Beers For All Occasions

An Experiment in Social Drinking

Zanzabar

It seems only fitting that the triumphant return of the Beerologists should be marked by the triumphant return of a local watering hole. You know that building on Preston with the “Z” on it? Of course you do. Everyone does. We drive by it all the time. Most recently, it was the Brown Bag Bakery, but that “Z” recalled the former life of Zanzibar. The “I” has changed to an “A,” so these days it goes by Zanzabar, but essentially, the name is the same as it ever was. It warms my heart to see an old bar become new!

You’ve probably been to Uncle Pleasant’s. Everyone has. Z bar (that’s what we call it) is just about 2 blocks from there. Or maybe you know Tink’s? Just across the street. Parking is generally no problem unless there’s a big deal show, and as is the case with most Germantown dives, it’s safe as anywhere.

Once inside, chances are you’ll find the place nicer than you expected. The decor is simple and modern and it tends to be one of the cleanest bars I’ve found- even the bathroom. There’s a jukebox, but more often than not, it’s not necessary as Z bar is the new place to go for live music. Most every night there’s a band or a DJ (or both), and it’s a good place to catch a sporting event if you don’t want to deal with a real sports bar. Be forewarned, though, this is Card territory- there’s even a classic Dr Dunk poster over the service area. There’s a great patio for smoking- or just being outside if smoking isn’t your thing- and during colder months, it’s heated- well heated.

The beer list is a force to be reckoned with- definitely better than the average dive- and the food is restaurant quality. Though there hasn’t been an official Beerologists night out at Z Bar, we find ourselves there nearly as often as we find ourselves at the Nach- and that’s saying a lot.

As far as the patrons, they vary slightly depending on the entertainment, but this joint does fall under the umbrella of “Hipster Bar.” There are lots of skinny jeans and ironic t-shirt wearing 20-30 somethings smoking pall malls, but what sets it apart from Look at That Fuckin’ Hipster annoyance is that the Z Bar hipsters seem to have gotten over the need to be the coolest person in the room. Everyone just manages to coexist- conversations develop out of thin air that make you laugh until your face hurts- it’s community functioning well.

I highly recommend that you look Z bar up on the facebook (us, too, while you’re at it)- they do a stellar job of keeping that circle up to date on what’s happening. A band you like is playing there soon- that I can nearly promise. All in all, these beers are for drinking with your neighbors, regardless of who qualifies as a hipster.


April 8, 2010 Posted by | Germantown | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swan Dive

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The Swan Dive has been a bar since the 1920’s, but until about a week ago, it was called “The Dugout.” Though it’s pretty obvious where the old name came from (the bar was literally dug out of the ground), the new one is even better, I believe.

 

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It’s a risky move to call a bar a dive before you see what the crowd will be like, but being located on Swan Street must have made it nearly irresistible. It’s a nice area- close to the Nach, but not so close that the crowd from the Schnizelburg area necessarily has to spill in. Originally, legend has it, the place was pretty shady- a hang out for bookies and the like,  but thus far, the current incarnation seems fairly low key and laid back.

 

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The first thing you’ll notice once inside is the low ceiling. Even the shorter beerologist can touch it, and she’s pocket sized. The place doesn’t have a bar smell yet- right now, it’s reminiscent of a Germantown basement in that regard, and it’s impressively clean- even the bathrooms. The decor is minimal, but I assume tchotchkes may collect with time.

 

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The owner, Becca, assures me there will be shows, but she and her husband/partner Jeremy plan to be considerate of the neighbors in regard to noise. By the way, if you’re looking to chit chat, Becca is the talker of the pair.

 

The menu is where the beauty lies in this place. The beer list is extensive- thirty eight including the elusive Deliriums- and it’s reasonably priced (but be warned- there’s no liquor). There’s also food- all veggie, plenty is vegan friendly, and it looks delicious! Swan Dive is open 5P-2A every day, but there’s also breakfast- including waffles- on Saturday and Sunday starting at 9:30, which we’ll be sure to sample and report on as soon as we drag our asses out of bed before noon on a weekend. 

