Learn about our simple steps to finding the right beer bar for you.
Be it for your daily pint or an adventurous evening out, deciding where to belly up to the bar for a good brew (or a few) can be difficult. Finding the right combination of good beer and a good vibe is different for everyone, but it gets easier the more discerning a beer nerd you become. Provided there are several options in your area, here’s how to make sure you end up sitting in the right spot, whether it be a stool, a booth, or a backyard.
How to Find the Right Beer Bar in 5 Simple Steps:
1. Check The Menu
This one may seem obvious, but a bar’s beer menu answers a lot of questions in a short time. Are there a variety of craft beers on tap? Are any of them local? Depending on your location, apps like BeerMenus and Untappd can be super helpful for this.
2. Look Who’s Talking
Along with a good beer list, you’ll want to get a feel for the place, and reviews on sites like Google, Yelp and other local listing services can show you a side of the business you didn’t see on their website. Never listen to one-star reviewers (unless they are a majority), but consider the comments people make about the selection and service. Scroll through the bar’s social feeds, too — what they post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter may give you hints into any events they may regularly hold, like tap takeovers or meet the brewer nights.
3. Strength in Numbers
A long list of beers can mean that the bar owner/manager cares a lot about the craft—or, that they’re showing off, and inauthentically reaching an audience. More isn’t always better. Keep curation in mind. What’s important is how the beer is selected, how fast it’s moving, and how frequently the draft lines are cleaned. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, ask. Or, do it the old fashioned way, by learning on the job.
4. Think Local
With the official number of U.S. breweries topping 5,000 this year, there’s no excuse for a bar to not carry local options, unless they simply don’t think it’s good. Carrying local beers shows the bar is connected to the community, and will likely have a constantly rotating selection of fresh beer brewed right in the neighborhood.
5. Don’t Be Shy
The best part about the craft beer community is that we all love craft beer, and most of us also love to talk about it. (This should especially be true of beer servers.) Always ask questions and spark conversations with the staff and fellow patrons—it’s the best way to find out if the bar is right for you.