I’m not one to rush out to an opening of a new chain restaurant. I may get there eventually, but I’ll give it some time. The lure of 52 taps proved to be too much, and, against my better judgment I went to Rock & Brews on their first weekend (they opened the Monday before) over at 4800 Montgomery Blvd. NE. I was prepared to be irritated and smugly saddled atop my high horse. I should name that horse because sometimes it seems I spend a fair amount of time with him.
Anyway, as it turns out, I enjoyed the place. The bar is partially owned by members of the band KISS and has a rock theme — think Hard Rock Cafe with less memorabilia, but also less attitude. It’s a little more family-friendly as well. They have a play area on the (very nice) patio for kids.
The aforementioned taps hold 26 permanent selections and 26 rotating beers. Many more beers are offered by the bottle as well. It is a very good selection with local representation, although not quite as much as I would like. La Cumbre’s Elevated IPA and Slice of Hefen, plus Isotopes Slammin’ Amber (made by Sierra Blanca/Rio Grande) are the only local beers that are part of the permanent tap list. Other micro brews of note on that list include Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Goose Island Matilda and Sofie, Lagunitas IPA, Left Hand Milk Stout, Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Samuel Adams Rebel IPA, and Widmer Upheaval IPA. You can find the full tap list here. The rotating tap list is not online.
The place was very busy, but there were open seats at the bar. Inside is a hodge-podge of types of seating. Along with the bar seating, there are high-top tables and chairs, some booths along the far wall, and some long picnic tables in the middle. I sat at the bar and grabbed a Slice of Hefen and settled in to watch some college football showing on multiple large screens.
The menu offers mostly standard American food with a few (healthier?) surprises. Since I had a huge, late breakfast with friends that day I didn’t get any food. People seemed content; I didn’t hear any complaints. That’s pretty good for a new place so they must be working out any kinks pretty quickly.
Will I come back? Yes. Will it be on the top of my list of places to bring visitors? No. I still cannot for the life of me understand why they picked the location on Montgomery west of San Mateo. Not only is it a location that sees very high restaurant turnover, the surrounding area is somewhat run-down and nondescript. It’s a waste of a beautiful patio unless you enjoy a view of a strip mall. This is a place that needs visibility from the freeway. A location in Uptown or the northern I-25 corridor I would totally understand. It would have fit in well at Uptown with BJ’s and the upcoming Dave and Busters.
Today (Tuesday) is the special grand opening event. Even though tickets cost $150, it’s already sold out. KISS front men Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley will be in attendance. A portion of the proceeds will go to charity.
Rock & Brews, “you’re looking fancy and I like your style.” As for my horse, right now he is back in the barn enjoying some much needed rest.
— Amy O