 

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As the place has only been open for about a week, it’s hard to evaluate the crowd, but it looked like the hipsters had sent their scouts when we were there. Is it possible that we, the beerologists, beat that crowd to something new? Time will tell. What’s certain is that the bar’s landlord was having a drink, which was nice to see.

 

 All in all, these drinks are for the cutting edge- check it out before your friends find it!

May 6, 2009 Posted by | Germantown | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lounge

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As a continuation of our foray into reader favorites, we would like to introduce those of you who have not yet had the pleasure to an incredibly little bar called The Lounge.  You can find them online at http://www.myspace.com/11971394, and in the flesh at 947 E. Madison St., although it may be easier to think of The Lounge as being located at the corner of Chestnut and Wenzel Streets. I know its confusing —  all I can say is do what you can to find this place, because its totally worth it. Its important to note that the sign outside The Lounge is a Budweiser sign, and “Lounge” is printed in teeny lettering, so know what you’re looking for when you head that way.

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The Lounge has been…wherever it is exactly…for a year, but there’s always been a bar in the location, and it feels like a time capsule. The owner, Shelby, has preserved the old-time feeling, with a Pepsi soda counter serving as the bar, diner seating, and a gorgeous wooden bar back that Shelby thinks is from the 1920’s, while embracing spontaneity.

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Shelby’s whole manifesto on The Lounge is to throw things together and see what sticks, so on Wednesday nights they have an incredible blues jam hosted by Jim Masterson, Thursdays is an Open Mic/Poetry Slam/Movie Night, and Friday and Saturday nights are held for local bands. The crowd is eclectic, and runs the gamut as artists, musicians and drinkers tend to do. The space upstairs is rented out as artist studios, and art is featured throughout the bar. There are wonderful quirks throughout the bar, but the bathroom is especially fabulous – it has a red light and frosted glass door. There’s no disgusting bar smell in The Lounge, just a lovely museum-sort of smell, and the whole place feels very much like New Orleans. Not Garden District New Orleans, but the real New Orleans.

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As far as libations are concerned, this is a strictly bottled beer joint. Every week Shelby tries to add a beer or two to the list, so things are constantly changing. When we were there, all the basics were in stock, as well as some of the better beers, like Long Hammer and Stella. You can get a PBR or a Budweiser in a can for $1.50, so this is a great bar in which to drink yourself out of the recession. Chips are available behind the bar, and it wasn’t too long before the popcorn and mixed nuts came out, for your snacking pleasure.

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The Lounge is the perfect bar for feeling like you’ve gotten out of town without breaking the bank, and we assure you that if you’re as willing to talk to strangers as we are, you’ll meet some real characters while you’re there. If you go on a Wednesday, look around for a jazz drummer named Charles, and ask him about playing pop music in the 60’s. He has more stories than Carter has pills, and he’s something of a charmer, if you ask me.

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These beers are for spontaneity you guys, and getting off the beaten track. Keep your reader recommendations coming, because we love where you’re sending us!

May 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Monkeywrench

Does anyone really know what to call that place between the Highlands and Germantown? That area is like an abyss. Some people call it the Original Highlands, some people call it Lower Germantown while still other people call it Paris Town Point. What we need is another bridge, and we shall call that bridge, The Monkeywrench! Located at the corner of Winter and Barret, right across the street from the Barret Bar, The Monkeywrench wants to be your segway between Germantown and Bardstown Rd., and they’re willing to work for it. 

This restaurant/bar hybrid has a full menu of food that they serve until about midnight, and a brunch on Saturday and Sundays from 11-2, complete with mimosas. They’re only open til 2 AM out of respect for the residents of the neighborhood but they have a parking lot and street parking aplenty. They don’t have any games like you’ll find at the Pour Haus, but they do have regular live music on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are bluegrass night (Relic was playing while we were there). And while we’re on the subject of music, we all know that the Monkeywrench was beginning to get something of a reputation for being a nightclub-esque spot, but all that is changing. While  they are bringing in regular live music, they want to get down to their roots, which means music you can drink to. The Monkeywrench is also billed as the sports bar for non-sports fans, and this is pretty serious U of L country. So, the next time you want to watch the game without being bombarded by drunk Frat guys, head toward the Monkeywrench and they’ll see to it you have a good time. 

