What Makes a Good Beer Bar?

We’ve discussed beer bar rankings in this space before. Of course, at the end of the day, these rankings are ultimately subjective. Some of the things I value in a beer bar are probably different than what someone else values. So, what do I value?

  1. Selection. For a beer bar, this always has been and always will be the #1 criterion. You can’t be a beer bar with only 15 choices. Good selection can manifest itself in different ways, as well (emphasis on local beers, emphasis on international beers, emphasis on a particular style, etc.). However, a wide variety is always important.
  2. Knowledgable Staff. This can be a semi-controversial topic. Some people simply don’t care if the staff knows anything, as long as they can get their beer. Some people want the bartender to know every last thing about every beer. I’m somewhere in the middle. As long as the person serving me knows the name and brewery for everything that’s available, I’m OK. Knowing the style for everything is good, but not crucial. It’s a bonus if they know the location of every brewery.
  3. Atmosphere. Again, there is a range of preferences here, but somewhere has to at least be inviting and “feel like a beer bar.” It can be a pub-type, it can feel like a brewery taproom (warehouse-style), but it has to have that intangible feeling of being just right.
  4. Events. It’s not necessary to have something every week, but it’s really cool when there are beer releases and brewery events held in a beer bar. It brings the beer community together, and makes for a very enjoyable time.
  5. Service. Yes, I’m separating the staff’s knowledge from their ability to efficiently serve. One of my favorite beer bars of them all (Ashley’s) is notorious for having terrible service, but the selection and knowledge make up for it.
  6. Clientele. This one is a little less crucial. Sure, it’s nice to have some other patrons to chat with, but if that’s not the case, so be it.

What am I missing? Surely these aren’t the most important factors to everyone out there, right?

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