with lots of wooden fixtures & fittings, occasionally broken with the odd bit of artwork. A bicycle hangs from the rafters near the bar area….WTF is with NoCal, every bar seems to have bicycles hanging from the ceilings!! I couldn’t help but think that the high-ceilinged interior had a feel of a fin-de-siècle Refectory from a Victorian English School, basic but with a nice quality feel.

The bar had a lovely backdrop, Beer range was rather good, 6-brews: Petaluma Pale Ale, Red Rooster Ale, Ugly Dog Stout, 2004 Millennium Barleywine, Strong Ale & the Christmas Bock. I would have had tried them all but I was driving so I only had a couple of their beers whilst waiting for the signal from fellow BA Rapapoda that he had arrived in Santa Rosa. I started with the Petaluma Pale Ale, a nice drinking APA that disappeared quickly. I followed this with a Red Rooster Ale, a nicely put together strong tasting Red which too, was rather drinkable. Both only cost $3.71, a strange price for a Pint but good value nonetheless. Witnessed a couple of locals getting their 1/2 Gallon Growlers filled whilst talking about damage incurred to the Boats during the nights storm. Got to sample a taste of the excellent Stout too, now that was great stuff. This place is the archetypal Quality over Quantity establishment.

I didn’t bother with any food but what I saw looked incredibly first rate & the prices here are very reasonable. Many of the ingredients used are grown locally & exclusively for Dempsey’s on the nearby Red Rooster Ranch. I wouldn’t hesitate to eat here the next time I drop by.

I have to say that the Service here was top notch, from the Bartender who served me & knew all about the brews inside-out, to the rest of the staff I watched waiting tables. They all had a smart but casual feel about them. Attentive & polite without being annoying. Very impressed by the Service.

A very friendly, relaxed stop, I wanted to stay longer but it was soon time to push on up to Santa Rosa. A very enjoyable place to visit & have a few of the well-crafted beers on sale, I wish I could have tried them all. So much so that the next time I drive up here, regardless if I am pushed for time or not, I would seriously consider missing out both Marin & Moylan’s, & heading straight to Dempsey’s. I will eat here next time too & like some of the locals were doing, I will get a ½ Gallon Growler of the Ugly Dog Stout to go too!

I really can’t believe that this place has only a brace of BeerFlys, & the same number of Beer Reviews, three of these thanks to CT’s Venom too! What is up with you local BA’s!??! – Get Here!! Add more Reports!!! This is a high quality BrewPub & Restaurant that deserves a little more exposure I feel.


Last Visit: Saturday 31st December, 2005.

Jan 08, 2006
More User Reviews:
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Cuervo_PCB from Florida

3.81/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Sep 05, 2020
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

i have been meaning to poke in here for awhile now, i have been to the taphouse in the same plaza a number of times, but had not yet made it into here. its a cooler space than it looks like from the outside, smaller too, with a cozy bar area and some restaurant seating around. its got an old school vibe, but the beers we had were pretty ambitious. we enjoyed a coffee beer they were calling the bump, as well as a hoppy red wheat beer, far ahead of my very modest expectations in terms of beer quality. service was nothing special, we were the only folks at the bar and it still didnt feel very personal, but no real complaints, it was close to closing time and we didnt want to impose. we didnt eat but they have a full menu that looks pretty solid. i could see this being great as a hangout spot in the summer, right on the river with a nice patio and some good scenery. lots of wood accents and warm colors inside, it was a welcoming place to post up. dont write this place off by the looks of it, the beers we had were excellent and the vibe is relaxed and mellow. check it out!

Nov 06, 2017
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GRG1313 from California

3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Jan 25, 2016
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DoctorZombies from Florida

3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

Better than usual pub grub. Several styles of their own on site brewed beer.

May 09, 2015
Photo of MIrvine
MIrvine from California

3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Service was pretty poor the one time I went and tables were very close together. Didn't care much for any of the six beers I tried either, sadly. Didn't stay for food, so can't comment on the menu.