Denny, the owner, told us that the Monkeywrench had previous lives as a Pita Delights and a dry cleaners. He made the bar from the old duct work from the dry cleaning era, the light fixtures are made of blown glass and the floor is painted concrete. In fact, the whole place has a great industrial vibe that makes you feel like you can relax while you have a burger without being grimy. The ceilings in the bar room are postered, and there are tons of local stickers behind the bar. We also spotted a TV on top of a piano and those awesome mechanical fortune tellers that you never see anymore. 

As far as the beer list goes, this one tops the charts. They have a great selection of local bars on draught, along with some standard favorites like Magic Hat #9 and Bell’s Two Hearted. They serve your beer to you in an actual glass and yes, you can take it outside to smoke a cigarette. And you know that roof deck they’ve been working on? Its still in the works, with an estimated finish time of late Spring. They’ll be serving bottled beer and booze, but no draught beers. The current outdoor seating is a little tough to negotiate because its confined to the sidewalk to allow patrons to park, but persevere and you may find that you have the best of all things drinking. 

So after much contemplation, the Beerologists have decided that these beers are for bridges. So get some people together and bridge a gap.

March 21, 2009 Posted by | Germantown, The Highlands | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pour Haus

The Pour Haus is located at the corner of Shelby and Burnett, and area that was a bad part of town not too long ago. With the upswing in yuppies and hipsters buying homes in Germantown, though, it’s getting better every day. This is still the kind of place where one must use caution, though. If you leave stuff in your car, someone may break in. The Pour House has had trouble in the past with a lack of security, so it’s not the kind of place where you want to get so drunk you’re not in control of what you do. For a few beers, though, you’ll be fine and the crowd’s generally harmless, so it’s not really necessary to bring back up. Also, there’s a full parking lot, which is nice. You’re not too far from anything in Germantown, but not close enough that I recommend walking anywhere (particularly if you’re a female- like I said- it’s the kind of neighborhood where caution is a good idea).

Now that we’ve talked about the Pour Haus’s weaknesses, let’s look at the strengths. My favorite is that it has the oldest original wood dance floor in Louisville. In fact, I hear a couple just celebrated their 55th anniversary there because it’s where they got engaged. Pretty amazing, eh? Actually, the place has been a bar, consistently, since the 1880’s. Most recently, it was Club 21.

To keep you busy, they offer pool tables, darts, a few of those fantastic bar video games, and even horseshoes. There’s an internet jukebox, which is great because you can absolutely find the song you want, but there’s no safeguard on what songs other people play, so sometimes that’s a bit of a curse. There’s also some excellent karaoke on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The decorating scheme is pretty random- a little bit nautical, a little bit asian, lots of horses, and classic bar green. But hey- this is Germantown. Did you expect it to make sense? The place is basically clean and the bathrooms don’t have a ton of graffiti, but sometimes you find a gem there (“Mojitos…Mo’ Problems). There’s tons of seating and generally, there’s no cluster-fuck at the service area, so you can get a drink fast.

And on that note, drink-wise, the Pour Haus carries the basics plus a few better beers. If you’re with a drink-snob, he or she will be ok. Furthermore, I’ve always found that the staff is happy to create custom drinks. There’s no food, but the Pour Haus is equipped with a full kitchen, so maybe someday?

I would be remiss not to mention the music room and courtyard. Upon first look, the Pour Haus seems like a relatively small bar, but a glance at the size of the building tells you there just has to be more there. On nights without a show, the music room is kept locked and many people have no idea it’s there, but it’s actually one of the biggest music rooms in town. I’m talking not much smaller than headliners. And again, there’s plenty of seating. There’s also a second bar in the music room, so you don’t have to go in and out. And if you need a cigarette, the Pour Haus has one of the bigger outdoor smoking areas in town. it’s no frills- horseshoes, of course- but it’s just perfect for a massive game of charades or Belegarth demonstration (I’ve seen both). Plus, there’s a service window, so when it’s warm, you don’t actually have to go inside to get a drink. This place is good at serving you where you are. 

