655 Empress St
I had heard about this place before it opened but it took me a few months to get there. One of the reasons for this is that I am rarely in the area of polo park. Another is that I didn't want to be the DD when I was going to a restaurant that has at least 60 different beers to choose from. I also heard that they were working out a few kinks in their service and their staff were still learning the beer menu when a few friends went a about a month after they opened. I figured I would wait for a while and let some of that get sorted out.
The place is spacious. It is new and clean in a mass culture sort of way. I can't really quantify the effect this had on my experience. But it kind of made me feel like I had been to a million places like it before. You could argue that this is a good thing or a bad thing. It depends on the person.
The beer menu was enough to take me out of familiar territory. With so many brews to choose from it is very lucky that they offer flights (a sampler of several beers). I was won over by their beer menu. I ordered two flights of beers that I had never heard of before. But what about the food?
-The Hot Pretzel
-Perogies (with saurkraut)
The food also took a really long time to arrive. I also thought it was a little bit expensive for the quality. On the other hand the price is probably necessary in order to subsidize the huge variety of alcohol that they offer. I would have happily paid more for beer if the food was better, but I am probably in the minority. Our server was comfortable with the beer menu but could have visited us a few more times to fill water, and ask if we wanted more to drink or eat. The hockey game was very loud so it was hard to talk even though the restaurant was almost empty. Some people in my group did not enjoy their meal. I thought mine was good but nothing special.
It is worth noting that I wrote this review in late December 2013 so these things may have changed. I hope so, because it is a great place to drink. I just wish it were a better place to eat.
Until next time,