Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bar Review: Flying Saucer

I don't think any bar in Austin could possibly compete with the beer selection at the Flying Saucer. There are a huge number of beers on tap, including less common varieties like lambics and Trappist ales. My friends who are on gluten free diets like it when we go to the Flying Saucer because there are always several gluten free beers on the menu in addition to all of the ciders they have. The beers and ciders on tap rotate regularly, too, so even if you're going every week, you should still find something new to try every time. For non-drinkers, there are various root beers available by the bottle, or you can always order a fountain soda. Just don't come looking for Bud Light.

The food is not amazing, but it's better than average for a bar. There is also a much larger selection than a typical bar. Snacks you won't find everwhere include chips and queso, bread pretzels, and cheese-filled tater tots called Rocket Tots. The food ranges from greasy stuff like pizza and burgers to healthier sandwich and wrap options. The Flying Saucer is a great option for lunch because it's never crowded at that time of day, there's enough choices to make everyone happy, and they have well priced specials for the Triangle. But people definitely come for the beer more than the food.

Seating options are nice and varied. While the inside is mostly tables and booths, there is also a bar and some comfy couch space if you can get it. Outside, there are plenty of picnic tables with benches, plus an open area with cushioned seating that is great for big groups when the weather allows it. Usually I prefer a table inside, but outside is great when it's not summer.

The Flying Saucer is a great place to have a conversation because I never find myself having to shout to talk to other people. It's a good choice for large groups (I have come in with 15 people before), but not every night. In addition to Friday and Saturday as you might expect for a bar, Tuesdays are very crowded because of trivia, and Wednesdays are usually crowded as well because they give out a glass every Wednesday. I never have trouble on Sundays, Mondays, or Thursdays, though.  Hopefully they'll expand the bar someday.

I'm always happy with the service. The bartenders and servers are friendly, and they know their beer very well. I don't know what training they give these girls, but it's very effective. If you're having trouble making up your mind, they can always make a recommendation for you if you give them some idea of what you're in the mood for.

There are a few TVs in the place with sports on them, but this is definitely not a sports bar. It's hard to get a seat with an angle that is good for watching the whole game, but if you just want to watch key plays and keep up with the score, you shouldn't have any trouble doing so. As far as games go, they have a couple of dart boards, and that's it. I've never had to wait on darts when I want to play because most people go to try new beers and enjoy the company of their friends.

The big thing that sets the Flying Saucer apart, which is also the thing that keeps me coming back aside from the selection, is the UFO Club. Club membership is a one-time fee (only $15 or $20 when I signed up), and it comes with a T-shirt and membership card. With the card, they will actually keep track of all the different beers that you drink there, and every 50 unique beers gets you a reward. At 200, you get a $100 tab for a party where they unveil a plate on the wall with your name on it and whatever quote you want. This loyalty program is a fun challenge that other bars can't beat.

If you're looking for a place to get a good beer, eat some decent food, keep up with the score of the game, or have an engaging conversation with friends, the Flying Saucer is an excellent choice. If you want to drink Bud Light, listen to deafening music, shoot pool, dance, watch every play of the game, or get obnoxiously drunk, this is not the place for that. (Via Travis R)

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