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Plan B Burger Bar
Taps: 13 / Bottles: 77
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
138 Park Rd
phone: (860) 231-1199
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-18-2006)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 20 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Having gone here twice in the past two weeks, I think it is time I review it. Bar is directly to your right as you enter. On nice days, they open up the large window/doors by the bar which is nice.
Lets start with the easy part. The food is very good. Three mushroom burger is probably my favorite.
On to the beer, roughly a dozen on tap. A lot of fall type beers are currently on tap including Dogfish Pumpkin. Southampton IPA was a welcome site but the only IPA that I saw. They do have a solid selection of bottles/cans as well.
The service can be hit or miss and I have found most of the time they are a hit. They do tap handle jiggle thing to "foam" the beer which is really annoying. I think someone else noticed this as well.
Overall, one of the better places in CT for beer.
09-27-2009 12:39:52 |
More by CharlesRiver
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
I'm re-posting a review previously from January (which is still below, unedited)...
This place has been declining ever since my last post, and now I feel compelled to edit this review. I go to this bar, on average, 3 times a month. They have the best selection in the West Hartford area, but more and more frequently I find a lack of variety on tap (especially a lacking in the dark beer department). They also have trended more toward larger, less adventurous craft brewer offerings (Rogue, Brooklyn, Long Trail, Abita, Magic Hat) than the more boutique brewers.
While I never update reviews, tonight my threshold was met. My fiance (who has an extensive craft beer knowledge as well) and I walked up to the bar. We looked at the taps, and the bartender immediately says to her "You won't know anything on tap - you want a recommendation?". We said no thanks, and admitted that yes, we have seen everything on tap (Magic Hat Circus Boy, Long Trail Double Bag, Rogue Dead Guy, Lagunitas IPA, PBR, Wolavers Pale, Shipyard Summer, Abita Purple Haze. etc) - nothing very rare or special. So then my fiance asks for an old rasputin bottle - to which he says they are all out of. Then, instead of offering something comparable that they do have, like a Ten Fidy or Rogue Shakespeare, he recommends Abita Purple Haze, because "it's kind of fruity".
Absolutely absurd. If you're going to operate a beer bar, hire a knowledgeable and approachable staff - not a demeaning and ill informed one. Also, watching the bartender pour, he continually jerked the tap back and forth on each beer - making it pour foam heavy while wearing down the tap faucets. It was cringe inducing. If your staff isn't familiar with craft beer and how to pour them, educate and train them. And while you're at it, how about putting a couple unique offerings on tap - like something from special from Ballast Point, Oskar Blues, Smuttynose, Avery, Boulder, etc?
Last post: 1-10-09
I've been going to Plan B a couple times a month for about a year or so. For the immediate Hartford area, you won't find a better tap selection.
This past week, they had Avery Czar Imperial Stout, Dogfish Chicory Stout, Stoudt's Fat Dog, Ballast Point Yellowtail, Oskar Blues Gordon, Trinity IPA, Allagash Black, Brooklyn Lager, Cisco Whale's Tail and several others. The tap selection at the West Hartford location always seems to have better beers and more of a variety than the Simsbury and Glastonbury locations.
I do have two constructive critiques though. First, the bar area is very small and it gets tight on weekend nights. It's really hard to enjoy an amazing beer when you are being bumped every 5 minutes in the bar area. One should definitely avoid going there between 6-9pm if they just want a nice craft beer and watch part of the game. My other critique is that I continue to be amazed at how many people in the bar area are drinking bud light bottles. With such an amazing tap selection (and always pbr on tap), the bud bottles seem an unneccessary and almost offensive placation to the unappreciative.
Overall, the burgers, apps, and deserts are delicious in their own right, and combine that with top notch draft beer, I could stay there all night (as long as I have a seat at the bar).
01-10-2009 20:18:52 |
More by DousedInStout
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Been to this place so many times in the last year or so it's time for a quick review.
