Your guide to getting better beer with food, music, sports and movies
By Kevin J. Gray
If you’ve ever been to see your favorite band or gone to a highly recommended restaurant and been stuck drinking terrible beer all night, you know how it can ruin an experience. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to happen that way and a lot of Dayton establishments are working to ensure that it won’t. Below is a guide to craft-brew-friendly restaurants, music clubs, sports bars and cinemas in the Dayton area.
Craft Brew and Dining Out
While some restaurants have started working craft beer into their menus, there are a few places where the beer list is the star attraction.
For sit-down meals try Thai 9, in the Oregon District. This well-known favorite has an extensive beer list that pairs well with Thai food and sushi and has a great patio. In Moraine, Chappy’s Tap Room and Grille serves up barbecue fare paired with a beer list so large it’s a book. Chappy’s also offers tasting flights, with four samples of different beers tied to a theme, to help you decide what to pair with the main course. Finally, because gourmet pizza deserves gourmet beer, check out Dewey’s Pizza, on Brown Street by UD’s campus. Although the tap list is moderate, there are always several outstanding beers and the place is pretty kid-friendly, good for those moms and dads who like to tip back a good brew.
For more traditional pub fare, The Dublin Pub in the Oregon District features Irish pub favorites, while Tank’s Bar and Grill on Wayne Avenue offers a huge bottled beer selection to wash down their sometimes greasy, but always excellent, pub grub. Boston’s Bistro, north of town, is one of Dayton’s original craft beer destinations and features pizzas and Hungarian creations. Or check out the Oregon District’s recent addition, Lucky’s Taproom and Eatery, which offers both traditional and vegan-friendly fare alongside their 14 taps and occasional cask ales.
Finally, two notable delis offer craft beer with your pastrami on rye. Order a sandwich and a beer from 5th Street Wine & Deli and people-watch from their patio. Or, in Centerville, check out Culinary Company, which is part foodie haven, part sandwich/gourmet beer and wine shop.
Craft Brew and Music
Groups like the Ohio Players and Guided By Voices that originated in Dayton are a testament to the city’s vibrant music scene. Several local bars understand that folks who love good music also love great beer.
South Park Tavern’s beer list is nothing short of amazing, with upwards of 20 taps, all unique and of high-quality. These adjectives also describe the bar’s music. Thanks to Kyle Melton of the Buddha Den (and the DCP’s music editor), who hosts a weekly spotlight at the bar each Tuesday night, SPT is a local band incubator. Both the tap list and the upcoming shows are listed on the bar’s website, updated regularly.
The Trolley Stop, in the heart of the Oregon District, caters to a more eclectic musical taste, generally booking bands with a roots feel. Bands play Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights with an open mic on Thursday. The Trolley espouses a strict “No Crap on Tap” policy, backing up the effort with beer tastings held the first Wednesday of every month. During warmer months, the Trolley has one of the best beer patios in town.
Finally, Blind Bob’s, also in the Oregon District, pairs music with beer. Sign up for open mic on Thursdays or check out local bands on the weekend. Their burgers are excellent, and as part of the Growler Co-op (along with The Trolley Stop, South Park Tavern and Thai 9), you can fill a jug of beer to go for the after party with the band.
Craft Brew and Sports
Don’t settle for pale micro-lagers with the big game. Instead, check out the following craft-beer friendly places to watch.
If you like your sports bars crammed full of flat-panels, Fox and Hound, in Beavercreek, is for you. While the tap list is not overwhelming, there are many solid choices. Here you can introduce your non-craft beer friends to something interesting while watching the game.
Ohio State and Cleveland Browns fans would do well at Taggart’s Pub, in Patterson Park. An unassuming neighborhood bar, owners have been quietly expanding the beer selection to include the likes of Stone, Flying Dog, Dogfish Head and Great Lakes. The bar has a loyal following, especially on game days when it takes on a strong, communal feel.
Or, if football to you means a sport played with a black and white ball, head to The Pub at the Greene. This British-themed gastropub specializes in Great Britain’s favorites, with an emphasis on beers from England, Ireland and Scotland, and generally a traditional cask-conditioned ale.
Craft Brew and the Movies
Finally, quality beer is often as independent and as quirky as independent cinema, so it’s only natural that the Neon Movies, one of the area’s most eclectic movie theaters, offers craft beers like Goose Island’s Honkers Ale with their Twizzlers, popcorn and M&Ms. Not a huge selection, but enough decent beers to satisfy any critic.
Reach DCP freelance
writer Kevin J. Gray at