Pub Grub Elevated

Feb. 12, 2019 | by Daryl Burch

Many visitors may feel intimidated with the abundance of wine-focus in the Napa Valley. Some folks simply aren’t wine drinkers. So for those with other tastes, we’ll highlight a couple of our favorite beer haunts. While all these places are “all about the beer,” they do a pretty bang-up job with their food, too, putting together flavors that compliment their beers. And they provide festive-yet-relaxed environs to enjoy a pint or three…

Napa Palisades Saloon

Started by a couple of Napa locals/friends, Napa Palisades Saloon’s concept is to be a place locals as well as visitors can relax, unwind from a busy day and refuel with some soul-satisfying eats. It has become known as a favorite haunt for certain Iron Chefs who may be in the area (Hint: just down Main St. a couple blocks).

The beer program carries over 30 taps, primarily of Northern California micro-brews, and their own productions. You’d be hard-pressed to not find something to like. And to wash down a fresh, cold brew is a wide-ranging menu that appeals to most all palettes. Which they execute perfectly.

With pub staples like pickled eggs, fish tacos, chicken wings, on up to Steak & Fries, and a righteous Lamb Burger, you’ll always something that piques your appetite.

One not-to-be-missed item they’re known for are their Reuben Croquettes. These little deep-fried dumplings of love are meant to be an appetizer. But I’m telling you, they steal the show. Stuffed with smoked pastrami, house-made sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, then rolled in Panko flakes and flash-fried, they are served hot with fresh, cool Thousand Island dressing. Definitely worth a revisit! And only a 10-minute walk from us, it is not to be missed!

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NapaSport has come on the scene as two restaurants in one: A high-end steakhouse on one side, with the relaxed sports lounge on the other. The hardwood floor is a reclaimed basketball court from a local collage. And the menus are covered in basketball skins. The sports lounge consists of multiple settings to either take in a game on any of the 14 HDTVs surrounding the bar. Or there are a even a couple alcove booths that seat up to 8 or so for a more secluded viewing.

The formal dining side has a level of sophistication and elegance (no TVs) and feels on the level of Morimoto or La Toque. The menu is greatly varied. But the feature is really the hand-cut Prime USDA steaks available by the ounce and cooked to your liking. And, yes, “rare” means RARE. With traditional steakhouse sauces (Bearnaise, Brandy Peppercorn, Mushroom, or Red Wine), the steaks are served with staples like garlic mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables and Bacon Brussels Sprouts.

And if you’re more into relaxing with a cocktail and a game, their nachos are on point and could easily feed four!

Only a short drive away in South Napa, NapaSport is absolutely worth the visit.

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Tannery Bend Beerworks

Nestled in the historic Tannery Row complex, south of downtown Napa, Tannery Bend Beerworks is the little brewery that could! This little “hole-in-the-wall” has quickly become a favorite of wine country locals to grab a beer and a bite after work, or hang out on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

They always have 10 taps going with all their own brews, named after streets in Napa. From the Coombs Saison (4.9%ABV), the Marzen, a couple of Pale Ales and IPAs, up to the dark and rich Glenbrook Sour Stout (8% ABV) with plums and figs and aged in bourbon barrels, the line-up covers the gamut of flavors.

A couple of the taps will be seasonal offerings, like the Capps Belgian Dubbel made with locally sourced Candy Cap Mushrooms –  fungi that grow in the hills around Napa. This “odd duck” ingredient gives the beer a strong aroma of maple syrup. As one patron declared, “It tastes like I’m drinking pancakes!” If dessert could be a beer, this would be it!

The nosh menu is succinct, yet formidable. Develop by part-owner and Chef Tyler Rodde (Oenotri), their take on pub staples will have you coming back. The Nachos del Dia dresses fresh tortilla chips in beer cheese made with the Coombs Saison and topped with salsa verde and may be topped with either Pollo Verde (shredded chicken) or Carnitas (shredded pork). The grown-up Grilled Cheese is made up with 3 stellar cheeses on Brioche.

And finally…the Reuben. ‘Nuff said. Made with house-smoked pastrami, sauerkraut, gooey Swiss, Russian dressing and toasted on marbled rye. It is down-right crave-able!

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Stone Brewing

Filling the +130-year-old Borreo Building at the corner of 3rd St. and Soscol, Stone Brewing has brought their whimsical gargoyle guarded brewing and creative cuisine to Napa. Overlooking the Napa River and downtown, the stately building provide a 2-level experience. You can sample beers in taster flights of 3 oz., 5oz. pours or pints on the patio overlooking the river. Or by the roll-up doors on the 2nd level which gives you all of downtown as your view.

While including 5 brews made in the Napa facility, their menu includes many of their signature brews from their other locations and changes with the seasons. The food menu is as eclectic as their beer menu. Since they do not have a deep fryer, they are creative with their offerings. The house-smoked Arrogant Bastard Pulled Pork Sandwich with creamy coleslaw, pickled jalapeños and bread & butter pickles on ABC Bakery potato bun is not to be missed.

The meat & cheese board is substantial enough for two for lunch. The choices of cured, aged salumi, dried fruit, and artisanal bread pairs nicely with their beers.

For the vegetarian-leaning side of the group, the “Stone’s Impossible Burger” with smushed avocado, Hellfire cheese, sweet drop Peruvian peppers and fried shallots on brioche bun is a real standout.

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Take a Stroll and an Adventure

These are just a couple of our favorites in downtown Napa. Just remember our innkeepers can make reservations for you for any of these great wine country tasting experiences. And we’ll have the lights on, the fireplace roaring, and some sherry and fresh chocolate chip cookies at the ready to cap off your perfect steak night!