Two New Joints on J

Yesterday, I embarked on a brief fact-finding mission (basically I drove down J St from 16th to Alhambra) and spied two newish establishments. The first, The Garlic Shack, has taken over where the always inadequate Sugar Plum used to be on J and 19th. I’m assuming the menu will feature garlic fries, garlic chicken, and garlic cake. It will also, thankfully, be light on vampires and people looking for vampires, both of which fail to amuse.

The other joint that stood out to me, River Rock Tap House, apparently does not open until happy hour, so I wasn’t able to sample their tap lineup at 2 in the afternoon. Basically a remodel of the Tex Mex establishment formerly there, it’s on J and 23rd/24th. From 2nd hand reports I’ve heard that they’re planning on 80 or so taps, but only about 40 are filled, featuring a nice range of mid to upscale brews from all over the world .

If anyone has any first-hand experience with either joint, drop a note.

7 thoughts on “Two New Joints on J”

  1. Taphouse has good beers on tap at fair prices. Can’t wait for them to get more taps. Hopefully it will lead to some hard to get beers coming their way. Setup is a little weird/awkward with most of the taps in the back corner, but the main bar on kitty corner from it across the interior. So you order a beer at the bar, but the order has to be sent across the room, poured and walked over.

    Their AC isn’t up to the job of a semi full house though. It was cooler outside than it was inside, which was a drag. We tried the cross cut fries to nibble on with beers and they were a little on the mushy side and the cheese was sort of in blobs instead of well spread out (also had bacon and comes with a side of sour cream). I guess they are sort of like potato skins. Not a fail, but not a win either.


  2. Garlic Shack—inexperienced, indifferent servers, confusing menu, and a the three dishes we had didn’t feature much garlic. I’ll go back in a month or so (if it’s still open) and see if they’ve ironed out the kinks.


  3. River Rock has a lot of promise…. As Eats mentioned, yes, they are planning on having about 120 taps by early September, so this entire experience is a bit of a soft opening for them. They’ve got the place, why not sell some beer? But, at the moment, they don’t have a single beer I have much interest in drinking. Lots of good stuff, but all common beers that I have been drinking for years.

    The inability to define this business may be troublesome. It is sort-of a lounge, a bar, and a casual eatery wrapped into one. If you are not beer curious, you may just walk by, not knowing that they have a full bar, some cool video games and some tasty eats.

    I look forward to September!


  4. tap house is nice as far as the beer/food goes, but they had NO BUSINESS opening before their air conditioning worked. i won’t go back until september, even though i’m happy about having this place near me.


  5. River Rock has already stepped up their game and is adding great beers every time I have been in. I have been enjoying Russian River Consecration, Rodenbach Grand Cru, and more.



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