Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Contented Cow (Northfield, MN)

Contented Cow patio and concert

Whenever I find myself in Northfield meeting a friend, I seem to end up at The Contented Cow.  Easy, downtown location and a reputation for being a great place to hang out makes it a natural choice.

On this trip with speechie friends after the Northfield tournament, the music for St. Paddy's was good and an appropriate volume since the stage was off the end of the patio.  We sat off to the left in the picture below and it was a extremely pleasant day on the patio being that it was March.

However, the beer and service is definitely under par.  Our waitress came over for our order and she didn't know what was on tap.  Later at the bar, they didn't have a list of bottled beers, nor could they name them.  I've always found this odd at the Cow and seems to be an area they could improve.  On a popcorn refill run, I found a new beer by checking out an empty bottle on the bar and ordered it: Laverstoke Park Farm's Organic Real Lager.  I also added Summit India Pale Ale to my database on this visit, but I see that as an oversight on my part more than a credit to the bar.  
View from stairs above bar

When I paid my bill, I noticed that New Belgium's new beer Dig was on tap, which I would've definitely tried.  For a local bar to have two beers that I haven't had is generally a good sign.  However, getting me only one of two of these beers--and that one by accident--is a bad omen.

The bar area, and the interior bar for that matter, is messy and always seems to be a bit out of sorts.  I like a good dive bar as much as the next person (maybe more), but the sloppiness seems to slide over to the beer handling and service.  With that said, both beers were adequately served and had no issues really, though I did have to ask for a glass to go with the bottle.

To my surprise, a look at my database shows that despite my memory of being at the Cow many times, this is the first time I've managed to get a beer on the list while there.  Maybe that means their selection is expanding.  At any rate, while my review doesn't exactly glow, I do enjoy my occasional Northfield stop. Plus, its long history as a downtown summer haunt belies the fact that I have a very different criteria for a bar than the locals who fill the joint.  While I won't be going out of my way, I also won't turn down an invitation to The Contented Cow when it happens again.  

No comments:

Post a Comment