As you probably know by now, the new “World of Beer” restaurant opened at Crossgates Mall on Monday the 23rd (though I was lucky enough to be invited to the VIP “sneak peak” on Sunday the 22nd). These are my observations:
- If I had to describe this place in one sentence it would probably be, “Buffalo Wild Wings with a better beer selection.” It definitely seems to be a classic sports-themed bar and grill, though a little classier. There are televisions everywhere, the servers just wear jeans and t-shirts, there’s loud music, and it’s dark with cool blue lighting. This doesn’t seem to be a place you’d take the family.
- The draught selection is interesting and impressive for this type of venue. They carry a lot of locally-brewed brewed beer, which is nice. There were six taps of Brown’s beer out of Troy. A lot of major American craft breweries are on tap, too, like Bell’s, Stone, Evil Twin, Lagunitas, Founders, etc. I ordered He’Brew Funky Jewbelation (made by Shmaltz in Clifton Park). It’s a high ABV sour ale that’s rather hard to find, so the fact they had it was impressive. It came in the right glassware and wasn’t ice cold. My friend ordered a Bell’s Lager of the Lakes, which she liked. Later on I ordered a Davidson Bros. Ryely Ale, which was okay.
- The staff has a long way to go before they’re really qualified to talk about beer. I noticed the majority of the servers seemed to be pretty young women in their early 20s (possibly younger). While all of them were perfectly polite and nice, they all seemed inexperienced. This doesn’t bother me too much since it was Day 1 after all, so they get a pass. Still, describing beer in vague (and, frankly, incorrect) terms such as “dark” and “light” is one of my biggest pet peeves. I can understand when that’s the lingo used at a place like Hooters, but a beer-themed establishment should be a bit more nuanced.
- Speaking of service, it was extremely slow. It was a good 25-30 minutes between the time I placed my order and the time it was delivered. Also, once it arrived they forgot to bring me silverware and napkins. I had to flag down another girl for some, who promptly brought over a fistful of napkins and about 20 forks and knives. Oiy. Okay, opening night jitters, these things happen. Still…
- I didn’t really look over the food menu that closely. It seemed to be the standard stuff you find at fast casual restaurants. I ordered the Cuban sandwich, which was pretty good but it was slathered in yellow mustard (it’s a condiment – not a braise!). I had to eat the tater tots with my fingers, as they would break apart if I stabbed them with a fork. It all tasted fine, but it wasn’t amazing.
- It looks like they’re going to have live music there almost every night. If I wanted live music I’d go to SPAC. Maybe I’m just cynical because I know live music and dim lighting are a classic ploy by bars and restaurants to get you to drink faster and in greater quantities. I hate having to yell just to talk to the person next to me. I rarely enjoy the music bar bands play, and if they’re playing a song I like I’d rather hear it played by the original artist, not a cover band.