Barrel Down is all business: minimal aesthetic, no frills, and unapologetically masculine. Housed in a refined firehouse fit-out, Barrel Down’s All-American garage is long, narrow, and inviting. The high ceilings and worn floor compliment the ambient lighting and soft, charcoal and wooden color-palette to create a comfortable new watering hole that’s perfect for both the lone ranger or with a gaggle of friends.
“We just don’t want to have the stuffy vibe,” says Jacki Wakefield, assistant general manager. “We don’t want to come across like beer snobs, but we do take our beer seriously.”
The bar is home to a 40-tap yeast Mecca that features a mouthwatering core menu and a rotating cast of craft characters. “We have been focusing on hitting every style,” says general manager Andy Comegys about their diverse selection of porters, stouts, and ales, which includes the excellent Solidarity Black Mild from L.A. locals Eagle Rock Brewery.
The beer comes in varying sizes too, including the practical, but all too rare “half”, which allows one to experiment and explore new flavors without the risk of severe inebriation. “We want to make sure anybody — whether they’re a connoisseur or just getting into the craft beer world — will always have something that’s really approachable.”
The burger and sandwich selection is comfortably conservative, but the menu is enlivened nicely by the array of share dishes — particularly the “cauliflower popcorn” and exquisite honey-chili glazed “BBQ carrots.” A nice touch is the simple cooking tray with non-stick parchment paper your meal is presented in.
“Beer is our primary focus, but [the wine list] is pretty esoteric and really an interesting aspect of our beverage program,” says Andy. “The menu is designed to pair with all of those things, but also to stand on its own.”
Everything about Barrel Down encourages conversation and community. There are two TV’s above the bar, but they’re (refreshingly) left off unless “the game” is on. It’s been said, “the best place to drink is in good company’, but with or without, 40 craft beers on tap is a damn good place to start.