Sculpin IPA on tap at a Vietnamese restaurant? Yes. A Randell that pulls Stone Ruination through citra hops, ginger and fresh chili, at an Asian restaurant? Of course. You can only be at Mekong when you see these things. And by the way, the food is excellent. Oh, and the prices are terrific. And, of course, the staff is a riot, and they know a ton about beer. What more do you need? Itís nirvana.
(Visited 03/2014): Mekong Restaurant is located on West Broad Street not too far off I-64 north of Richmond. There is a private lot both in front and in back of the building.
The interior looks like a typical Asian restaurant, except there are bottles, signs and other breweriana throughout. Restaurant seating is in the front, and the bar area is in the rear. Behind the bar is a row of tap handles, as well as a giant sign with "BFM Loves Megong" in reverse lettering.
Mekong has around 50 taps with many nearby breweries represented like Strangeways, Hardywood, and Lickinghole. Other domestic and import craft breweries as well. There are a couple hundred bottled beers on the menu as well.
Service on an early weekday afternoon at the bar was good. The clientele was pretty much all locals and the bartender had a good rapport with them as well as a tourist like myself. He knew the beer list well and was attentive throughout my visit.
Food at Mekong is good. I am a novice with Pho but I definitely enjoyed my order.
Overall this is a good beer spot to visit in the Richmond area (they claim to be the #1 bar, not sure of the source) whether you want to participate in the Vietnamese restaurant part or not.
Visited for a late lunch, mid-afternoon on New Yearís Eve and was surprised at the relatively sizeable crowd. Quirky joint -- the feel of your average Asian restaurant, but festooned with breweriana. They had a rock-solid lineup of 12 or so drafts, including a Hardywood Stout run thru a randall with peppermint canes. Other than the one local offering, the selection was decidedly Belgian. I didnít look at the bottle list too hard, but it looked like it had a similar slant. We dined on some yummy food and had a great time overall. The beer was actually a nice complement to the spicy Vietnamese cuisine.
Itís impossible to enter this place and not see the passion for beer this place has. Not only are the walls of the restaurant and the bar being covered with beer memorabilia, but so is the entranceway. The restaurant and the bar area are separated in clearly delineated rooms. I didnít check out the bottle list because the draft list was so good. They had over 20 taps including 3 theyíve been saving since 2009. They have such an attention to detail they not only the beer but what kind of glass itís going to be served in. The food is fantastic, reasonable priced, and very large portions. Iíll definitely be back.
Finally got a chance to check this place out for dinner. Very unassuming from the outside; basically in a strip mall. Inside there is a lot of space devoted to the Vietnamese restaurant, with a sizable bar in the back. When I was there the bar was crowded and the restaurant was pretty empty. Tap list was pretty good, with a mix of Belgians, US craft, and a ton of locals. Not all that well balanced by style tho - there were no stouts or porters on tap at all when I was there, for example. Staff knew their stuff, and did a pretty good job of keeping up to demand. Didnít try the food. This is definitely a good place but best beer bar in America? They have some pretty stiff competition right down I64 80 miles or so for that honor.
I was very disappointed with our visit here. A quick side trip off I-95 in a suburban strip mall, decent parking available, we came for beer and dinner. Service was slow even though the restaurant was only 10% full, beer list large, but unorganized. No one knew what beer was on tap right in front of me and multiple beer tap lists were flying around some with kegs that had kicked days ago. The beer I had no one knew what it was. They did allow samples which was nice and Iím not sure if they were charged or not. Tap list is large, nothing really caught my eye though. Some bizzare beers on tap were actually mixtures of unknown beers combined into a seemingly real beer that had a brewery name and beer name. I asked about those and was told, "You know Ommegang Hennepin? Well we can just make that here by blending other beers." What? Bottle list enormous, but nothing of interest either. Food was just not up to par. Peanut curry sauce was not good. The food was bland or greasy. Rice paper spring rolls very poor. Fried baby squid was very good, but so much was on the plate this one needed to be shared in a big group like calamari. They did not have soft tendon Pho which is a common staple. That just blew my mind. The menu probably has 300 different dishes you can order, which is a pet peev of mine. Can reduce the menu down to 20 items. Decor is drab 1990s Asian restaurant. Didnít really "flow" for me: the theme, the food, the beer. Disjointed and needing an overhaul.
Drake (671) Free Union, Virginia | August 28, 2009| Updated October 28, 2013
Stopped by a few weeks ago for the first time after the tap expansion. This is still a premiere beer destination in town, but I canít help feeling theyíre getting ahead of themselves. My food was fairly pedestrian and the service has suffered a bit. 3/5/14/5/6/16
I just finished the leftover food from this place. Damn. A definite must-stop in Richmond. Located west of town on Broad Street it looks very nondescript. Definitely doesnít get marks for curb appeal. The inside, however, is nice. The food is outstanding. I had catfish in a pepper, scallion, bacon and garlic sauce which was just outstanding. Portions are ample for good prices. There is a good chance youíll pay more for your beer than your food. Lots of choices on the menu. Extensive bottle list focusing on Belgians with some other regions represented. They now have draft beer with 5-6 taps. Beer prices are good, especially the bottle prices considering the restaurant markup (~16 for all of the Belgian 750s). Plenty of parking in the back. I went on a Friday night (big mistake) as the place was absolutely packed. I timed it right though as I got the last free table and there was quite a line as I left. Overall great food, great beer, great prices. 4/6/14/9/7/18
The word Iíd use to describe this place is "schizophrenic". Itís a Vietnamese restaurant that happens to have a huge bar. To be honest, the ambiance isnít great. It channels a tired, color-by-numbers strip mall asian restaurant vibe. Thereís loads of staff, all of whom were friendly with sample pours. As for the beer, thereís probably 70 taps offering Belgian-oriented selections. While the sheer volume of options is impressive, I didnít find too many beers on tap to be that exciting. The Citra Ass Down was pretty damn tasty though. The foodís frankly subpar. The portions are huge, sure, but the food was sort of bland and uninspiring. My noodle dish had what seemed like a whole head of celery in it as filler. Overall, I can see the charm of this place, and Iíd recommend a visit, but thereís definitely room for improvement. Best bar in America? Come on Mekong, letís not get ahead of ourselves...
Iíd been meaning to go here for the longest time, but just never had a chance on a visit to Richmond. This was remedied last weekend. We came in here for dinner on a Friday, the place was reasonably crowded, but they have a good amount of parking and quite a few tables, so we had no issue getting seated. Our service was just fine, though Iíve heard that isnít always the case. The beer list was quite impressive, as youíd expect, and the food was very good too. I was certainly impressed.
Damn it doesnt get better than this. I went here twice in one week while i was there for work. Lots of big ipas, sours and belgians on tap. Food was great and the service is spot on. I had so many free samples without even asking. Cant go wrong with this place!