Review: Gezellig in The Grove
Gezellig Tap House & Bottleshop is the one of the newest spots in town to throw back a beer, then grab a six-pack to go from an overwhelming selection of alcoholic goodies. Owner Brandon Cavanagh’s idea to combine retail with a super sleek tasting room resulted in a smart and elegantly curated, self-service beer hall that’s easygoing and inviting. Thirsty patrons have the option of imbibing from a sizeable draft menu or moseying over to the massive wall of coolers and grabbing a brew. Beers can be purchased solo, in mix-and-match four- and six-packs or consumed on-site – professionally poured in the proper glassware by bartenders willing and able to help navigate the intimidating menu. Here are a few reasons to pull up a stool at this bottle shop-tap house hybrid in the middle of The Grove.
The Beer This is not your average bodega. Don’t expect to see many patrons popping the top on watered-down domestics. While hometown heroes are represented en masse, Gezellig doesn’t suffer from the obsession with featuring only local brews. The beer coolers, which tout around 700 different bottles and cans, offer selections from across the United States and Europe. Leaning heavily toward Danish, Belgian and German beers, Gezellig is a fantastic place to dive into Trappist ales and rich, bubbly old-school abbey beers like St. Bernardus, Chimay, Leffe, Duvel, Tripel Karmeliet and La Chouffe.
The 28 draft options range from beers made by nearby breweries such as Perennial Artisan Ales and 2nd Shift Brewing to selections like Ciderkin from Argus Cidery in Texas, The Bruery Humulus Terreux wild ale from California and Ritterguts Gose from Germany. Drafts are conveniently available in small 5-ounce pours for $2 to $5 a pop, as well as full pours from constantly changing taps. The menu is featured on a digital screen hovering over the bar. While beer is certainly the thing, there is also a nominal selection of wines, as well as house-bottled cocktails – usually classics like a gin martini, bottled Manhattan or Boulevardier – that sell for $10. The cocktails are enjoyable, but nothing to write home about compared to the massive beer collection. There’s a small food menu in the works, but for now customers are encouraged to bring in outside fare.
The Space There’s a dim, industrial, shabby-chicness to Gezellig. Occupying former music venue The Demo, it’s wide open and holds a nice-sized crowd. The 3,000-square-foot space is dominated by a massive poured concrete bar with a separate area for the well-used to-go counter. Exposed ceilings, corrugated metal walls and rubbed concrete floors give a sparse and distinctly utilitarian feel.
The Crowd While the dark space is anything but warm and fuzzy at first glance, there’s definitely an upbeat, fun atmosphere in this scrappy little taproom. The name itself, Gezellig, is a Dutch word roughly meaning convivial atmosphere, coziness or good times – similar to the Danish hygge. It suits the spot, which shares its up-and-coming neighborhood’s friendly, but irreverent, atmosphere. There’s a sense of community here, but thankfully not one of beer snobs. You could be just as comfortable sitting alone for an hour, chatting with strangers as you would piled into one of the long communal tables surrounded by old high-school buddies. The crowds can be thin at this new beer-centric stronghold, but with The Grove’s foot traffic and its appeal to both beer geeks and casual drinkers, Gezellig could easily become a neighborhood institution.
Gezellig Tap House & Bottleshop
4191 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.5532, gezelligstl.com
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