Located in the historic Weatherford Hotel at 23 N. Leroux St. in the old downtown area is both the restaurant and the attached Exchange Pub. At the front of the room of a dozen small tables lies the small stage flanked by the short full bar containing 20 taps. One pool tables offers diversion for those enjoying the $2.00 happy hour pints until 7 PM and waiting for the band to start at 9 PM.
Fresh from the nearby Sedona was the Oak Creek Nut Brown; opaque, medium-bodied, fine head, smooth, nice malty flavor, and with a clean finish. A pleasant surprise was the Youngs Oatmeal Stout; opaque, creamy white head, and a great balance between dry and sweet. (520)779-1919
At 26 S. San Francisco St., this little publicized establishment, the full bar, 5 taps, a few sports TVs, videogames, and 2 pool tables draws a crown even before the band starts. There's nothing pretentious about the inner decor; wood floors surrounded by brick walls. There's seating for three dozen at the tables and another dozen and a half at the long bar. One redeeming draft selection included the Oak Creek Amber Ale; clear amber color, and great hoppy aroma and flavor. Daily happy hour from 3:300 to 8:00 PM with $ 3.00 pints the norm. Bottled beer seemed preferred by the crowd and the selection ranged from 8 oz. Little Kings to 22 oz. Pete's Wicked Ale, and included 12 oz. Steelhead, Red Hook ESB and Guinness. It's easy to see why Monsoons is a popular college bar with both men and women. Last call is just before 2 a.m.
A fairly new addition to downtown Flagstaff's night scene on San Francisco Street, the main attraction seems to be the huge dance floor. The formula for success here involves offering a little something for everyone; video games, fussbol, a disco light globe showering the dance floor, full bar, and of course, beer. The 34 taps include lots of "megas" but the happy hour is 3 to 8 PM seven days a week ($2.00 vs. $2.75) ! For those who need a really special reason to go out, there is $ 1.00 "you call it" night and Tuesday 10¢ draft night.
The Portland Brewing Honey Beer is getting good distribution throughout the southwest nowadays. It's a bit unique with its clear red color, malty sweet flavor, medium body and clean aftertaste.
The target market of 23,000 college students out of a total population of about 50,000 could explain the wide selection of draft ice beers available. This place has got one of the most solid looking bars around with its stone and mortar construction. All in all, it's worth enduring the smoky atmosphere to sample some brews and see what's happening. The crowd's usually an even balance of men and women, and closing time is not until 2 a.m. Telephone (520)773-9550
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri -