Home BestBars DRAFT’s 150 Best Beer Bars 2010

DRAFT’s 150 Best Beer Bars 2010

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We scoured the country from Alaska to Hawaii and Portland, Maine to Portland, Ore., to find the bars where you’re guaranteed to sip unmatched suds. Romantic or boisterous, scuzzy or dressed to the nines, the flavor of the places where fine brew is served runs the gamut. Here, the 150 places where craft is king and fun comes in all fashions.


700 CLUB


This two-story neighborhood stop is comfy like grandma’s house, but turns into a full-on quirky dance party when the DJ spins upstairs. Some nights it’s just you and the bartender; others, it’s you and a gaggle of sweaty youngsters in T-shirts with questionable dance moves. Every night, though, there’s a slew of awesome brews, including those from two beer engines, local faves like Yards and far-flung ones like Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.  700 N. 2nd Street, 215.413.3181


New York City

Perhaps the most romantic beer bar on our list, this literal hole in the wall comfortably seats about 15 people in its 350-square-foot space. It’s a beautiful bar, gently lit with exposed brick walls; an impressive spot if you’re wooing. The beer selection’s not crazy but solid, the likes of Racer 5 on one of its six taps, and about 60 other crafts ranging from Schlenkerla Rauchbier to Mad River Double IPA rounding out the list. 620 E. 6th Street, 212.358.7065


Bogota, New Jersey

As a state, New Jersey gets a bad rap, but get off the Turnpike and you’ll find some true winners. Case in point: Andy’s. One of the least pretentious places in the Garden State features new kegs every day, 100-plus bottles of quality craft, and a vibe that will make you reconsider any preconceptions. 257 Queen Anne Rd., andyscornerbar.blogspot.com


New York City

Part of the Manhattan mini-chain of “room” bars—The Room and The Otheroom share an owner with this TriBeCa hotspot—Anotheroom trades volume for elegance, both in décor and its excellent beer list. If you want a cocktail, look somewhere else as the bar doesn’t offer any, but those seeking a palate-cheering beer and a pitch-perfect atmosphere won’t be disappointed. 249 W. Broadway, theroomsbeerandwine.com


Brooklyn, New York

This Williamsburg hot spot may only have 25 craft beers on tap, but we’ll trade quantity for quality any day of the week. Plus, the walls are ringed with old-school arcade games costing just a quarter. (None of this $1.50-to-play-Ms. Pacman junk.) And good gosh is the clientele attractive. 388 Union Ave., barcadebrooklyn.com


Brooklyn, New York

This tiny New York venue—seriously, it’s barely bigger than a table—might not have the largest selection in the neighborhood, but proprietors Justin and Tricia Phillips more than make up for any lack of depth with a wonderfully curated list of drafts and bottles from faraway breweries like Florida’s Cigar City and England’s J.W. Lee’s. Don’t miss their famous (and affordable) three-course dinners every Tuesday night for a true imbibing and culinary experience. 427 B 7th Ave., beertable.com


Washington, D.C.

In college, you went Papa John’s and Beast Light; now, armed with disposable income, you owe it to yourself and your GI tract to stop by Birreria Paradiso, located in the lower level of D.C.’s Pizzeria Paradiso. There, you can pair brews from Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout to Victory Prima Pils with a pie made from the finest local ingredients. In all, there’s nearly 100 beers, including one rotating cask.

3282 M St. NW, eatyourpizza.com


New York City

One of Gotham’s first beer bars remains one of its best. With a bottle list exceeding 50 options, another 28 taps and a couple casks thrown in for good measure, if you can’t find a drink that appeals to you, you’re just not trying. Watch for several Allagash taps and Stoudt’s Scarlet Lady out of a firkin, and drool over the bar’s list of vintage brews hid away in the cellar. The place gets packed after work, so plan accordingly. 281 Bleecker St., blindtigeralehouse.com



As if offering more than 400 bottles wasn’t enough, this favorite ’Burg bar features Tuesday nights with Tera, during which Tera the Beer Librarian brings out a special barrel to share with the crowd. There ain’t nothing wrong with sipping a rare beer and learning at the same time. Get into it. 690 Chauvet Dr., bocktown.com


Washington, D.C.

Employment options are limited for a man whose first name is Thor. Fortunately for us, that list apparently includes beer director. Thor Cheston, a member of the Knighthood of Brewers’ Mashstaff in Brussels, Belgium, mans the brews at this D.C. joint, handpicking more than 100 bottles including Goulden Carolus Triple and Weinstephaner Hefeweizen. 1101 K. St. NW, beckdc.com



Located in a Mt. Vernon townhouse, this pretty beer bar that doubles as a restaurant features the handmade creations of Chef Dave Newman and house beers such as Beacon, Ozzy and Resurrection. If you’re seeking something further afield, one of the many Euro-centric brews on the menu (think Grimbergen Blond, Jever Pils and a host of Trappists) will certainly satisfy the palate. 1106 N. Charles St., thebrewersart.com


Washington, D.C.

The URL says it all: LoveTheBeer.com. Sure, sometimes the beer you wanted, though listed on the bar’s 1,300-item menu, isn’t in the house. But if you can’t find another beer that you love, you need a Grinchlike heart expansion: The menu’s 500 beers strong, with standouts like Bison Gingerbread Ale and Eggenberg Urbock 23. And if one night isn’t enough, you can always stay at the 43-room hotel located above the saloon. 1523 22nd St. NW, lovethebeer.com


Norristown, Pennsylvania

The draft selection features roughly 20 rapidly rotating choices with beers you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere on the Eastern Seaboard. The real draw, however, is Capones’ bottle shop, where you’ll encounter everything from Arcadia Jaw Jacker to Weyerbacher Winter ale. Email bartender Matt Capone before you go, and he just might hold something special for you.  224 West Germantown Pike, caponesdraftlist.blogspot.com


Syracuse, New York

Come to Clark’s for beer, yes, but also one of the most divine roast beef sandwiches your tongue will ever wrestle with. It might pair with some brews better than others, but any one you select on this dedicated-to-craft list will make this a meal to remember. A cask rotates local hits, while the rest of the 21 taps contain solid selections like Brooklyn Brown and Middle Ages Syracuse Pale Ale. It’s simple, unpretentious awesomeness. 122 W. Jefferson St., clarksalehouse.com


New York City

This is the perfect place to bring your old man if he only drinks Scotch. With 90 different varieties, he’s sure to find at least one that’s palatable. Meanwhile, you can enjoy a bevy of the 250 beers d.b.a. offers. Who knows? Maybe you can even convert pops to a craft beer aficionado. Drink good stuff indeed. 41 1st Ave., drinkgoodstuff.com


Allston, Massachusetts

Named after the cultural epicenter of Dallas, this Yankee bar applies the “Everything’s bigger in Texas” mantra to its menu. Case in point: ’Cause one kind of French fry is never enough, Deep Ellum offers Fries 4 Ways (that’s parmesan, chili-pepper jack, malt vinegar and fleur de sel, and truffled gorgonzola). Even the beers are sizable: Heavyweights like Mayflower’s 6.8%-ABV IPA, North Coast’s 10%-ABV Old Rasputin and a few hearty casks rule the taps. The menu’s largesse doesn’t outdo the surroundings, though; the bright, cozy patio and old-timey wooden bar are big enough to host your whole posse. 477 Cambridge St., deepellum-boston.com.


Brooklyn, New York

This Brooklyn gem features sessionable beers such as Southern Tier Harvest and Sly Fox Pils. Additionally, it has a wide selection of options that will knock you on your ass. From Val Dieu Brune (8% ABV) to De Dolle Oerbier Reserva (13% ABV), you’ll be stumbling down the streets of New York’s best borough in no time at all.

43 Franklin St., thediamondbrooklyn.com


Northampton, Massachusetts

This place isn’t for everyone, but it is for beer drinkers. Sure, the price of a pint might set you back what a six-pack of Budweiser would cost at the local liquor store, but you’re about quality, not quantity. Go when it’s empty, peruse the list and choose carefully among the Ridgeway, Rochefort and Bear Republic brews. Then hit up the ATM. Rinse. Repeat. 29 Main St., dirtytruthbeerhall.com


Lovell, Maine

Tucked away in middle-of-nowhere Maine, there’s a beer bar striving to be the best in America—and it just might be. The 35 taps are truly remarkable, with some of the finest Belgian selections, like Abbey ale Kapitell Apt, you can find Stateside. The bottle list follows suit, presenting a stunning array of Trappist, Abbey, and artisan brews from Belgium. Then, there are dozens of aged brews of various vintages and craft from every corner of the globe, plus a house beer made by de Struise that brings the tally to more than 1,000 amazing beers. 44 Allen Rd., ebenezerspub.net


Middletown, Connecticut

This small, intensely decorated establishment might not boast the most adventurous draft list in the world, but they aren’t afraid to stock Brooklyn Monster Barleywine or Yellow Snow Ale (taps rotate daily). Even the harshest craft critic will find something to enjoy. Plus, you can sit on barber chairs, theater seats and leather couches—much more fun than lame old bar stools. 695 Main St., elicannons.com



Here’s a question: Can you call a beer brewed 5,000 miles away a house beer? We ask because Belgium’s La Binchoise Brewery creates Eulogy’s Busty Blonde exclusively for this Philly venue. Debate amongst yourselves, but know that you’re having one regardless of your answer next time you happen across this Belgian brasserie that also boasts a Napoleon Burger that won a Best of Philadelphia award. 136 Chestnut St., eulogybar.com


Emmaus, Pennsylvania

Bon Appetit readers will come for the restaurant, but DRAFT cohorts will skip the world-class vittles and head straight for the pub in the basement that features a beer list spanning five pages, including one of the best vintage bottle selections anywhere—yes, there’s really a 1993 Rogue Old Crustacean waiting in the wings. Just don’t bring too many friends, as the tiny space only sits six. 1449 Chestnut St., thefarmhouse.com


Columbia, Maryland

On Firkin Thursdays, the bartender taps a gravity cask and keeps pouring until its empty. In our book, there’s nothing wrong with a little good, old-fashioned drinking fun (especially when it involves one of Frisco’s 19 tequilas). If Thursdays aren’t your thing, stop by any other night of the week to enjoy a wide selection of craft beers on the bar’s 19 taps or in one of its many bottles.

8865 Stanford Blvd., friscogrille.com



Gooski’s is fun to pronounce, but don’t proclaim it too loudly; this is one of the best-kept secrets in Polish Hill. The jukebox rocks and the crowd’s chill; go for the 170 beers, including local favorites such as Victory and Iron City. It’s also one of the cheapest places around, but bring your wallet regardless; you may never want to leave. 3117 Brereton St., 412.681.1658


Washington, D.C.

Some fetishes are, put bluntly, vaguely concerning. Then there’s this gastropub in the nation’s capital that claims to have “a healthy Belgian fetish.” Sounds innocent enough, especially when that leads to a bar stocked with more than 70 Belgians in bottles and six on draft at all times. Beverage director Pat McMonagle, don’t go changing that fetish on our account. 1238 H St. NE, granvillemoores.com


Portland, Maine

David Geary opened Maine’s first craft beer bar 24 years ago. During the intervening two decades, the eight original beer taps have multiplied eightfold, and now 65 draft lines carrying the likes of Shipyard and Harpoon grace the venue that’s two miles off the Old Port strip. Don’t miss Allagash Alley, five taps permanently pouring options from Maine’s best brewery. 540 Forest Ave., greatlostbear.com



This pub isn’t your typical Philly bar, what with its dozen constantly rotating taps and healthy bottle selection. Local favorites such as Philadelphia BiBerry collide with national selections (Great Divide Fresh Hop, Rogue Double Dead Guy) in a truly unique and wonderful way. The yearly Groundhog Day Hawaiian Shirt Beer Breakfast should be added to any craft lover’s Bucket List. 6235 Frankford Ave., greylodge.com



The second effort from William Reed and Paul Kimport, owners of the Standard Tap gastropub, practices the Keep It Simple, Stupid philosophy: All-draft, all-local beers, menus written in chalk, and the freshest seafood around. There’s nothing simple about how much you’ll enjoy a trip to this Fishtown neighborhood taproom.

1201 N. Frankford Ave., johnnybrendas.com


White Plains, New York

Featuring beers from more countries (33) than states (14), the Lazy Boy Saloon (LZB to the locals) goes well beyond the borders of White Plains to cull its brew list. Enjoy a bucket of “Westchester County’s BEST Chicken Wings” and a beer from Smuttynose or Captain Lawrence while listening to live jazz. Plan your trip for a Thursday, when the bar greets you with a fresh cask. 154 Mamaroneck Ave., lazyboysaloon.com


Cambridge, Massachusetts

With dedicated taps—the Daily IPA, Berkshire feature, Dogfish Head feature and more—no trip to this Massachusetts hotspot will ever be the same. Add a slate of the region’s best up- and-coming bands and the Lizard Lounge is a constantly morphing venue. Luckily, the beer and vibe remain excellent in all its iterations. 1667 Massachusetts Ave., lizardloungeclub.com

Mahar’s Public HOUSE

Albany, New York

Mahar’s doesn’t mess around with its beer drinking. Bartenders and regulars enforce its many rules—nay, laws—and they “invite you to go elsewhere” if you can’t abide by them. Departing, however would be a mistake. One of the best places in the country for cask ale also features an immense, 500-label-strong selection of taps and bottles. Sit down, shut up, and enjoy the ride. 1110 Madison Ave., itsonlybeer.com



With 80 rotating taps and a collection of 1,200 bottles, the historic Fells Point destination knows its beer. Even Tusker Premium Lager from Kenya makes an appearance on the worldly list. For those patrons in need of a little something extra, don’t miss Max’s Dartroom, but things can get competitive, so steer clear if you’ve had too many. 737 S. Broadway, maxs.com



With taps flowing since 1860, we would excuse the Philly pub for not keeping up with the latest trends in the craft brewing world. These guys know, however, that the best complement to an authentic old-fashioned feel is a modern beer list. In addition to the 1860 IPA—brewed specially for the bar’s 150th anniversary in 2010 —the roughly 40 taps stay filled with the best brews from within 100 miles.  1310 Drury St., mcgillins.com


New York City

“I was sitting in McSorley’s. Outside it was New York and beautifully snowing,” wrote E.E. Cummings in 1925. This bar’s “Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt drank here” old; for more than 150 years it’s served up its signature McSorley’s ale. Creak across the sawdust floors and breathe in a century’s worth of memorabilia, then settle in for a pint of ale that comes in only two styles: light or dark. This bar’s simply a national treasure. 15 E. 7th St., mcsorleysnewyork.com



If a brewer married a foodie, Memphis Tap Room would be their lovechild. It has all the trappings of a serious beer bar—think Lepziger Göse and Popering Hommel Bier on tap next to a rotating beer engine—plus a superb menu of pub grub gone cuisine. Executive chef Jesse Kimball whips up a menu of cornmeal-crusted oysters, squash curry and Swiss chard mac and cheese until midnight seven evenings a week, and even manages to sneak a few beer-infused dishes in there: Pilsner-brined hot wings and hefeweizen hummus, beer lovers? 2331 E. Cumberland St., memphistaproom.com


Amherst, Massachusetts

In a college town like Amherst, any bar worth its tap handles knows it needs to offer cheaper options in order to survive. What’s rare about The Moan & Dove is that in addition to these lawnmower beers—PBR, Schlitz and five others for $2.50—patrons will find Stone Ruination IPA, Samichlaus and more than 100 other beers destined to expand the horizons of any scholar. 460 West St., themoananddove.com



A name like Monk’s guarantees a certain level of dedication. Luckily, this bar delivers with one of the finest selections of Belgians and beyond in the entire country. Bargoers order from a Beer Bible, and first-timers should definitely try the Monk’s Café Sour Flemish, a beer brewed by the Van Steenberge brewery in Belgium exclusively for this spot. The Web site proclaims patrons have “found beer heaven.” Let the religious metaphors flow; you’ll soon be a true believer. 264 S. 16th St., monkscafe.com


Cambridge, Massachusetts

It’s been in the neighborhood for 40 years, but the scene at The Plough & Stars is anything but stale. This relatively small, narrow venue (it’s Boston, after all) takes advantage of every square foot by packing in a discriminating beer selection, including 14 taps and 10 well-selected bottles, delicious food like Red Stripe-brined jerk wings and live music just about every night of the week. While any time’s a fine time to visit this hipster hangout, we’re particularly fond of the Sunday night chicken and fish fry, especially while sipping on a pint of local Harpoon I.P.A. f m

912 Massachusetts Ave., ploughandstars.com


Brookline, Massachusetts

Start by talking like Mark Wahlberg in “The Departed.” Drop every “r.” Wear a “Sawx” hat. Pour on some Grotten Cave Aged Brown. Add La Fin Du Monde. Mix in North Coast Scrimshaw Pils. What do you get? The Publick House. It’s the best parts of Boston combined with a list any craft aficionado can appreciate. The Yankees suck here too, but the beer’s incredible. 1648 Beacon St., thepublickhousebrookline.com


Silver Spring, Maryland

If you’re sitting inside this basement bar in downtown Silver Spring, you’re either a local or a well-researched tourist on a mission to find the best watering holes in the D.C. area (mission accomplished!). Belly up to the bar, or if you’re lucky, squeeze into a table seat in this crowded joint and scan the massive beer list: Brasserie Caracole Nostradamus, Black Sheep Ale and Orkney Skull Splitter are just a few of the international brands that got us excited. Some of the best beer from both domestic coasts, and points in between, bring this list past 100 brews, and weekly events like Whiskey Wednesday encourage you to mix it up a bit.

8401 Georgia Ave., quaryhousetavern.com


New York City

As the only bar on this list above 14th Street in Manhattan, Rattle ‘N’ Hum has the dubious distinction of being the best beer bar for the roughly 1.5 million people living in the general vicinity. While sometimes it seems as though every single one of these Manhattanites packs the place, during down times the Midtown location—boasting 40 taps and four casks—can compete with any venue in the city.

14 E. 33rd St., rattlenhumbarnyc.com


Somerville, Massachusetts

You may come for the locally famous ’cue, but you’ll stay for the bar. Twenty-eight taps pour a selection of brew you don’t usually come across outside the region, like Sixpoint Otis Stout on nitro, Opa-Opa Steakhouse & Brewery’s Chester Street Amber and Berkshire Brewing Drayman’s Porter. A decent bottle list plus special brewery keg nights round out the selection, and for those who choose not to drive home, a convenient bike valet parking will make sure your two-wheeler is ready to go after hours. 55 Chester St., redbones.com


Alexandria, Virginia

Beer pops? Yes, you read correctly. On beautiful summer nights, or rainy ones for that matter, the Virginia restaurant and bar offers popsicles made with beer to keep its customers cool. Rustico also has 30 taps and 10 times the number of bottles picked by beer director Greg Engert to satisfy any craving. 827 Slaters Ln., rusticorestaurant.com



Those closer to downtown will likely opt for the Creekhouse’s sister bar, Sharp Edge Beer Emporium, but any true beer fan owes it to their tastebuds to make the trip on I-79. Set in an old Victorian home, the bar features a few dozen bottles and 23 taps dedicated to brews from Belgium, and 20 more from which the best of the rest flow. 288 W. Steuben St., sharpedgebeer.com


Brooklyn, New York

This local hangout could probably fit its entire beer list on one sheet of paper, but that doesn’t mean it’s not impressive: Cigar City Espresso Maduro, Brooklyn Manhattan Project, Lion Stout all the way from Sri Lanka. Nothing wrong with short and sweet. This funky spot’s hoppin’ most nights of the week, and don’t be surprised to catch the occasional A-lister with a baseball cap pulled low (read: “Just trying to chill here, guys”) hunched over a few awesome brews. 359 Metropolitan Ave., spuytenduyvilnyc.com


Long Island City, New York

This isn’t your average biergarten. Queens, New York’s latest take on the traditional German drinking venue offers your typical brats and kolbase, but also a sizable sushi menu come this spring. Likewise, you’ll find loads of German beers among the 60 tap lines, but Dogfish Head, Captain Lawrence and other regional favorites find their way into steins as well. If you’re feeling exceptionally adventurous, go for the homemade sangria. studiosquarenyc.com


Allston, Massachusetts

In order to take in the massive selection at Sunset Grill, you’d have to walk the perimeter of its wrap-around bar—the walls are lined to the ceiling with bottles—and worm your way into the back bar to eyeball the wall dedicated to new releases and seasonals. Better yet, dive into the beer book for a full rundown of its 112 taps and 380 bottles. Peripherals like its discount Beer Stimulus Package, beer yards, beer cocktails and floats inject a ton of fun into suds hunting. 138 Brighton Ave., allstonsfinest.com



Believe it or not, beer and wine do harmonize, perhaps nowhere better than this sleekly casual café in Philly’s Rittenhouse Square. Less than 30 beers hold court, but they’re all superb (think Pliny the Elder). Keep focused on the brew, as the wines—the bar categorizes them with qualifiers like zippy, funky and sociable—do their damndest to tempt you away. Uniting beer and vino is a mouthwatering cheese list—and an ultraknowledgeable staff to point you toward delicious pairings. 123 S. 18th St., triacafe.com


Boyertown, Pennsylvania

Trees! It’s rare to see a great beer bar surrounded by honest-to-goodness trees. And a stone well! Of course, you’re coming for the brewskis—Left Hand Milk Stout, Del Borgo Te Saison and many, many more—but getting out into the great wide open will only make you feel more alive. You’re in luck if you’re planning a trip: The pub’s always-updated Web site provides a peek at taps to come. 546 Manatawny Rd., unionjacksmanatawny.com


New York City

Remember when beer was just fun?  When the well-retained, frothy head on a beer was just annoying, the flavor had no notes and no one was jotting anything down about it anyway? The Village Pourhouse does. Sure, the original location boasts 100 beers from more than 20 countries, creative flights and beer classes for those who want to actually learn something. But for those who don’t, there’s midday chugging contests, tons of TVs, party rooms, games and a fun crowd accidentally drinking awesome beer. 64 3rd Ave., villagepourhouse.com


State College, Pennsylvania

Home of the Penn State Nittany Lions, State College can be overrun with students. Even so, it’s worth making the trip to Zeno’s Pub. Is there any higher compliment for a bar? We think not. Got a paper to write? Head there for the free WiFi—and the massive beer selection—but finish up quickly as there’s imbibing to be done. m

100 West College Ave., zenospub.com



Asheville, North Carolina

Four locations are sprinkled throughout the Carolinas and Tennessee, but if we had to choose one, it would be in Asheville, arguably the Portland, Ore. of the East Coast. While Barley’s offers labels from notable craft breweries, it excels at representing North Carolina’s best: Catawba Valley, Big Boss, French Broad and Pisgah, to name a few. Venture up to the second floor of this renovated 1920s appliance store, where you’ll find pool tables and another 19 taps to wet your whistle. 42 Biltmore Ave., barleystaproom.com



Why order a pint of Sweetwater 420 when you can get a whole pitcher? There aren’t many beer bars on this list that serve craft suds in bulk, but here, almost all 50 drafts are available that way if you’re digging in for a long night. We love Beer Sellars’ focus on communal drinking, even if its underground location suggests otherwise: Monday poker night, Tuesday trivia night and live blues music on Wednesday—and that’s just the first half of the week. Don’t miss its sister locations in Indianapolis and Newport, Ky. 107 Church St., beersellar.net


Decatur, Georgia

A true testament to the quality of the Brick Store Pub, the venue was able to make a name for itself as a world-class beer bar years before the State of Georgia elevated the legal definition of beer from 6% to 14% ABV. Today, the bar offers 17 taps and 75 bottled beers to patrons in the main bar, as well as an additional 120 beers in its upstairs Belgian bar. And for lucky Decaturites, the pub also features regular rare beer and vertical tastings, such as its recent foray into the last six seasonal He’Brew Jewbelation Ales. 125 E. Court Sq., brickstorepub.com



Now with four locations throughout Nashville, the Broadway Brewhouse has become the standard example for must-visit beer bars in Music City. First-timers should check out the original location downtown. Belly up to the 60-foot bar and choose from the 72-tap selection of regional and national faves. Broadway’s burgers, tacos, burritos and pizzas are essential after a few pints, and if you’re waiting for food, mosey out to the deck where you’re sure to find a few takers for a game of darts. 1900 Broadway, broadwaybrewhouse.net


Raleigh, North Carolina

Fantôme Pissenlit, Dogfish Head Burton Baton and Terrapin Midnight Project are just a few of the treats to be had at this Raleigh bar, and while the selection isn’t vast, every beer is worth a try. Aside from the high-end suds (available at both its main and upstairs bar), Busy Bee has solidified itself as a go-to Raleigh hot spot with live music, delicious food (here’s help: order the Braised Dorper Lamb Shank) and a menu of gourmet coffee drinks for designated drivers. 225 S. Wilmington St., busybeeraleigh.com


Richmond, Virginia

This downtown Richmond bar’s housed in a 100-year-old-plus building that takes up half a city block, so you know there’s enough room for a big beer selection. Forty-six taps (which recently featured Sierra Nevada’s elusive India Pale Ale), two cask-conditioned hand pumps (pouring libations like Starr Hill Amber Ale Cask), and 200 bottles are more than enough to keep beer lovers engaged. Include a lower level gaming area, beer garden and delicious menu and it’s no surprise the Capital Ale House is Richmond’s premier watering hole. 623 E. Main St., capitalalehouse.com


New Orleans

With 400 beer offerings—45 of which are on tap—this Riverbend neighborhood watering hole has appeased the craft-enthusiast crowd for more than 30 years. And like any great beer bar, patrons have the chance to imbibe the region’s best offerings (like Abita and Dixie), as well as sample new suds from around the world (Canada’s Niagra Apple Ale and Belgium’s Corsendonk Pale Ale caught our eye). This friendly haunt serves big personality with its bayou eats in the form of 15 TVs and framed caricatures depicting celebrities with beers that best embody their personalities. f m 509 S. Carrollton Ave., cooterbrowns.com


Pensacola, Florida

They had us at pizza and beer, but this bar’s mantra, “If we do not have a beer, ask for it, and we will work like hell to get it for you,” is icing on the cake. More than 150 bottles and 36 taps help wash down specialty pizzas like the macadamia-topped Twisted Hawaiian, and while the vast international suds selection impresses, the real high point is this joint’s dedication to southern beer. Offerings from Sweetwater, Lazy Magnolia, Highland, Terrapin and Abita showcase the region’s brewing talent while old favorites (Bell’s Two Hearted Ale) and lesser-known beers (Bali Hai Lager) broaden the horizon. 10 S. Palafox, hopjacks.com


Hot Springs, Arkansas

Old World beer is alive and well at Hot Springs Brau Haus, an almost unlikely German beer joint in the heart of Arkansas. Although the bar only features a few, all-Spaten taps, it more than makes up for the limited draft selection with nearly 50 German, Belgian, Austrian and Dutch bottled brews. The lineup includes celebrated breweries like Ayinger, Chimay and Paulaner, but also lesser exposed brands like Corsendonk Pale Ale, Dinkelacker Stuttgard Dunkel and Kozel Dark. Enjoy the suds alongside authentic sauerbraten, knackwurst and schnitzel. 801 Central, Ave., 501.624.7866


Birmingham, Alabama

If you’re looking for cask-conditioned ale in the heart of Alabama, The J. Clyde is your place: The bar recently had the honor of being the first watering hole outside of Colorado to tap a cask of Tommyknocker Rye Porter. Aside from rotating casks, the bar also stocks a lineup of suds that pretty much spans the BJCP categorical listing—doppelbocks, witbiers, Belgian pale ales and fruit beers are all four beers deep. If you can’t find what you’re looking for at this 150-plus-beer bar, well, that’s just impossible. 1312 Cobb Ln., jclyde.com


Tulsa, Oklahoma

Modeled after the public houses of Dublin, McNellie’s offers neighborhood friendliness alongside a world-class selection of beer and scotch. Browse the more than 300-strong beer menu to discover your next favorite U.K. brew (Thwaites Lancaster Bomber, anyone?) as well as beer from any number of former English colonies, and beyond. Come on Wednesday nights for $3 Burger Night, and stick around to see live music upstairs. This may not be the land of Joyce, but there’s no shortage of inspiration inside these walls. 409 E. 1st St., mcnellies.com


Hattiesburg, Mississippi

With trivia nights, bingo and Monday Night Football drink specials, the Keg and Barrel breathes new energy into the historic house it calls home—and then there’s the beer. Clocking in just shy of 100 offerings, our favorite aspect  is the chance to sample the sought-after yet rare lineup of Mississippi’s Lazy Magnolia Brewing. Its draft selection covers both coasts, and whether you’re looking to score a pint of Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber or Rogue Chocolate Stout, follow the food menu’s beer pairing guide for consumption bliss. 1315 Hardy St., kegandbarrel.com


Oldsmar, Florida

With 35 taps and 75 bottles, this warm-weather watering hole located just outside Tampa gives equal space to domestic micros and international beer: Japan’s Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Brew, Slovakia’s Golden Pheasant and Norway’s Nøgne Ø Pale Ale to name a few. And while the domestic selection fairly represents both coasts, we’re mostly pumped about imbibing both Lectio Divina and Saison Athene from nearby brewery Saint Somewhere. Spring for the combination sausage-and-cheese platter for the ultimate imbibing experience. 300 State St. E. #107, oldsmartaphouse.com



It’s been difficult to talk Atlanta beer bars without making comparisons to Brick Store Pub; however, since its 2008 opening, the same could be said about The Porter Beer Bar. Similar to the Brick—both in a league above the rest—The Porter nails the menu selection with 29 taps (we recently sighted Victory Hop Wallop on cask) and enough bottles to round the total out to nearly 200. From 15 porters, including a vintage 2004 Carnegie Porter, to a plethora of reds, IPAs and Belgian strong ales, the selection is impressive; there are even five gruits on the menu. In addition, regular collaborative beer dinners make this a must-visit. 1156 Euclid Ave., theporterbeerbar.com


Knoxville, Tennessee

It’s clear what this pub is trying to preserve: a good time. With live music every night of the week, free pizza for one hour Monday through Friday and about 160 beers, it’s impossible to have anything but fun. While the nine tapped beers are fairly standard (with the exception of the Depot Street Brewing’s Southbound Scottish Ale), the bottle menu doesn’t disappoint. Peruse the strong beer list for a real kick in the face, or play it safe with offerings from Butte Creek and Weeping Radish. 28 Market Sq., preservationpub.com


Memphis, Tennessee

You don’t usually think of gyros and hummus as bar food, but one trip to Raffe’s and you’ll forget all about onion rings and sliders. This Syrian-inspired watering hole, complete with belly dancers, is a twist on the traditional beer garden, but that doesn’t mean the beer is any less involved. Aside from six rotating taps, roughly 100 labels are offered in the bottle from destinations near and far (Slovakian beer included) and if you’re in a rush, you can buy to go at Raffe’s storefront shop. Your typical Memphis barbecue and beer joint it’s not, but that’s exactly what makes it so special. 84 S. Reese St., 901.454.9911


Raleigh, North Carolina

Located inside the historic building that once housed the now-defunct Raleigh Times newspaper, this Belgian-inspired nightlife hub is where the growing hordes of local beer enthusiasts come to try out the best beer from the Old World, and the menu never disappoints. Rarities—at least in U.S. bars—like Monchshof Schwarzbier and Sinebroychoff Baltic Porter are just the tip of the iceberg. Well over 100 brews, most of which center around traditional Belgian styles, make this the vanguard of Raleigh’s craft beer movement. 14 E. Hargett St., raleightimesbar.com


Orlando, Florida

A glance at the beer list suggests this might be the most carefully constructed bar in the state, if not the region. About 100 bottles inform the expansive list of IPAs (Lagunitas Correction Ale), cream ales (Anderson Valley Summer Solstice), Belgian abbey ales (De Dolle Dulle Teve) and barleywines (Dark Island Reserve). Most impressive, however, are the sours: Pretty much the entire line-up of Jolly Pumpkin brews boosts the selection to 20 tart bottles. Beer geeks shouldn’t miss the vintage selection, which recently included a Saison de Pipaix 1995 and J.W. Lees Harvest Ale 1999. 745 Bennet Rd, myspace.com/theredlightredlight


Louisville, Kentucky

Sergio himself spells out the many rules of his 1,000-beer-strong pub on his Web site, including how to reserve bottles for future visits, the “policies and procedures” of the dining room, and an intelligent-conversation-only tenet. The beer list is heady too, with rarities ranging from Belgian’s De Glazen Toren Ondineke Oilsjtersen Tripel to Sweden’s Nils Oscar Rökporter to France’s St. Sylvestre Gavroche. Sergio’s is also the only bar in the county that pours Blue Moon, the only one in the state that serves Chimay, and likely the only bar in the country with sopapillas, ravioli and crab cakes on the same menu. 1605 Story Ave., sergiosworldbeers.com


Tampa, Florida

Bring your reading glasses: This Tampa bar-and-bottle shop offers more than 250 labels to thirsty patrons (add another 100 if you’re counting wine). On tap, expect to see an even selection of styles, from Young’s Chocolate Stout to Blanche de Bruxelles to whatever the team at Brooklyn Brewery is concocting for its Brewmasters Reserve Series. The bottle list steals from quality breweries across the globe, like Urthel Hop-it, Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot and Dogfish Head Black and Blue.

777 N. Ashley Dr., tapswineandbeer.com


Oklahoma City

More than 100 bottles and 212 taps give Tapwerks the largest selection of beer in the state of Oklahoma (as well as cred for its name). With this many labels, it’s really impossible to disappoint. Erdinger Kristall Klar, Westmalle Dubbel and Left Hand Sawtooth Ale are just a few of the varied draft choices, while the bottle selection pretty much rounds off any of the loose ends. Check out live music from up-and-coming OKC bands upstairs, or just hang out and play trivia at the bar (tip: don’t miss out on the Guitar Hero tournies). 121 E. Sheridan Ave., tapwerks.com


Carrboro, North Carolina

With three locations in Durham, Carrboro and Apex (and soon, downtown Raleigh), Tyler’s is the old reliable drinking establishment in the Research Triangle. Part bar, restaurant, bottle shop, music venue and speakeasy, Tyler’s covers just about every entertaining need, and even though beer shares the spotlight, there’s no slacking on quality. On its well-devised tap selection, expect to see the latest offerings from local brewers like Foothills Gruffmeister Maibock, as well as a few must-haves from nationwide breweries. Special tappings like the recent double dry-hopped Stone Old Guardian barleywine and beer dinners push this locale into true beer-bar greatness. 102 E. Main St., tylerstaproom.com


Raleigh, North Carolina

Resist the urge to belt out “99 Bottles of Beer” while you choose among the 99 taps on the wall (apparently, the staff reserves the right to slap you if you sing it). This relatively unassuming bar is perfect for delving into the craft brews coming out of North Carolina—with offerings from Big Boss, Highland, Cottonwood, Carolina Beer and Carolina Brewing, the menu reads as a primer to the local craft scene. While sipping from the plethora of local craft, patrons can cheer on their alma mater’s basketball team, attempt to outsmart each other in trivia or just feast from the massive food menu. 428 Daniels St., villagedrafthouse.com


Tampa, Florida

There’s no denying the stunning selection of beer at this must-see Tampa locale. Five-hundred brews—30 taps, the rest bottled—create a mind-swimming experience. Should you stick with local Cigar City Jai Alai IPA or travel across the pond for a pint of Krušovice Imperial? Never has indecision been so enjoyable. World of Beer holds monthly brewery nights, stages live music and plays all the headlining sporting events. Have a cell phone? Sign up and World of Beer will text you its weekly new beer list. 9524 W. Linebaugh Ave., wobusa.com


Memphis, Tennessee

By day, this pub in one of Memphis’s coziest neighborhoods feeds reubens, muffalettas and other deli delights to long-lunching businessfolk; by night, it’s a serious alternative to Beale Street’s music scene, pouring from nearly 40 taps while local and national acts rock out on the bar’s stage. Drafts from locals like Ghost River and out-of-towners like Magic Hat accompany more than 120 bottles ranging from Corsendonk Abbey Brown to Anchor Liberty; the crowd, the tunes and the sandwiches are just as varied. 2119 Young Ave., youngavenuedeli.com



Overland Park, Kansas

Ninety-nine taps. There’s not much more you need to know about this suburban Kansas City watering hole, whose monstrous draft menu ranges from Boulevard’s Smokestack Series to Great Divide Titan IPA. Sample several with help from the bar’s menu of creative beer flights; we like the Dark Side of the Moon, a collection of five burly brews like Free State Oatmeal Stout and Odell Cutthroat Porter. f

11924 W. 119th St., barleysbrewhaus.com


Champaign, Illinois

Highway 57, the ho-hum drag that runs from Chicago due south to the tip of Illinois, now boasts more than miles of prairie. Barely five years old, this Champaign beer bar, famous for its weekly rotating casks, just unveiled a new brewery component; now, four Blind Pig brews (including a bitter and a hard cider crafted from local juice) sit alongside taps like Dark Horse Perkulator doppelbock and Eugene City 200 Meter IPA. The warm, tin-ceiling pub also boasts the area’s most diverse bottle selection, with American micro greats alongside brews we’ve never heard of (Heather Ales Froach, anyone?). 120 N. Walnut St., blindpigco.com



Ethiopian owners built the Blue Nile as a kind of second Khartum—“the place where two rivers meet”—and this eatery-cum-beer bar has indeed become a gathering spot for Twin Cities brew lovers. They’re undoubtedly lured by the strictly Ethiopian, lamb-heavy menu and biddeena bread made fresh daily; up against the contradictory-yet-genius 12 taps and hundred bottles, the fare takes beer pairing to a new level. The list highlights Midwestern micros and Belgians, and there’s always at least one “how’d they get that?” draft: Five spouts are dedicated to Surly brews; Bell’s and Summit are regulars; and another permanently pours Sri Lanka’s Lion Stout. 2027 E. Franklin Ave., bluenilempls.com


Lakewood, Ohio

Created as a springboard for owner/brewer Garin Wright’s Buckeye Brewing Co., The Beer Engine has since honed its beer list to include a slew of uncommon crafts. Aficionados will park themselves close to the 27 taps, where brews from Heavy Seas, Klokke and Boulder Beer pour alongside a regular cask that often drips Jolly Pumpkin. Another 200 bottles range from American classics to European oddities. Naturally, Buckeye makes an appearance, too, both on tap and at regular beer dinners. 15315 Madison Ave., buckeyebeerengine.com



For the yet-to-be indoctrinated, beer and breakfast is a beautiful combination, and Café Hollander has it down to a science with a Belgian spin. The bar offers one of the best Belgian lists we’ve seen, evidenced by rare finds like Trois Pistoles, Achel 8 Blonde and Saison Dupont Farmhouse Ale. The quality of the breakfast is best represented by one dish: the Napoleon Dynamite, a pancake stack layered with bacon, fried eggs and white cheddar sauce, topped with whipped cream and maple syrup. 2608 N. Downer Ave., cafehollander.com



Revered as Chicago’s low-key beer bar, the Ale House is split between geeks who came to sip off the Three Floyd’s cask and beer novices sampling new craft—and the bartenders give equal love to both groups. With no food service, the bar’s focus lies squarely on the beer: 25 carefully chosen taps and another 50 or so bottles represent the best of American craft, with home-state favorites Goose Island and Two Brothers topping the list. 742 N. Clark St., 312.642.9253



Sometimes you want to quietly ponder the complexities of your Trappist ales; other times, you simply want to down your IPA in the presence of a great band and a monster burrito. The Comet’s a good spot for the latter, with 200 American and European microbrews, local and national acts most nights, and a Mexican menu touting bean, chicken, beef and tofu burritos and a salsa of the month. The local art display and vintage black-and-white photo booth make The Comet truly otherworldly. 4579 Hamilton Ave., cometbar.com



When your palate finally grows weary of hops from amped-up IPAs sipped in industrial-looking beer bars, County Clare will welcome you with open arms and a pint of Guinness—indeed, the bar sells the most stout in Wisconsin. The epitome of Irish hospitality, this warm Milwaukee tavern offers live Irish tunes, cozy seats in the stove-lit Saint’s Snug and an attached inn for when you’ve had a wee too many. 1234 N. Astor St., countyclare-inn.com


Omaha, Nebraska

The Crescent Moon dynasty rules from the corner of 36th and Farnham Street, where in addition to its well-established beer bar, the Omaha overlord runs Huber Haus, a 40-brew German beer hall in the Moon’s basement; Max & Joe’s, the adjacent Belgian beer tavern; and Beertopia, the bottleshop next door vending 600 worldly brews. Crescent Moon is the family’s patriarch, with 100-plus bottles and more than 30 taps pouring local drafts from Lucky Bucket, Empyrean and Spilker, and further-reaching breweries like Boulevard and Lakefront. 3578 Farnam St., beercornerusa.com



One of the country’s reigning whiskey meccas, The Duke pours nearly 75 impressive malts, ranging from a 21-year-old port-wood-aged Balvenie to a 28-year-old Dalmore. If you’re smart, you’ll alternate your lowballs with pints from the bar’s equally impressive beer list, which features Scottish crafts from Belhaven on tap and Craigmill Brewery in bottles. The beverages are indubitably heavy; good thing there’s a menu of hearty pub food (including burgers named after Sean Connery and Robert the Bruce) to soak it all up. 2913 N. Clark St., dukeofperth.com


Madison, Wisconsin

The bar just marked its 25th birthday, but the celebration’s permanent: Here, revelers regularly raise boots spilling over with German imports, traditional bands play nightly, and the kitchen doesn’t stop cranking out pretzels. When they’re oom-pahed out, guests head next door to Essen’s sister bar, the Come Back In, where 26 taps pour Wisconsin-made brews like Ale Asylum Hopalicious, Sprecher Amber and New Glarus Spotted Cow, and another hundred bottles await. 514 E.Wilson St.,



Kansas City, Missouri

You can travel the world from a barstool at this Kansas City tavern, where the beer list represents every beery corner of the globe. Sip a Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Brew straight from Japan or Kenya Breweries’ Tusker, or stay right there in Missouri with local options like Schlafly Kölsch and a handful of house-made crafts from the brewpub next door. DJs spin several nights a week, and a monthly brewmaster’s dinner matches the suds lineup with the pub’s American fare.

424 Westport Rd., foundrykc.com


Libertyville, Illinois

Though it lies in the Windy City’s shadow, this beer bar’s anything but suburban. Thirty taps and 55 bottles comprise a refreshingly tailored mix of American crafts (think Surly Furious and Great Lakes Nosferatu), Belgian imports and Trappist classics. A well-edited spirits menu lures even beer loyalists with several Polish and Ukranian vodkas and nearly 30 tequilas. A simple yet delicious Asiago sourdough pretzel begins a menu that’s as eclectic as the décor—grilled Wahoo, Carribbean pork sandwiches and escargot all make appearances, leaving no shortage of beer pairing experiments. 515 N. Milwaukee Ave., firkinoflibertyville.com


Des Moines, Iowa

Somehow, El Bait Shop manages to successfully merge taxidermy, ’70s décor, a fishing theme, Mexican food and 200-plus beers into a cohesive environment that makes all the sense in the world when you’re there. A whopping 105 taps pour strictly American microbrews with handles hailing from coast to coast, and another hundred bottles beckon from the bar. You could work up a sweat trying to select one; thankfully, the place boasts a working shower. Twenty-six bike racks lure cyclists across the state, the outdoor patio bar and a new-and-improved menu keep them there. 200 S.W. 2nd St., elbaitshop.com


Grand Rapids, Michigan

Western Michigan’s the last place you’d expect to find a pub that so effortlessly fuses England and India, but only there does a bar exist where Tandoori Chicken and Shepherd’s Pie get equal billing on the menu—and more than 100 beers  to pair with them. The beer leans toward English-style browns, stouts and porters but there’s also a solid list of Belgian, Michigan and otherwise Midwestern crafts, providing fodder for beer blends like the Himalayan Pancake (Great Divide Yeti Stout and Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale) and 16 flights like “One ’Ale of a Good Time!” (five pale ales, including the house beer, Graydon’s Pale Ale). The pub’s best known for its rotating cask and its warm, wood-rich setting that’s somehow Brit,  Yankee and Indian all at once.

1223 Plainfield N.E., graydonscrossing.com


St. Paul, Minnesota

Since it opened in 2005, The Gnome’s attracted beer lovers with its 40 strictly craft taps, four-page Scotch list and neo-American menu of rib-sticking dishes like pheasant tartlet and bison ribs. Now, the place boasts a gigantic patio complete with 32 taps, 180 bottles, a fireplace and live jazz. The beer list is every bit as good as the one inside, with locals like Lift Bridge Farm Girl Saison and Rush River Lost Arrow Porter sharing equal billing with Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus and Ola Dubh.

498 Selby Ave., thehappygnome.com


Kansas City, Missouri

Beer novices need only a minute with the menu at this no-dress-code tavern; the four-page tome breaks down beer styles and reminds drinkers that dark doesn’t equal heavy. But Harry’s isn’t just for beginners; the lengthy list of rare finds like England’s Bluebird Bitter, Tasmania’s James Boag and Denmark’s Jacobsen Saaz Blonde is heady enough for longtime beer scholars. 112 E. Missouri Ave., kansascitymenus/harryscountryclub.com


Muncie, Indiana

This Viking-themed pub isn’t much to look at, but it’s what you can’t see that makes Heorot a must-stop on any beer tourist’s list. Beneath the dusty main floor lies a storied beer cellar, crowded and overflowing with bottles from bygone eras and breweries you’ve only dreamed of. Sure, there’s killer pizza, too, but the pies don’t compare to the 60 taps, a binderful of bottles and a once-in-a-great-while cellar sale, where the bar purges the ancient bottles in its basement. 219 S. Walnut St., 765.287.0173


Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids felt tremors when HopCat first brought wares from Arcadia, Short’s and New Holland together with Rochefort, Westamalle and Achel in one building in 2007. Now, the place has proved its staying power with a new brewery cranking out house beers like the silky Pel Kwint tripel and earthy Solshine Honey Rye. In all, the bar pours 150 bottles, 48 drafts and one cask beer—that’s roughly one beer for every event on the bar’s lengthy social calendar, which includes beer dinners co-hosted with Michigan breweries, firkin nights and Beer 101 classes. 25 Ionia Ave. SW, hopcatgr.com



The 11-page draft and bottle menu at this Windy City mecca reads like a beer industry VIP list: More than 40 taps pour the likes of Allagash, Victory, Kwak and De Koninck, while 200-plus bottles include De Regenboog Wostyntje Mustard Beer and La Caracole Troublette. Though it boasts such an embarrassment of riches, the bar is never audacious; the regulars are welcoming, and the bartenders are helpful but not arrogant. Rustic Belgian favorites with American twists make up the brief food menu with a distinct beer bent—mussels and frites naturally pair with a bottle of Farson’s Lacto Stout, while the hearty venison stew is simmered with Sierra Nevada Porter. 5148 N. Clark St., hopleaf.com


St. Louis

Irish imports don’t come strictly in the form of beer at this 31-year-old pub; McGurk’s also brings in the Emerald Isle’s musicians to play its stage seven nights a week. Pouring 80 beers in all, the beer list predictably pours Guinness and Belhaven Wee Heavy, but rounds out with offerings from Schlafly and Odell. Sample the house beer, McGurk’s Irish Ale, in the 8,000-square-foot garden with the pub’s legendary fish and chips, or a bowl of Mrs. McAteer’s Potato Soup. 1200 Russell Blvd., mcgurks.com



A couple years ago, this once-average dive went full-on beer bar. Now, the place boasts a hundred bottles, and 25 creatively chosen taps and surprisingly delicious Cajun seafood. Scrawled on a chalkboard near the bar, the draft list reads flavorful, with offerings like Surly Coffee Bender, Cantillon Lambic and an array of Three Floyds brews. The Scallop Po’ Boy is a must. 1102 W. Webster Ave., 773.348.2008



A beer lover’s cure for wanderlust, this Bucktown bar is a three-dimensional atlas with maps plastering the walls and a beer to match nearly every destination—more than 200 in all. The brew menu displays a Belgian bent with offerings from Van Steenberge, Bockor and Bosteels, though the remainder is just plain worldly, offering everything from Italian brewery Birrificio del Ducato’s Verdi to taps from Tyranena Brewing just across the state lane. The bar validates its scholarly spirit with its monthly Beer School and popular International Nights that celebrate beer and cuisine from far-off countries. The bar went cash-only this summer, but made up for it with free WiFi. 1949 N. Hoyne Ave., maproom.com



Bier Markt officially transgressed from tavern to compound when it opened Speakeasy, a Prohibition-themed cocktail bar, in its basement last year (the building also houses the wine-and-pizza spot Bar Cento). On the main floor, you’ll still find the original pub’s killer collection of nearly 100 Belgian bottles, and 18 wise taps that permanently include Gulden Draak, Ommegang Rare Vos, Brooklyn IPA and $1 PBRs. Bartenders will employ a 3-step Perfect Pour system for whatever you choose. 1948 W. 25th St., bier-markt.com


Sioux Falls, South Dakota

A beacon in a veritable beer wasteland, Monks “specializes in beer lovers’ beer.” It’s true—17 taps and 140 bottles dispense more than 30 Belgians and Midwestern decadences from Flat Earth, Millstream and Jolly Pumpkin—but the bar’s true forte is ambience. In summer, a patio welcomes guests and their Pork Wild Wings outdoors; when it’s chilly, folks curl up at the fireplace inside; and on Sundays, the bar’s ongoing Unplugged series provides a stage for songwriters and films.

420 E. 8th St., monksgreatbeers.com


St. Paul, Minnesota

Like your favorite neighborhood watering hole, but with better booze. The Muddy Pig pours a varied lineup of Scotch, Irish whiskey, bourbon and rye; the bar’s focus, however, is beer, with a slew of Belgian favorites alongside taps from Summit, Furthermore and Avery. Every selection’s complemented by something from the menu of elevated pub fare—opt for the Sausage & Kraut Bake, a hot mess of brats, kielbasa, sweet kraut and cheese you soak up with bread. 162 N. Dale St., muddypig.com



Owner W.N. Sanders’ extensive research throughout the U.K. resulted in this elegant Scottish public house, a 7,500-square-foot ode to the Highlands. Nicholson’s boasts an 80-foot mahogany bar, two patios and a cozy fireplace room; what anchors the pub, however, is the largest selection of single-malt Scotch in the region and Sanders’ hand-selected tap list. Twenty-five brews pour the likes of Belhaven and Brewdog, and a cask rotates regularly. 625 Walnut St., tavernrestaurantgroup.com



With a completely nondescript frontage and an interior that’s as dive-bar as it gets, Palm Tavern isn’t fancy, but what it lacks in décor it makes up for in beer.  The bar hosts about a dozen taps—usually half are Belgian—but regulars come for the bottle list more than 200 strong. Eclectic and Belgian-heavy, the menu’s divvied up by region, style and bottle size, with an entire page devoted to gueuzes and lambics. Ordering from the 7-page list is an arduous task; thankfully, the smart bartenders offer thoughtful recommendations. A lengthy whiskey list and live jazz augment the suds. 2989 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., 414.744.0393



Small, endearingly scuzzy and frequented by a gang of regulars, Romans’ is everything you expect from a well-worn dive bar—that is, except for the highbrow beer menu. A British beer engine pours gems from every corner of the country, and just 31 taps and a handful of bottles (think Dark Horse and Weyerbacher) is all the place needs to prove its beer-geek mettle. It also features a humidor stuffed with fine cigars, but the best perk is online: Romans’ Web site, updated nearly hourly, displays a list of beers the bar’s cellared away. Yes, ’07 Bigfoot Barleywine really is laying down in the back. 3475 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., romanspub.com


Des Moines, Iowa

You can almost hear bagpipes in this cheery Scottish tavern. The Scotch list is solid, of course, with nearly 90 offerings, but the beer list is simply impressive with 28 drafts and 120 bottles representing the best of the UK—watch for

rarities like Tomos Watkins OSB, Alba Scots Pine Ale and Dorothy Goodbody Stout. A menu of bangers and mash, traditional pasty and other Tartan dishes make a nice base for the beer. Upstairs, a too-good-to-be-true Belgian bar, Red Monk, pours 72 droolworthy labels that are as uncommon as the list downstairs; try not to go too wide-eyed at the sight of Biere de Boucanier, Caracole Saxo and St. Feuillien Brune.

210 4th St., royalmilebar.com



Don’t let Shallo’s strip-mall façade fool you: Inside awaits the best example of a beer shrine we’ve seen. Bypass the completely outdated beer menu and ask any server—they all know their stuff—what’s pouring. The answer, really, is anything you want: 40 taps pour the likes of Sun King and Two Brothers, and more than 500 bottles in the cooler represent every location imaginable. When you’re done ogling the brew, snack on the house-made potato chips and peruse the museum of quirky antiques. 8811 Hardegan St., 317.882.7997



Sheffield’s opened a new location in the River Grove neighborhood last year, but we’re still partial to the Lakeview spot that’s hawked craft brew since the ’80s. A comprehensive beer menu details the 40 taps, endless bottles, rotating cask and Beer of the Month available by the pitcher; a packed events calendar (our favorite: the Reading Under the Influence literary series) provides plenty of excuses to try the whole list. The serene beer garden is simply unbeatable spring through fall, but during winter, the attached Back Room Barbecue eatery satisfies just as well with slow-smoked ribs and your choice of Memphis, Texas or North Carolina sauces. f j

3258 N. Sheffield Ave., sheffieldschicago.com



How the Division Street location can pack such a massive menu and impressive slew of craft beer into such a tiny space is beyond us, but we won’t worry about the details. We just know the chili with Schlenkerla-braised beef and Poutine (fries slathered in sausage gravy and cheese curds) go down easy, and stellar suds like Tripel Karmeleit and Pizza Port Panzer go down even quicker. The drink specials—e.g., $4 Half Acre drafts on Sundays—are the icing on this beer-laden cake.

2049 W. Division, thesmallbar.com



The younger sibling to the Belgian-centric Palm Tavern, The Sugar Maple pays homage only to American craft beer in a sleek space that once housed a Sikh temple. Sixty taps pour a who’s-who list of Midwestern brewers (think New Holland, Furthermore and New Glarus), though Moylan’s and Ommegang beers ensure the coasts aren’t left out. Friendly bartenders prod you toward something different every time, and can offer pairing suggestions for the pub’s rotating Soup Schedule. 441 E. Lincoln Ave., 414.481.2393


Bedford, Ohio

This reptile-themed beer bar has spawned 13 other Ohio locations, but the original Lizard in Bedford remains our favorite. Sure, the pub’s got a packed menu of American bar faves and a host of taps and bottles, but the main draw is the annual World Tour of Beers, a trek for the palate of 150 far-reaching taps and bottles (think Moretti La Rosa from Italy and St. Ambrose Oatmeal Stout from Canada). Patrons who reach 100 brews sipped score the coveted World Tour jacket and an invite to the end-of-tour party in January. 25380 Miles Rd., winkinglizard.com



San Francisco

This contemporary, candlelit place is where San Fran’s inimitably cool crowd hangs. Owner Dave McClean is the mind behind nearby brewpub Magnolia; here, he stretches into not just an imaginative beer list featuring tempting Belgians and beautiful American crafts, but further into selections from Brazil, Scandinavia, Italy and beyond. Equally inspired is the list of incredible whiskeys, tequilas, bourbons and cocktails. Pair your choice tipple with small plates like locally sourced quail eggs or bone marrow to complete the experience. 1725 Haight St., alembicbar.com


Portland, Oregon

Located within walking distance from Portland’s waterfront and best hotels, Bailey’s is a sleek watering hole that pours out the region’s best and often most obscure (like Walkabout’s Jabberwocky) beers on tap and on cask. Keeping it local, the cheeses and truffles are West Coast delights and pair oh-so-well with the beer born from the same terroir. 213 SW Broadway, baileystaproom.com


Portland, Oregon

This funky standalone building triples as a biercafé, beer bar and bottle shop. Though it only has 15 taps, the beer shop’s stocked with a staggering 1,000-plus bottles, all stored properly (read: temperature controlled and away from light) and ready for purchase. For those who like the sweeter side of brew, it also boasts the largest selection of ciders and meads in the city. Pick up a fresh deli corned beef on rye and a brew to match for an idyllic afternoon chill session. 4500 SE Stark St., belmont-station.com



Beveridge Place lives up to its lofty name with 22 rotating taps and 100-plus bottles that hail from around the world, but really this casual spot feels less like an international beer mecca and more like your place. Laze on a couch or play a game of pool; this is surely the rec room you wish you had. There’s no kitchen, but if you get hungry, you can order in from a number of local places that

deliver directly to your barstool.

6413 California Ave. SW, beveridgeplacepub.com


San Diego

A new find this year, Blind Lady has some big shoes to fill in San Diego’s beer scene, but we think this place’s got pluck. With 24 taps and a tantalizing bottle selection of limited runs like Russian River’s Consecration, plus rotating casks, the beer’s nothing to scoff at. The pizza’s divine and done up almost entirely with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. This is a fun stop in S.D., and one we plan to visit for many years to come. 3416 Adams Ave., blindladyalehouse.com



Housed in an industrial steel and wood building and furnished with an enormous wood bar, this is one of the best looking bars in Seattle. Despite its contemporary décor, its Flemish café-inspired vittles and brew will quickly transport you to bucolic Belgian life; try the mussels and frites alongside a glass of Cantillon Vigneron, or choose among a huge selection of other Belgians. Of course, you have your pick of 64 draft beers and more than 300 bottles, so if you fancy something less Belgian, you’ll certainly find it. 400 N. 35th St., brouwerscafe.com

BAR 35


If there’s a craft beer in the Aloha state, you can find it at Bar 35. From Italy to Tahiti, mainland mainstays and island favorites, the beer list tops none. Not to mention, this sleek hangout is an upbeat spot for happy hour and weekend fun, but don’t skip the food menu: A vast selection of gourmet pizzas will fuel you through the DJ’s last set. 35 N. Hotel St., bar35hawaii.com


Los Angeles

Catch a show at Blue Palm’s next-door neighbor, the popular Music Box at Fonda, then pit-stop at the Palms for delectable bar food and any one of 24 brews on tap (plus one cask). With original terrazzo floors from the ’20s and retro décor, it’s a little piece of old Hollywood with a smashingly current beer list with hits from Oskar Blues Ten Fidy to Firestone Union Jack IPA.

6124 Hollywood Blvd., bluepalmsbrewhouse.com


Portland, Oregon

From the outside, Concordia’s boxy and a little, well, green, but it’s still the sort of place you wish you had in your ’hood. It’s a clean, quiet joint with a kick-ass beer selection on 22 taps comprised of rare Northwest favorites and some hard-to-find foreign selections. The steaks are cooked to perfection, and there’s not a skimpy dish in sight. Despite all the goodness, you won’t be dealing with lines or beer snobs; just good people who like good brew. 3276 NE Killingsworth St., concordia-ale.com

The Daily Pint

Santa Monica, California

The Daily Pint is a diamond in the rough, a tousled dive bar that thrives in tinsel town. Come for the pool and shuffleboard, stay for Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale on draft and three beer engines serving cask-conditioned ale. Heck, linger even later at the long bar for one of the largest Scotch selections in the city. It’s a low-key L.A.  hangout for those looking to dodge the bright lights.

2310 Pico Blvd., www.thedailypint.net


Austin, Texas

Draught House turns 41 this year, and middle age hasn’t suited anything quite so well. This beer bar has the friendly spirit you’d expect from a Texan, with one of the best patios in the state.  The beer selection’s Lone Star State-big: With more than 70 taps that cascade everything from a house-brewed beechwood-smoked saison to crafts from here and abroad, it’s the ideal place to bring your dog, your best friend and your mom. 4112 Medical Pkwy, draughthouse.com


Denver, Colorado

Few brewers haven’t stepped inside this Denver icon. As the unofficial post-Great American Beer Festival hangout (when it’s stiflingly packed with encyclopedic beer brains), this chill joint is poised to sate savvy palates. Sixty taps and 80 bottles pour out some of the finest from the American West to Belgium, and the cask selection tops none. 1919 Blake St., fallingrocktaphouse.com


Santa Monica, California

As one of L.A.’s original beer bars, this tiny, loud and totally awesome pub pours out nearly 60 of the finest brews found in Cali. And then there’s the burger: First timers shouldn’t miss the namesake Office Burger topped with caramelized onion, gruyere, maytag blue cheese, arugula and applewood-smoked bacon. Returning fans should venture further into the sublime menu. 1018 Montana Ave., fathersoffice.com


Anchorage, Alaska

New this year, the well-appointed Firetap Alehouse is a sleek spot dedicated to shining some light on Alaskan craft. Of the 36 taps, more than 25 pour from home state breweries like Midnight Sun, Sleeping Lady and Alaskan. The massive fire deck oven churns out top-notch pizza (between 95 and 120 per hour, they say); stop by for local musical talent or, better yet, pop in for the celebrated local brewers staging beer dinners. 10950 O’Malley Centre Dr., firetapalehouse.com


Ft. Worth, Texas

Affligem to Anderson Valley, Meantime to Moylan’s, Westmalle to Wurzburger—the list of 300-plus offerings at Flying Saucer’s original location can leave a beer lover breathless. Feeling daring? Cough up $3 for a bottle from the mystery beer cooler, or join the bar’s UFO Club, drink 200 different pints and score a gold plate on the wall. 111 E. 4th St., beerknurd.com


Las Vegas

Freakin’ Frog doesn’t have Cher, replicas of ancient Roman streets or a Tilt-a-whirl. This under-the-radar bar does, however, have an over-the-top number of brews (at highest count, more than 1,000, with 15 rotating taps). It’s off the strip in more ways than one, with reasonably priced burgers and brats and non-sequined artists occasionally stopping in to strum an acoustic set. If you get beered-out, gaze at the list of 500-plus wines or 500-plus whiskeys, then hit the roulette table; you’re lucky to have been here. 4700 S. Maryland Pkwy.,freakinfrog.com



The Ginger Man’s cropped up in more than a few locales around the great state of Texas and throughout the Northeast, but the mothership still deserves props. It was one of Michael “the Beer Hunter” Jackson’s favorite bars, as it has always dedicated itself to bringing excellent beer to the masses in a charming setting. Plus, the beer blends, like Party Dog, a meld of Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA and Spaten Oktoberfest, will keep your tongue on its toes. If you’ve got a Ginger Man near you, it likely tops your list, but make the pilgrimage to Houston to see the birthplace of the legacy. 5607 Morningside Dr., gingermanpub.com


Portland, Oregon

Last year, Rogue Ales purchased the legendary Green Dragon (see sidebar, p. 82), and blogs were abuzz with rumors of “massive changes” planned for the place. Yes, there have been changes, but it remains a damn good beer bar. There are 30 more beers on tap for a total of 49, and it still hosts meet the brewer nights and other beer-centric events on a regular schedule. Even more, there’s fresh live music and quality food, all in a brick- and beer paraphernalia-walled space with a supercool vibe. 928 SE 9th St., pdxgreendragon.com


San Diego

The crowd’s friendly, the décor’s just right (exposed brick, big rooms and tap handles that hang from the ceiling like Christmas ornaments) and some of the world’s best brews are served with a smile. Jumpstart your weekend on a Firkin Friday before diving headfirst into nearly 30 taps with one-offs from regional breweries like Green Flash, Alesmith and Stone. The adjacent café touts its Hop Sausages (homemade with hop leaves) and eight varieties of gooey grilled cheese.

