Featured Contributor: Craft Brew Gal @
My boyfriend and I were more than excited when we heard that a craft beer bar was coming to our area. We live in the Southington Connecticut area, and although there are many places in neighboring towns to grab a tasteful craft brew, there aren’t that many local spots in our immediate area.
Having your “go to” bar out of town can be a drag, so when we found out Hop Haus was going to be right down the street from us, we waited and stalked them on Facebook, drove by multiple times trying to catch a peek inside, asked around with all our beer buds and tried to figure out the latest new; So when they finally opened you bet we were one of the firsts to be there.
Hop Haus is located on 8 west Main Street in Plantsville Connecticut. The restaurant used to be called Quinns but was bought and fully remodeled to create this quaint, cozy craft beer bar.
Walking in, immediately to your right you have some table top seating with booths on one side. Adjacent is the bar, and that takes up the middle of the room. There is additional seating on the far left hand side of the room also table top and chairs connected to a small room they offer to reserve for parties.
The décor is nice.
Kind of boring.
New bars and restaurants definitely need their time to settle in and get comfortable but the décor really could use work.
Lining the walls are wine inspired pictures and various wine decorations.
They actually have started mounting their taps after use, but besides that there hasn’t been much craft beer exclusive décor at all.
In fact the bar seemed just like any other bar.
It’s not too shabby looking of a place but definitely could use some more love.
The first time I was there I ended up hitting my hand on a wad of gum under the bar… then it struck me that the bar was just remodeled… then it struck me…ewwwwwww.
Since I’ve been there though things have been slowly improving.
They are starting to rotate their menu, they have hired more staff, started decorating their chalkboards with art as well as their draft list, and as I said they are adding more beer related decoration to set the atmosphere. The chalkboard is actually pretty awesome. It covers their entire basement door that’s located in the center of the bar, off to the left hand side. There is an almost perfect view from every seat in the restaurant and it really is a fun cool idea that adds a ton of personality to the room.
A creative conversation piece as well.
Improvements are being made but I still wouldn’t recommend this joint if you were really hungry and needed a sit down meal.
I have had some good luck with appetizers but incredibly bad luck in general.
I was excited when I saw they were starting to branch out and rotate their menu. I’m a sucker for carbs, (obviously being a beer lover) so I ordered their carbonara.
It was inedible. The sauce was just butter with a few specks of parmesan cheese on top. The bacon was chewy and tasted like the smell of dog food, and the pasta was over cooked. It was by far one of the most offensive pasta dishes I have ever had. Totally tasteless and obnoxiously oily.
On to the wings…
I don’t even remember what flavor I ordered. All I know is I didn’t eat them and they were very small.
It’s very hard to judge a restaurant or bar on one experience though, so I’ve been back multiple times. The one true thing that I can say about their food is that it is incredibly inconsistent.
For instance, one night I went there and ordered their nachos.
The nachos happen to be my favorite dish, they put a pickled garnish on top that really gives a wonderfully sweet finish to each bite.
Anywho, I got that dish expecting what I had seen before and what was on the menu.
Instead I got a plate of round tortilla chips dumped on a plate with some cheese.
There was no garnish.
There was no sour cream.
There were no jalapenos…
and when I asked for salsa, (which was the one thing the waitress said they had) she came back apologizing that they were also all out of salsa.
They charged me the full $10.50 for that plate too, which I found insanely offensive.
That’s another thing. THE PRICES.
The prices are pretty steep.
I mean a grilled cheese sandwich is $10, and don’t even think of buying a bomber there.
I do really enjoy their house chips that they make on site though…and when the nachos are made right they are fantastic; However if you are planning on having a large meal I might stopfor dinner first and then grab some drinks here.
The food is just not up to par with the prices at this point, and the inconsistencies are too vast. Not knowing what you’re going to get when you are paying a fair amount of money just isn’t very decent.
Advertising their food properly isn’t their only issue.
They can’t get their beer right either.
Every single time I have been there they manage to have spelledJack’s Abby Brewing a different wrong way. Whether it’s “Jack Abby’s”, or “Jacks Abbey” they just can’t seem to get it right.
Not to mention they had regular Framminghammer on draft one day and advertised it on Facebook as being the barrel aged Framminghammer.
Oh, and, Evil Twin’s “I Love You With my Stout” has been on their chalkboard as “I Love You With All My Stout” for weeks. (Both pictured above)
It sounds like nit picking, I know, but really I’m not.
The thing I’ve found about craft beer lovers as a whole is that we are like sports fans; The breweries and brewers of course being the teams.
We wait in lines forever to see them, we pay ridiculous prices for their merchandise, and travel to their home fields to see where they practice.
We go to those breweries, we deal with the devastating supply and demand, we know all the names of their beers and may have even tried every single one of them…
So imagine going to a sports game and the announcer mispronounces the names of the teams playing.
I’ll tell you what I would think.
I would think that announcer wasn’t a true sports fan. If he or she was, there would be no way of mispronouncing anything.
Where I was going with this is simply that it seems naïve and unprofessional as well as lazy.
Furthermore being such an enthusiastic craft beer lover myself it makes me upset to see someone selling a product and not being100% positive on what product they are selling.
Now for the kicker.
I went to Hop Haus when they had Bourbon County on last year and they gave both my boyfriend and I full pint glasses.
I didn’t complain…
But for a bar to not understand the dangers of over pouring… that’s very dangerous indeed, and quite a shame.
I know that there was a lot of negative in this review but Hop Haus isn’t all terrible. It really is the perfect downtown spot to grab a quick and tasteful drink with some friends after work. I also believe that they are on the right track; the food has been steadily getting better. It seems like there has been more thought as far as prep and presentation and they are hosting more beer related events and having dinners with pairings. It is definitely nice to see them moving forward, and being so close I have already been more than willing to give 2nd and 3rd .. And 4th chances.
I would recommend checking this place out, the tap list is pretty extensive and there is always something tasty to drink whether it’s a rotating NEBCO brew or a Seasonal beer.
Bring a friend, have some beer and chips, check out downtown Plantsville and have a great afternoon in our not so small, small town. Of course keep in touch if you are in the area too!
I would recommend checking out their Facebook, they have been trying to incorporate “Meet The Brewers” nights, and I think their most recent being Otter Creek, is coming up fairly soon.
This bar has the potential to be a grand slam go to for grub and brews, I’m just hoping the hiccups are merely the effect of getting settled in and won’t become tendencies.
I tend to talk about staff a lot but these guys here really seem to enjoy their jobs and want their bar to succeed so I have high hopes and am excited to go back and see even more improvement.
Thanks so much for reading guys. This was a great experience I’m happy I got to share it with you all. Next review to be announced shortly.
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Keep in touch, I love taking about beer and sharing enthusiasm for a similar hobby and passion.
Be safe and have fun,
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I'm an elevator operator for my day job but other than that friends, family, clean good food, cooking, great beer and traveling take up my time.I'm an arts and crafts addict and make some hand knit beer items I sell on etsy @CraftBrewGal, I do monthly trivia and giveaways that I set up through my twitter @craftbr3wgal.
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