I had been reluctant to visit Bigby's because I wasn't into the wine bar thing. Then I recently discovered that Bigby's Pour House had changed owners late last year. While they still serve wine, the craft beers have been brought into the spotlight as well. Keep this in mind when reading reviews written before October 2010.
Bigby's is located in an unassuming building next to a deli. You can barely tell it is there, but it is worth finding. There is ample parking in the lot next to the building.
Walking into the place I noticed that it is a pretty small space. This is not a problem for me because I like to come early before the crowds, but I imagine it could feel pretty tight on a popular night. I actually like the cozy, corner bar feeling very much. There are no windows, except for the entrance doors, and the lighting is nicely subdued with a welcome lack of neon. There are a reasonable number of TVs as well. I was not assaulted by a wall of them playing only sports. On one of my visits, Ed, the owner even allowed me to choose what we should watch on one. (Although he may have regretted that when I chose "Swamp People" just for the fun of it.) The background music is also kept at a reasonable volume that still allows conversation.
As is my usual custom, I sat at the bar with my wife. Perhaps I will try the couch on a future visit. The bar chairs are cushioned and very comfortable. I think there are about 10 or 12 of them. The bar is L shaped with the chairs on the inside of the L, so it can feel a little cramped for those at the bend. The only thing that was missing was a chair rail. I like to have someplace to rest my feet when I am sitting up high.
Getting to the beers. I didn't count exactly, but I think there are about 10 on tap and around 30 bottles. They don't brew their own beer, but their selection is sufficient to keep me happy. They don't have any Bud or Miller products and this is a very good thing. Ed, the owner/bartender knows his beers and he is happy to talk about them and share a taste or two to help you decide.
As an example, here are a few beers that I have enjoyed at Bigby's:
Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin'
Bigby's Rye PA (by Two Brothers)
Bear Republic Racer 5
The service is fantastic at Bigby's. Ed and Mike kept our glasses full of tasty brews all night long and even kept us hydrated with water which I appreciate greatly.
The food choices at Bigby's are fairly limited. I haven't tried everything, but basically there is a strong focus on flatbread. There are several varieties of flatbread pizza. I have enjoyed the 4+1 bonus cheese pizza and the Latin Lover pizza. The desserts are also flatbread based. The Smores flatbread and Muddy Pig are gooey, messy, and decadently delicious.
Overall, I have enjoyed Bigby's Pour House and I will definitely be returning. The focus on good beer and customer satisfaction makes it a place that you cannot help but like as long as you aren't looking for the usual corporate clone sports bar. The location of Bigby's puts it in an area that is sorely in need of better choices for the discerning beer bar patron. I'd recommend that you go to Bigby's, but I am torn. I want my new favorite bar to be successful, but not so much so that there is no room at the bar for me!
Bigby's Pour House seems to be mainly a wine bar, but they do have about 10 taps of pretty good stuff:
I visited yesterday (8/28/09) and they had Bells Two Hearted, Bells Oberon, Three Floyds Gumballhead, Delerium, 312, Unibroue and a few others. I chatted with the owner and he told me they would be getting Half Acre's Daisy Cutter in the following day (yum)! They also have a fairly extensive bottle list, available on their website.
The food was delicious (mostly small plates) - a can't miss is the flatbread with provolone, pears, walnuts, figs, and honey! Tasted like a dessert pizza! We also tried the Tuscan Delights and the goat cheese which were also wonderful but the flatbread kinda blew everything else away.
I also enjoyed the wine flights (as a beer enthusiast who enjoys wine but doesn't know too much about it, they were perfect for me). 3 glasses of wine for $10-$20. Not too shabby.
And I'm sure this speaks more for the popularity and availability of the beer than Bigby's but the Gumballhead they were pouring was the freshest I'd ever tasted!
If you are looking for unique beers you haven't had before this probably isn't the place but if you are just hoping to enjoy a lovely atmosphere and meal, maybe try some wines, and have a pint or two of your favorite standby, you'll love it!
If you are anywhere nearby, definitely stop in (and order a flatbread).