What constitutes a Great Beer Bar? You would probably 100 different answers from asking 100 people. Below I have listed my criteria for a Great Beer Bar. They are not listed in order of priority but the core element of a Great Beer Bar is the beer.
- Beer selection. This is of course the most important element at a good beer bar. It doesn’t have to be hundreds of different kind of beers from allover the world. There need to be a variety of local and regional beers and with a variety of styles. You need to get the feeling that the bar keeper have put some effort into selecting beers and not what the main distribute shoves down his throat. There also need to be a rotation on the beers. A bar of course need to have a core of beer that is always available but there also need to be new and interesting things coming up now and then.
- Beer handling. It doesn’t matter if it’s a light lager or a real ale the beer needs to be handled the correct way and served the correct way, which includes glass, temperature, pouring method etc.
- Staff. The staff need to have knowledge about the beer and food that is served. They need to be able to tell you about the beers and breweries, what beer to serve with what food what beer to serve you when you describe what you don’t like and like.
- Atmosphere. I have said it many times before on this blog, the atmosphere is just as important as the beer. The beer menu can be great but if you don’t feel that your beer experience was good it’s not a moment you will remember with a smile. Included in the atmosphere is the interior of the place. It need to feel appealing.
- The people. A part of the atmosphere is the people that are customers at the bar. I have chosen to have this as a separate category because I think it’s such and important element. You can have the world best beer selection and spent hundred thousands of dollars on interior decorators and furniture but if you only get the local drunks I wouldn’t enjoy that place. At a good beer bar people need to be interested in beers, wanting to learn about beer and chare their knowledge about beer. I always enjoy if there is a group of local regulars that can help you with what beers to drink and tell some good stories from the bar.
- Restrooms. When drinking beer you will sooner or later end up at the restroom. They need to be clean, there need to be toilet paper, soup and hand drying at the restrooms. This seems pretty simple but after visiting hundreds of bar restrooms I sometimes think that this is harder than stopping and oil spill in the Gulf.
- Food menu. Food and beer belong together. That is why a good beer bar needs to have a interesting food menu. An interesting food menu is like a good beer menu, a variety of local or regional dishes or dishes from the region that the beers come from and that the bar features. A good beer bar just has to have a one or two dishes that are made with beer and with a specific beer in mind to have with the dish.
I say this is a Great Beer Bar list.
Akkurat, Stockhom, Sweden
OT, Stockholm, Sweden
Charlies Bar, Copenhagen, Denmark
Chalies is on this list even though they don’t serve food.
Kulinator, Antwerpen, Belgium
This is a fantastic place for aged beer.