Obviously, I had to attend on opening day. My girlfriend and I arrived around 6:30 PM and the place was packed. The servers outside told us the multiple bars were self-seating but we would need to put our name in for a table. The waiter wrote our names down on a piece of paper and told us it would be about 45 minutes. As we headed in to try and I get a drink at the bar, I was little worried we would never get a table. I know that it's opening night, but for a restaurant as hyped as this with such a large social media presence, an up to the minute draft list on Taphunter, etc. would have a better system of seating people.
The restaurant has 3 different bars, one serving liquor, one serving North Carolina draft beer, and one serving beer from everywhere else. There was a small bar on the rooftop as well that wasn't online this night so I'm not sure what they'll have up there. The bars were drastically understaffed. It's opening night and there were a ton of people, but it took a very long time to get a drink. By the time we walked around a little, deciphered the insane draft list, and got two drinks, the 45 minutes was up and we checked back with the front to get our table.
Soon after entering, I learned that the world record for beers on tap had not yet been broken. Many of the taps were not yet hooked up, including the first four I tried to order. While it might take you 30 minutes to work your way through the draft list, in my opinion it really wasn't that amazing. Many of the beers are very common that are available elsewhere in Raleigh, just not all in one place. One thing I was glad to see is that they had some options from some North Carolina breweries that I never see on draft in this area, including Ass Clown and Frog Level. Unfortunately, none of these were actually on draft yet. I'll be anxious to see how much turnover they have here, or will it pretty much be the same beers all the time.
Raleigh Beer Garden has massive potential, but still a lot to work on. With 366 beers on tap less than a mile from my apartment, I'm sure I'll be back often regardless. It will be interesting to see how this works out having so much beer on draft. Will beers stay fresh? I've heard some concerns about this from some local breweries on podcasts and online and I don't think anyone really knows yet how this place will do. Nevertheless, it is another craft beer bar that I am very glad to have in Raleigh.
614 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27603