If you're in the Hartford area, you know we really have no true beer bars. You can go to New Haven or Middletown, or (much) better yet, drive to western MA, Boston or NYC -- but around Hartford the places with a solid selection of taps or bottles are nil.
Plan B brings a great atmosphere; bartenders are attentive & knowledgable, and the selection is about a dozen constantly rotating taps & perhaps 30 or so good bottles to choose from. Worth pointing out they only serve American brews here.
Typical breweries on tap:
Brooklyn, Stoudt's, Great Divide, Rogue, Boulder Beer, Weyerbacher, Southern Tier & Allagash.
Great food too -- probably the best burgers around.
Overall great place, not a hardcore beer bar, but a great neighborhood bar with good food, beer and atmosphere.
09-30-2008 12:38:47 |
More by chuckd123
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Visited twice recently, once on a Tuesday night, once a Friday night. Huge difference: Tuesday a sparce, relaxed crowd, conversation with the bartender, nice spot for a drink. Friday extremely crowded, wouldn't really want to stand in the tight spaces, 45 minute wait for a table. Always have some very solid brews on tap, seems like often they'll have an Allagash, a Rogue, Sierra Nevada, Avery, Brooklyn, all good stuff, I guess about 12 in total. Bottle list kinda random, lots of different breweries, but only a couple brews from each. Also NOTHING imported, ONLY domestic. I only had an appetizer, some portabella bites and goat cheese, extremely tasty...but not exactly a lot of food for your money...that's an understatement...beer prices seemed pretty reasonable to me, especially considering you can't expect anything better at a bar for miles as far as I know.
01-10-2008 20:21:58 |
More by fredandboboflo
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
In Connecticut for the holidays and a friend suggested this place after having been here a bunch of times. I wasn't expecting too much going in and left completely satisfied. I can't wait to get back.
The atmosphere was pretty relaxed for a Saturday afternoon, the vibe was quite festive with holiday lights all over the bar area. Seating for tables is rather limited, we were lucky enough to snag a few seats at the bar. The bartenders were friendly, responsive and up for talking beer.
The beer is selection is remarkable with highlights draft highlights that included Anchor 2007 Our Special Ale (delicious!), Avery The Czar, Rogue Santa's Private Reserve, Long Trail Double Bag, Brooklyn Lager, Allagash Grand Cru & Mojo IPA. I noticed about 15 taps and another 50 or so bottles including Dale's Pale Ale in a can. My buddy and I shared a bottle of Thomas Hooker Old Marley barleywine that was incredible.
The food was really good too. Their cheesburgers are the main attraction, offering about 12 different burger combinations including the Cuban burger that features ground pork. Burger combinations are unique and creative. Everything was fresh and had a good quality.
I really dug this little gem of a bar - I wanna get back soon.
12-24-2007 21:54:25 |
More by Hibernator
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I headed here with a friend on a Friday night. It was busy but not overcrowded. The music was an interesting mix of '80s to present (nothing like sucking down a beer to Counting Crows "Long December"!!!). The beer list was impressive for this area. They had about 10 micros on tap and a fairly extensive 2 page list of bottled beers, listed Light to Dark and Darker to Darkest. Unfortunately the were out of the first two I asked for. The bartenders were friendly and attentive. I didn't have any food but my friend did and it appeared good; the menu was your typical "bar-style" appetizers.
Plan B is definitely a place I'd return!
06-23-2007 02:08:25 |
More by BlueHammer
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Went here on Thursday evening around 7:00. The place was pretty crowded. I got all the attention I felt I was warranted by the busy wait staff. We got our food quickly as well. Great burgers, one of the best I've ever had. The beer list had nearly 20 beers I believe. A couple macros, mostly micros which of course is what we're all looking for. A Lagunitas, a Rogue, some North Coast. All good stuff, but nothing that made me jump for joy. It was pretty much the beers I liked the least or from all the breweries. I think all the beers were served in pint glasses. I'm not sure they had any other glassware, I didn't see any other glasses in the whole place. It's worth coming to to check out, but It's pretty loud, so it might not be an ideal date spot or anything (if you want to talk to your date I mean).
