Place: Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant
1201 Brickell Avenue, Miami
Hours: Monday through Friday, 4-6:30 p.m. and late night happy hour is everyday from 10 p.m.-closing.
Deals: $1 off all house lagers, $2 off wines by the glass and $5 cocktails during happy. Select appetizers also go for $5 to $7.
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Scene: It's hard to miss what Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant is all about the minute you walk into the Brickell location. You'd need blinders not to see the glass-enclosed giant metal silos behind the bar that cook up the brewery's brews (though separated from the restaurant the staff will give you a quick tour when they have a chance). It's quite a spectacle and more than just eye candy as brew master, Luke Erdody, consistently wins medals for his creations.
The tanks, oversized 16.9 oz mugs and famous Gordon Biersch glass boot make picking a draft a bit intimidating so you should go ahead with the beer sampler, which allows you to try 5 different brews and over 20 oz. of alcoholic goodness for only $5. You might want to order some happy hour treats like the beer and garlic fries or the Southwest Chicken Egg rolls with the big brews lest you get light headed.
The happy hour crowd is starting to see more residents from the onslaught of Brickell residential towers and condos and they particularly enjoy the late night happy hour from 10 p.m. to close. When the sun goes down, the spacious outdoor seating on Brickell is a welcomed respite from cramped quarters at most other financial district spots. For most of the year they have live music on many nights which helps liven up the financial district's less than festive personality.
Conclusion: Gordon Biersch manages to tote the line between sleek, urban restaurant bar and restaurant without delving into pretentiousness. It's part of a large franchise which can lead to complacency of spirit but the care and effort required to maintain the built-in brewery helps it keep a distinct personality.