Stopped here on the way to a concert with a friend. The place is definitely going for the dive bar motif, whether intentionally or unintentionally. They have a decent array of their own beers on tap, as well as a couple from other brewers. I didnít have much that Iíd call spectacular as far as beer went, but the barleywine they had was memorable enough.
This place has an old, dive bar feel to it. The beers were good, my pretzels were tasty, and the server was friendly if a little distracted. The brewing area was one of the dirtiest breweries Iíve ever seen. I bet this place is a great time on a friday night.
Donít get me wrong, the building is a little dingy looking, inside and out, and the food is fairly pedestrian, but if you factor in where you are and what you get for the money, this place is one of the best places to go in Hamilton County. I will also add, of all the beer places to go in Indiana, including the Broad Ripple location, this place almost always delivers the best service.
Straight up, the service sucked. The bartender was flaky and inattentive and chain-smoked the whole time we were there. I donít usually complain about smoking in a place that explicitly permits it and I wouldnít even mention it if, say, it were 11pm and all of the patrons were lighting up. But it was the middle of the day and none of the patrons were smoking. It would have been nice if the bartender had taken her cue accordingly. Meanwhile, the cook finally decided to roll in an hour after the kitchen was supposedly open. Seriously people, get your shit together.
That said, most of the other pieces were in place. The beer was not mind-altering but it was solid. (Come to think of it the impy stout actually was pretty mind-blowing.) The ambiance and decor was sufficiently casual, unpretentious and inviting. The crowd was pretty mellow and beer-knowledgeable. The food must not have been that great or that bad because I barely even remember it.
Iíll give this place another shot, but if Iím as ambivalent about it after my second visit, there probably wonít be a third.
I was not impressed at all. The beer was mediocre, all of our food was burnt. Prices were outstanding (9.00 for an appetizer of fondue beer cheese and bread!) The atmosphere was ok, it had a nice Celtic touch.Service? Horrible. We were lucky we got waited on. Our server was in such a hurry, he would run to the table and take off before we could tell him there was a problem. Would I return? Maybe for the cheese bread, but I would get it to go.
Full disclosure: my experience here was terrible, largely because of consistently inept service (e.g., vegetarians donít enjoy being served beef-based food when they specifically ask for bean-based food). Sort of your standard chain Irish Pub with some additional coziness. Love the building itís in, if only they could bring out the old rafters and wall-flavor a bit more. Had some nice guest taps (always enjoy me some Alpha Klaus!), and Iíll be sure to raise the score if my next visit is even passably enjoyable.
A brewpub, with an Irish theme, Barley Islandís main calling is in the 15 or so beers (rotated, seasonally, and with a "sampler") that they brew on the premises. The overall beer selection is limited. They feature their own brews and a few guest beers on tap (Rogue Dead Guy, Founders Dirty Bastard, and Youngs Double Chocolate Stout stood out, during my visit). Beer prices are reasonable ($3.50/pint), though they have very good specials on pints of their own brews ($1.50/pint) on Mondays and Tuesdays. They also sell their beer in bottles and growlers. The menu is good, though sandwich oriented, as is typical of brewpub fare.
I like this place a lot. It reminds me of some of bars in my small hometown. With thexception being they have great beer! Really I talked to the bartender for about an hour and he was a pretty cool guy, seemed fairly knowledgeable. Their Black Magic Java Stout just recently won a silver medal at the GABF.
This has a rustic, old-timey feel which is right at home in a small downtown area filled with old brick buildings. Bottles to go are available in the cooler. I had a friendly, knowledgeable bartender. The bar itself is isolated from the rest of the restaurant. I was here around noon, so things were pretty quiet. I didnít bother to look for parking provided by Barley Island, unfortunately. I did, however, find a parking lot with dirt-cheap meters a mere two minutes away by foot. This place is up to par for a brewpub.