As far as the crowd, it’s honestly all over the place. It’s often determined by who’s playing, but if there’s no show, the Pour Haus is a social grab-bag. Some nights it feels like a hip-hop dance club, and sometimes an old honky-tonk. There are usually a few true hipsters there for the irony. Karaoke nights draw folks who aren’t quite up for singing in front of an Akiko’s crowd. There’s a lady in her 70’s who comes in pretty often because she says she like to hang around young folks who don’t treat her like an elder, but instead have a few drinks and a good time with her. That kind of sums the place up. These drinks are for a 120-something year old dance floor and an ageless crowd.

March 20, 2009 Posted by | Germantown | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lisa’s Oak Street Lounge

dscn0801The sign above the stage reads, “Please remain seated until the ride comes to a complete stop.” To the left of this sign is a small wooded box filled with the ashes of a dead guitarist who requested this spot for his final resting place. Welcome to Lisa’s Oak Street Lounge, a combination venue and bar that has played host to some of Louisville’s greatest local bands. Located at 1004 E. Oak Street, at the corner of Oak and Swan, Lisa’s Oak Street Lounge is located smack dab between Old Louisville and the Highlands. Its on your way from here to there, so check it out!! Their MySpace is www.myspace.com/germantownlive and this dive is owned by the famed Lisa who got her start in bar tending in the self-same spot. There has been a bar on this location for over 70 years, and until it came under Lisa’s ownership was known as the Blue Castle Tavern. They’re currently cash only a la the Mag Bar, but they’re getting ready to take credit and debit cards for your convenience. They hosted the very first Germantown Fest and have been active in the neighborhood for over 7 decades.

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As a point of interest, keep your eyes peeled for the ghost of a 6 year old girl who was said to have died in a fire in the back room. She’s not in the main bar area, but creepy instances of doors opening and closing in the music room have been reported!

And while we’re on the subject of the music room (have we mentioned that this is a venue), we would like to mention that there is carpet inside the walls to enhance your musical experience and that the room itself is large enough to host quite a crowd. The next time you want to hear some live music, we strongly encourage you to do it here, at Lisa’s.

Their schedule is pretty flexible, but keep in mind that Lisa is primarily interested in beer, strong drinks and live music. On Wednesday nights they have 70’s classic rock, Thursdays its standing open mic night, hosted by Louisville’s own Jamie Duvall and Fridays and Saturdays change according to the week. There is absolutely no karaoke night, given Lisa’s dedication to live music, however she just got the pool tables re-covered and she’s going to be starting free pool nights in the very near future. Free pool will be on Monday through Thursday nights and will be available all night long. The decor is primarily conventional, but we spotted a green sink in the ladies room which is unique to say the least. The bar is quite clean and reflects Lisa’s love of bars in general and her’s in particular. She bartends most every night and on slow nights they have friendly card games that you’re welcome to partake in.

The beer list is standard, but Lisa is looking into getting a draught system put in and she assured us that if it proves feasible she will be offering a few microbrews and locally made beers in addition to the old stand-bys. Prices are reasonable, we got a PBR for $2 and Budweiser for $2.50, but Lisa is well-known for pouring an very strong drink for your money. Where better to take your custom?

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Parking is on the street, and I wouldn’t recommend walking too far on your own, especially if you’re a woman. Bring your drinking buddy if you’re coming on an off night, and make sure you walk to your vehicles together to keep it safe. They draw a huge crowd on show nights and have tables and chairs available outside for smokers. Keep in mind however that Lisa’s does not tolerate underage drinking (we were carded upon walking in the door) and you will be asked to leave if you’re not of age. So don’t go gettin’ any crazy ideas young’un!

 

Upon consultation, the Beerologists have decreed that these beers are for keeping Louisville weird and for supporting local business. Bring your friends and come out to Lisa’s for a brew and a game of pool, even if they don’t have a show going on. If we don’t go in, sit down and order a beer there may not be a Lisa’s Oak Street Lounge in the near future and that is just not acceptable!

