Monday, July 27, 2009

The Distillery

Tonight we went to The Distillery. There are actually three different locations in Rochester, we went to the one in Winton Plaza in Brighton. You can find a full bar, casual bar food, and TVs playing sports at any of the locations. We chose the one in Brighton for it's convenient location, larger size, and decent parking lot. (The one on Mount Hope is a little smaller and has a tiny parking lot!) But did it live up to our expectations? And more importantly, is it worth your time? Keep reading to find out.

We'll be separating each review into a few sections: atmosphere, service, food, and overall impression. Let's get rollin'!


The Distillery is a fairly typical sports bar & grill. There's a nice outdoor patio with more than 10 tables for when the weather decides to cooperate. The inside is dominated by a large bar in the center of the restaurant. There's bar seating in the front of the restaurant, tables are located behind the bar. Prior to 9pm, it's definitely family least during the week! After 9pm though, you must be 21+. If it's game day and you're a transplant trying to find somewhere to watch your favorite sports team, the Distillery is a good choice. Plenty of televisions surround both the bar and main dining area. However, all of the TVs had their volume turned down and none had closed captioning on them! In short, it doesn't try to pretend to be something it's not.


We went on a Monday night, around 7 and were seated right away. Our waitress came over and introduced herself fairly promptly. She told us the drink specials and made a recommendation for an appetizer as well. We thought she was on top of things, friendly, and bubbly throughout the meal. Our only (minor) problem/complaint was at the end of the meal when it came time for the check, it took a long time. We weren't in a hurry, so it didn't bother us too much.

Food (and drinks)

Now for the important part...tasty beverages! I ordered my favorite drink of all time, a Raspberry Margarita. They offer a 2 for 1 daily special on their house margaritas. I could chose to get 2 separate margaritas or 1 double boozy margarita. I went for the double, obviously. Personally, I prefer my margaritas on the rocks, but I'll still take a frozen raspberry margarita over any other drink! The other Monday night drink special was $2.50 pints, so Geoff ordered the Sam Adams Seasonal, which was in this case the Summer Ale. was a beer. Cold & delicious.

The menu at the Distillery has mostly bar food, with a few surprises thrown in. In addition to your typical soup, salad, chicken wings, burgers, and sandwiches, you can find things like Seared Ahi Tuna, Chicken Spiedie, pastas, pizzas, and a number of dishes with salmon. You can find the full menu here. (Warning: PDF!) Appetizers are around $6/each and entrees $10-12. Portions are appropriate, but not enormous.

I was feeling hungry for some typical Rochester bar food, so I ordered the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich...but mild because I'm a wimp. And with ranch, since I despise bleu cheese. Substitutions were not a problem. My sandwich came out hot, and dripping (yes, dripping) with hot sauce. While it was definitely mild, it was a lot of sauce. I needed a few extra napkins! By the end, my mouth was on fire...I'm glad I wasn't brave enough to try the medium tonight! The sandwich comes out plain. I'm sure some folks would like lettuce, tomato, onion, etc... on their sandwich, but for me, I enjoyed it plain. I wasn't in the mood for anything particularly fancy, so this really fit the bill.

(And now Geoff will tell you about his dinner.)

I just recently discovered that I like Mediterranean food, and feta in particular, so when I saw the Spiedies on the menu, I had to go for it. The chicken was well seasoned (I believe it's an Italian dressing); skewered and grilled with some onions and green peppers. It was served on top of a flatbread along with cucumbers, red onion, tomato, feta, and tzatziki. Tomatoes are gross, though, so I ordered it without. As with Kelly, the substitution was not an issue. I was a little worried that the lack of tomatoes would change the "flavor profile" but I thought it all worked together. It came with a choice of side, so I ordered the wild rice pilaf, which was very flavorful, if a little too salty for my taste. Plating was certainly nothing to write home about, but I think that's pretty much expected at a place like this. Again, the portions were not enormous, and I was fairly hungry going in, so I cleared my plate, but felt quite satisfied.

Our server came by to collect our plates and recommended the Chocolate Lava Cake. We're both suckers for dessert, especially anything involving chocolate, truffles, ice cream, and/or lava, so we were pretty sold. Honestly, I inhaled it so fast I am not sure Kelly even tasted it, but I can vouch that it was solid. Not the best dessert I've had, but certainly more than I was expecting from a sports bar. They also had a Jack Daniel's Pecan Pie on offer, but Kelly doesn't like pecans, and it did not contain lava, so we passed on that, but it would be something to keep in mind for next time.

Final Thoughts

Our meal tonight was quite good, and well worth the $40 it cost us with drinks and dessert. The setting was casual and busy, but wasn't packed with people or too loud to hear each other. Service was overall prompt and friendly, even if we did have to wait for the check. The bar was very well stocked with a few dozen beers on tap as well as mixed drinks, making it a good place for a happy hour, but the food was good enough to come back for all on its own. If you're in the market for bar food and a beer (or double-strength margaritas) you can't really go wrong at The Distillery.

1 comment:

  1. As far as the atmosphere goes - I'd like to add that restaurants are forbidden to have the sound turned up on their televisions for most programming because of licensing restrictions. A handful of local Applebee's restaurants were fined thousands of dollars by ABC just last year for ignoring those restrictions. Closed captioning is a good alternative and the staff will turn it on if you ask nicely.

    Great review of a pretty decent restaurant. I particularly enjoy the half price appetizers (Sunday - Thursday after 9 p.m. and Monday - Thursday 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.)