Are beer bars lacking in soul?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by MatthewPlus, Mar 5, 2013.

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  1. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,820) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    We stopped at Blind Tiger mid afternoon several years back, so it was not so crowded. We liked it.
  2. Merle_Allin

    Merle_Allin Initiate (0) Feb 13, 2014 Colorado

    Over saturation can ruin anything, even craft beer bars. However, with that being said, Colorado has one of the best taprooms in the country IMO at Falling Rock Taphouse, check out their tap list online, its pretty amazing!
  3. Johnny_Muir

    Johnny_Muir Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2014 New Jersey

    A lot of people who invest in bars are not necessarily enthusiasts of what theyre pouring. Sadly, for most people, a bar is just a way to wake money.
  4. guinness77

    guinness77 Poo-Bah (1,790) Jan 6, 2014 New York

    This right here.

    I don't care if its a bar, a brew pub, your local distro, the "beer guy" in the supermarket you frequent, etc, you can usually tell how serious they are about their beer/how much they love what they do within a minute. Maybe it's just me--probably not--but I enjoy bullshitting with people like that.

    Being a bartender myself, it should not just be a part of your job, it should be automatic. You should know what you're serving, you should be able to describe it, and, yes, you should be able to carry on a conversation with a patron, any of them. I simply cannot stand a place where the bartender/server is on their phone, surfing the Internet or, simply, looks completely disinterested. Bye. I have a million other places I can go to.
    beerloverofbham likes this.
  5. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (552) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Not keen on Yardhouse either - too big, too many taps.
    rozzom likes this.
  6. Merle_Allin

    Merle_Allin Initiate (0) Feb 13, 2014 Colorado

  7. Dan114

    Dan114 Initiate (0) Feb 14, 2013 Massachusetts

    Case in point: Mikkeller & Friends
  8. Kanger

    Kanger Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2013 New York


    chinochino and Providence like this.
  9. BeerDazed

    BeerDazed Initiate (0) Mar 1, 2014 Wisconsin

    I like the fact that there are more beer bars opening - and many with some impressive offerings. I get what you're saying though, and there does seem to be a lack of authenticity in some of the newer places. If the people are cool, know there beers, and can give you some decent insights on the brews they're actually serving, that works for me. Like any business, if the passion isn't there, it is usually very apparent. We recently had a new one open touting 48 beers on tap. And most of them excellent. They seemed to know there beers quite well too. I will always support great people, service and people with a passion for what they do.
  10. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2006 California

    I have never looked to a server for a beer conversation. I know what I like. I look to my friends for a beer conversation.
  11. BelgiumDude

    BelgiumDude Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2014 Argentina

    I really think all this depends on which bar are you going, I was once in GBCB and it was so legendary
  12. HRamz3

    HRamz3 Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2010 Pitcairn

    That is exactly what I think is a "souless bar". An massive entertainment center with a million taps, kind of Craft TGIF.

    I'll take a small, dark, old bar. (that carved back bar is a relic the Centenial Exposition of 1876). Imagine how many pints have been slid across that bar.

    Edit: of course, to the European BA's that's nothing.
    rozzom likes this.
  13. HRamz3

    HRamz3 Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2010 Pitcairn

    Look at the menu, pretty close:
  14. Rekrule

    Rekrule Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    A bar is just a way to make money for everyone. No one opens a bar or any other business to not make money. Even the enthusiasts started the business to make money.
  15. anormal

    anormal Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2007 Colorado

    hahahaha. i've never heard anyone compare Falling Rock to a TGIF. obviously you've never been there. or maybe you've never been to a TGIF. either way, thanks for the laugh. that is fucking hilarious. i'm going to suggest that they start wearing more "flair" the next time i stop in for a beer!
  16. HRamz3

    HRamz3 Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2010 Pitcairn

    Oh, I've been there. It's LODO, a contrived tourist area, I think that sums it up.
  17. anormal

    anormal Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2007 Colorado

    man, you are cracking me up! haha.
    chipawayboy and HRamz3 like this.
  18. michman

    michman Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2005 Illinois

    i find the cavernous cookie cutter bottle bars a little lacking myself. but hey its better than the alternative of no good beers. when im out, its what i make of it anyway. luckily north side of chicago has done a good job injecting craft beer lists into existing bars and pubs. it makes for some good ambiance and good times. visiting friends in London, my favorite pubs might only have 3-6 handpulls but are full of history and have had some of my best drinking experiences. so the atmosphere and company to me can definitely influence my experience and is very important.
  19. teal

    teal Initiate (0) May 3, 2012 Wisconsin

    I've never really been to a "franchised style" beer bar. Locally our beer bars are owned by regular joes and rather small and local. I dig that.

    It's also not difficult to get good beer and food here.

    I will say this though - the idea that we want craft beer to grow and be popular can't come at some sort of commercialized cost. No one wants to lose money on a place. Even if you won the lottery and decided to open your own special place, built EXACTLY how you think it should be - eventually you'd realize that losing money sucks.

    I don't begrudge people looking to make money in the craft beer industry, it's what makes the whole thing work.

    Things I look for in a bar:

    Architectural character
    Good tunes (at an appropriate level)
    Friendly and I mean TRULY friendly, not customer service friendly, staff
    Decent beer
    Decent whiskey

    The rest is just icing. I don't need to chase tail, caught mine, I don't need to "be seen" - DGAF, I don't need to be there till 3am - I just want a place I can have a beer, conversation and maybe a burger.
    guinness77 likes this.
  20. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (552) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Boston area bars in a nutshell. People are there to drink, not socialize, and bartenders are there to serve drinks, not make conservation or friends. Always catches me off guard when I'm in another city and bartenders or other bar patrons are friendly and strike up a conversation. Been to Chicago 3 times, each time I've had a bartender or someone else buy me a beer when they find out I'm from out of town and into craft beer. Never seen that happen in Boston.
    Ericness likes this.
  21. DrumKid003

    DrumKid003 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2013 Oklahoma

    If I'm going to be hanging out at a beer bar/pub I couldn't give a shit whether it's got soul or not. The things I look for in a beer bar/pub is somewhere with: a few 40"+ TVs so I can watch sports, a friendly waitstaff, decent food, a good beer selection and an environment devoid of hipsters. My two usual spots fit all those criteria perfectly and that's why they are the only places I go if I want to sit, have a beer, smoke a cigar and converse with the staff/patrons.
  22. Zimbo

    Zimbo Savant (956) Aug 7, 2010 Scotland

    Lacking in soul?
    I think that every time I'm in BrewDog Edinburgh or The Hanging Bat.
    But funny, it never crosses my mind when I'm in The Bow Bar.
  23. teal

    teal Initiate (0) May 3, 2012 Wisconsin

    I never really considered Buffalo Wild Wings a "beer bar".

    Thinking about the 2 places I like to go the most - just realized neither one has a TV.
    charlzm likes this.
  24. MatthewPlus

    MatthewPlus Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2013 Idaho

  25. RBassSFHOPit2ME

    RBassSFHOPit2ME Initiate (0) Mar 1, 2009 California

  26. pgrenvicz

    pgrenvicz Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2013 Georgia

    We have a large beer-focused chain here in Atlanta, and they went cookie-cutter. It's not a place I would normally frequent. They do, however, do a good job of loading up on good local tap selections. I appreciate that I can usually get a good pour outside of the perimeter, even though the place is a little douchey.
  27. Tdizzle

    Tdizzle Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2006 California

    I was at a local beer place yesterday. They had a new IPA from Bear Republic (Churchill's IPA) and Ballast Point Sextant, which I have enjoyed in the past. I sampled the IPA and really liked it. I informed the server that I was waffling back and forth between the two. He informed me that I should get the Bear Republic IPA because it is a one-off and Sextant is easier to find. I took his advice. How's that for a beer conversation?
  28. NCMonte

    NCMonte Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2014 North Carolina

    I don't know how to respond to this... I don't go to "beer bars" per se, the only one I frequent I have a set night with friends, and while it doesn't have that much "character" it does have a decent selection and they do a great job of rotating beer there.


    What I do do, is hit local breweries. With 17-18 within easy driving distance (less than 30 min) finding a place of character isn't a problem. All of the breweries have character and some, real real interesting character like Wedge or Burial or Pisgah or Highland (when the bands are playing for sure).

