Tag Archives: beer bars

Barfly’s View: Good Karma Vegan Cafe in San Jose, CA

Good Karma Vegan Cafe in San Jose, CA

I’m working in San Jose this week, and one of the first things any self-respecting urban beer nerd does when he/she is out of town is find a reputable beer bar, post haste.

My (wonderful, beautiful and tolerant) girlfriend, who stayed at home in Mass. this week, is always trying to get me to eat at vegan joints in Boston. For the most part, her efforts are for naught; I’m not really a full-on meat eater—I do not dig on swine, nor the bovine—but I love chicken, and I’m definitely not a vegetarian or, gasp, VEGAN, either. My girlfriend definitely is a vegan, which makes for some interesting situations, as you can imagine, especially after we’ve hit a few beer bars.

Anyway, my point: No sooner did I leave Boston today than I ended up in a vegan/vegetarian spot: Downtown San Jose’s Good Karma Vegan Cafe. Good Karma was recommended to me by the bartender at the Original Gravity Public House, which is right across the street from Good Karma in San Jose. (Barfly’s View of the OG Pub House coming soon.)

I’ve only been to Good Karma once, but it was love at first sight—and I’ll be returning before I head home later this week. It’s not really a bar; it’s a café. But its craft beer selection shames many other legitimate beer bars. Whoever is stocking Good Karma’s shelves knows what they’re doing. The café has between 15 and 20 drafts at any given time (Russian River’s Pliny the Elder is frequently on draft) and a packed refrigerator of great, rare brews. If you’re ever in San Jose, and you’re seeking a unique local draft or a hard-to-find bottle, you won’t be disappointed with Good Karma—especially if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan.

UBN

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Barfly’s View: The Gaff on Moody St. in Waltham, MA

The Gaff beer bar in Waltham, MA

The Gaff beer bar on Moody St. in Waltham, Mass., is a diamond in the rough. Waltham is a blue-collar suburb about 25 minutes outside of Boston, and Moody St. is Waltham’s “restaurant row.” Moody St. is packed with mediocre bars and ethnic restaurants, with a few shining exceptions—Solea Restaurant & Tapas Bar and Ponzu, a Japanese/sushi joint, both come to mind.

Moody St. literally has more than 10 bars within a half-mile stretch of road, but as far as beer bars go in Waltham, The Gaff truly stands alone. There’s even a brewery on Moody St., about a quarter mile from the Gaff, Watch City Brewing Co., but it gets no love from this Urban Beer Nerd. (In fact, you suck, Watch City.)

The Gaff has 20 or more beers on tap at any given time, many of which are local brews. And 30 or so bottled beers are also available. For these reasons and more, The Gaff makes my list of best Boston-area beer bars.

UBN

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CraftBeer.com Wants Your Vote for Best American Beer Bar

I’m a little disappointed to see that none of my favorite beer bars are listed in CraftBeer.com’s online poll for best American beer bars. I spent quite a bit of time hunting for the best beer bars in Massachusetts, New York and California, and there’s only one bars I’m familiar with on the list that I’d consider to be a great beer bar. That’s Armsby Abbey in Worcester, Mass.

CraftBeer.com Great American Beer Bars

Alas, I admit haven’t been to all of the nation’s best beer bars—I plan to do my best to get to as many possible before my liver quits on me. But I thought I’d give the CraftBeer.com poll some attention. If you, like me, don’t know many of the bars listed here, why not give Armsby Abbey a vote up? It’s a great bar in New England’s second largest city after Boston, and they deserve it. I promise.

Check out the all the bars that were nominated for CraftBeer.com’s great American beer bars and cast your vote here.

UBN

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Barfly’s View: Sunset Grill & Tap in Allston, MA

Sunset Grill & Tap in Allston, Mass.

What the Sunset Grill & Tap lacks in atmosphere—it’s located in Boston’s Allston Village neighborhood, the heart of the city’s “college ghetto,” and it feels like it, especially on Friday and Saturday nights—the bar makes up for in beer selection.

Sunset has more than 100 taps on at any given time, with everything from brand new local craft brews to barrel-aged Belgians. And Sunset offers roughly 350 bottled brews, making Sunset’s craft beer selection the largest in the city of Boston. The bartenders are friendly and surprisingly knowledgeable. For these reasons, the Sunset Grill & Tap in Allston, Mass., makes my list of Boston’s best beer bars.

UBN

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