United States > Massachusetts > Salem
radarsock (48) Vermont | February 4, 2014| Updated February 9, 2014
68 AMBIANCE 4/5 SERVICE 6/10 SELECTION 11/15 FOOD 7/10 VALUE 6/10 OVERALL 13/20
Met up with Leighton here for a painless IP trade in the late afternoon. I went in after filling my tote with some interesting bottles I picked up at Quality right down the street. Straightaway I noticed the pug face paintings: these were on the door, on pints and mugs, and on the menus. The owner must have been a pug fan. I didnít ask for a full story, but I can only assume the decision was lovingly personal. Now although I commend the Gulu-Gulu ownership for trying to encompass a little bit of everything with their sweepingly fun and eccentric beer-centered eatery, I ultimately wasnít astonishingly impressed with the service, or the prices that went along with their beer selection. $14 for 11 oz. of Rochefort 10, anybody? Even the geekiest of beer enthusiasts wonít jump on this, or not the ones Iím aware of. thornecb had written a wonderfully arresting review for this spot, and I agree with most of what he had to say, however I am confusedly perplexed and donít quite understand his point of view about the prices: "The beer prices are also very good - full pints of 90 min go for $6." Thatís just one example he madeóI say give another because I see no evidence on the menu that shows them as having an affordable draft list. In fact, I thought they were a tad pricey, but to each their own. Service was all over the placeóit was predominately friendly and cheerful, but I did have to wait almost eleven minutes just to get a pint of beer and a shot of espresso brought to our table. I wouldnít knock them if it had been a particularly busy lunch rush, but there really werenít that many people and I didnít know why there was even a holdup in the first place. Gulu-Gulu in fact isnít all that easily accessible from the Salem Commuter Rail station, if youíre venturing on foot, that is, but once you hit the downtown area, itís surprisingly hard to miss. Itís next door to a satisfying pizzeria (Flying Saucer Pizza Co.) and within the immediate vicinity of a Dunkin Donuts. Plus, out in front on Essex Street, there lies a comic book store which can be seen through Guluís gargantuan side windows; and when in the hell do we need less comic shops? The servers were all women who dressed as if they were part of a rockabilly cover band, and all the men cooks here either wore a hunting cap or some kind of drab-colored beanie accompanied with tight button-up shirts. Hell, even the customers looked as if they were extras in Nirvanaís "Smells Like Teen Spirit" music video. Now their food, their food was good. I had the TBGT sandwich and thought it was well quantitative for its price; the tastiness/costliness ratio was in the acceptable ballpark, and so, I didnít feel like I was ripped off when I took a bite. The bellyaching for this place is indeed accurate, but there still are plenty of reasons to drop in. This place also has a reasonable flight price and a cool, 1980s rock/post-punk soundtrack which engagingly pumps singable tracks like "The Headmaster Ritual" by the Smiths in your face. But this is Salem: and itís probably the best spot in town for craft beer in a bar environment youíre gonna get. It could be better, it could be worse.
blackflag321 (45) Lansing, Michigan | May 17, 2012
82 AMBIANCE 4/5 SERVICE 8/10 SELECTION 12/15 FOOD N/A VALUE 9/10 OVERALL 17/20
I would describe this as a very nice coffee shop that has a nice "wide" selection of beer . . . not just the usual styles and brands. I did appreciate the special acoustic panels on the ceiling and in the corners: they made it easy to have a conversation even though the place was crowded. I also liked that I could get 6 oz samples: this let me try several of their offerings. Prices were fair, too: $7 for three 6-oz glasses.
sogrady (21) Maine | February 13, 2011
74 AMBIANCE 3/5 SERVICE 7/10 SELECTION 12/15 FOOD 6/10 VALUE 7/10 OVERALL 15/20
The best beer youíll get in Salem, which granted isnít saying a whole lot. But overall, this venue has a very credible pick of beers. I got an Atwater Vanilla Java Porter here that I still havenít seen anywhere else.
Interior is as the other reviewer described: an eclectic, artsy spread. Comfortable, but not precisely what I look for in a beer bar.
Overall, if youíre in Salem, this is where Iíd go for beer.
thornecb (63) Marblehead, Massachusetts | September 7, 2010| Updated November 10, 2010
70 AMBIANCE 4/5 SERVICE 6/10 SELECTION 11/15 FOOD 6/10 VALUE 9/10 OVERALL 14/20
I have visited Gulu-Gulu mutliple times and each time I have a very similar experience. This is a very lo-key, artsy restaurant in the middle of touristy downtown Salem. Really just a large warehouse/storefront with a Euro garage sale feel. Tables are a mishmash of shapes and sizes, which lends a nice informality, but unfortunately leads to informality in delivery of product. We visited on a Saturday night and they were out of at least 2 beers on the menu (nevermind the chalk board that has not been updated in over a month). Also the red pepper and artichoke tapenade that we ordered was sold out, but we were not told for 15 minutes - and it was on our check! Beer selection is good for the area, and you can usually find a suprise draft-only offering from a NE brewer. The beer prices are also very good - full pints of 90 min go for $6. Food is mostly appetizers, cheese plates, and paninis/wraps. Food is a little expensive - I wouldnít expect a turkey wrap to cost $9...all in all it is one of my wifeís favorites as there is usually good czech pils on tap, but lack of updates to the menu, informal/inattentive service and high food prices cause me to pause before each encounter and alter my expectations accordingly.
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