Brewsters has gotten a facelift
After a short period of being closed, Brewster’s on 11th Ave SW has just recently finished renovations, and the dark cavernous atmosphere has been replaced with a brighter motif. The bar has been replaced, and natural light now flows in to much of the dining area. The menu is the same as it was before the renovations, although I’ll get to why that’s good and bad in a moment.
The black leather chairs next to cozy fireplaces have been replaced by booths and open windows. Given Calgary’s sometimes perpetual winter, I’m not entirely sure this has been a good move, as the window seats will be chilly. However, this move does provide slightly more seating. There are now televisions all over the walls, and while that would be good for watching sports at night, I find that too many televisions in restaurants is too distracting, making it hard to have conversations. They didn’t take the television trend to the extreme like Hudson’s Taphouse (which is sensory overload in a bad way), it’s still a bit much.
My friend and I opted to eat on the patio, which they’ve repainted black and removed the flowers. It was mid-September, so it wasn’t too bad, but I think the paint job may backfire when the July sun beats down on the city next year.
The menu is the same, which is mid-to-high end pub fare. I ordered the pretzel bun beef dip and had a pint of their house Hammerhead Ale to complement it. The quality is the same as before, but so are the prices - and this is where I think the main problem of Brewsters lies. When I first came to this pub a few years ago you could get an excellent meal, a beer, and give a generous tip for 20 bucks. Since then, the price has continually crept up, and now just a burger and beer will run you more than 20 with tax. Their food and service is good, but given the other lunch options in the immediate area (the Blind Monk comes to mind quite quickly), it’s simply not worth the price.
So what’s my verdict? If you want to be assured a good meal and you’re eating on someone else’s tab, by all means go. But if you’ve been going out of habit, try looking at the other options to save a few bucks - you won’t regret it.
Brewsters seems to be desperate since they’ve started losing their crowd to the newly-opened Craft. I’m sure they’ll get some people back with the new look (the old bar was getting a bit grubby and the tables were wearing out), but I think they would get more people back with a well-advertised price cut.