1521 30th St., hamiltonstavern.com


Portland, Oregon

This Pearl District bar’s 18,000 square feet quickly fill up with a button-down and loafer crowd after work; it’s not your typical “beer geek” crew, but anyone who knows their way from sour ale to imperial stout will quickly feel at home among the 100 taps offering local favorites, seasonal releases and more. Set your beer on the bar’s chill strip and dig into a filet mignon. 10 NW 12th Ave., henrystavern.com


Sebastapol, California

Nestled in scenic wine country, this brewpub opened in 2008, but the gorgeous building dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. It’s a beautiful brick-and-timber edifice, replete with a beer garden for outdoor imbibing. Sixteen thoughtful taps run from a house kellerbier to hop-bomb Pliny the Elder, and excellent bottles from across the world round out the list. The lovely setting, farm-fresh food and live, local music make this place truly special. 230 Petaluma Ave., hopmonk.com


Portland, Oregon

This iconic bar has been at the epicenter of one of America’s beeriest cities for more than a quarter century, and it still quietly sets itself apart. Unabashedly English, the food ranges from fish and chips to steak and kidney pie, while the beer’s an unparalleled selection of more than 50 taps highlighting local favorites and the best of craft here and abroad. There’s also hand-pumped cask ale, of course; three rotating selections round out the beer menu for an authentic British experience. 4534 NE Belmont St., horsebrass.com


Anchorage, Alaska

In the heart of Anchorage, Humpy’s boasts the largest number of brews in the state. Fifty-four taps pour some of Alaska’s best like Midnight Sun Kölsh (a summertime selection best paired with a seat on the patio and King Crab) and brews from the Czech Republic to Quebec. While this place is definitely about the beer and beer education, it’s also all about fun: Even when it’s frigid, live music heats up the crowds. 610 W. 6th Ave., humpys.com


San Francisco

Near Fisherman’s Wharf, La Trappe’s cute bistro and cozy basement Trappist bar transports patrons across the Atlantic to the quaint side streets of Belgium. Located in a circa-1920s building that’s been everything from an Italian restaurant to a dance studio to a Prohibition-era storage space for bootleg wine, the focus today is clear: world-class Belgian-style beer. Nineteen rotating taps pour everything from De Ranke XX Bitter to Val-Dieu Grand Cru, while a few hundred bottles round the list out at 400. Traditional mussels and fries are the standard fare, but those in the know go for the rabbit slow-cooked in Gulden Draak. 800 Greenwhich St., latrappecafe.com


Durango, Colorado

Boasting the largest beer selection in the Four Corners region, Lady Falconburgh’s continues to push excellent craft beer in the state that practically invented it (on this side of the world, anyway). It boasts 38 rotating taps that serve local craft like Left Hand Warrior and worldly favorites like Delirium Tremens. Come for a burger and $2 pint night, and enjoy an authentic Colorado beer bar experience. 640 Main Ave., ladyfalconburgh.biz


Santa Monica, California

TV-free and friendly, this green-midned L.A. bar delivers a handpicked selection of 50 crafts, 29 of which are on tap. The beer lines are more American (like Lost Coast Apricot Wheat), while the bottles are heavily Belgian, and both are thoughtful selections. A chalkboard beer list and sleek bar make this a cozy-but-contemporary sort of place, while the welcoming outdoor patio is ideal for warm Cali nights. Select something light from this un-barlike menu: California cuisine with Latin touches pair well with the entire experience. 2911 Main St., libraryalehouse.com


Pasadena, California

This Pasadena haunt, though tucked away, has drawn more than a little attention through the years. British owner David Farnsworth brings a piece of his homeland to his pub, with expat décor, fish and chips (the best in town) and a Euro-leaning beer list (63 taps, 100-plus bottles, rotating casks). He’s been such an advocate of Belgian craft, he was inducted into the Belgian Brewers Guild in Brussels. That doesn’t mean this place shirks American brew; there are vertical series of Sierra Nevada’s Big Foot, plus the bar hosts a handful of festivals each year. 17 S. Raymond Ave., luckybaldwins.com


Teton Village, Wyoming

In Aspen, slope runners might go après with a martini, but in Teton Village, this tavern is the kick-back spot for skiing beer drinkers. Four tap stations pour a collection of brews, and the bottle selection’s solid. It’s lodgy and rustic, and the food and brew’s filling enough to propel you through your next run. 3925 Village Rd., mangymoose.net


Bozeman, Montana

What was once a railroad warehouse has morphed into an 8,000-square-foot Western brewpub. It boasts the largest selection of beers in Bozeman: 40 taps spill out seven house beers, a herd of brews from local breweries like Big Sky and Flathead Lake, and a round-up of more craft from near and far. The food’s ample and the atmosphere’s light-hearted. When the snow’s melted away, you can enjoy a burger and a brew in a converted railroad car that seconds as a dining room.

611 E. Main St., montanaaleworks.com


Redondo Beach, California

Stroll down the boardwalk in Redondo Beach and you’ll bump into Naja’s, a no-frills spot for the laid-back beer lover. Eighty-eight taps wrap around the bar and kegs are strewn along the floor, but if for some strange reason you can’t find something you like on draft, the bottle selection’s not to shabby: nearly 200 bottles, including a selection of aged brews, from Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier to Yeti can sate your sun-soaked palate. 154 International Boardwalk, najasplace.com



Capturing Seattle’s attention with beer isn’t easy, but this new spot has turned heads. Just over a year old, Naked City offers its own small-batch beers as well as a killer selection of local and regional stars. It hosts tastings and events, but on any old night you’re sure to find something special. The menu takes risks (try the White Truffle Country Pate); even the burger’s a creative beast. With quality like this, we’re betting Naked City won’t just be a “flash” in the pan. 8564 Greenwood Ave. N., nakedcitybrewing.com


San Diego

Aptly dubbed “the hoppiest place on earth,” this low-key bar is easy to miss inside its blasé strip mall. While it doesn’t woo with décor, it’s a palatial playground for the tongue. Owner Tom Nickel is a lauded member of the San Diego beer community who worked as a professional brewer, and he has built a beer list like few others. Loaded with West Coast stunners including exclusive unveilings from local breweries like Pizza Port, cask beer and Belgian delights, O’Brien’s is a must-visit for anyone serious about beer. 4646 Convoy St., obrienspub.net



Papago’s 30 rotating taps always host the best brews crawling through the desert, and the house beers (including the dangerously drinkable 11%-ABV Oude Zuipers tripel and ever-popular Orange Blossom Wheat) are something to behold. But if you’re just planning to hang at home, do an about-face from the bar and eye the 10 or so glass-door refrigerators with brews from around the world you can stick in six-packs and take out the door. 7107 E. McDowell Rd., papagobrewing.com



This subdued corner pub is easy to miss, but try not to. It used to be a specialty beer shop, but people wanted to linger a little bit longer, and thus, the bar was born. No frills, no flash; just an excellent list of brews where Belgians are, clearly, the point of the place. Usually, more than five sit on the 20 taps, and the bottle list (around 50) favors the other side of the pond as well. It’s a quiet, friendly and unpretentious neighborhood hangout. 1635 E. Olive Way, 206.860.0916


Tempe, Arizona

We couldn’t have been more pleased when we heard our favorite neighborhood bottle shop was opening an adjacent bar; the finished product, launched just last fall, doesn’t disappoint. Inside the classy-yet-simple bar is a relatively small but fastidious (some would say exciting) tap selection of rare beers from iconic craft breweries, as well as a bottle list of roughly 400 so you can always find something new. For überpicky drinkers, bottles from Tops Liquors’ entire beer and wine selection (we stopped counting after 1,000) are available for a modest corkage fee. Taste of Tops may sit in Arizona State University territory, but the only education going on here is all about beer. 403 W. University Dr., topsliquors.com



San Francisco

Arriving at Toronado for the first time is a religious experience for beer people. For those not so in-the-know, however, it’s likely to present itself as a divey, even seamy spot. Don’t come for aesthetics, friends, come for beer. If you lead with your palate, you will see why the half door on Haight Street’s been likened to the pearly gates. For more than 20 years, the nearly 50 rotating taps have poured the best craft beer in the region hands-down, and the bottle selection hosts more than a few rarities. Come for highly respected events, like the annual Toronado Barley Wine festival, and get a real feel for what being into beer is all about. 547 Haight St., toronado.com


Oakland, California

Housed inside a late-19th century Victorian building, this Belgium-inspired beer bar is one of those special places dedicated to properly serving beautiful craft brew. It’s a long, narrow space that houses a back room that was once a speakeasy (today, it’s used for less scandalous activities like special tastings and overflow on busy nights). An array of Belgians (and American takes on Belgian styles) pour from the 20 taps and 160 bottles, all into proper glassware. Pair with a cheese plate and enjoy.

460 8th Street, thetrappist.com



This place is closet-small; the beer list, however, is anything but. Twenty-plus taps pull out the big stuff (from Angel’s Share to Old Knucklehead to Mountain Meadows Agave Mead), while the fridge brims with bottles that encourage you to stay longer and take in the eye candy. Über’s amicable staff is knowledgeable and will help you navigate your way through brews you can crack open on the spot or take home to your couch. 7517 Aurora Ave. N., uberbier.com



A homesick Midwesterner need only show up at this homey bar in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood for a taste of the motherland. Not only does the kitchen whip up thin-crust, square-cut pizza just like they do in the Great Lakes states, but they also serve the dishes only corn-fed folks can love, like cheese curds, Wisconsin brats, beef and tater tot casseroles and tuna melts. The beer list is famously lowbrow: There’s bottles of Old Milwaukee and Grain Belt Premium; cans of Hamm’s, Blatz and Stroh’s; and $2 Rainier pints at happy hour. But beverage snobs can still get their fill, with local brews like Georgetown’s Manny’s Pale Ale, one of 30 whiskeys and the house-made plum wine. 5405 Leary Ave. NW, zaydabuddyspizza.com



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America’s 100 best beer bars 2016

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CATEGORIES: Beer   BestBars  


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