04-24-2007 01:30:19 |
More by BobThomas
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Walked in on a Sat.night at about 7.The place was really crowded.This is a pretty small place and even finding a spot to lean against the wall was a challenge. The bartender was very attentive; and even though he was working his butt off managed to get us a quick taste of Brooklyn Cuvee d'Achouffe , and that was what we both chose without hesitation. Other taps that I remember were Brooklyn Lager, Lagunitas Censored, Allagash Double, Farmington River, Flying Dog Porter(?), Long Trail, Hooker Irish, High and Mighty... Also, noticed cans of Oskar Blues on the bottle list.
Nice looking place...kind of stark-chic. Exposed brick..dark wood ..hanging lights..Dark...we needed the candle to read the menu.
We were told we had a 40 min wait , but were seated in about 15 mins. We sat in the section to the left of the bar with elevated tables for two on one side and larger groups on the other.Service was pretty fast and the waitstaff were in a constant state of motion.
I had a swordfish "burger" and my girlfriend had a salmon dinner.The swordfish was good , but the small piece of fish on the sandwich with fries was $14 .. Ouch. My girlfriend's salmon was a little over done. Parmesan fries were good.This is a beef burger place and when we go back , that's what we'll order.
The noise level was pretty high , but we were able to converse without shouting .
Overall , a good experience....the Cuvee made up for the short comings of the food.
One of the waitstaff who was not our server stopped to ask us about how we enjoyed our meal, the place in general and really seemed sincerely inerested in our impressions....like it was not just a formality.
Definitely worth a visit.
03-11-2007 14:22:59 |
More by Hautacam
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Could be that Plan B has evolved a bit since Jim visited (see below) but I will say that I was here on a weekday afternoon, so it was not too crowded and felt pretty laid back, which I love in a bar/pub, but it could be different on a typical Friday or Saturday night.
There were 12 beers on tap, and while the locals were still not represented, there was a variety of flavors and I was very surprised to see BigFoot and Old Rasputin on tap. I didn't really challenge the server to determine her beer knowledge, but I was seated close enough to the bar to overhear the bartender describing the tap selections for curious customers and was very impressed. He described the various styles very well and was able to provide some color commentary and historical information on each of the breweries when talking about their beers. He seemed confronted often with people who didn't know what hops were, and was asked at least twice if Old Rasputin was from Russia. He was patient and not condescending as he faithfully answered all questions and was able to get people to order things they'd never had before.
The bottle list was 60 strong. There is no BA that could be disappopinted in this place, save the hard-core people that expect a beer bar of any quality to have rare gems on hand. I easily could have made an afternoon and evening of working my way through the selections. A few macros are represented on tap and in bottles to get the mass appeal that's needed to not alientate anyone and to help pay the rent. Taster glasses were eagerly provided and helped to educate people on new styles and helped to sell the wares.
I found it a bit pricey at $5 for a draft pint of 60 Minute IPA, but maybe I'm spoiled by my Eli's mug prices. Also my wife had a bottle of Paper City Holyoke Dam ale and it tasted a bit off, but I couldn't check the date since she had asked for a glass.
Food was good, but not great. Burgers are large and they have a lot of interesting takes on the humble meat pattie on the menu, but you can only order pink or no-pink. I asked for pink and got the other, but it was tasty and juicy so I let is slide. The side of fries was on the small side, and was something I easily could have made at home.
I'll definitely return to Plan B. I know I'll be able to get a good beer and decent food, and I need to check it out during a different day/timeframe to see if the vibe changes.
