Many Hues of Brews at Summits

Posted: February 29, 2012 in Food, Reviews
Tags: , ,

It’s probably a good thing that my favorite pub is a 20 minute drive from home, or I might be tempted to trash my budget and visit far more often. I have a deep-seated blue-collar affection for dive bars (I use only the most complimentary context of the term). All the proper elements are present at Summits Wayside Tavern in Snellville: a large group of regulars, a friendly and informative staff, a massive draft beer selection, and excellent pub food with a menu that often travels into “gastro-pub” territory for pleasant surprises.

Summits’ Snellville location was once a Taco Mac; the concept is still the same but they do it better. Superficially there are very few things that set apart the two Atlanta chains – both have plenty of TV sets, the wall of beer taps, a “world beer tour” passport club, and trivia nights – so it must be the staff (front and back) that make it superior. Summits keeps luring me in for their frequent pint glassware giveaway specials, but if I’m honest with myself that’s just an excuse to go get the food.

Choosing a beverage to start can be overwhelming for the newbie, because the available draft selection alone is well over 100 beers long and is updated weekly. If you enjoy craft beer but don’t know much about the breweries or beer styles all of the servers are trained to help you select the one you’ll most enjoy. As for grub, always ask your server for the seasonal menu. They don’t always have one, but it’s always worth it when they do. Sausage month was particularly memorable, as was Regional Sandwiches month and Flatbread Pizza month. And I’ve never been to another pub with a noodle bowl section on the regular menu. (Probably not quite what you get on Buford Hwy, but tasty, with generous portions and chopsticks.)

The food prices are reasonable when compared to other restaurants, but I’ve seen people blanche at the cost of some of the brews. A decent craft beer here will cost as much as a six-pack of the yellow fizzy watered-down stuff at your local Kroger – and it’s actually worth it, because you can’t usually get these on draft anywhere else. (One last thing about beer pricing: like every other bar, they charge about 3 times as much as the liquor store does for a 12-oz bottle of the same thing, and half as much as the ballpark would. Big deal.) The dozen or so high-gravity beers will add another buck or two to your tab and are served in a 10-oz glass.

So if you’ve always driven by and were too put off by the sketchy-looking front entrance to check it out, you’ve got new reasons to put aside your doubts. There’s good beer and good food to be had! Watch for the occasional Groupon special, and check out the website for holiday specials and events.

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