Spork This! Natty Greene Pub and Brewing

July, 02, 2010, by Paul

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BEER! Cripes, dude, if there’s one thing this town can’t get enough of it’s beer and I’m as stoked as the next resident. Raleigh is now home to a collection of local breweries and Natty Greene’s is the most recent addition to the club.

Located on West Jones Street off of Glenwood South, Natty Greene’s is a pub paradise full of pool tables, regulation-sized shuffle boards, an extra long bar, and more seating than a commercial airline! The space was once home to the old Raleigh Electric powerhouse, then came Southland Brewery (R.I.P.) and Prime Only a few years ago, but today the folks at Natty Greene’s have turned the warehouse building into a cozy, wood coated beer den. But, as simple and inviting as the decor is, the beer and food is the true matter at hand.

With over a dozen beers on draft, there is no shortage of quality brew to be enjoyed with everything from stout porters to heady IPA’s or mellow wits. As I toured the beer menu, sampling the pungent Guilford Golden, the hard-hitting Dark Horse Belgian Amber, and the smooth Wildflower Witbier I was pleased to find a food menu that matched in quality. At first it reads like a typical bar menu: Burgers, Sandwiches, Salads, Hearty Meat Plates, etc…but then the food arrives.

We started with a not-so-typical bar item: Cajun Fried Calamari. The calamari was covered in a crunchy batter full of chili powder heat, fried to perfection and served along side a heavy (but delightfully spicy) mayo-laced dipping sauce. All I needed were the lemon slices, but the sauce was good if you’re into that sorta’ thing. So far, so good!

Next up, the mains. My fellow diners chose the day’s specials including two chicken dishes, one was a grilled chicken panini with a healthy helping of crispy friees and the other a plate of blackened chicken smothered in deep, rich gravy accompanied by a back-yard-bbq style potato salad. I opted for the Cali Burger cooked medium rare (which is a sign the meat is ground in-house) topped with pepper jack, avocado, thin red onion, and tomato. It was a flavor explosion, the sinfully juicy burger mixed with the silky texture of ripe avocado, a hit of heat from the cheese, and a sharp bite of freshness from the onion and tomato. Exactly how a burger should be done. The burger, along with the sandwich and dinner plate, were also very reasonably sized: not too big that it felt like an overindulgence, not too small that it you left hungry.

Our hosts were incredibly gracious, helping us dissect the beer menu, suggesting their favorite beer/food pairings, and offering a tour around the brew house. I’ve since been back for lunch to sample a few of the other sandwiches, including the Cuban which is full of porky goodness and have been equally impressed by both the service, grub, and most importantly the $2 Pints on Thursdays. $2! That’s a PBR anywhere else in Raleigh.

Without waxing poetic on what is essentially pub grub, I can cheerfully exclaim that Natty Greene’s is a welcome addition to the Downtown bar and food scene. Casual and priced better than any other local brewpub I’m sure Natty Greene’s will outlast it’s predecessors in its new Raleigh home and may just squeeze out Isaac Hunters as Downtown’s Shuffleboard Headquarters.

The Verdict: 4 Stars.

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  • CtrlBurn
    07/02 09:05 AM

    Gonna have to go ahead and disagree with this one.  The beer is chalky and the food is over-priced and over-salted.  I don’t hate the place, but it’s not something I would ever rave about.

  • Jenna
    07/02 11:02 AM

    Yum. Love Natty’s Greene’s—especially the Grinder.

    One correction: the place before Prime Only was Southend not Southland.

  • Paul
    07/02 11:18 AM

    You’re right. My mistake, a typo mostly since I loved Southend. CtrlBurn, which beer did you find chalky?

  • Les
    07/02 01:33 PM

    The SouthSide Philly sandwich is awesome with the hand cut chips. And the Imperial Pilsner is terribly tasty along with the Freedom IPA. Seriously, i had my doubts about this place when i first heard about it, they are all gone, now i find myself craving it.

  • Jeff
    07/02 02:28 PM

    Yeah I love this place. It’s completely erased any need for me to ever visit Greensboro…  I think we need to go back this weekend actually.  Been out of town a lot and I’ve missed it.

