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Selection: 3.75 | Service: 4 | Atmosphere: 3.25 | Food: 4.0emerge077's (340) Overall Score: 73.3
Gave Moonshine one more chance, and stopped in on a pub crawl recently. First thing I noticed were all the new names on the beer list, and a good variety of styles. There were 6 house taps: IPA (great), Smoked Porter (good), Dark Mild (good), Pale (mediocre), Irish Dry Stout (decent), Scotch Ale (ok). So the selection and quality have improved. During the day the crowd was relaxed, and they had all the windows open which was nice. They have a new chef i've heard good things about too. Worth a try if you're in the area, but still not a destination in my opinion.
2008-12-08: overall 53.3
This year Moonshine finally hired someone to brew beer on-site, to fit in with their pseudo-bootlegger theme. For years it has been a trendy see-and-be-seen concept bar/restaurant, with arguably the most irritating patio patrons in the neighborhood, wooo-ing and cackling while blocking the sidewalk in the warmer months. Club DJs play at night, catering to the martini trixies and button down & khakis crowd. I've avoided it like the plague for years now, passing it by on the way to more craft-friendly options nearby like Jerry's, Small Bar, Piece, Rodan, Handlebar, etc.
So in the spirit of being objective, I went over after work to try the beers and something off the menu. It was early in the evening, there were a couple suits with mason jar mixed-drinks at one end the bar, and some swearing cops on the other side, shouting "conversation" at each other across cavernous room. The place was large with high ceilings, and definitely gets pretty noisy. Lots of flatscreens playing sportscenter. The bartender was talking to the server and running a football pool, so it initially took a little while to get service. Once he noticed me, service was smooth after that. I tried all five beers they had, and there was a $3 house pint special on Mondays, (typically $5). Nolan the bartender was able to describe all the beers, and deferred to the manager for the abv on a couple. He said the brewing ingredients are sourced locally from other brewers in some cases. Sadly the only beer worth mentioning was the Sin City Stout, which was decent at best. The other pale ale variations all seemed similarly undercarbonated and pedestrian. The only other notable tap I saw was Matilda, the rest were pretty typical pseudo craft like Fat Tire, and common imports like Stella. They served tastes of the tap beers in little baby food jars. Bottled beers weren't on display or listed on the menu, though their website has a list that is 2/3 common macros and imports.
The Austin burger ($11) turned out to be the highlight, with bacon, cheddar, fried onions, and green chiles. It was on a brioche style bun and was very hearty and tasty. The specialty burgers were a new addition to the menu (last month or so), there were maybe 9 of them, all named after cities. The food seemed to have a southwestern slant, likely because the owners apparently live in New Mexico. Overall, this place had some decent food, I would come here for lunch possibly, but would skip it for dinner or drinking in general.
reviewed on: 2008-12-08 21:32:16