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Taps: 33 / Bottles: 155
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
100 W College Ave
phone: (814) 237-2857
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 58 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5 | $$
I had the unfortunate experience of visiting Zeno's on St. Patrick's Day. After spending most of the week in southwestern PA on a business trip I looked forward to being able to settle in for a couple of pints at this very well-reviewed bar. The doorman who gave me a hard time for having a NY driver's license was the first sign of trouble to come. (I understand that this is a college town and you need to be strict with IDs, but at least have knowledge of IDs of neighboring states.)
The atmosphere isn't so much "basement" as it is dungeon. After walking down the stairs and in the door there is a small, dimly lit bar area immediately to the left and a deep open room to the right. The room has several wooden tables of various sizes and there is room for maybe 8 people or so to sit at the bar. There were about a dozen taps or so of fairly standard offerings, three beer engines (Tröegs Hopback Amber, Victory Hop Devil and a third one which escapes me) and what appeared to be an extensive bottle offering in coolers (Lost Abbey stood out). There was a duo playing music in the back and they were far too loud. Everyone was crammed as far away from them as possible, and I still had to yell to be able to make any conversation with the person next to me. I wouldn't have minded so much if the band weren't so terrible. From what my friends I was with told me, loud terrible music is standard here.
The bartender seemed completely disinterested when I ordered a Hop Devil cask, and in fact poured a Hopback Amber. While normally a solid beer, this cask was stale, bordering on having soured. Clearly Zeno's does not move enough cask beer to justify having 3 offerings, and either does not know enough to take stale beers off the engine or does not care about the quality of the product as long as they make money. Either way, the combination of terrible atmosphere, quality and service is enough for me to never come back again. After reading all the praise in other reviews I was severely let down. We left after one drink and headed to The Deli on Heister Street which was a much more enjoyable experience. Don't waste your time on this sorry excuse for a beer bar.
04-06-2011 19:29:22 |
More by TheBCrew
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$
Have been happy with Zeno's in the past, with my usual being to get 2 pitchers of beer followed by 2-3 shots of Southern Comfort, but tonight I was just told basically to piss off by the employee behind the counter after only two beers and can say that after the way I was dealt with they will never get my money again. It really is a shame because they are the only place in town that carries some of my favorite beers, but after tonight I'm just going to deal with the Wine and Spirit shops and probably stop drinking beer entirely since nowhere else in town gets the things I like to drink. Sucks for them too since I generally spend about $70-$100 per night out not counting tips.
Also I would like to note that the first employee I dealt with was helpful and introduced me to a new beer I enjoyed a lot, but thanks to the second guy Zeno's has lost a customer forever.
12-02-2012 04:17:35 |
More by Ixian
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
i frequented this place more then enough times during my college days to know that zeno's is one of the best places to find just about any beer you're looking for. they do a good job of bringing in a good selection of beers from all over the world, and i've had more than a fair share of beers that i had no clue what i was trying way before my time. the 80 beers around the world is a great way to introduce locals and college-folk alike to a world of beer outside of what you'd find in a normal college town, and the bartenders are usually well versed in whatever questions you'd have about any of the brews you'd select. can get pretty packed on weekends, and they usually have a good selection of bands as well for entertainment on the weekends. no PSU grad is complete without knowing the in's and out's of this place.
06-15-2008 21:55:29 |
More by fishtownhxc
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Stopped her for my first time prior to a concert at the State Theatre. I had heard a lot about this place and I was not dissapointed. Walked down the steps to a crowded and dimly lit bar. Ordered some beer at the bar and found a seat. The beer selection was amazing. One of the best I have seen in the state outside of Philadelphia. The place was a bit smoky but not too unbearable. We didn't see any waitstaff around so we had to go to the bar to get our beer. The bartenders were helpful, courteous and quick to get our beers. I didn't try the food so I cannot comment.
I like this place a lot and would heavily reccomend it to any one in the area.
11-03-2007 13:40:31 |
More by mymrnngjckt
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I was on my way to Selinsgrove and stopped here at lunch time. This is a college town,I love small college towns, bar with a great beer selection,around 30 taps including cask ales.
The atmosphere is just what one would expect from a wonderfull college town bar.
Some of the beer when I was there was Lost Coast Double Trouble, which I have not even tried at home and Bell's Third Coast Old Ale.
I met and talked to Dave,briefly, this guy has a passion for what he does and it shows.
Service was friendly and attentive and I did not eat lunch here so I cannot comment on the food.
This year on my trip east I will skip Selinsgrove and stay overnight in State College to enjoy the beer scene here.
03-01-2008 17:31:27 |
More by VegasBill
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Headed to Penn State for a bachelor party and had to stop at Zeno's before the festivities began. what a great place. it is just off the corner - you have to walk down below street level to get into the place.
was there during the day - so it was still light out. otherwise it is a pretty dark place. dark atmosphere - lots of old wood in the bar, tables, floors everywhere. had a great eccentric and lived feel to it - lots of character. not a neat a clean place, but a place to hang and drink great beer.
they had about 30 beers or so on tap - which rotate pretty often. their bottle selection is impressive. not sure of how many - but well over 100. they have an impressive list of brews. JP the bartender was very attentive to us once he realized we were there as true beer drinkers and not some guys just off the street. he knew his stuff and guided us in the right direction.
a place extremely worth the trip.