Oct 22, 2014
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tykechandler from Kentucky

3/5  rDev -19.8%

Aug 14, 2014
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bwheale8 from California

4/5  rDev +7%

May 22, 2014
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leprakhan from California

3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Nov 20, 2013
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plaid75 from New York

3.34/5  rDev -10.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Located just off the main strip in downtown Petaluma. A bit hard to find as it is nestled in the far corner of a large strip mall. Located on an unidentified river, the outdoor patio seemed like the place to be.

The interior featured an active dining room and a separate bar/casual dining area. The bar was of average size and accommodated 10 or so patrons.

I stopped in for the house beers, which I had heard decent reviews about. However, I was disappointed. The house beers were uninspiring and tired tasting.

I did not order any food, although the specials did look appealing.

Apr 06, 2011
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djeucalyptus from Oregon

3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Interesting location, co-anchoring a bizarre strip mall with a Grocery Outlet. Around the side though, a nice view of the river and footbridge before entering (along with nice outside seating) make things look promising.

Decor inside was surprisingly nice. pigmented concrete floors, elegant mirrors and paint, a wrought iron sculpted divider separates the bar space from the dining area. Interesting. A short bar by brewpub standards yields only a handful of seats. we got a table.

They make a big deal about their award winning beers, their availability in bottles, merch, growlers, etc., but the menu and restaurant feel surprisingly un-brewery-like. and I'm not sure how i feel about that. House-made pickles and beer olives are cool. The open face tombo tuna sandwich with coconut curry aoli (or something along those lines) was delicious. The hamburger was nicely done, clean, and tasty. Salad was about as good as restaurant salads get. I just wish the beer was as good.

Usual selection of beers... Rooster red ale, a pale, an irish, a stout. Fair but nothing to write home about. Their Petaluma Strong Ale, supposedly the local favorite, was neither very strong nor memorable. They offer a sampler (which I tried), and beer available in multiple sizes as well as bottles & growlers. All of the beers were drinkable, but none were worthy of another visit.

Service is run of the mill for a small restaurant/brew pub. Nothing impressive. Had to ask a few times for things like water. relatively friendly service.

All in all, if this were a straight restaurant review, it would get slightly higher marks. Atmosphere feels trapped somewhere between an upscale restaurant and a brewpub. If the beer was better, I'd stop here every time I passed through Petaluma. But it's not... and with other awesome beer alternatives near by, this one might just fall to the wayside. Although I think this may be one of the nicer food options with a solid beer offering in the area. Stop in if you're looking for great food and acceptable house beer.

Nov 11, 2010
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4000qtrap from Missouri

3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4

I like this place since i can stop by an have a beer while enjoying relaxing Petaluma. The selection of beer is usually pretty limited, but moderately interesting. The strong ale is quite good. They also make something they call a 707 harvest ale which uses fresh estate grown hops and is frankly just a pretty cool concept for a brew pub and something that I find very respectable.The food is really good but isn't cheap. Since its a pretty small place (and the bar is really small) it can get very busy at peak times.

Feb 01, 2010
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htomsirveaux from Texas

4/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Stopped in here for lunch on 22 Dec 2008 on the way up to Santa Rosa.

Seemed crowded for lunch, most tables were not drinking beer. California small town slow service but not bad. Cute waitresses are always a plus. Ordered the beer sampler, pretzels, winter vegetable soup, corn crepes and flatbread. Food is definitely the main draw, the corn crepes were savory and satisfying, the soup was very tasty, the flatbread with garlic was the hit of the afternoon. The only dish with any drawbacks was the pretzels which seemed to be a pretzels only chex mix sort of affair (we thought they would be a few large soft pretzels but were a bowl of standard planter's with some sort of chili powder/rub on them) not bad but not nearly as good as the rest of the meal.

The beer was decent but not outstanding. The Petaluma pale was light in body and flavor, lemony and grapefruity. The Red Rooster ale was reminiscent of toasted almonds, lightly hopped. Petaluma strong ale was sweet, somewhat cloying, hoppy, with some green banana flavor. The Weizenbock was very much bubblegum and citrus with an apple finish. Ugly Dog stout was fiarly dry, coffee throughout with a slightly toffee finish. Christmas Barleywine was all brown sugar and warm spice.

