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Taps: 22 / Bottles: 100
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1231 W Olney Rd
phone: (757) 962-5400
(Place added by: DoctorB2B on 01-03-2011)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 21
Reviews by porknwhiskey:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Had to work in Norfolk for a few days and did a search for "beer bars" in town. I knew when I checked out their list I was going to have to spend some time there. When I arrived the staff / owners were extremely friendly and engaged me to find out my likes. After that it was a non stop string of suggestions (sours mostly because damn I love 'em) that all hit home. Their list is pretty euro-centric but they also had some american craft beers. Lots of Belgian and Italian selections including a number of sours the night I was in. I picked up a few bottles before I left of extremely hard to find beers. Definitely one of my favorite beer bars. They had a light food menu but it appears there's always a food truck right outside, which the night I was there also rocked. I highly recommend making a detour to go here.
10-08-2012 22:39:06 |
More by porknwhiskey
More User Reviews:
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Really great spot. They have some amazing exclusives on draft, and they obviously have ridiculous connections. The ambiance is great, and I wish I lived around here so I could hang out here more often.
The staff was a little awkward. When we asked why they served so much Belgian/German beer - which is fine!!!! We just wanted to know their inspiration - they said ’to be different’. Interesting, because we all know the first generation of US craft beer bars were heavily Belgian/German. Is this the first ’retro’ craft beer bar? (Or was I too dense/drunk to take a joke? Probably.) I also felt a familiar vibe from the management - a vibe I’ve experienced before - when someone has a bar they obviously know is good, but competition in the area is so limited they become a little ostentatious. Meh. They were so damn nice I honestly didn’t care.
Go here. It’s a special place.
11-24-2013 23:12:29 |
More by Fluffheady
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5 | $$$
The Birch is a bit of a dive, and for that reason it will never have mass appeal, but it's a great place to expand your beer horizons.
Off the beaten path, this place is never over-crowded, yet word of mouth and reputation have guaranteed that it's never empty. The wooden decor and bar are a throwback, almost reminding me of a saloon in the old western movies. Also true to the old saloon, it's dimly lit and a little grungy.
The selection of beers on tap is excellent (I think about 20), and they're constantly being rotated -- it's not just American microbrews, but also some very unusual foreign styles. If trying new and diverse on-tap beers appeals to you, you've come to the right place. The bottle selection is good, but I've certainly seen better (and they seem to have trouble keeping them all in stock).
The waitstaff are friendly and decently knowledgeable, although I'd recommend talking with the owner if you have specific or detailed questions. Service is hit-or-miss -- sometimes I've been well looked after, but other times a well-meaning but overworked bartender/server can take 30 minutes to "make the rounds" among the customers (a long time to wait when your glass runs dry or when you're ready to pay and leave).
I have been disappointed in the food: it's a mix of average bar-food and tiny cheese plates, and it's really overpriced for the amount you get (but this is a BEER bar; nobody comes here for the food).
The price for the beer vs the amount you get is also high -- it's a great place to come and try new stuff on tap, to be sure, but $5+ for an 8-ounce "half pour" ($8-10 for the full pour) is pretty steep by any standard. I'd put The Birch in the "special occasion" category, for when I want to meet a friend to taste something new and unique.
11-14-2013 11:17:17 |
More by TappaKeggaBrew
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
This is a new spot for me. I've been a few times but I am truly impressed. Ben and Malia are so nice, and they really know their stuff when it comes to awesome beers and food pairings. The progressive grilled cheese menu and cheese boards were an unexpected but pleasant change to the usual bar fare forced upon patrons at nearly every other watering hole (this was a very welcome surprise). The constantly evolving "on tap" menu ensures that you will never get bored with stagnate offerings or the tire old "mill hunk" brews. Special events including, "43 Hours of Sour" and "Raise a Glass to Find a Cure" present an even greater range of phenomenal beer to choose from. The Birch is warm and cozy, yet very efficient as a business. The atmosphere has a laid back fluidity about it-familiar without being overbearing. It may seem pricey to a novice but to someone who knows what they are looking for, you definitely get your money's worth. It is a small yet knowledgable team of beer and food lovers. I hold this establishment in the highest regard, it is a haunt I will enjoy for a very long time.
10-16-2013 02:28:43 |
More by JJStout83
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
This is the best craft beer bar I have ever been too. Unbelievable selection both draft and bottles. If you are any where near the hampton roads area and you love craft beer, do your self a favor and go and check them out. You will not be disappointed.
09-09-2013 02:42:04 |
More by timc13
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5 | $$
There really isn't much I can say that hasn't already been said about The Birch. So rather than writing a thesis on its merits, here is a quick summary of The Birch:
This is THE place for anyone who cares about and loves beer. Always a class-act selection of B. United imports, as well as a few local and USA craft brews to round out its usual offerings. Excellent cheese plates and as of recent, they also offer goat cheese truffles, making this an incredible place for a night cap.
There are no burgers here, no Bud Lite, and I very much love this place for that exact reason. Ambiance is always chill, and it is a premiere spot to take your sweetie and/or someone you are trying to impress who also happens to have good taste. Even if the person doesn't have good taste, they'll know they should and what that is once they leave here.
Service is excellent. Ben is fabulous, Malia seems to do a fine job of keeping emails and social networking sites up-to-date, and Mary will works her ass off anytime we are there. We are so happy The Birch has been successful so far. If you are in Norfolk, please go to The Birch.
07-12-2013 22:17:18 |
More by Zraly
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25 | $$
If you are not looking for this place, you're not going to find it. A friend of mine mentioned to me that this place sold growler, so I decided to make the trip and check them out. I believe I have found my new hang out on Saturdays.
It is located back off the road a little, tucked away in an industrial area that hardly has any traffic. The inside is dimly lit by low wattage lights and white strands of lights draped over a line of empty growlers at the top of their shelves. On the chalk board to the left, you will find their list of brews, most of which are amazing, giving you the country of origin and price per glass or growler. The bar is in an L-shape and behind it you will find a giant cellar with bottles that you can purchase or a line of taps for what is ready to be served.
I could go on and on about the service Ben and his wife provide, but I will leave it to you to experience it. They are always changing up the menu and the taps are never the same. Do yourself a favor and visit this place. The prices are amazing and if you see a bottle you would like, and you want to take it home to drink, you'll get 20% off. Enjoy your stay! I'll be there this Saturday for sure.
06-20-2013 01:37:22 |
More by Cubatobaco
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
The Birch is by far the best beer bar in Hampton Roads and has quickly shown itself to be a world-class establishment offering amazing beers with top-notch service in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
There is no bad beer at The Birch. The expansive list of drafts and bottles changes regularly and features nothing but the absolute best beer available to the area. It's a heaven for beer geeks looking for something they've never had before, but it's also a great place for the more inexperienced beer drinker to try something new and to get expert suggestions from the great staff. While some previous reviews have mentioned the lack of more accessibly priced beers, I'm happy to report that The Birch menu now features a $3 can of a rotating "Hipster Beer" and at least five different $5 American drafts. On Fridays they also offer a beer and cheese tasting menu of three pours and three cheeses for $15. It's a great value, and a fun way to try new things. Yes, the more esoteric and rare beers are going to be more expensive, but even those prices hardly seem unreasonable given the quality of the selection. Ben and Malia work hard to ensure that they carry only the best beers. If it's at The Birch, it's going to be terrific. I never feel like I am being taken advantage of when I get to order from such a well-cultivated list.
The food menu is limited, but what The Birch offers is truly fantastic. The cheese boards are generous and offer high-quality and unique products designed to pair well with the beers. There is a nifty guide on the back of the menu to help you choose cheeses that will best complement your beer selection, but don't hesitate to ask for advice. The staff is incredibly knowledgable and will help set you up with the perfect board. And don't underestimate the goodness of a grilled cheese made from great ingredients! These things are delicious! The menu has been slowly expanding as well to include things like "hop-inspired" grilled cheeses and special creations made to pair with featured beers. The focus of The Birch is clearly on its beer, and you'll probably want to go somewhere else if you're looking for a large dinner menu. Still, the cheese boards and grilled cheeses make for tasty treats that just really hit the spot when matched with these lovely beers.
The real allure of The Birch though is in the friendly, attentive and knowledgable staff. Malia knows her beers inside and out. Describe what you're interested in and she'll bring you the perfect beer. "Mama Birch" is great fun. She keeps busy waiting tables, but she seems to remember everyone's names and she'll find time to ask you about your family or a vacation you might have mentioned. Charlotte is a newer addition, but she has proven herself to be both knowledgable and hilarious. My best advice is to keep to the tables where you'll have less of a chance of encountering the owner. That's a guaranteed bad time. He can be intolerably rude or if you're lucky, he'll just ignore you and your order. If you can navigate your way around him and let the ladies help you, you'll love The Birch.
Oh, and the atmosphere: It's completely relaxed with none of the meat-market scene you might find somewhere else. There are also no TVs which, frankly, I appreciate because it's more conducive to conversation. The place is a magnet for beer geeks, and I often find myself in a friendly chat with my bar mates. It's not unusual to find folks who are willing to share a bottle with you or even to see people generously offering tastes from something in their cellar collection. If you like beer, then you are going to love The Birch.
04-30-2013 21:52:23 |
More by beerchicky
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 2.5 | $$$
Above average atmosphere, product selection, and service make this a Class A establishment. Locating this beer bar in out of the way West Ghent in Norfolk Virginia was a great decision; a unique location for a unique bar. The owners are very knowledgable and ready to share their insights and recommendations about the well rounded selections.
03-16-2013 12:52:53 |
More by ThomWade
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$$
Norfolk doesn't deserve The Birch. It's a bar for the sake of beer and they don't take that lightly. The selection is crazy and the people are super friendly/helpful/attentive. The food is pricey nuts and cheese and not much else, but then you're not going here for the food. Especially great that it's next door to Tortilla West so that after you're done giving your wallet a work out with premium beer you can go and give it a break with some Tecate while eating insane nachos.
01-17-2013 07:03:02 |
More by abenf
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The Birch in Norfolk, VA
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