Current Music: The Fashion: Dead Boys

March 10, 2009 Posted by | Germantown | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Schniztelburg

Looking for a place to go while Old Hickory Inn is undergoing total renovation? The Schnitz just might be the bar for you! They’re located at the corner of Texas and Goss, right across the street from The Germantown Healing House and Dirty Tease, two other Germantown favorites. Also, The Schnitz is just down the street from The Nach, Lisa’s Oak Street Lounge and the late, great OHI. There’s been a bar on the spot since the 1890’s and they still own the original liquor license. They have a very similar vibe to Old Hickory, and the regular crew is tight knit but very kind. 

What most people call The Schnitz is actually a bar named Marguerite’s after the most recent owner, a 79 year old woman who worked 7 days a week, sometimes 18 hours a day. She just sold the bar to her son and he’s taken on a business partner named Scott, and they were both in house the night we visited. Scott lives above the bar and was able to give us the skinny on all the upcoming changes. They’re looking to bring in a younger crowd, so they’re going to be changing the decor and giving the place a face lift. They’re also going to be adding a menu with all the requisite fried foods, and they’re planning an after Midnight breakfast menu so that those who have perhaps imbibed a little too much can have a bite to eat before staggering home. Remember: eat, don’t drive. Call City Scoot instead! Scott would also like to remind you that The Schnitz is Germantown’s home for Nascar. 

Allow us to introduce you to a new friend we made this week. His name is Jim, and he’s going to be 66 in April. Jim is also a Navy vet and he would just like to say, “Walkin’ in this bar puts a smile on my face.” He LOVES this bar, lives just down the street and has been coming here for 6 years and wouldn’t have it any other way. Jim is just one of the cast of characters you’re likely to meet when you set foot in the Schnitz, and a pretty perfect example of what they’re all about. 

At the moment, the Schnitz is a perfect throwback to Old Germantown and proud of it. There’s a wall of mirrors, which gives the place a slightly Labyrinth-esque feel and the other walls are wood paneled. The floor is linoleum and the ceilings are painted tin. We noticed their giant, wagon-wheel style ceiling fans and Nascar hoods affixed to the ceiling (Painted with beer logos, obviously). There are two pool tables, touch screen poker, and darts for your gaming pleasure. Of course there is a juke box, and it is absolutely stacked with country music, just to complete the throwback vibe. When we perused the selections we noticed Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline in addition to some of the more modern selections. Be prepared, you are in Nascar country now.  The beer selection is basic, with $2 domestics and $1.35 (yea, thirty-five) PBR and they don’t have any microbrews just now. They’ve got $1 Watermelon Pucker shots available all the time, and more than likely the owner will deliver them to your table. Its just that kind of place. There are chips available behind the bar until they get the menu up and running, and the joint opens at noon every day. 

According to Scott, the crowds generally come in around midnight, but when we were there at 10:30, the crowd was sparse and we’d say the average age was 30 (Jim excepted of course). We’d venture to say that this is the kind of bar you can visit totally alone and not only will your spirits be lifted, but you’ll make a couple new friends into the bargain. There’s plenty of street parking and the bathrooms are almost unnaturally clean. We spotted this sign outside the restrooms and felt honor-bound to relate to you the wisdom we found there: 

“Our aim is to keep this bathroom clean.

Gentleman, your aim will help. Stand closer – its shorter than you think.

Ladies, please remain seated for the entire performance.”

When all is said and done, we think these beers are for Old Germantown. Before the Yuppie revolution, neighborhood bars like this were the standard and not the exception they are today. Come on, you know you want to do the Time Warp with Jim, Scott and all the regulars at Maguerite’s. 

 

Current Music: Toby Keith – I Love This Bar

February 28, 2009 Posted by | Germantown | , , | Leave a comment

Old Hickory

Old Hickory is a Germantown Gem. We’ve been hearing buzz about this bar for quite some time time, now. In fact, there is speculation that it’s the new hipster destination, though on the Wednesday night we used to explore, that was not the case. Nonetheless, it’s charming, and I think we may prefer it without a crowd. 