01-01-2007 22:09:36 |
More by far333
vibe: 1 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 2 | food: 2 | $$$$
be careful what comments you make about plan b and/or plan b personnel on BA. after i criticized their pint prices in the NE forum, the owner tracked me down in person and confronted me in a very unprofessional fashion. service score has been adjusted accordingly.
visited last friday night pre-movies..
tightly packed next to big kohonies, the mexican beacon of all things trinity, is plan b- a shell of its former cypress arms hole-in-the-wall self. the american sister to half door's irish brother, this bar exists to define the upscaling of west hartford's park road area. laid back casual comfort with west hartford panache.
plan b isn't a huge place, and looks very modern inside. brooklyn brewery and flying dog neons hang proudly in the front picture window. the bar is immediately on the right, small and curved to seat about 8-10 people in an almost half-circle. behind the bar, bottles are displayed in a criss-cross sculpture made of wood that reminds one of a multi-player tic-tac-toe board. this criss-cross wood beam thing carries over to the motif of the entire restaurant. opposite the bar on the left wall, the beer list is written on a glass window with white marker. the list already seems off by a few drafts. you can tell by the way it was crafted that it will be a bitch to change. on the left side of the long and thin restaurant are thin pleather-coated booths. the ambience is dark with hanging lights on wires. tables all have a small hanging chalkboard, presumably for specials. today, ours said 'nobody beats our meat.' cute. on the right side of the restaurant (which is divided) exists a more bar-like relaxation area. couch-type benches, small round tables, etc. for the more casual drinker. we opted for the booth (after a 45 minute wait) as the fresh food is the advertised highlight of plan b.
the bartenders are all in dress shirts, and do little tricks with the caps when they open beer bottles. they seemed very rushed and were tasked more with creating mixed drinks than pouring beers. virtually everyone at the bar had little vodka drinks or some such shit.
the beer list was impressive in its quantity. the tap selection was about 12 micros strong. some crap like pabst too but bud-type stuff in bottles only. the craft bottle selection is around 40 strong with currently available highlights which included southern tier tripel bombers, allagash musette, southampton grand cru 750's, and brooklyn monster ale. many other locals but sadly only one thomas hooker beer available.. blonde in bottles. for gods sake, the brewery is practically next door people!! the selection felt very safe. kind of like eli cannon's in the summer, but even eli's offers 4 or 5 out of 25 taps pouring something eclectic, bigger, or more local. the beers i had were all fresh and tasty, served in a conspicuous glass.. tall and thin with a raised surface on the inside. i vocally questioned the content measurement at a pricey $5 a pop.
after nursing a beer standing in the bar area (the place was crowded with preppie socialites and well-dressed families), we hit our booth for some chow. the waitress approached. i ordered a second beer, a hazed and infused. "a what? oh yeah, confused. ok." zoinks. allie went to order an entree, "oh we don't really have that." zoinks. she settles for a cheeseburger, i go for one with chili and jalapenos. my burger was fine, prepared pink as requested. besides the obvious freshness of the patty, the burger was wholly average. fries were somewhat flavorless and the side salad was nothing more than lettuce with olive oil on it. no taste whatsoever other than the dirt it was grown in. plan b also serves salads and personal pizzas.. we saw other people ordering, they looked pretty good. they also offer beer pairings for selected burgers on the menu, but those burgers, as mentioned before, were not available the day of our visit. food here carried alot of hype and just didn't live up to it. getting our check was another nightmare, despite the fact that we were one of 2 tables our server was tending to.
this place needs some breaking in and i will re-review after a few visits. the servers need to learn their beer. the owners need to put some hooker beer on tap and/or something a bit less.. well.. pale-aley. half door, for example, focuses on the drinkable UK stuff but always presents a cask beer, a belgian or two, and perhaps a rauchbier. nothing here, yet, to jizz your pants over (unless you can't get musette where you live). still, i'm guessing that bottle is gonna run into the high 20's. just a guess.
this place is overall worth a stop but not a destination. despite my wild fantasies during the bar's construction, this place doesn't seem focused on the beer.. it's about being a west hartford weekend hangout joint that happens to have some tasty libations. another cog in the wheel of progress, i guess.
07-25-2006 14:44:06 |
More by goodbyeohio
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Plan B Burger Bar in West Hartford, CT
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