Bar Review: Roast

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By Niko Ivanovic 

Though only separated by a few blocks, the craft beer and cocktail world of capital bars stands in stark contrast to the packed “Top-40” State Street bar scene. Roast attempts to bridge that gap, combining a gastropub style décor and drink menu with a crowded college atmosphere.

As a self-proclaimed beer geek, the first thing I noticed while walking up to the bar was their impressive tap list. While most of the surrounding bars have succumbed to a macrobrew invasion, Roast features impressive craft offerings like Founders Breakfast Stout and Centennial IPA, Goose Island Sofie, and Lagunitas Lil Sumpin’ Wild. Though these beers aren’t necessarily rare, the variety of styles and brewers is undeniably impressive, especially with half-price taps on Wednesday nights.

In terms of atmosphere, brick walls and dark wood tables give the bar a modern yet warm feel. There’s no doubt the space has undergone much well spent renovation since its down and dirty Buffalo Wild Wings days. However, Roast loses a bit of that classy Capitol bar feel as the calendar flips to the week’s end, drawing swarms of student life that force the staff to clear the tables away, resulting in a far more open environment. Still, the atmosphere has a much richer and down to earth feel than much of its neighboring competition.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the music. A bar like this cries out for a chill playlist, full of Pretty Lights, The Black Keys and Deadmau5. Instead, the vast majority of Roast’s music consists of bad hip hop. And of course just when the bar managed to play something atmospherically appropriate (Zed’s Dead remix of “Eye’s on Fire”), the next song switches to Outkast.

In reality, the music is telling of a more fundamental problem in Roast’s philosophy: it tries to do too much. Though a hybrid of college bar and upscale gastropub sounds good on paper, what results is a bit of an identity crisis. Depending on the night, Roast can either be a perfect chill spot for affordable craft beer and drinks, or a mainstream music-blasting skeleton of wasted potential. I would advise visiting the bar on a weeknight when Roast resembles a more nearby taste of the Capitol Square, rather than a confused version of the KK.

Specials:

Sunday:

  • $9 New Glarus pitchers
  • $3 Screwdrivers

Monday:

  • $10 Coors Light buckets

Tuesday:

  • $9 New Belgium pitchers
  • 2 for 1 rail mixers

Wednesday:

  • 1/2 price taps
  • $10 Riesling bottles
  • $3 Stoli mixers

Thursday:

  • $4 Farleys
  • $2 Domestic bottles

Friday:

  • $5 Bud and Rolling Rock pitchers
  • $3 Margaritas
  • $2 Soco-Lime shots

Saturday:

  • $5 Bloody Mary’s

Drinks: 9/10

Specials: 7/10

Atmosphere: 6/10

Location: 10/10

Overall: 8/10

Roast is located at 529 State Street. Its hours are Mondays 5pm-close and 11am to close Tuesday through Sunday.  For additional information call (608) 819-6457 or visit roastpublichouse.com. 

MODA Magazine and the WUD Publications Committee do not endorse underage or irresponsible drinking. This article is intended for informative culinary purposes, and these beverages should be consumed in moderation by those of the legal drinking age.

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