Overall the food was quite good and the beer serviceable.

Jan 11, 2009
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xhcadamx from Maine

3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

From notes...

A - this isn't your typical brewpub. It is very nice and artsy on the inside reminds me of somewhere my Grandmother would go to eat. The outside seating is awesome as it is right on the Petaluma River.

Q - The beer is hit or miss. You will always find a good beer but it won't always be the same one you had the last time you came here.

S - Always spot on. I have been to this place a lot and the service never disappoints.

S - Wheat, APA, Amber, Strong Ale, and a Stout. Usually one or two other beers.

F - I have only had the pizza here but it is pretty good. The menu is very limited.

V - Prices are high for the food and above average for the beer. Considering what the area has to offer I would say overpriced.

Dec 27, 2008
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Offa from California

3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

This is a well-established little brew pub in the Golden Eagle Center in downtown Petaluma (actually just across the river from downtown proper, as downtown technically is all west of the river; this has been blurred, especially with the pedestrian bridge from the foot of Western Ave. that goes right to Dempsey's). It's one of the oldest still-extant brewpubs or microbreweries in Sonoma County and is the only brewpub in Petaluma (Petaluma is also home to Lagunitas Brewing, but it is just a brewery and has no restaurant).

For me, the best part about this place is the food. Whereas other microbreweries/brewpubs in Sonoma County clearly have the strength of the beer selection be the main draw (like Russian River), here the food is really good and interesting, with more care and creativity than most such places offer.

On the other hand, the beer here is a little weak. They have a smallish selection at any one time and I have not found the beer to be that great. It's usually a bit on the disappointing side to me, not very pretty and a little thin in character and flavour. However, it's still basically good and the food compensates.

They also brew their own root beer. A bit flat (like some of the beers), it nevertheless tastes quite good, with a light, but dominant flowery anise character.

Although in a shopping center, it's right on the edge along the river, so one doesn't really have to look at or even go through the ugly shopping center. Instead, one can walk to it right from downtown and sit at outside seating that looks across the river to downtown. At night (usually cold anytime of the year, but sometimes in summer Petaluma does have warm nights), the sight is quite pretty. Even in the day it's nice because downtown Petaluma is beautiful anytime. The inside is also very nice, quite pleasantly decorated and cozy.

Oct 12, 2008
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Troyone from California

4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Located in a plaza type of strip mall, not to easy to find. Once one walks toward the entrance it's like another World. There appeared to be an inlet with sail boats, at first I was trying to figure out how this inlet was going to reach the ocean side through the Coastal Range. I then realized that it had to go to the bay and that was the Petaluma River... duh.

Nice bar area that appeared to be mostly utilized, for today (Memorial Day), as a waiting area for people who wanted a table. This place has friendly regulars and staff. There is seating in a patio facing the Petaluma River.

Some tap nozzles were stainless steel and it seems every other one was brass. Nice wooden tables, chairs, bar, and booths also the stools (I think) were padded. Has a nice bar cabinet with mirrors and dried hops hanging on top. One TV above one corner of the bar. Could not see the kitchen and the restroom was clean. Nice patio furniture facing the walkway next to the river.

Excellent service and knowledgable, befriend your bartender.

Very good selection however no cask option. All of the beers had their own unique taste and were all possible notables. Definite notables were the Strong Ale (local favorite), Red Rooster, and Pilsner that I can remember.

The food menu had some healthy options, I just had an appetizer.

They do have a happy hour at certain times.

Update 06/12/05

While visiting another Brewpub, Silverado, near St. Helena the locals informed me that Silverado and Dempsey's are the best Brewpubs in the area for dining (food).

May 30, 2005
Dempsey's Restaurant And Brewery in Petaluma, CA
Brewery rating: 3.48 out of 5 with 106 ratings