(Visited 02/2012): KBE is located on the east side of downtown Kalamazoo on Water Street, in the Business District. They have an adjoining lot and there is metered parking in front.
The interior is multi-level with table seating and multiple bars throughout. They have pool tables, TVs and of course the ticker boards. Interesting concept with the beer pricing, which is based loosely on the stock market, in that beers that have high demand and many people buying them at a given time will drive the price up. Conversely, low-demand beers with little activity will decline. Additionally they have "market crashes" where all beers will be set at their lowest price for a short period of time. We didnít experience a "crash" while there but sounds exciting. The interesting thing is that standard domestic fare like PBR can and does end up reaching a higher price point than local craft brews. Take that hipsters!
As for the beers, there are a lot of regional and local craft options aside from the standard stuff. On our visit this included offerings from Vivant, B. Nektar, Livery, Bells, Round Barn, Saugatuck, Right Brain and Greenbush. Samplers are available.
Service on our visit was good. The server was familiar with the beers and friendly throughout our visit.
Food at KBE is pretty good too. The menu includes sandwiches as well as dinners.
Overall the gimmicky nature of this place is not a reason to avoid it, once we bought into the concept and went with it we ended up having fun watching the prices fluctuate, although I can see people getting in trouble trying to buy low or buy before the price goes up. Worth checking out while in Kalamazoo.
Probably one of my favorite bar experiences ever. I was just going to have one beer but the exchange kept crashing and I got to try 4 really good , and in one case a world class Bellís IPA, for less than 15 bucks. Iím surprised more people havenít run with this concept.
Pretty hip, downstairs bar. Super crowded on the weekends. The stock market theme is pretty fun and a neat conversation topic as the prices fluctuate. Can get some pretty sweet deals when the market crashes. Had a pretty solid lineup of beers and Iíve always found something nice to drink. Fun hangout with a solid novelty.
Good beer spot in Kalamazoo that have a fun stock market-priced theme to their drafts. Food and service are good, although itís a bit pricey for some of the beers, and they rarely (if ever) get down to Shakespeareís prices.
ElGaucho (285) Minnetonka, Minnesota | March 17, 2012| Updated March 18, 2012
Friends had told me about this place and I was deeply intrigued with the "exchange" concept. Although a pretty cool place, it wasnít quite as cool as I expected especially considering that their "exchange" isnt active all the time. I fact, Iíve been here 3 times in 2 days and the exchange was not active 2 of the times. I understand that when itís dead that theyd be giving away beer at rock bottom prices if they had the exchange going but I am here at 4:30pm on st. Pattyís day and the place is jammed. The whole draw to this place is the exchange. Need to have it going whenever possible. Also on an 80 degree day need to have your outdoor patio open. Great concept; shaky execution. And one more major detraction- not open Sundays.
Fun place, and great beer location. Had dinner at Bells, then Shakespeare, then the beer exchange. Easy walk between the pubs, like 1 block. The beer exchange is a nice place, has seating for dinner and a couple bar areas. Really good crowd on a Saturday. Good selection with 28 taps, pricing is fun. I was there a couple hours and a market crash dropped almost all pints to $2.5. Will happily return.
This is an unfair rating b/c we didnít get to experience the actual stock market-like "exchange". We were there in the afternoon. It is a huge, slick looking building with good service and a pretty good selection. Did not get to try the food but it looked great. Price was just ok. I am willing to give this place another try as long as I remember to go after 6 pm. The place was dead on a Monday afternoon.
We were kind of confuse ! Because of the name, we thought it was a beer store. So we thought might as well have a beer. If we knew it was a bar we would have come here instead of Shakespeareís pub last night ! Well, next time.