Saturday, February 28, 2009


Yes, I’ll admit it; I’m a creature of habit. One of those habits is choosing a dining location by their beer selection. Sure there are some exceptions such as deciding to go out for sushi or to certain ethnic restaurants that have great food but no liquor license, but overall the beer offerings are as important as the food.

Last night we headed to Stillwater with Kat & Scott to try out Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar. This place has been getting some pretty good press for its food and I figured that they must have at least a passable beer selection knowing that they carry Lift Bridge. So over the river and through the woods we went.

Upon entering, the décor was less than inspiring and in Mag’s words “more Disney” than expected. Taking a look at the beer menu, the only local beer listed was Summit. Funny, I thought since I knew with 100% certainty that Lift Bridge had done a beer event here in the past. When asked, our waitress confirmed that yes; they did have Lift Bridge Farm Girl Saison. Our drink order went in and we proceeded to figure out what dinner would consist of.

A long time later our drinks arrived, we ordered the plantain and tortilla chips with habanero salsa and queso for an app and our dinners. The appetizer was good, but not great and unfortunately that pretty much summed up the rest of the meal, too. I don’t know if they were severely understaffed or what the deal was but each time we ordered drinks it took an inordinately long time for our server to return with them. Had it not been for the fact that some friends (Brad, Dan, Jim and Julie of Lift Bridge) showed up as we were finishing the food I think we would have departed much sooner and headed over to Mad Capper where the beer selection is far superior and the service better.

I don’t mean this to be unduly cruel but in all honesty I’d choose Famous Dave’s over Smalley’s any day for the food. Add to that their abysmal beer selection (note: you can get a 40 oz of Mickey’s or Colt) and service and I can guarantee this is one place I’ll not be returning to.


  1. Yeah, I'm not sure how it made the list of one of the best dining spots in the TC in the Mpls St Paul magazine. Maybe I just ordered the wrong thing, but I wasn't really impressed.

  2. That's a bummer. I had an equally bad experience at the place that was at that location previously. Maybe the ground in cursed?

  3. Could be. Maybe they just need a little voodoo ceremony to get rid of the bad mojo. I went there wanting to like the place, especially so I could support another business that carries Lift Bridge brews.