Of course, there’s not much we can tell you about Germantown that hasn’t already been said, but Old Hickory is conveniently located just a couple of blocks off Goss and catty-cornered to Flabby’s, which we’ve yet to explore. Parking was no problem for us, and even on a crowded night, it’s doubtful that you’d need to walk more than a block. It must be noted, though, that we arrived to find the doors locked. Luckily a bar regular found us and pointed out that we needed only to knock just before we left and considered this a members only sort of joint. It isn’t. The locked door was an oversight and we were welcomed with open arms. 

That, actually, is the great thing about Old Hickory. The crowd is clearly close knit and one can assume the few people who were there for the Beerologists’ visit are there most every night, but they didn’t look down their noses at us like some bar crowds look at outsiders. Actually, everyone was accommodating and quick to greet us and welcome us to their home. This is all without the knowledge that we had come to review the bar, so it was not simply an act of ass kissing.

Entertainment-wise, the place is pretty bare bones, and I suggest bringing a crowd who will make interesting conversation, but the barkeep told us there’s Karaoke on Saturdays, and that gets a big crowd. There are a couple of video games- one that’s golf themed had a group of guys absolutely entranced. Furthermore, I wouldn’t hesitate to call the place a sports bar- they clearly support U of L and UK (Cards over Cats, of course) and it’s the kind of bar where we noticed a small-screen TV using a big screen as its stand.

And on that note, I suppose I should tell you about the look of the place. It can best be described as the kitchen of someone’s pack-rat Grandma somewhere on Dixie. There were no less than 5 refrigerators, many of which I feel may be used for shelving, and a few nascar posters. As the crowd seems to be comprised, mostly, of “Good ol’ Boy” types, the ambience seems fitting. It’s clean (but smells like funnel cake) and the bathrooms are graffiti free, but the ladies’ room has an awkward 2-toiled-but-no-stall set-up. The staff’s older- types who have clearly been keeping bar longer than we’ve been alive, and that’s nice, because we know they’re pros. The place has been around between 50 and 100 years, so it makes sense that the staff’s seasoned like the place. Though we didn’t see it, we were told the crowd is very young on weekends.

The best thing about Old Hickory, I believe, are the prices. A longneck PBR is $1.50 without any specials- but wait- the specials are very special. Every day all drinks are 50 cents off from 3 to 7. On Mondays, wings are free. The food is standard bar fare- sandwiches, pizza, things that would make a place smell like funnel cake.

Though the crowd at Old Hickory seems tight knit, these drinks are for when you need a change of scene. It’s the kind of place you can visit when you’re mad at all your friends and need to fly solo to a new place. You won’t be alone for long.

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Germantown | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Barret Bar

How We RollAs a continuation of our examination of Germantown, let us now turn our limited attention spans to The Barret Bar. True to its name, Barret Bar is located at 1012 Barret Ave., a couple doors down from Lynn’s Paradise Cafe and more or less across the street from the Monkey Wrench. They have a parking lot behind the bar, and the street parking is pretty abundant, at least on the side streets. Apparently they haven’t gotten on the website bandwagon, so you’re just gonna have to go there and see it for yourself! 

The Barret Bar is almost unnaturally clean. Zero bathroom graffiti and no yucky bar carpet combined with the high polish on the bar creates a sort of members-only club kind of atmosphere. We also noticed their cool tin ceilings, wood panelling and Tiffany style lamps which show off some local support. For all you smokers (power to the nicotine-addicted!), there’s a back deck and a side patio, both with tables and chairs for your drinking pleasure. Its worth mentioning that the side patio is heated by small, contained fires and is therefore the obvious choice for February. 