  • Jon
    07/02 03:30 PM

    The original Powerhouse brewery was called Southend Brewery, not Southland. They still have a location in Charleston, SC

  • Jon
    07/02 03:31 PM

    Oops, already noted. You people are fast.

  • jj
    07/02 03:47 PM

    Even the bars in Raleigh are from somewhere else.  Is there anything original in this city anymore?

    07/02 03:55 PM

    Natty’s is the bomb.  Go and go often.

    jj - yes; this town has several original offerings, including:

    - a need amongst certain groups to paint the town as a large,bustling metropolis when it is not.
    - a need (amongst the same groups) to build a train for people who are convinced it will be better for the environment and it’ll help…someboday…somewhere
    - 42nd Street, Dive Bar, Rialto, Slim’s, Char-Grill, and Crowley’s….we’ll call that “Real Raleigh”.

  • CtrlBurn
    07/02 03:56 PM

    Paul, I’ve had the red, the stout, the porter, and the brown.  None of them were bad, but they were all a little chalky and weren’t as good as similar offerings from the other local breweries.  Boylan Bridge beer is better than Natty Greene’s in my opinion.  Certainly a matter of taste.

  • Rex
    07/02 05:28 PM

    Natty Greene’s has erased the need for me to go to Boylan Bridge. And I live on Boylan Ave…

  • Paulie T
    07/02 06:50 PM

    Boylan does craft some fine brews, I just can’t stand paying $5.50 for a pint…that’s outrageous. Give me a $2 Natty Pint any day.

  • Matt
    07/04 08:17 AM

    Here’s my Debbie Downer comment. The beer was alright but I found the boat shoes, croakies, and swooping hairstyles too much to overcome. As I was walking out of the place, a guy (that’s right, he was male) made an attempt to make fun of my clothing. It’s not Natty’s fault, but the crowd there will prevent me from going back.

  • OldeSchool
    07/05 07:25 PM

    > Even the bars in Raleigh are from somewhere else.  Is there >anything original in this city anymore?

    Dude. Seriously?

  • Ashley
    07/05 11:01 PM

    The chicken tenders are AMAZING…..even more amazing on Thursday with a $2 pint!

  • padre.militante
    07/06 03:00 PM

    Hey Ctrl Burn…the wife and i were going to get some $2 pints Thursday, you in?

  • jjones
    07/06 05:33 PM

    I went there about a month ago and was really impressed with the food.  Not only was it really good, the bill was totally reasonable.  I will be going back there for sure.

  • kg
    07/07 07:19 AM

    matt, don’t leave us hanging… what were you wearing?

  • Matt
    07/07 08:22 PM

    Plaid shorts and either a t-shirt or a polo without a logo (no guy riding a horse). I thought those were cool with that crowd?

    It hurt my feelings…

  • Rostel
    07/07 08:24 PM

    I dont see how anyone could say their beer is lacking in any way and then to go on to say that boylan bridge has better beer.  Thats insane.  I love the place and the atmosphere.  The Cohiba sandwich is absolutely amazing.  Its all I ever get.  Im craving one right now.

  • cp
    07/08 02:32 AM

    as an avid home brewer and a local brewery worker i would put these beers up against any microbrewery on the east coast… natty’s offers an everchanging rotation of seasonal brews and a solid backbone of year round brews.  this 12 beer list stands up without fail to any local brewery/brewpub;  and at $4 a pint ($2 on thursdays), it’s a steal. The food also has proven to far surpass any other brewpub/pub in the area.  hipsters beware, this place is here to stay. i fully support the great work being done at natty greene’s. raleigh welcomes another fantastic brewpub.

  • Rostel
    07/08 12:26 PM

    Well said cp.  Still fiending a cohiba.

  • Phil
    07/08 03:13 PM

    I went here once with a large group of friends. We sat down at a large table and waited to be served. We waited and waited and finally flagged someone down. Apparently they stop table service at some point. So we went elsewhere.

    I’d honestly rather go to the Saucer for a wider beer selection and late night (past 11?) table service.

  • Nicole
    07/08 04:15 PM

    seriously delicious burgers.
    and after the comment about the chicken tenders, i might have to try those next time. Yum!

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