I’ve been to Kraftwork a number of times now and I think I like it. I mean, it’s okay. There’s that one sandwich that’s really delicious, but not much else that really stands out on the (recently reconsidered) menu. The draught list is amazing, although it’s like doing surgery with a shotgun; put enough beers on tap and you’re sure to get something right, no?
But you can fix menus and curate beer lists to make it seem like you know what you’re doing, rather than not wanting to get it wrong. What you can’t really change is physical plant. If you want to be clubbed over the head with concept, Kraftwork is the place. Without even mentioning the clunker of a name, you know it’s stylized to a fault, which really distracts from the things that probably brought you there in the first place. Did I mention how NOISY it is? Now, I know I’m getting older, but when you have a DJ spinning dance music during dinner, at a place that doesn’t have a dance floor, you’re going out of your way to seem silly. I mean, at least the Abbaye had sensible brunch DJs.
Thing I hear from fans of craft beer and gastropubs in general though is that the prices are simply too high. I can get a pint of Russian River Blind Pig for less than I can a tulip of the same at Kraftwork. And while the taps are more plentiful than other neighborhood bars, I don’t get the sense that more thought went into selecting what’s on them. Instead of feeling like you’re getting a deal on something that’s been carefully considered, you know you’re overpaying for something you can probably get somewhere else in town.
Will I keep going back? Absolutely. I have faith that Adam Ritter will get it right and, hell, who I am to say anything: the place is usually full to overflowing, which is a good problem to have in this economy. If they can build a tasty, inexpensive menu around their beer can chicken sandwich, then they’re already on the right track. Where else can you get a Mikkeller Breakfast Beer Geek Imperial Stout at 10:30 on a Sunday morning?