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Bar service is quick, and they have a pretty impressive menu of cheap bar food. The most expensive item on the menu is $4.75, which is affordable to say the least. Similarly, the beer list is minimal but highly affordable. They don’t have much on tap, but they do keep a couple BBC brews on hand and PBR is their cheap beer choice at $1.75. Moreover, I think its safe to say that aside from booze, the Barret Bar is concerned mainly with one thing: pool. The sign in the bar room says Sharks to the left and Fish to the right, and there are truly enough pool tables in this joint to accommodate any skill level. If you think you fit in with the Sharks, the Barret Bar plays regular host to pool leagues and tournaments. Not into the billiards game? That’s ok, the Barret Bar has a foos ball table, and of course the perennial erotic photo hunt computer. But alas, there is no, that’s right no jukebox. Despite this absence, the tunes aren’t too shabby, so don’t write off the Barret Bar just yet, oh ye music-obsessed. 

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People-wise, the folks seem friendly but tight-knit. Their mostly pool players, but its worth mentioning that the folks at the Barret Bar span the age brackets. So, if you’re coming to Barret Bar, bring a crew of friends and you’re guaranteed to have a good time. 

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So, after much conferring, the Beerologists have decided that these beers are for being broke and shooting pool. If you want to shoot a game of pool and drink a cheap beer, this should be your home base! 

Current Music: Citizen Cope – Hurricane Waters

February 2, 2009 Posted by | Germantown | , , , , | Leave a comment

Seidenfaden’s

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If a junior in college were to undertake an anthropology project on Germantown, the result would be Seidenfaden’s. A perfect microcosm of the Germantown neighborhood, Seid’s is home to the exact sort of people who live in Germantown: the people who have been there since 1932 and the kids who just bought their first place. It even feels like the inside of a Germantown house, with lots of kitschy old stuff. We particularly noticed their ancient U of L basketball, a miniature sail boat and an antique Heaven Hill bottle.  A no-frills, pretense-free environment where one and all can let their hair down and enjoy a good time, Seidenfaden’s was the nation’s top seller of Falls City Beer until they discontinued production in 1978. The beer selection is basic, but they did recently tap Magic Hat #9, and you know how we feel about that. We feel strongly (and positively) about that! 

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Located at 1134 E. Breckinridge St., Seidenfaden’s is owned and mainly operated by the local Heck family. They’ve been in operation for 88 years and very willing to bet very little has changed across those decades. The crowd varies according to the night, but its never so jam packed that you can’t get a beer or hear yourself think. There’s plenty of room around the bar, so its easy to get served and the bartenders are great for anecdotes and bar history. On Wednesdays Seidenfaden’s plays host to what may be the single most entertaining karaoke night ever, and unless they have a local band in to play a set, that’s the most crowded I’ve ever seen the place. Also, for your entertainment, Seidenfaden’s has a small pool room, arcade bowling and a personal favorite, erotic photo hunt. However, there have been some questions as to the location of aforementioned pool room, so here are some directions: Walk up to the bar and look to your left. See the space between the end of the bar and the walk-in? Walk into that space and hang an immediate right. I know, you feel like you’re in forbidden territory behind the bar, but if you look to your left you’ll see a doorway. Go through it. That’s right, up the little ramp. And voila! There you are!

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If that’s not enough fun for one night, spend a little time in the admittedly foul bathroom. The graffiti in the women’s room spans the genre of bathroom art (we spotted “It ain’t over ’til you don’t call me back” and some T.S. Elliot all in one bathroom trip each), while the men’s bathroom vandalism is more along the lines of actual graffiti (i.e. tags). All in all the joint is pretty dirty, but its got nothing on some of the dives we know you frequent and the people at Seidenfaden’s are great. You’re welcome to bring friends along, but if you sit at the bar for half a beer we’re willing to bet you’ll make at least one new friend. Also, if you’re having a house party and you run out of beer you can walk into Seidenfaden’s a buy a six pack out of their walk-in (which is glass and fully visible). I don’t even think the mark-up is that bad. Feeling snacky? There is a wide range of gas-station-style nibbles available behind the bar, where they also sell a range of cigarettes. 

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So, what are these beers for? Hearing a great, old story about the neighborhood we all know and love and making a friend outside of your demographic. Support this local family business and visit a piece of Germantown history in one fell swoop!

Current Music: Steve Miller Band – The Joker

January 17, 2009 Posted by | Germantown | , , | 2 Comments