    So, sorry I really can't relate.
  29. Brew_Bro

    Brew_Bro Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2014 Florida

    Last time I was at Brass Tap they charged me $8 for a dry hopped pale ale from a random brewery.

    I love trying new beers that are on draft but $8 for a 16oz? Never again will I go back.
  30. Inspired

    Inspired Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2008 Maryland

    Totally agree with you. I never have to ask my server or bartender about a particular beer. I'm familiar with the styles and I know what I'm in the mood for so that is needed in order to make a selection. In fact, I would go the other way and say that I get slightly annoyed when a server starts rattling off "beer knowledge" at me..."oh that one has a slight malt backbone with a dry, hoppy finish"...yeah, yeah just shut up and bring me my beer.
  31. Inspired

    Inspired Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2008 Maryland

    You obviously don't live in the DC area. $8 for a craft beer is probably right around average and at some locations might even be considered cheap (I'm looking at you Churchkey).
  32. Brew_Bro

    Brew_Bro Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2014 Florida

    I live in Tampa where every bar is $5 except for the occasional stout which is $6. There is no reason I should have to pay $8 for a pale ale when I can go to Cigar City not even 5 miles down the road and get any beer I want on tap for $5-$6.

    I did the math and Brass Tap charged $8 + tax and then I tipped $2

    That comes out to $10.60. Now I can go get TWO beers for that price at almost any other bar in my city.
  33. beerranger

    beerranger Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 Massachusetts

    I'll avoid answering a question by asking one: Does this thread belong in the Top 5 Worst Threads Ever?
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  34. charlzm

    charlzm Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2007 California

    Here in LA, more and more gastropubs with craft taps are appearing. I am glad that they are locally owned and feature craft beer, but I am not glad that they're all distressingly similar in generalities and, while having craft lineups, have common or pedestrian choices.

    It's almost like someone said, "I have money to invest in a restaurant. What's hot? Twelve dollar hamburgers and eight dollar beers served in a noisy room with dark wood everywhere? Gimme one of those!"

    The places I like best have deep, thoughtfully curated tap lists and food that's more good than expensive. I can go many places in town and pay between ten and fifteen dollars for a sandwich, but there are few places that seem to earn that money.

    Also, places that have "the game" on have no soul.
  35. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (443) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    Or the Blue Blazer...or Guildford Arms.....or Kay's...or the Halfway House .....omg do I love EDI pubs.
    Zimbo likes this.
  36. Sergio

    Sergio Initiate (0) Mar 20, 2012 California

    Ever been to Tony's in Burbank? That's my spot.
    charlzm likes this.
  37. bigflatsbeerman

    bigflatsbeerman Initiate (0) Nov 2, 2005 New York

    To each his own. My thoughts on corporate restaurants is they are the BMC's of the food world. Not great food, but mediocre at best. People like them because they know what they will get and are terrified they will pick a really bad local restaurant. Similar to a BMC drinker who is scared to death he will order a craft beer he hates. Probably 80% of the people where I live will answer Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Applebee's or Chili's if you ask what their favorite restaurant is. What I love is a local restaurant that has figured out craft beer will bring in customers.
  38. Black_Rider

    Black_Rider Initiate (0) Mar 26, 2013 California

    i agree with that. i don't mind if a place has a screen or two, with the sound off, but i can't get into any sports bar. nothing against people who watch sports

    curious what you consider the better LA beer bars
    charlzm and HRamz3 like this.
  39. HRamz3

    HRamz3 Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2010 Pitcairn

    The more TV's, the crappier the bar. No TV = perfect. Bars are for drinking and socializing. Nothing is more depressing than a room full of people all staring at a TV.
    yemenmocha, charlzm and rozzom like this.
  40. FrankenMiller

    FrankenMiller Aspirant (200) Mar 5, 2014 Florida

    WOW so you really think that Fallingrock is a souless beer bar? tell that the the all the craft brewers that gatherthere before and after GABF. And just because it is near the baseball stadium its a tourist bar. It has actually been there longer than the stadium.

    You my friend are delusional. .
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