06-24-2008 01:08:26 |
More by Hophead101
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
Ah, Zeno's! "Located somewhere above the center of the Earth!". I know that because I have the t-shirt. I have been to Zeno's many times in my days, and I have to say that I love the place. There is something so pleasing about walking below street level to drink in a very asthetically pleasing pub with a great selection, great people, and just an overall great time!
Atmosphere - what can I say, this place is very cool. All stone/brick walls and a dank, olde-style pub feel to it. Something about the total pub atmosphere just fills the air with the spirit of drinking your favorite pints. It is very conducive to imbibing many beverages, so beware not to get lost in this bar's wonderful environment!
Service - I am never really all that please with ANY bar I go to, because, dammit, when I am down to one sip left, I want a new beer. Seems like bars in PA never have that service level, and I don't know why. You'd think that a campus the size of PSU would have very good bartenders, but it seems like I am always waiting and eventually waiving my hands to get a new brew in hand. Oh well, it is a small price to pay, and nobody's perfect. The service is adequate enough...you won't be dying of thirst by the time you get refilled.
Selection - Not sure of the actual numbers involved, but it is a LOT of beers...many different styles broken down by country, and served in varying sizes. The first time I ever walked in I was amazed at the selection. Something for everyone on the drink list (which I stole from the bar - oops!). This is where I had my first ever Belhaven Scottish Ale, and was pretty much a new era in my beer drinking history.
Overall - yeah, this place is the real deal. Very cool, and inviting atmosphere. And for any of you worried about the patrons, fear not. This is not your typical keg-killing college frat crowd. As a matter of fact, most of my buddies up there don't even like Zeno's because it isn't like a frat party. It is laid-back people who know their beers and are there to enjoy a few pints and make some acquaintances and listen to some live acoustic music. This place is a MUST if you are in the State College area! Enjoy!
10-15-2003 17:15:29 |
More by Edwin
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
A great bar, weather to have quick drink or bite to eat in the afternoon, or to socialize on the weekend. The food comes via dumbwaiter from the upstairs Corner Room and features many sandwiches, soups, salads, and platters. This is the place to go to sample many different beers. They have over a dozen beers on draught, and feature many others in bottles. They even have a around the world club, where you can keep track of your findings in a little passport book. A definate find for the beer advocate traveling to State College.
06-11-2002 07:02:19 |
More by psugrad98
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
i graduated from psu and moved away right before my 21st birthday. i've been back once, and zeno's is where my friends insisted we go for drinks. well, i'm glad i didn't know what i was missing when i still lived there, because i would have ditched every class and tried to sneak into zeno's, all day every day. the beer list is superb, the only really notable absences being fuller's beers. i had a paulaner hefeweizen to start, a yuengling porter, and then finished off with a sam smith imperial stout. had i not been borderline sauced, i would have had a young's old nick, but i took the advice of my buddies and called it a night. my friends had hops infusion, hop devil, all the usual hophead suspects. the beer list covers all the bases, and if you're in the happy valley area this is the place to go. the food is, i believe, brought down from an attached restaurant whose name eludes me at the moment. the corner room, or something like that. good, hearty food at reasonable prices, nothing to swoon over, but nothing that hinders your enjoyment of the beer, either.
my only complaints are a) no ventilation to speak of, so when someone decides to smoke, no matter what you're drinking, it's going to take on some rauchbier characteristics, and b) the service. the server was 100% polite and attentive, and i'm not one of those spoiled brats who wants the waiter to wipe his arse for him, but he brought my paulaner hefe with a slice of lemon floating in it, and i don't like having to fish chunks of produce out of my beer. the waiter looked a little confused and hurt when i removed the lemon with all speed, so whoever trained him didn't emphasize the importance of not assuming a drinker will want lemon in a hefe. in a way it was just as much my fault as the waiter's; i could and should have asked it to be served with no lemon. next time i'll specify no lemon, and bypass the awkwardness and hurt feelings. also, my hefe and my imperial stout came in plain ol' pint glasses, and i was kind of hoping for a weizenbier glass and a snifter, but they tasted great anyway, so it's not a big deal.
all in all, the place to be for great beer in state college. if you can handle some smokiness, you'll have a great time there.
10-12-2003 15:29:25 |
More by dedalus
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
Okay, so this is a pretty cool place. It is a dungeon like setting in downtown State College. They have a wonderful selection of beers to choose from. They might not have everything you are searching for, but if they don't have what you are looking for I am sure they have a reasonable substitute. They do have brews that I have never seen anywhere else and that is a cool thing. The bartenders and employees can be okay for conversation, but it can seem as if you are unaccepted if you are not part of their clique. Well, maybe not unaccepted, but they are just not overly nice, they do their job and that is that. I am there for the beer anyways and on that mark they always deliver. They have great local brews like Victory and Troeg's, but also wonderful Trappist ales and everything in between. I would highly recommend this place.
08-20-2011 22:57:23 |
More by jifigz
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Zeno's Pub in State College, PA
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